Monday, December 22, 2014

Wrapping up the 2014 Debut YA Novels

Did you catch the Morris Awards shortlist announcement a couple of weeks ago? Of the five finalists, I've only read Gabi, A Girl in Pieces. I'm hoping to read another title or two before the end of the year. It's a nice mix of genres represented, and most interesting to me, none of the five titles are from big publishers -- everything is from a smaller or independent press. Kudos to the work of those on the committee for giving those "smaller" books a real close eye. I am eager to see what title is the ultimate winner when it's announced at ALA in a little over a month. 

Since November and December have the fewest number of book releases and thus, the fewest number of debut YA novels coming out, I've combined the two into one post. As always, debut is defined as first books published, period. I don't include titles that are under pseudonyms or that are the author's first YA book if they've published elsewhere before. 

As always, if I've missed a title from a traditional publisher, let me know in the comments. All descriptions are from WorldCat, unless otherwise noted.

Creed by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie: When their car breaks down, Dee, her boyfriend Luke, and his brother Mike walk through a winter storm to take refuge in a nearby deserted town called Purity Springs, but in the morning they see the town is populated with a deadly cult and find themselves at the mercy of the charismatic leader, Elijah Hawkins.

Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman: When the revered leader of her settlement, a dark, isolated land with merciless winters and puritanical rulers, asks Emmeline for her hand it is a rare opportunity, but not only does she love another man, she cannot ignore dreams that urge her into the dangerous and forbidden woods that took her grandmother's life and her family's reputation.

How We Fall by Kate Brauning: As first cousins, seventeen-year-olds Jackie and Marcus know their love is taboo, but living in the same house, working at the family's vegetable stand, and especially seeking Jackie's missing best friend, Ellie, keep drawing them together.

No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown: Sixteen-year-old Amber Vaughn dreams of attending the North Carolina School of the Arts to gain confidence in using her amazing singing voice, but her family's falling apart and she's torn between two boys.

Zodiac by Romina Russell: When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens, Rhoma Grace, a sixteen-year-old student from House Cancer, must convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac against Ophiuchus, the exiled thirteenth Guardian of Zodiac legend, who has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy.

Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass: Seventeen-year-old Aubrey and her three best friends have perfected the art of dating in high school, but their theories on love will be put to the test when gorgeous senior Nathan moves to town.

If you're getting started on planning your 2015 reading, may I suggest having the following debut YA group blogs on your radar? This is where I pull a lot of my information for these posts, and I know they offer more than book lists. If you dig debuts, you can't go wrong here:

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Friday, December 19, 2014

This Week Around The Web

This week over at Book Riot. . .

Kimberly made an awesome infographic for her library this week that we have to share, since it's probably of interest to lots of our readers:

You can see the bigger version and save it/share it from here

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

2015 YA Book Cover Trends: Part II

On Monday, I highlighted some of the trends showing up in the 2015 YA book covers that have popped up so far. Because there are so many, I had to break them up across two posts. Thus today, welcome to part two.

This round-up of trends features some that are obvious and some which are simply interesting or fun coincidences that emerged when looking at tons and tons of covers. All links will take you to the Goodreads page for the book, so you can read the description and add it to your to-be-read list. When you click through, see if you're as keen on the most popular comparison title of the year as I am (spoiler, it's We Were Liars -- so many YA books are being compared to it this coming year).

If you know of other 2015 covers that fit any of these trends, feel free to let me know in the comments. If there's another trend popping up I've missed or not talked about here or in Monday's piece, I'd love to hear about those, too.

Turn Your Back On The Reader

This isn't a new trend, but it caught my attention this year after looking at so many covers. It's mostly females, but not without a male or two or three, and it's when the model on the cover has their back to the reader. It's a way to avoid putting a face on a book cover. Note how much long hair there is on the girls, too.

After the Red Rain by Barry Lyga, Peter Facinelli, and Robert DeFranco

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

The Bargaining by Carly Anne West

Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor

The Boys of Fire and Ash by Meaghan McIsaac

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

Deceptive by Emily Lloyd-Jones

The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes

The Eternity Key by Bree Despain

Etherworld by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

I Am Her Revenge by Meredith Moore

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Infected by Sophie Littlefield

Inherit Midnight by Kate Kae Myers

The Leveller by Julia Durango

A Matter of Heart by Amy Fellner Dominy

The Nightmare Charade by Mindee Arnett

Polaris by Mindee Arnett

Positively Beautiful by Wendy Mills

The Remedy by Suzanne Young

Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly

Scripted by Maya Rock

The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin

A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes

The Heir by Kiera Cass

Unmade by Amy Rose Capetta

Until the Beginning by Amy Plum

Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel

When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez


Who doesn't enjoy a good carnival scene, complete with a ferris wheel, on their book cover?

Our Brothers at the Bottom of the Sea by Jonathan Kranz

Undertow by Michael Buckley


We've seen birds and planes, so it almost makes sense there's also quite a few butterflies showing up on covers in 2015. I prefer to this to the insects that were showing up in past years.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Dream A Little Dream by Kerstin Gier

Note that both of these feature the Blue Morphos. Are they coming back?

