Is there anything more exciting than the promise of a crop of fantastic new writers that comes with a new debut class each year? You may already know the answer is a resounding “No, ” but what you might not be aware of is that this year’s debuts are frighteningly fantastic. Ask anyone who gets their hands on YA books ahead of time, and I guarantee they’ll corroborate that the debut authors of 2015 are a serious master class across all genres. Of course, we could only list some of the best and most highly anticipated here, but be on the lookout for a lot more gushing in the near future; this is a group of authors and titles that are not to be missed.
More Happy Than Not, by Adam Silvera
Aaron Soto is a teenage boy living in the Bronx, dating an awesome girl, grieving the recent loss of his father, and falling for a new guy in a world where one thing is different from our own: the existence of the Leteo procedure, which allows for memories to be erased, a la Silvera’s debut is equal parts gut-punch and warm hug, not to mention sweet, funny, creative, and a really welcome entry to YA with regard to having characters coming from a lower socioeconomic background.
An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir
This is one I haven’t been privileged to read yet, but the combination of epic fantasy, a Rome-like world, an intense sibling relationship, and a blurb from Legend author Marie Lu that says it made her miss her connecting flight ticks boxes I didn’t even know I had. In fact, every review I’ve seen or heard of this book has me counting down the minutes until its release.
The Conspiracy of Us, by Maggie Hall
I used to get asked for recommendations for YA adventure novels, and I would draw a complete blank for any that weren’t also heavy on fantastical elements. Hall’s new trilogy is a seriously fun departure, centered around an international conspiracy and full of action, set in very real and very awesome locales like Paris and Istanbul, and featuring a realistic teen heroine in initially naive-but-spontaneous Avery West. Bonus points for a love triangle that works in a major way and will definitely have readers taking sides by the time book two hits next year.
Mosquitoland, by David Arnold
You know those books that, despite being realistic contemporary, just transport you into another world entirely? That’s exactly the experience of reading Arnold’s debut, about a quirky, intelligent, determined girl named Mim on a quest to reach her sick mother, and the traveling family she makes for herself along the way, as she copes with her own pain and mental struggles. This book makes me wish I were a school librarian, just so I could buy ten copies for my collection.
Damage Done, by Amanda Panitch
If you, like many others, have found yourself wondering “Where is the Gone Girl of YA?” you’ll find your answer here come July. The story of a girl living a new life following a tragic event in her past she can’t remember, Panitch’s debut is smart, twisted, and utterly unputdownable. I’d say more, but in the grand tradition of books like Dangerous Girls and We Were Liars, this is a book about which the less is said, the better.
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