Top Fifteen Debuts of 2017

Hello, and happy Tuesday!

Top Ten TuesdayI’m a broken record at this point, but The Top Ten Tuesdays around the new year are some of my favorites, as they provide an opportunity to look ahead to some of the year’s best releases, a chance I’ll gladly take advantage of, any time of year. I won’t dilly-dally much longer, as you surely know the drill by now: this week’s prompt is Top Debuts of 2017, this fun feature is hosted by the lovely bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish, and I’m curious: what debuts are you excited for?

one-of-us-is-lyingThe Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars? Karen M. McManus’ debut already had me interested with that comparison, a fact that held true as I read over the synopsis. One of Us is Lying sounds like the a perfect read for this mystery fan, with an unexpected murder, unreliable narrators, and juicy motives. Its May release date begs the question: what better graduation present than a new book? {out May 30}

how-to-break-a-boyComplex characters are my jam, and it sounds like the protagonist of Laurie Devore’s How to Break a Boy is a prime example. Olivia is a self-proclaimed “mean girl,” using manipulation – as in, have a fake boyfriend manipulation – in an effort to get back at her former best friend. I’ve already have this one on hold at my local library, because any revenge book makes an excellent snow day read. {out January 31}

youre-welcome-universeI’d read Whitney Gardner’s You’re Welcome Universe on its synopsis alone – there’s not nearly enough deaf representation in young adult books, and I’m not one to resist a story of a graffiti war – but that the author included illustrations throughout the book sealed the deal. Gardner’s art is lovely {pop over here for a perfect example} which means that we readers are in for a treat. {out March 7}

juniper-lemons-happiness-indexJulie Israel’s novel had me sold as soon as I heard the title, and that confetti-dotted, well-designed cover only added to my excitement. I have reason, however, to look forward to its release; the story follows Juniper on her search for a mysterious “you” after her sister dies, leading her to many a memorable character. In other words? It’s all the elements of a perfect contemporary novel. Sign me up. {out June 27}

the-education-of-margot-sanchezI like to think that coming-of-age novels are a Bella literary staple; I turn to them again and again, only because I find them so fun to read. The debut The Education of Margot Sanchez is one to add to the bunch this year, and the story sounds like a winner: Margot is grounded after stealing her father’s credit card and is forced to work in her family’s grocery store to pay back the money. Bonus points for the eye-catching cover. {out February 21}

speak-of-me-as-i-amLoss seems to be a recurring trend in this year’s batch of debuts, but I have no complaints: narratives that deal with the delicate subjects of death and grief provide emotionally-packed storylines like no other. Case in point: Sonia Belasco’s debut, Speak of Me as I Am, in which main characters Melanie and Damon bond over their respective losses and their roles in their school’s production of Othello. Yes and yes. {out April 4}

the-heartbeats-of-wing-jonesThere’s a number of areas in which the YA world is lacking, but one notable topic is sports. Where are the stories about teenage athletes? Katherine Webber’s The Heartbeats of Wing Jones aims to fill the void, its main character, Wing, joining her school’s track team after a tragic accident involving her brother. Who can say no to family dynamics and a healthy blend of heart and humor? Not me, that’s for sure. {out March 14}

rollAs for middle grade publications, there’s one novel I have my eye on: Roll, a sweet summer-set story about competitive pigeon rolling. Didn’t know such a hobby existed? Me either. Thankfully, first time author Darcy Miller has a description handy: it’s “a strange but awesome hobby that involves training a kit of birds to simultaneously somersault backward through the air while flying.” Color me intrigued. {out May 25}

girl-out-of-waterIt was only after I followed Laura Silverman on Twitter {she’s a gem, if you’d like to as well} that I realized her first novel, Girl Out of Water, was coming out this year. It’s a good thing, because my excitement over it – a story that blends first love, family troubles, and surfing – is growing by the day. It comes out in May, which I take to mean that a pre-order may be in order. {out May 1}

american-streetI can count on one hand the number of YA novels I’ve read that directly deal with immigration, a number far too small for an issue that is central to so many teenagers’ lives. Perhaps this is why I’m looking forward to the release of Ibi Zoboi’s American Street, a novel about a Haitian teen as she adjusts to America without the guidance of her mother. The premise alone has me thinking Zoboi will be an author to watch. (out February 14}

