January 31, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday (108)

This week's topic is all about the visuals, so I'm going to show you my favorite comics of the moment.

I was never really a big comic person, but then they decided to update Jem and the Holograms and the rest, as they say, is history.  Jem was my first favorite show ever.  Like, I taped over the home movies from my 5th birthday party trying to tape Jem as a child.  I bought tapes of the entire series on Ebay as soon as I knew what Ebay was.  (I still have not seen the terrible movie they made in 2015, don't ask me).  This IDW series is truly the reboot we deserved.  The colors are gorgeous, the characters are diverse, the humor is on point, the respect for the source material is there...I honestly couldn't be happier with this series and am completely willing to throw all my money at it.

I saw a lot of talk about 'hot Archie' before I picked up this series and let me tell you, I didn't expect to love it anywhere near as much as I do.  I grew up in the heyday of X-Men comics, so I couldn't even imagine having a contemporary comic about high school kids be as addicting as this is.  AND they've already branched out - to Jughead, Betty & Veronica, Sabrina, Josie and the Pussycats, Afterlife with Archie...I am totally obsessed.

There are a bunch of others that I've been meaning to check out, but haven't yet: Bitch Planet, Lady Killer, Lumberjanes.  I might become a bonafide comic reader yet...Do you have any comics that you're into right now?

January 26, 2017

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily - Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Title: The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily
Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Pages: 215
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: gifted from ALA annual
Goodreads rating: 

About: Dash and Lily have had a tough year since they first fell in love among the shelves of their favorite bookstore. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition.

With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—Dash, Lily’s brother Langston, and their closest friends must take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the unique holiday magic of a glittering, snow-covered New York City in December. 

So, I reread Dash & Lily's Book of Dares before picking up this new one.  I'm a sucker for a good Christmas story and I hadn't read it in a few years.  Unfortunately for me, distance didn't do that one any favors.  I still liked it, but it's just so effing twee that it's almost unreal.  She wears old majorette boots WITH TAPS ON THE BOTTOM all over the city.  Never mind being annoying as hell, can you imagine how many times she would have busted her ass?  Anyway, I probably would have rated it four stars at my initial read, but now I bumped it down to a three and I had no idea how Twelve Days was going to stack up.  Good news - this one loses some of the cutesy garbage from the first one, mostly because it centers on Lily's inability to find her holiday spirit. Now, I am a self-admitted crazy person when it comes to Christmas.  

I am responsible for picking out my family's Christmas trees, I have a lighting diagram, I create a winter freaking wonderland in my mind and try to project it outward onto anyone around me.  My sister still talks about the Year Britt Couldn't Find Her Christmas Spirit, so I could definitely relate to Lily.  (It was bleak, I'm not going to lie to you.)  

Anyway, I love that this book finds Dash and Lily a year from the first book and in a totally different place.  Lily's been kind of bummed - her grandfather had a heart attack and she's facing her family at a crossroads.  Her brother's about to move out, her grandpa needs more care than they can provide for him themselves, and her parents are talking (read: fighting) about moving to *gasp* Connecticut.  And Lily just can't find it within herself to give a crap about Christmas.

It's disturbing to everyone, but mostly Dash and Lily's brother Langston, who concoct a plan to bring Lily's Christmas mojo back.  But it doesn't work.  And then it does.  And then it doesn't again.  A big part of Dash and Lily's problems is that they're bad at communication.  Dash is trying so hard to do all the right things, but he does them and leaves because he wants to give Lily this time with her family.  Lily just wants Dash's time and to feel like he loves her (even though he's never said it).  You guys, they don't talk about it for SO LONG.  I hate when things can be solved with a simple conversation, but they aren't.  I just wanted to sit these two down on a bench and be like TALK! TO! EACH! OTHER!  I loved the scavenger hunts they sent each other on though, that was a great nod to the first book.

The one thing I really took issue with in this book was Boomer.  He seems so much dumber in Twelve Days.  Like having to literally spell out the most basic instructions, whereas in the first book he was just kind of goofy and offbeat?  He was Amelia Bedelia levels of confused all the time and it was annoying.

More than anything The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily is a book about change.  Being obstinate to change and finally accepting that change is a part of life and not always a bad thing.  Which is a thing I think we all need to be reminded of from time to time.  I'm really glad we got to revisit these two and see where they wound up a year later, just in time to spend another Christmas with them.

