Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Debuts that Shouldn’t be Missed!

I haven’t been very good at posting reviews, but I have been reading a ton.  So, in one post, here are some debuts you might have missed, and in my opinion, shouldn’t.  With the exception of Forgotten, they are all first books to new series. 

Divergent by Veronica Roth



Released: May 3, 2011

Pages: 487 (hardcover)

Genre: Dystopian YA

Interest: Debut Author Challenge, set in Chicago

Summary (from Goodreads.com)

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.


For those who loved the Hunger Games, but haven’t been pleased with the ensuing formulated dystopian literature, Divergent is just what you’ve been waiting for.  Veronica Roth built a new world that fascinates me, and at the same time has me thanking my lucky stars that I don’t live in it.

This book has it all: flawed society, self-discovery, action/adventure, romance.  If you’re remotely interested, read it!  You won’t regret it. 

Die for Me by Amy Plum


Released: May 10, 2011

Pages: 341 (hardcover)

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Interest: Debut Author Challenge

Summary from Goodreads.com

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

In this incandescent debut, newcomer Amy Plum has created a powerful paranormal mythology with immortal revenants. The Paris setting comes enchantingly alive as a relentless struggle between good and evil takes place in its streets. Rich with romance, atmosphere, and thrills, Die for Me will leave readers breathlessly awaiting its sequel.


For fans of paranormal romance, Die for Me was a stand-out book this year.  First of all, it deals with Revenants, not vampires, werewolves, fairies, or angels.  Finally, something I haven’t already read about several times :). 

The second thing that makes Die for Me worth reading is the setting.  We’re in Paris!  I think I would be happy anywhere that Amy Plum wrote about because she did it so well.  I felt like I was really there seeing the city, but not bored by long descriptions either.

Third, the characters are well-written, their reactions genuine.  When Kate discovers that Vincent is a revenant she does not just say, “I love you, no matter what you are.”  She deals with it in her own way-I’ll let you read about it.

Fourth, the romance. 

Once again, if you’re at all interested, don’t hold back, read it!

Forgotten by Cat Patrick



Released: June 7, 2011

Pages: 288 (hardcover)

Genre: mostly Contemporary YA

Interest: Debut Author Challenge

Summary from Goodreads.com

Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't seem to recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.
Part psychological drama, part romance, and part mystery, this thought-provoking novel will inspire readers to consider the what-if's in their own lives and recognize the power they have to control their destinies.


At first the summary had me thinking 50 First Dates with Adam Sadler and Drew Barrymore.  I now regret that comparison, because Forgotten is so much more.  London Lane can’t remember her past, but sees her future perfectly clear (until the day of).  She leaves herself notes detailing what she knows she wore, what homework she sees herself doing in study hall, and any crucial information to get through the day.  Her mom and best friend know her secret, otherwise she tries to live normally.

It was an interesting concept seeing the future, forgetting the past.  London Lane was also a lovable character.  Her boyfriend, Luke, is amazing.  They have a very sweet relationship, and an ideal first date.  The only mysterious thing is that London doesn’t remember him in her past or future.  You would think that your first kiss would be something you remember, but London doesn’t see him at all.

The summary for this book is correct: psychological thriller, mystery, romance, all rolled into one glorious package you won’t soon forget.

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini


Release date: May 31, 2011

Pages: 496 (hardcover)

Genre: Mythology

Interest: Debut Author Challenge

Summary from Goodreads.com

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.


Mythology, prophecies, a never-ending battle, the fates (not just fate), and a seemingly doomed romance that I can't wait for the rest of the series to resolve...

Starcrossed felt a bit like the Mortal Instruments series to me.  It seemed like a lot of the book was spent explaining the rules of the paranormal world.  There was also plenty of Luke pushing Helen away, without explaining why they couldn’t be together.  Guys, just explain it to the girl, she might surprise you about how mature she can be, if she knows what’s going on.  Because of the delay, the romance does feel sweeter when it does come about.

This series has a lot of potential, and I’m hoping it lives up to it!