I am so, so behind on my book reviews. Between my book tour travels and having just received my editor's notes for Book Two, I haven't been able to stay on top of my blog. (And, full disclosure, I probably won't be able to blog as regularly for the foreseeable future!) But I couldn't give the awesome 2015 YA debuts I've read recently short shrift! Here are some books you should have on your radar:
A WORK OF ART by Melody Maysonet (out now!) is about Tera, an aspiring artist whose father is arrested for a horrifying crime. As Tera struggles to resolve her conflicted feelings toward her father and her guilt about the role she played in his arrest, old memories start bubbling to the surface. She also gets into a new relationship with a rebellious guy, who helps her forget, if only for a short time, how her world is falling apart. This is a hard read, but a worthwhile one. Tera's family dynamics are as heartbreaking and as skillfully rendered as one of Tera's own paintings.
DUPLICITY by N.K. Traver (out now!) is a hacker thriller with a twist. Brandon is a tattooed bad boy—until the day his reflection comes to life and starts cleaning him up against his will. Once the piercings and tattoos disappear, Brandon learns what's really about to happen: his reflection will be taking over his life and living it the way it should be lived. I don't want to spoil much about what happens after that, except to say that Brandon's computer genius skills will be put to the test if he ever wants to live in the real world again. This one is a page-turner!
THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renee Ahdieh (out May 12th!) is a lush, engrossing Arabian Nights retelling about Shahrzad, who willingly gives herself to Khalid, the ruler of her land who takes a new bride each night and kills her each morning. Her motive? Revenge—her best friend was one of Khalid's previous victims. But there's more to Khalid than meets the eye, and after she survives the first few nights, Shahrzad is surprised to find herself feeling drawn to him. I could not put this book down, and I cannot wait for the sequel, which is due out in 2016!
ONE OF THE GUYS by Lisa Aldin (out now!) is a sweet story about tomboy Toni, whose best friends are all guys. After a prank-gone-wrong gets her sent to an all-girls school, she's flailing, feeling like her friends are pulling away. In a last-ditch effort to fit in at her new school and to keep her guy friends close, Toni launches a business venture: she'll "rent" her friends out to girls who need a fake date for an event, to meet the parents, or to get rid of an unwanted admirer. Hijinx ensue—and Toni learns what (and who) she really values along the way. A fast, fun read!
LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE by Gina Ciocca (out June 9th!) is a romance as well, but in a much more dramatic vein. Kelsey hasn't seen David for more than a year when he shows up at her new school. They used to be inseparable; now, they can barely look at one another. But David's return throws Kelsey into a tailspin of memories about everything they shared. The book jumps back and forth between senior year and freshmen/sophomore year, filling in Kelsey and David's backstory gradually. By the end, I had ALL THE FEELS.
DATING DOWN by Stefanie Lyons (out now!) is a verse novel about a romance gone very wrong. Samantha fell for X (she won't use his real name) because he was mysterious and edgy and bohemian—the opposite of how she sees herself. Plus, she feels like her politician father and his new wife could not care less about her needs. But when she gets sucked into X's party world, she discovers a darker, more dangerous side to this guy of her dreams. With striking images and a believable downward (and back-upward) spiral, this book is a quick and vivid read.
And…that's all for now! Phew!
Have you read any of these? Got any recommendations for me? As always, please share in the comments!