January 24, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday (107)

This week's a freebie week!  Coming off of the Women's March this weekend I can't stop thinking about all the incredible ladies out there in the world.  Honestly, the way everything is going is starting to really stress me out, so I want to give you a list of stories with some of my favorite fierce, complicated, amazing girls for your reading pleasure.  

Jem and the Holograms - Kelly Thompson & Sophie Campbell
Meet Jerrica Benton—a girl with a secret. She and her sisters team up with to become... JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS! But what does it mean to be JEM today? Fashion, art, action, and style collide in Jem and the Holograms: Showtime!

Bloodlines - Richelle Mead
Sydney's blood is special. That's because she's an alchemist - one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with the other alchemists. And now with her allegiences in question, her future is on the line.
When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one.
The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions, and forbidden romance lurk both outside - and within - the school grounds. Now that they're in hiding, the drama is only just beginning.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear - EK Johnston
Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don't cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team's summer training camp is Hermione's last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.In every class, there's a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They're never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she's always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn't the beginning of Hermione Winter's story and she's not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

Tiger Lily - Jodi Lynn Anderson
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair...
Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.
Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.
With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

Dumplin' - Julie Murphy
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Some Girls Are - Courtney Summers
Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard—falling from it is even harder.  Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her—and her best friend's boyfriend—start going around.  Now Regina's been frozen out, and her ex-best friends are out for revenge.  If Regina were guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth, and the bullying is getting more intense by the day.  She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past whom she herself used to bully.  Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend...if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.

Lois Lane: Fallout - Gwenda Bond
Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy.

Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her ... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead ... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Sloppy Firsts - Megan McCafferty
When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyperobservant sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated. A fish out of water at school and a stranger at home, Jessica feels more lost than ever now that the only person with whom she could really communicate has gone. How is she supposed to deal with the boy- and shopping-crazy girls at school, her dad’s obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethany’s lavish wedding, and her nonexistent love life?

The Princess Diaries - Meg Cabot
Mia Thermopolis is pretty sure there's nothing worse than being a five-foot-nine, flat-chested freshman, who also happens to be flunking Algebra.
Is she ever in for a surprise.
First Mom announces that she's dating Mia's Algebra teacher. Then Dad has to go and reveal that he is the crown prince of Genovia. And guess who still doesn't have a date for the Cultural Diversity Dance?

And I'll leave you with the best lady anthem of late...

Who are some of your favorite fictional ladies?

January 19, 2017

After the Fall - Kate Hart

Title: After the Fall
Author: Kate Hart
Pages: 336
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads rating:  

About: Seventeen-year-old Raychel is sleeping with two boys: her overachieving best friend Matt…and his slacker brother, Andrew. Raychel sneaks into Matt’s bed after nightmares, but nothing ever happens. He doesn’t even seem to realize she’s a girl, except when he decides she needs rescuing. But Raychel doesn't want to be his girl anyway. She just needs his support as she deals with the classmate who assaulted her, the constant threat of her family’s eviction, and the dream of college slipping quickly out of reach. Matt tries to help, but he doesn’t really get it… and he’d never understand why she’s fallen into a secret relationship with his brother. The friendships are a precarious balance, and when tragedy strikes, everything falls apart. Raychel has to decide which pieces she can pick up – and which ones are worth putting back together.

I feel like it's really hard to talk about this book without talking about the back half of it, but I don't want to spoil anything so I'm going to try my best.  The summary above feels a little complicated to me for some reason.  Raychel's best friend Matt is her greatest support system.  Her mom's not around much, her dad's not in the picture, and over the years she's come to adopt Matt's family as her own.  Complicating things are Raychel's all caps REPUTATION (she only hooks up with college guys), her assault at the hands of a fellow classmate, Matt's secret feelings for her, and her burgeoning relationship with Matt's little brother, Andrew.

Books about assault are so, so complicated.  No one person reads them the same way, but there are always strong feelings about them.  I thought the way the assault was handled in After the Fall was good.  Raychel's confusing feelings about what Carson did to her were heartbreakingly realistic.  This story makes some good points about consent, but they feel very specifically inserted into the story.  Like, 'this is how we as a society should feel so let's have an Adult impart these views to the victim.'

