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Let's see what I chose.
This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti
Though he's written many books since this one, Peretti is still best known for his debut novel. This Present Darkness was one of the first Christian books I read, and it made me realize how much I like books about spiritual warfare. Though it's fictional, this book should not be read lightly, and it chilled me even more than most horror novels I've read.
Carrie by Stephen King
King's first published work was also the first book of his that I read. At twelve years old, it completely challenged what I knew about writing and ushered me into the world of adult novels. Carrie filled me with horror, revulsion, pity, and compassion, something I was unaware one book could do. Though he has over fifty published novels so far, this one still holds a special place.
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
I have not stayed quiet about my adoration for Jhumpa Lahiri, and her debut novel was what won me over from the start. It has all the aspects that I love about her writing and characters, with her simple but descriptive language and Indian immigrants looking for identity. It won the Pulitzer, as well, so I'm not hyping her without cause.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Though he had published many poems, short stories, and essays, The Hobbit was Tolkien's first novel, and what a novel it was! I think the various reasons it made my list are obvious, chief among them being its captivating story and characters, as well as the fact that this little children's book was the catalyst for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
This one should have been obvious. Not only did this book launch one of the most beloved series of all time, but it also brought Rowling's writing prowess to the world's attention. She is one of my favorite modern writers, and this book ignited my passion for reading as a child. For me, this will always be the best debut of all time.
Those are my top 5 debut novels. What debut novels do you love? Tell me in the comments below.
If you enjoy or are interested in Japanese literature, check out my latest review of Yoko Ogawa's The Diving Pool.