> Skip to content

Article  •  14 December 2022


Get ready, these 6 amazing debut novels come out in January 2023

Learn about the best debut novels of January 2023.

2023 is going to be full of fabulous new debut novels. With so many new authors entering the scene, we highly recommend starting the year strong by reading a few books by these new voices as soon as possible.

Luckily, it won't be hard to find one that entices you. Several must-reads are coming out in January that will have you smashing your New Year’s reading goals straight out of the gate. Inspiring, heart-warming, thoughtful and at times terrifying, these books will get you in step this January for a year of brilliant literature.


6 must-read debuts coming in January 2023

Compulsion book cover.

Compulsion by Kate Scott – out 10 January 2023

Many would dream of having Lucy’s career as a music editor. Her life is full of music, dark glamour and gigs. But endless debauchery doesn’t come without a price. And when things veer from complicated to chaotic, Lucy burns down the world she knows, decamping to the remote seaside town of her childhood. There, she meets Robin, a photographer and son of a famous producer. Recognising each other as fellow exiles, they fall into a routine of daily walks, charged conversations, endless flirting and soul-searching that bonds and disarms them both.

Amazing Grace Adams book cover

Amazing Grace Adams by Fran Littlewood – out 17 January 2023

Stuck in traffic on the way to pick up a cake for her daughter’s birthday, Grace snaps. She doesn’t scream or cry but instead vows to pick up the broken pieces of the life that has been crumbling around her. Determined to put things back together again, Grace walks towards her life instead of running away. She will face her problems head-on: the husband divorcing her, the sixteen-year-old daughter who has banned her from her birthday party and the terrible thing that has blown their family apart. Grace was amazing once, and now she’s going to remind everyone that she still is.

'The Last Love Note' book cover.

The Last Love Note by Emma Grey – out 24 January 2023

Kate Whittaker is in the aftermath of crushing grief. While navigating her new world as a sole parent, dealing with her overbearing mother and humouring her best friend intent on matchmaking her with someone new, it’s all a bit of a whirlwind. When Kate becomes stranded in a sleepy hamlet north of Byron Bay with her boss, Hugh, she finally has a chance to process it all. Caught in a tangle of loss, love and longing Kate wonders if her heart will ever heal. With only a trail of scribbled notes to guide her, will Kate be able to set herself free?

The Things We Do to Our Friends book cover.

The Things We Do To Our Friends by Heather Darwent – out 17 January 2023

Clare came to the University of Edinburgh to get a clean slate, and with her secret behind her, she can finally become the person she’s meant to be. Until she meets Tabitha. She’s beautiful, charismatic and unbelievably rich – and Clare can’t help but get sucked into her enigmatic circle of friends. With sophisticated dinner parties and summers spent in France, Clare is finally living the life she always hoped for. Things aren’t as innocent as they might seem, however, and when Tabitha asks for Clare’s help with a little project, Clare can’t refuse because they all know what she did. . .

A Man and His Pride book cover.

A Man and His Pride by Luke Rutledge – out 31 January 2023

Sean’s life isn’t going as planned. Despite coming out years ago, he has never been one to shout his sexuality from the rooftops. When his relationship comes to an unexpected (and humiliating) end, he falls into a cycle of emotional detachment, booze and an intense exercise regime. However, his plan to ‘fix’ things doesn’t seem to be working. His job, friends and family life all seem to be in shambles. When Sean befriends a naïve but kind nurse, William, it finally brings a bit of light into his world. Sean offers to show William the way around the gay dating scene, but it turns out that William also has a few lessons to teach Sean. This deeply moving story celebrates the many ways to be gay and is a poignant reminder of the power of self-love and forgiveness.

The Matchmaker book cover.

The Matchmaker by Saman Shad – out 31 January 2023

Saima is a great matchmaker and the weekly wedding invitations prove it. But when she becomes the target of a barrage of gossip circulating in her community, it’s almost too much to handle. Tired of the constant scrutiny, she’s about to pack up and move back home. But when an eligible bachelor’s wealthy parents show up at her door offering the biggest payday she has had in years, it’s a job she can’t turn down. There’s just one catch though: He can’t find out that his parents are pulling the strings.

Featured Titles

Set against the backdrop of the new millennium, a seductive summer read about obsession, sex, friendship and music from an exciting new talent. 'The cleverness is what's compulsive.' COURIER MAIL
Read more
Amazing Grace Adams
Grace Adams is one bad day away from saving her life.
Read more
The Last Love Note
Hailed by Culture Buzz as 'one of the best new debut adult novels of its time', this is a sparkling Australian romantic comedy with a heart-breaking twist.
Read more
The Things We Do To Our Friends
A Sunday Times bestselling deliciously dark, bitingly compulsive tale of feminist revenge, toxic friendships, and deadly secrets
Read more
A Man and His Pride
‘Funny, moving, and with energy to burn, Luke Rutledge’s debut is an absolute joy.’ – John Boyne
Read more
The Matchmaker
‘A debut novel full of charm, wit and sharp observation.’ WHO WEEKLY ‘Full of life, charm and wonderfully observed detail, an utterly delightful debut.’ JODI McALISTER Sparks fly in this glittering romantic comedy about love, marriage and mistaking your own identity.
Read more

More features

See all
Better Reading’s Top 100 books of 2024 announced

Penguin Random House is proud to have twenty-four titles on the list this year.

Debut authors share their best tips for aspiring authors

The Fresh Voices of 2023 share their advice with fellow writers. Whether you’re aspiring to get your book published or looking for writing tips, these words of wisdom will help.

10 reasons why everyone should support debut authors

Find out why it’s so important to support authors upon the publication of their first book and meet a few of our 2023 debut authors.

Catch these authors at Australia’s biggest writers festivals this May

Find out which Penguin Random House authors will be attending writers festivals in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney this May.

Add these 2023 books to your TBR list for a year of great reading

Check out the most anticipated books of 2023.

A book publicist shares his top 9 must-reads

Connor Parissis shares his favourite reads of 2022 and the books he’s looking forward to in 2023.

Book clubs
Compulsion book club questions

An unforgettable story to read with your book club featuring themes of obsession, friendship and the love of music.

Book clubs
The Matchmaker book club questions

A charming rom-com to read with your book club.

Saman Shad talks about four years of working on 'The Matchmaker'

We caught up with Saman Shad to learn about her past projects, idea behind ‘The Matchmaker’ and fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming an author.

Book clubs
Amazing Grace Adams book club questions

A fierce, funny and utterly captivating book to read with your book club.

Book clubs
The Last Love Note book club questions

A sparkling (and heart-breaking) Australian romantic comedy to read with your book club.

How grieving her husband inspired Emma Grey to write an uplifting novel

Debut author Emma Grey shares the advice she’d give her past self, how she met her agent through a random email and the way that her own grief helped inspired her novel, 'The Last Love Note'.

Looking for more articles?

See all articles