Most of my problems with this book don't actually stem from the assault storyline, they stem from the characters.  Matt is THE WORST.  

Not you Matty, ILU

Like, Captain Friendzone.  Just because you want her doesn't make her yours (and he kept referring to her as 'my girl.' Bleck).  It feels like he's been waiting out all these years of friendship just so he can finally bang her.  GROSS.  That's not friendship, you're creepy and an asshole.  I don't really feel any sympathy for him in this situation.  And having Raychel say that he makes her feel safe and she needs someone that she knows doesn't just want her around so she'll sleep with him makes it feel even ickier when he's cataloging every touch.   Near the end of the book he seems to make some progress with his therapist regarding the friendzone stuff, and if that was the point of his character, okay I guess?  I just feel like you're supposed to agree with him the whole time and it feels super yucky.

Good for Raychel for starting something up with Andrew.  He doesn't sit there and tell her what she should be doing or put her on a pedestal or lie in wait until she'll finally sleep with him.  Andrew and Raychel have stuff in common.  They enjoy each other's company and - oh wait - they actually made out. Bless.  Andrew is my favorite character in this whole shit show.  He's super chill.  He drinks, smokes, and plays a lot of video games, but isn't presented as a burnout.  He's also trying to improve his grades so he can get into a good college and he respects Raychel (which is more than I can say for his brother). 

I liked Raychel's relationship with her mom.  It wasn't your typical low income mom makes bad choices, chooses bad boyfriends over kid, etc etc.  I like that it was complicated.  Her mom does make bad monetary choices, but she's human and is trying.  She's (understandably) jealous of the Richardson's relationship with her daughter.  It's nice to see the pair grow a little bit closer over the course of the story.

After the Fall wasn't a winner for me.  There were things I liked, namely the important distinctions raised about consent, Andrew as a whole, and Raychel's relationship with her mother.  There were also things I couldn't get over.  Matt is one of the most obnoxious characters I've come across in a long time.  His friendzoned feelings were gross, especially because of what happened to Raychel.   Unfortunately he really dragged the story down for me and there was no coming back.

January 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday (106)

This week's topic is top underrated books I've read in the past year or so.  When I first started thinking about this topic I wasn't sure how I was going to approach it.  Who decides what underrated means anyway?  I decided to go with books that have under 1,000 ratings on Goodreads that I read last year.

1. Spontaneous (810) - Aaron Starmer
3. Rebel Bully Geek Pariah (465) - Erin Jade Lange
4. Wrecked (404)  Maria Padian
5. Pasadena (285) - Sherri L. Smith
6. The Road to You (169) - Alecia Whitaker
7. Shutter (133) - Laurie Faria Stolarz
8. A Song to Take the World Apart (125) - Zan Romanoff
9. Finding Abbey Road (46) - Kevin Emerson

Honorable mention:
10. Gena/Finn (1212) - Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson
It doesn't have under 1,000 ratings, but it's close.  And it's one of my absolute favorites of last year.

What are your favorite underrated books?

January 12, 2017

How to Hang a Witch - Adriana Mather

Title: How to Hang a Witch 
Author: Adriana Mather
Pages: 368
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Goodreads rating: 

About: Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren't enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it's Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

You guys, I love witches so much.  So, so much.  And I especially love when things relate to the Salem Witch Trials, because that shit is bananas.  This should have been a home run for me, but unfortunately, How to Hang a Witch flew far below my expectations.

