The month of May disappeared into a flurry of book revisions, but that didn't mean I wasn't reading! In fact, up until right before my deadline, I feel like I was reading more than usual. Reading awesome books inspires me and keeps my brain ready to pump out my own creative work. I've read about a dozen books since my last Friday Reads post, so I'm going to divide up my commentary. Today, I've got six Fearless Fifteeners debuts you should have on your radar!
Kate Scelsa's FANS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE LIFE is about three teens working through their struggles together—until the cracks begin to show in their perfect friendship. Mira is recovering from severe depression. Sebby's life in foster care is starting to take its toll. Jeremy has retreated into self-imposed isolation after a bullying incident last year. Mira and Sebby are BFFs who understand each other like no one else does. Jeremy's the new addition to their group, awestruck by the magic they bring to his world and a little in love with both of them. This is a lovely, raw, and heartbreaking book about finding people who change you. It's out September 8.
Marcy Beller Paul's UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING is about a different kind of friendship—a toxic one. Mattie is starting her senior year off a social nobody, having dropped and/or been dropped by her once-best friend Jolene after sophomore year. But Jolene's hold over Mattie is magnetic. A year apart and a host of hard feelings still can't keep Mattie from finding her way to Jolene at a party she never intended to attend. As the breadcrumbs drop about their former friendship and it becomes clear that Mattie is still very much under Jolene's spell, this book barrels forward on a powerful, intoxicating, inevitable trajectory. A haunting page-turner, out October 27.
Sharon Huss Roat's BETWEEN THE NOTES is a lighter, more romantic YA contemporary about Ivy, who is forced to move to the wrong side of town after her parents lose their home. Ivy tries to hide her changed circumstances from her affluent friends while juggling a new crush and the unwanted attention of the bad boy next door, Lennie. Ivy's also mourning the loss of her piano, and one major plotline deals with her relationship with music and battle with stage fright. I read this book in a day, rooting for Ivy on her journey toward accepting her new life and figuring out what she wants from the world. It's available now!
Laurie McKay's VILLAIN KEEPER is the only middle-grade on today's list, and it's a totally charming entry into the fantasy genre—and a twist on the fish-out-of-water trope. Prince Caden of Razzon is whisked out of his castle in the middle of the night. He thinks he's being sent on an epic quest to slay a dragon—but instead, he ends up in Asheville, North Carolina, where he's promptly picked up by social services, put in a foster home, and sent to school. But there just might be magic—and danger—in Asheville after all, and Caden might be uniquely equipped to sniff it out. This is the first in a series, and I can see 8- to 12-year-olds gobbling it up! It's out now.
Lance Rubin's DENTON LITTLE'S DEATHDATE is set in a world where everyone knows the day they're going to die. For protagonist Denton Little, it's…tomorrow. In a moment of crisis, Denton realizes that he's been playing it too safe for the past 17 years and tries to squeeze a whole lot of living into his last 24 hours. From waking up hungover in his best friend's older sister's bed to attending his own funeral (and delivering an epic eulogy) to discovering a weird rash that keeps spreading, Denton has his hands full. And then there's the strange man that says he knew Denton's deceased mom… This book is also out now, and if you enjoy laughing, you should buy it.
Mackenzi Lee's THIS MONSTROUS THING is a steampunk Frankenstein retelling set in 1818. Alasdair, a shadow boy who repairs people with clockwork parts, has done the unthinkable: he brought his brother Oliver back from the dead. When Alasdair's family and future are threatened, his only hope seems to be Dr. Geisler, who pioneered many of the clockwork procedures Alasdair practices. But when Oliver rebels against his maker and their former friend Mary Shelley returns to Geneva in the wake of Frankenstein's publication, the situation spirals out of control. A must-read for fans of historical fiction, steampunk/fantasy, and good books! It's out September 22.
And…that's it for now! Six fascinating books that should appeal to a variety of readers. Read anything great lately? Let me know in the comments!
Until next week,