if-birds-fly-backHere in New England, I’m facing a few more months of snow and chilly weather, but Carlie Sorosiak’s debut, If Birds Fly Back, already has me thinking of summer. Realistic fiction at its finest, the novel follows main characters Linny and Sebastian as they fall for one another over their shared obsession for novelist and filmmaker Alvaro Herrera. It hits shelves in June, and needless to say, I can’t wait to grab my own copy. {out June 27}

done-dirt-cheapIt’s not everyday that you see a book, a debut no less, with as high and consistent of early praise as Sarah Nicole Lemon’s first book, Done Dirt Cheap, a fierce and gritty story that brings alive its southern landscape with main characters Tourmaline and Virginia. With reviewers promising lyrical prose and swoon worthy romance, you can be sure that this novel already has a place on my bookshelf. {out March 7}

city-of-saints-and-thievesI’m not as active on Twitter as I used to be, nor am I browsing as many blogs, but I still haven’t seen much chatter over Natalie C. Anderson’s debut. It’s a shame, because City of Saints & Thieves, a YA mystery set in Kenya, sounds incredible, taking its protagonist deep into her family history and plans for revenge. Its publication is mere weeks away, which means I’m all the closer to reading it myself. {out January 24}

when-dimple-met-rishiIf the cover of Sandhya Menon’s first book, When Dimple Met Rishi, doesn’t make you smile, I’m not sure what will. And if the premise doesn’t have you counting down the days until May, we need to chat. In all seriousness, Menon’s romantic contemporary, in which the main characters have been arranged to be married by their parents, has been  praised as “charming and sweet and funny.” What better combination than that? {out May 30}

the-hate-u-giveFinally, if there’s any one new release I – and others! – will be reading this year, it’s Angie Thomas’ highly-anticipated debut, The Hate U Give. The buzz is understandable: inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, it follows Starr after the murder of her best friend by the police in what is sure to be a powerful and compelling story. My only wish? That February didn’t feel so far away. {out February 28}

Have a terrific Tuesday!
Bella

Twelve Anticipated Releases for 2017

Hello!

Top Ten TuesdayHappy Wednesday, friends! I won’t lie: between a draining cold and an abundance of mid-term projects, winter break is looking all the more appealing. I love the holidays, but I think the vacation is also an opportunity to refresh and plan for the year ahead. Of course, the new year is only what one makes of it, but nevertheless, I love the figurative fresh start the comes with the turn of the calendar.

Blame the avid reader in me, but one of the things I like to plan for most is my TBR list, adding to it the new novels released by my favorite authors. I’m not alone; one of the most popular topics in The Broke and The Bookish’s weekly feature, Top Ten Tuesday, happens to be this week’s prompt: Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward To For The First Half Of 2017. I’m a day late, but I still wanted to share the novels I can’t wait to get my hands on in 2017 – I’ll talk books any day of the week :) I’ve limited this list to novels I don’t already own {that means the wonderful Becky Albertalli’s The Upside of Unrequited isn’t included}, and the titles are listed in rainbow order, naturally. What books are on your TBR list?

the-last-of-augustFirst on my list is Brittany Cavallaro’s The Last of August, the sequel to her humorous modern take on Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Charlotte. In this installment, detective duo Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson team up once again to solve a case on their winter break: what secrets lie behind Charlotte’s uncle’s disappearance? {the title hails from character August Moriarty}. The novel comes out on Valentine’s Day, so I think I’ll be buying it as a personal treat. {out February 14}

this-would-make-a-good-story-somedayIf you haven’t yet read The Misadventures of Family Fletcher, let me be blunt: you’re missing out. A sweet family-centered contemporary at its finest, the Family Fletcher – and its sequel, The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island – make me smile, as the next book from author Dana Alison Levy, This Would Make a Good Story Someday, is sure to do as well. Who can resist a summer road trip story, complete with rambunctious siblings and embarrassing parents? Not me, that’s for certain. {out May 16}

yours-trulyAs if I needed another reason to look forward to the new year, Heather Vogel Frederick is releasing a new novel, the companion to the adorable Absolutely Truly. Book Two, named Yours Truly, sounds just as heart-warming: someone sabotages the town’s annual maple festival and it is up to Truly to find out why. I’d move to Pumpkin Falls in an instant – consider it the literary version of Stars Hollow – and so, I’m oh-so excited to revisit Truly and the entire Lovejoy gang. Is it bad to admit I’ve already carved out a spot for it in my bookshelf? {out January 31}