My problems with this book were many:
  • The whole time I was reading this something bugged me about the overall story and I couldn't quite put my finger on it until I hit the end - there's a Buffy book with the same basic premise that I read when I was younger (Night of the Living Rerun) and it pulls it off better.
  • Sam is described as having a great relationship with her stepmother, Vivian, but is terrible to her the entire book.  They fight a lot, Sam walks away in the middle of conversations.  There isn't a lot of love shown between the two of them, which is fine, but then don't describe them as specifically having a great relationship.
  • The Descendants as a group aren't fleshed out enough.  They all wear black and are named after their ancestors that were in the witch trials (super weird, btw).  I feel like it's set up to be a Craft-like situation, but it never really gets there.
  • The ghost romance is lame and stupid.  Meg Cabot does it better.
  • The love triangle never really surfaces for me.  It's like she spends a bunch of time with Jaxon when she first gets to town (Jaxon - ugh cutesy spelling).  Then the ghost reveal happens and she starts spending a lot of time with Elijah and Jaxon fades into the background.  Then Jaxon comes back into the picture and Elijah literally fades into the background (get it, because he's a ghost, wink wink nudge nudge).
  • The scene at the end with Elijah and his sister is literally the end of Hocus Pocus.  He might as well have said, "I had to wait 300 years for a VIRGIN to light a CANDLE."
  • The witchcraft was weak.  It was like how Little Mix's video for "Black Magic" was supposed to be an homage to The Craft, but turned out really stupid.  Listen, I take my witchy books seriously, but I'm not asking for a lot, just make it believable.  Being able to pick up witchcraft at the drop of a hat and being able to cast very complex spells with absolutely no practice are things I can't get over.  You PRACTICE witchcraft - keyword practice.
  • The characters were really boring and the ghosts were always convenient.
So, yeah.  This whole book was a combination of The Craft, Hocus Pocus, and the Mediator series, some of my favorite things ever, but even that couldn't save it.  The premise of this one rocked, the ancestors of everyone involved in the Salem Witch Trials getting sucked into this repetitious cycle of badness, kicked off when the new girl moves to town.  Unfortunately, I had a ton of problems with the execution and I just couldn't look past them.

January 10, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday (105)

You know what they said about the best laid plans...This week's topic is top ten 2016 releases I didn't get to, but am totally still planning on reading.

Heartless - Marissa Meyer
This Savage Song - Victoria Schwab
The Forbidden Wish - Jessica Khoury
Lady Renegades - Rachel Hawkins
Lois Lane: Double Down - Gwenda Bond
Three Dark Crowns - Kendare Blake
Salt to the Sea - Ruta Sepetys
When We Collided - Emery Lord
As I Descended - Robin Talley

There are so many books I meant to read last year that fell by the wayside, this is just a tiny sample.  Are you guys as bad as I am at keeping up with new releases?

January 5, 2017

Pasadena - Sherri L. Smith

Title: Pasadena
Author: Sherri L. Smith
Pages: 240
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Source: Borrowed
Goodreads rating:
About: Bad things happen everywhere. Even in the land of sun and roses.
When Jude’s best friend is found dead in a swimming pool, her family calls it an accident. Her friends call it suicide. But Jude calls it what it is: murder. And someone has to pay.
Now everyone is a suspect—family and friends alike. And Jude is digging up the past like bones from a shallow grave. Anything to get closer to the truth. But that’s the thing about secrets. Once they start turning up, nothing is sacred. And Jude’s got a few skeletons of her own.

I'm not gonna lie, I picked Pasadena because it was short.  Once again, I was at the end of the year staring down my Goodreads goal and it didn't look good.  My sister gave me a stack of stuff to pick through and I started with this one.  I didn't expect to love it, but I probably should have known better.

Jude is 3,000 miles away when her best friend Maggie is found dead, floating in her family swimming pool.  So Jude does what most people would do - she packs up her summer plans, heads home, and tries to find out the truth about what happened the night Maggie died.  She picks her way through Maggie's friends looking for clues, but comes to find that no one really got all of Maggie, even though she got most of them.

I couldn't help but think of Veronica Mars while I was reading.  The California setting, noir feeling, and cast of characters threw me right back into that world.  Pasadena (in my head at least) had a lot of the feeling of "An Echolls Family Christmas."  When all of Maggie's friends gather for dinner at the beginning it is so reminiscent of the poker game from that episode.  Jude going to the friends individually parallels Veronica investigating the stolen money.  What I'm trying to say is someone watch Veronica Mars with me right now.

Maggie is one of those larger than life characters that you come across sometimes in YA.  She's the girl who is totally inventing herself through clothes and attitude alone - which is in part why Pasadena had the cloud of toxic friendship about it.  Jude clearly thought of Maggie as her best friend, but did it go both ways?  Is Jude just another of Maggie's play things and she didn't even know?  But Smith takes the time to peel back the layers of Maggie through Jude's memories.  In addition to unfiltered clove cigarettes, sunglasses, and little black dresses she's revealed to be complicated and caring and the glue holding the people around her together.

