What We're Reading This Weekend: Debut Novels

The PEOPLE staff picks this week's favorite reads


There’s a first time for everything: First steps, first kiss, first driver’s permit (congrats to this week’s cover girl Bindi Irwin for that last one). But for writers, there’s that first novel.

Whether it becomes a breakthrough best seller or gets relegated to the cut-price table, a debut novel is a special occasion. This week our staff members are reading books by writers who have boldly taken their first foray into fiction.

Share your thoughts on their choices – and let us know what you’re reading.

Mary Beth Yale, Associate Manager, Sales Planning

Her Pick:

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

My coworker and I came up with a summer book list. I d just finished Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, set in Afghanistan, so I wanted to read I Am Pilgrim, also set in the Middle East. Partly narrated by an ex-underworld spy – who seems to have more aliases than Lady Gaga has costumes – it’s an intriguing, multi-perspective thriller. I am really enjoying the complex plot as it weaves through colorful landscapes both abroad and in New York. It’s a bit graphic at times, but the characters are likable and the story’s made me almost miss my subway stop.

Erica Tabacoff, Digital Account Manager
Her Pick: The Lullaby of Polish Girls by Dagmara Dominczyk

I’m reading The Lullaby of Polish Girls for my book club and love it. The novel flips back and forth between present day and the past childhood summers of three friends growing up in Poland in the 1980s. You learn what keeps them together and drives them apart in a decades long coming-of-age story. I’ve enjoyed Dominczyk’s writing style but wish she’d have given an even deeper look into each of the characters. If you ask me, it needs a touch of The Goldfinch‘s detail.

Alex Heigl, Assistant Editor

His Pick:

The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob

Brooklyn-by-way-of-New-Mexico author Mira Jacob’s name has been popping up all over my various social media feeds, and with good reason. The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is a multigenerational, nonlinear tale of a family of Indian immigrants “making a life in a stolen country” (as Jacob writes in the author’s note). But beyond that, its richly drawn characters and breathless pacing support what seems to be an endless supply of gently heartbreaking moments. This is a book for any and everyone.

Check back Thursdays for more roundups of staff picks, and see more book reviews each week in PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands now. Plus, check out past staff picks like best sellers and more great book finds here.

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