dreamland-burningWhile I haven’t read Jennifer Latham’s debut, Scarlett Undercover, one look at the cover of her sophomore release, Dreamland Burning, and I was sold. Further research into the synopsis has me even more excited: tying together two different settings – one from today, the other from 1921 – the protagonist attempts to uncover the truth behind a brutal murder. Early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive – fingers crossed I’ll soon be able to add my own to the bunch! {out February 21}

first-class-murderYou may sense a growing trend: I love me any mystery or middle grade fiction. Robin Stevens’ delightful series, Wells & Wong Mysteries, then, is a match made in heaven, as young sleuths Daisy and Hazels go about England solving various cases. In their third installment, the detectives find themselves solving a murder upon the Orient Express; my UK friends may have already read it, but I’ll be patiently awaiting its release in April. It couldn’t come soon enough! {out April 4}

the-names-they-gave-usEmery Lord has yet to disappoint: Open Road Summer had my heart swelling; The Start of Me and You remains a favorite; and When We Collided beautifully explored a topic not often seen in YA. Her success is sure to follow in her next release, titled The Names They Gave Us. From the synopsis, it sounds like yet another story using Lord’s winning combination: family and friend dynamics, a blossoming romance, and a summery setting. I’m already counting down the days until it hits shelves. {out May 16}

the-pearl-thiefWhen it comes to YA historical fiction, there’s only one author I continually recommend: Elizabeth Wein, the writer behind World War II narratives Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire. She returns to the same characters in the prequel, The Pearl Thief, sharing just how Julie satisfied her taste for adventure as a teen before the war. Like any bookworm, I’ll never pass up the chance to revisit a beloved protagonist. In other words? It’s only a matter of days before I preorder my own copy. {out May 2}

ramona-blueAfter reading the delight that is Dumplin’, I’m convinced that Julie Murphy can craft female narrators like no other author; her protagonist, Willowdean Dickson, is sassy, funny, and all-around wonderful, as Murphy’s next main character, Ramona, is likely to be as well. Furthermore, if anyone can delicately handle the topic of sexual fluidity, it’d be Julie Murphy. To put it simply? Ramona Blue sounds like a winner. May, come sooner please. {out May 17}

flying-lessons-and-other-storiesEntering into the new year, I hope the literary community can agree on one thing: diverse books are not only needed, they deserve to be celebrated. For that reason, I’m looking forward to picking up Flying Lessons and Other Stories, an anthology by the founded of We Need Diverse Books, Ellen Oh, in the coming year. With contributions from authors like Tim Federle, Jacqueline Woodson, and newcomer Kelly J. Baptist, it’s sure to be a stellar collection. I personally can’t wait. {out January 3}

history-is-all-you-left-meIf Adam Silvera made me cry with his debut, More Happy Than Not, I can only imagine the emotions that will arise with the release of History is All You Left Me. Exploring themes of loss, love, and mental illness, the book follows the protagonist as he enters a downward spiral, “losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices.” Fortunately, it’s mere weeks until it comes out, so I’ll be devouring Griffin’s story before I know it, tissues in hand. {out January 17}

always-and-forever-lara-jeanIf you’re searching for some sweetness and sincerity to add to your reading pile, look no further than Jenny Han, whose To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is as cute as they come. What was originally planned as a duology has grown into a trilogy – to the delight of fans everywhere, myself included – so as to allow the chance for Lara Jean to go to college and decide what that means for her relationships. More of Lara Jean, Peter, and the Song family? Who could say no? {out April 4}

bad-romanceFinally, while it’s only been two years since Heather Demetrios’ last release, I’ll Meet You There, I feel as if I’ve waited forever for the publication of her third novel, Bad Romance. Not only does it sport an eye-catching cover, it also has a compelling synopsis: the main character’s life changes, for better of for worse, when she meets Gavin and they enter a relationship. I’ll be grabbing a copy soon after I graduate – what craziness. {out June 13}

Have the most wonderful Wednesday!
Bella

The Nine New-to-Me Authors of 2016

Hi friends!

Top Ten TuesdayHappy Tuesday! How are things? I’m home from school today to attend a regional student government meeting, so my morning’s looking quiet, the perfect chance to catch up on a few assignments, sneak in a chapter or two of my current – and festive! – read, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, and take the moment to pause during this busy time of year. The calendar may read the sixth, but I’m still wrapping my mind around the fact that we’ve already reached December.