Hold Me Like A Breath by Tiffany Schmidt

The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

Illustrated Covers

This trend won't be going away any time soon. I'm still not sure it's one I love, though many of these are pretty great. The challenge is that after a while, they sort of blend into each other, even when they're all original designs.

7 Days by Eve Ainsworth

The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak by Brian Katcher

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat

Breakout by Kevin Emerson

Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert

Eden West by Pete Hautman

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

Hold Tight, Don't Let Go by Laura Rose Wagner

If You Were Me by Sam Hepburn

Invincible by Amy Reed

The Kidney Hypothetical by Lisa Yee

Everybody Knows Your Name by Andrea Seigel and Brent Bradshaw

Little Bit by Alex Wheatle

Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond

Love, Fortunes, and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Mosquitoland by David Arnold

My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp

The Nightmare Charade by Mindee Arnett

Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud

The Prom Goer's Guide to Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George -- Not sure why I can only find a draft cover, but it's gorgeous and I hope that's what they go with for a final look.

The Rise and Fall of a Theater Geek by Seth Rudetsky

The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

Valiant by Sarah McGuire

Vanished by E. E. Cooper

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


We'll get to see some more big eyes this year. Oh, and I'm putting in one that's a little harder to pull out but they're there. Watching you.

5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

City 1 by Gregg Rosenblum

Reawakened by Colleen Houck

Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott

Skandal by Lindsay Smith

Purple, with Spools of Thread

This is just a two cover coincidence, but strange that they're purple covers with spools of thread on them. I think Fig's cover might be my favorite so far of 2015, though I don't think it's a YA book cover at all. It feels more like it's either middle grade or adult (and to be fair, I think Valiant may be a middle grade book, not YA).

Valiant by Sarah McGuire

Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz

Fractured Pieces

Or maybe in some cases, it's more like a collage than fractured pieces. These all kind of have an Instagram-y feel to them, too.

99 Days by Kate Contugno

The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

Duplicity by N. K. Traver

Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu

Tracers by J. J. Howard

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Hearts. Are. Everywhere. Not only are there a ton of hearts on the covers as part of the image, but there is more than one book where the heart image is used in place of the word "heart" in the title.

Alive by Chandler Baker

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

Bright Lights, Dark Nights by Stephen Emond

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

Encore to an Empty Room by Kevin Emerson

Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan

From Where I Watch You by Shannon Grogan

Killer Within by S. E. Green

Love, Fortunes, and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Not After Everything by Michelle Levy

Play On by Michelle Smith

Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold by Katie Finn

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin

Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

We Can Work It Out by Elizabeth Eulberg

What Remains by Helene Dunbar

The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne

Bows & Arrows

While there are still a lot of daggers on YA covers -- a trend I noted last year -- I thought the look of the bow and arrow being on covers was more eye-catching this year.

Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

Ignite by Sara B. Larson

The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace

Gold Objects

The reason that the bow and arrow covers caught my eye was because I'd initially seen a lot of golden objects appearing on cover images. So why don't we look at the gold objects? There's nothing connecting the objects but their color and how they stand out on the cover because of it.

Ignite by Sara B. Larson

Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins -- Another cover that's on my short list of favorites for 2015.

Woven by Michael Jensen and David Powers King

Into the Woods

Since I've looked at plenty of objects on covers, how about settings on covers? I haven't read these to know, but I have a feeling that the woods here aren't going to be a great place to be heading.

Andreo's Race by Pam Withers

The Bargaining by Carly Anne West

The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes

The Eternity Key by Bree Despain

The Revelation of Louisa May by Michaela MacColl

Renegade by Kerry Wilkinson

Strange Skies by Kristi Helvig

Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton --Add this to my favorite covers short list, too, and it reminds me quite a bit of Amy Reed's gorgeous cover for Invincible.

What Waits in the Woods by Kieran Scott

Girls Behind Words

Another way to obscure the face of a cover model is to put her behind the text for the book's title.

Damage Done by Amanda Panitch

Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berry -- I hope this is a mistake about being YA because, while it's fitting with the time frame of the story, that cover model is older than me, which is older than a teenger.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Four Teens, Just Hanging Around

I'm not sure what's special about the number four, but I have noticed more covers with multiple people on them seem to have groups of four. Even better if they're in groups of four and in the distance and shadow-y.

The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman

Get Dirty by Gretchen McNeil

The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Promposal by Rhonda Helms

A Bright, Fully-Saturated Color Palate

To wrap up this post, let's look at the color trend for 2015: bright, bold, saturated colors. These are covers that are standing out because they're using so many colors on them.

All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder

The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise by Matthew Crow

Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

City Love by Susane Colasanti

The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman

Dreamfire by Kit Alloway

Faking Perfect by Rebecca Phillips

Fire Fall by Bethany Frenette

First There Was Forever by Juliana Romano

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart

Parallel Triangles by Kimberly Ann Miller

Positively Beautiful by Wendy Mills

Rogue Waves by Jennifer Donnelly

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Survive the Night by Danielle Vega -- Such a neat cover!

Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton

What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne

You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison

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