This spring and summer readers will see a healthy dose of first-time efforts from (young) female authors. A number of these titles are drawing strong early word-of-mouth, as well as solid reviews. Here, a look at a few of the debuts that have people talking:
Book: The Song of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller, 33; former Latin teacher (with a grad degree in ancient Greek from Brown).
Plot: A reimagining of The Iliad, focusing on the largely unexplored, and unplatonic, relationship between Achilles and his best friend/companion, Patroclus.
Pub Date : March 6
Early Buzz: Starred PW review; major press hits (including dedicated pieces in New York Times Magazine and the WSJ); blurbs from Donna Tartt, Emma Donoghue, and Ann Patchett; upcoming, New England–heavy, tour.
Book: A Partial History of Lost Causes
Author : Jennifer DuBois, 28; Iowa Writers Workshop grad and Stegner Fellow.
Plot: Dueling narratives, one set in 1979 and the other in 2006, intertwine and ultimately collide. In one, a Russian chess prodigy has a political awakening in Leningrad. In the other, a 30-year-old Massachusetts woman, battling Hodgkin’s, travels to Russia to seek out the chess prodigy her father wrote to, decades earlier, asking how one plays a game once he discovers he will ultimately lose.
Publisher: Dial Press
Pub date: March 20
Early Buzz: Starred PW review; upcoming coverage in the NYTBR, People, and Entertainment Weekly.
Book: The Land of Decoration
Author Grace McCleen, 31; British-born Oxford grad (with an English degree), a musician and hobby miniaturist living in London.
Plot: An investigation into the complex relationship between a devout 10-year-old girl—who retreats into a madeup world she has created, full of miniature figurines—and her widowed father.
Publisher: Henry Holt
Pub Date: March 27
Early Buzz: Starred PW review; blurb from Emma Donoghue; strong U.K. reviews (from the Sunday Times, the Guardian, and the Financial Times, among others); 75,000-copy announced first printing.
Book: The Age of Miracles
Author Karen Thompson Walker, 31; former Simon & Schuster editor and Columbia M.F.A.
Plot: A coming-of-age tale set against a catastrophic event: the rotation of the Earth has bugn to slow causing, among other things, a lengthening of the days.
Publisher: Random House
Pub Date: June 26
Early Buzz: Starred PW review; a much-cited seven figure advance from RH (as well as a high six-figure one in the U.K., where S&S nabbed the book); film rights optioned by River Road Entertainment (Tree of Life and Into the Wild), with screenwriter Seth Lochhead (Hanna) attached.