As Flavorwire notes in its intro to “The 10 Best Debut Novels of 2013,” “In composing their first novel, writers must temper their excitement at being given the opportunity to present hundreds of pages to the public with the discipline to create a story memorable enough to bring readers back for their second attempt.”
Here’s what Flavorwire says about Jenni Fagan’s “The Panopticon”:
Told in the lively slang of Anais, an orphaned 15-year-old Scottish girl who’s being hauled off to an unusual home for juvenile offenders over a violent crime she can’t recall whether she committed, The Panopticon is a dreamy document of friendship among young people who society has not only failed but scapegoated. Yet Fagan — an author whose experience as a poet comes through in her evocative prose — doesn’t sugarcoat her story or turn it into a tale of a bad girl gone good. There are moments of triumph for Anais, but there’s no panacea for her lifetime of terrible luck and systemic oppression.
1 Necessary Errors, Caleb Crain
2 The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., Adelle Waldman
3 You Are One of Them, Elliott Holt
4 In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods, Matt Bell
5 The Facdes, Eric Lundgren
6 The Panopticon, Jenni Fagan
7 Tampa, Alissa Nutting
8 The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, Ayana Mathis
9 Mira Corpora, Jeff Jackson
10 Elect H. Mouse State Judge, Nelly Reifler
For comments about each novel, head to Flavorwire.
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