All that said, with the exception of holiday music and holiday cookies, there’s nothing I love more come this month than the chance to reflect on and discuss my favorite books, albums, and other forms of media of the year. I look to The Broke and the Bookish to kick off the season of recommendations, and so, I’m excited to join in this week’s prompt, Top Ten New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2016. Leaving out the debut authors and favorite writers whose books I devoured over the past few months, I was able to narrow it down to these nine ladies, all of whom earn my thumbs-up! Which authors made your own list?

meg-medinaTo start, I’m so happy I took the plunge and checked out Burn Baby Burn earlier in the summer; it’s not only a vivid picture of urban life in the seventies, it also introduced me to an author who’s sure to be a long-lasting favorite. Meg Medina crafts dynamic friendships and family relationships, all of which have me anxious to check out her other novels, particularly Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass ­– who can resist that intriguing title? {Twitter}

una-lamarcheI’ll be blunt: I love Una LaMarche. She has a strong sense of humor; she continually features diverse casts of characters; and she has knack for keeping her readers’ eyes glued to the page! My only regret? I didn’t think to read her books at an earlier point. While I recommend her memoir and the delightful You in Five Acts, I also plan to make my way through her backlist. Fortunately, it should be easy: I already have Don’t Fail Me Now on my bookshelf and Like No Other waiting for me at the library. {Twitter}

olivia-laingOver the past few months, I’ve sung the praises for Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City again and again {and I’ll do it once more: if you’ve yet to check it out, use this Tuesday to do so}. It’s all for good reason: Laing’s compelling portraits of isolated artists, in addition to her dreamy observations of living in the city, made the book one of my new favorites – and her an author I’ll be keeping an eye on. Both To the River and The Trip to Echo Spring have spots on my 2017 TBR list – I can’t wait to get to them! {Twitter}

jennifer-lynn-barnesI love me a good thriller and mystery, but I’m ashamed to admit that before this year, I hadn’t checked out any books by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, queen of writing YA crime. Her Scandal­­-inspired release, The Fixer, has since changed the state of things, as I followed the dramatic adventures of protagonist Tess as she investigated the DC political scene. I now consider myself a full-fledged Barnes fan, a title that’s sure to hold true when I grab her other novels ­– The Long Game, anyone? – from the library. {Twitter}

e-k-johnstonBefore this past spring, I hadn’t heard of E.K. Johnston; I only checked out Exit, Pursued by a Bear, in fact, because of the stellar cover design. What a mistake on my part, for Johnston’s novel is a fantastic contemporary, complete with memorable characters, thought-provoking commentary, and a realistic look at female adolescence. Her other YA books, the duo A Thousand Nights and Spindle, fit the fantasy genre, but I nevertheless imagine that Johnston writes to the same high quality. {Twitter}

martine-leavittWhile preparing this post, I searched through my archives for any mention of Martine Leavitt, but I unfortunately found nothing. It’s a shame, because her most recent novel, Calvin, is a hidden gem, one I often recommend to friends and hope to read again. If the same quirky characters and well-plotted story are to be found in Leavitt’s other novels, My Books of Life by Angel and Keturah and Lord Death, I’m in for quite a treat.

chimamanda-ngozi-adichieIf you haven’t yet read anything by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, there’s still time to fit in a novel before the ball drops; We Should All Be Feminists, for example, is a mere 64 pages, and yet I believe it’s one the best books I’ve read this year. Adichie has a convincing way with words, and I’m curious to see how it translates to her fiction work, such as Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun. As has become the trend of this post, I’ll be reading both in the new year.

dahlia-adlerDahlia Adler is a talented author, but I first came across her not in the bookstore, but on Twitter. Her regularly insightful tweets – along with the urging of my Lit Up Review team – prompted me to finally read one of her books, Just Visiting. I waited far too long to uncover such a powerful combination: distinctive characters, a refreshing premise, and the blend of romance and realism. I’ve heard similarly good things about Behind the Scenes, so I suppose I’ll be grabbing it – and its sequel – soon. {Twitter}

abby-mcdonaldFinally, author Abby MacDonald knows how to keep a reader engaged; I stayed up long after midnight to finish the suspenseful and twisty Dangerous Girls, and even after closing its cover, her brilliant plot had my mind spinning for days. Though she hasn’t released a new novel since 2014, she has a number of backlist novels open to discovery, including the companion novel, Dangerous Boys. If I can track down a copy before winter break hits, you can guess what I’ll be doing. {Twitter}

Have the most wonderful Tuesday!
Bella