With Book Expo America here, we’re on vacation! We’ll be back next Monday with our regularly scheduled books and mayhem.
Archives for May 2015
It’s time for another round-up of debut YA novels of the month.
Like always, this round-up includes debut novels, where “debut” is in its purest definition. These are first-time books by first-time authors. I’m not including books by authors who are using or have used a pseudonym in the past or those who have written in other categories (adult, middle grade, etc.) in the past.
All descriptions are from WorldCat, unless otherwise noted. If I’m missing any debuts out in February from traditional publishers, let me know in the comments. As always, not all noted titles included here are necessarily endorsements for those titles.
Tracked by Jenny Martin: Phee Van Zant, an orphaned street-racer on the corrupt planet Castra, gets swept up in the corporate rally circuit and an even bigger revolution.
Immaculate by Katelyn Detweiler: Mina, seventeen, has everything going for her until she discovers she is pregnant and no one, especially her boyfriend and her father, will believe that she is a virgin except for the few who have faith that miracles are possible and that her unborn child could be the greatest miracle of all.
The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: In this reimagining of The Arabian Nights, Shahrzad plans to avenge the death of her dearest friend by volunteering to marry the murderous boy-king of Khorasan but discovers not all is as it seems within the palace.
Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton: Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance, but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.
The Novice by Taran Matharu: When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy where must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands.
Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein: Behind closed doors, sixteen-year-old Azra is learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny. Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters,” Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn … and that her powers could endanger them all.
5 to 1 by Holly Bodger: In a dystopian future where gender selection has led to boys outnumbering girls 5 to 1 marriage is arranged based on a series of tests. It’s Sudasa’s turn to pick a husband through this ‘fair’ method, but she’s not sure she wants to be a part of it.
Love, Fortunes, and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius: Devastated by a “love fortune” indicating that she will be a spinster, fifteen-year-old Fallon decides to take control of her own fate, even if it means working with Sebastian, a notorious heartbreaker.
The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman: When her boyfriend dies, a grieving Ari uses a spell to erase her memories of him, but this spell triggers a series of events that reveal hidden, and sometimes dangerous, connections between her friends and the boyfriend she no longer remembers.
Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert: A small-town boy questions everything he holds to be true when his father is accused of murder.
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia: Armed with her camera and a Magic 8-Ball and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college
Emancipated by M. G. Reyes: The good girl, the bad boy, the diva, the hustler, the rock star, and the nerd. Six teens legally liberated from parental control for six different reasons, all with one thing in common: something to hide.
Now they’re sharing a house in Venice Beach, acting like a family, and living their lies. No parents. No limits. No alibis. One witnessed a crime, another might be a murderer—and one’s been spying on them all.
As they cling to a fantasy of freedom and slowly let down their guards, the past creeps up on them. And when one of them gets arrested, everyone’s carefully constructed facade comes crumbling down.
In this steamy, drama-filled series, relationships are tested and secrets revealed as lies threaten to destroy their perfect setup. (via Edelweiss)
Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos: Teens Ivy Wilde and Marla Klein, both minor celebrities, face major lifestyle changes as pop-star Ivy questions the rampant consumerism required to maintain her image, and fashionista Marla sees first-hand the appalling working conditions that allowed her to be a trend-setter.
The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell: In Japan, teenaged Abe Sora, who is afflicted with “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” finds friends online and elicits their help to end his suffering.
Over at Book Riot this week:
- I talked about the Belmont Public Library for Birds, my current favorite Twitter feed in the world.
- This week’s 3 On A YA Theme showcases three YA diverse speculative short story collections.
Over at Disability in Kid Lit, I shared my story about depression and why we need more depictions of how depression functions in YA lit. I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the response to this piece, both over there and privately. Thank you for everyone who read, shared, and reached out to me. I’ve tried to respond to every person, but if I missed anyone, it was totally accidental.
Please spend time reading through the entire Mental Illness series over there this week. It’s fantastic.
Earlier this week, I reviewed and raved about Tamara Ireland Stone’s Every Last Word. Today, I’ve got a fun giveaway. One lucky person will win two copies of the book, one for you and one for a friend, along with a $25 Visa Gift Card. This is a US-only giveaway, with prizes provided by Disney-Hyperion.
Here’s the official description of the book:
I really thought this was a stand out contemporary novel about mental illness, with a really nice romance included.
If you’re curious, I can’t encourage you enough to enter the giveaway. Winner will be pulled in early June so you can get your prizes around when the book publishes June 16.
Strange Skies by Kristi Helvig
Helvig’s first book, Burn Out, was super fun despite its glaring plot hole. Strange Skies opens with Tora coming to in a hospital run by the Consulate, a shady organization that controls Caelia, the new planet humans have relocated to since the old one is now uninhabitable (what with the sun going red giant and all). Right off the bat, we learn secrets about Tora’s companions from the first book. I love a book chock full of shocking secrets. This is a fast-paced ride just like Burn Out was, and that’s just what I’m looking for right now. This is such a fun SF read and I’m so glad that it’s being published despite Egmont USA’s demise.
Rivals in the City by Y. S. Lee
This is the final installment in Lee’s truly excellent series of Victorian-era YA mysteries featuring private detective Mary Quinn. I love this series for so many reasons, not the least of which is the way it handles Mary’s Chinese ancestry. This last volume speaks to my heart in a really strong way since it involves Mary struggling with what it means to get married to someone in a fundamentally patriarchal society. Mary’s engaged to someone she loves, but they both know that getting married would remove a lot of Mary’s hard-won independence. Each book is also a terrifically good mystery, and this one brings back an old foe for some shenanigans. It feels like a final book in a series, and I expect a satisfying ending.
Deceptive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
I really loved Illusive, the first book in Lloyd-Jones’ series about a group of teens with superpowers who carry out heists. It checked so many of my boxes: teens sticking it to The Man, magic, stealing from bad guys, double-crosses, a little espionage, a shady government organization. The sequel promises more of the same, but with a bit more sleuthing thrown in as the characters investigate a series of disappearances. I wish there were more books like these (that mixed mystery/heist elements with SFF elements) when I was a teen because I would have devoured them all.