I feel like some people may have trouble with Jude.  She's blunt, sarcastic, and she completely doesn't give a shit about what people think about her.  She needs to get to the bottom of this and doesn't care who she rips apart to do it.  She has dark shit in her past and a bad relationship with her parents.  She has unlikable female protagonist written all over her and I completely loved her.

This book is so many parts in such a small package, and it all totally works.  It is a story about girls, about friendships, about teenagers that contain multitudes.  It's Veronica Mars meets Pretty Little Liars meets something a lot nicer than both of those shows.  It's YA noir, probably at its best.

January 3, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday (104)

Happy New Year!  I feel like I've never been as ready to see a year in the rearview mirror as I was as we approached the end of 2016.  I feel like we all need a reset right about now.  You know what else a new year means?  A whole new crop of debut authors that I'm excited to check out!  This week's topic is (obviously) top ten 2017 debuts I'm excited for.

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas - 2.28.17

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice. 

This Beats Perfect - Rebecca Denton - 2.2.17

Amelie Ayres has impeccable taste in music. Bowie. Bush. Bob. So when she finds herself backstage at The Keep’s only UK gig she expects to hate it; after all they are world’s most tragic band. In fact she feels a grudging respect – not (obviously) for their music, but for the work that goes in to making them megastars. And when lead singer, ‘Maxx’, is not dressed up as a cross between Elvis and a My Little Pony, he is actually rather normal, talented and has creative struggles not too dissimilar to her own. 
But the next morning she wakes up rolls over and discovers a million new @’s on social media. Overnight a photo of her backstage has made her a subject of global speculation. Suddenly the world needs to know #Who’sThatGirl? – but for all the wrong reasons.
All Amelie wants is to play her music. She’s got the guitar, the songs, the soul and, in the safety of her bedroom, she’s got the voice. But when it comes to getting up on stage, she struggles with self-doubt.
Immaculate’s a concept. Flawless is fake. But just sometimes music – and hearts – can rock a perfect beat. 

You're Welcome Universe - Whitney Gardner - 3.7.17

When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.
Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up.
Out in the ’burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off—and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.

A Psalm for Lost Girls - Katie Bayerl - 3.14.17

Tess da Costa is a saint — a hand-to-god, miracle-producing saint. At least that's what the people in her hometown of New Avon, Massachusetts, seem to believe. And when Tess suddenly and tragically passes away, her small city begins feverishly petitioning the Pope to make Tess's sainthood official. Tess's mother is ecstatic over the fervor, while her sister Callie, the one who knew Tess best, is disgusted - overcome with the feeling that her sister is being stolen from her all over again.
The fervor for Tess's sainthood only grows when Ana Langone, a local girl who's been missing for six months, is found alive at the foot of one of Tess's shrines. It's the final straw for Callie.
With the help of Tess's secret boyfriend Danny, Callie's determined to prove that Tess was something far more important than a saint; she was her sister, her best friend and a girl in love with a boy. But Callie's investigation uncovers much more than she bargained for: a hidden diary, old family secrets, and even the disturbing truth behind Ana's kidnapping. 

#famous - Jilly Gagnon - 2.14.17

In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?

Kissing Max Holden - Katy Upperman - 8.1.17

Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea...
After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn't himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn't know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn't let him kiss her. But she can't resist, and when they're caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it'll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.
With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

Done Dirt Cheap - Sarah Nicole Lemon - 3.7.17

Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens. 
Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of a local lawyer: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline. 
But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.

How to Break a Boy - Laurie Devore - 1.31.17

Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.
Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do--through intimidation and manipulation.
After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change--but it's impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne's war.
Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won't go down without a fight--not if it means losing Whit.
And definitely not if it means losing what's left of herself.

The Last Thing You Said - Sara Biren - 4.4.17

Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.

Witchtown - Cory Putman Oakes - 7.18.17

When sixteen-year-old Macie O’Sullivan and her masterfully manipulative mother Aubra arrive at the gates of Witchtown—the most famous and mysterious witch-only haven in the world—they have one goal in mind: to rob it for all it’s worth.
But that plan derails when Macie and Aubra start to dig deeper into Witchtown’s history and uncover that there is more to the quirky haven than meets the eye.
Exploring the haven by herself, Macie finds that secrets are worth more than money in Witchtown.
Secrets have their own power.

Which debuts are you looking forward to this year?