Tuesday, December 21, 2010

FIVE: Best YA Debuts of 2010

1. The Mockingbirds
Daisy Whitney
To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the most beloved books in America. I've yet to meet a person who doesn't love that book. There's a balance of Truly Great Characters and Right v. Wrong that's impossible to ignore. With her debut novel The Mockingbirds, Whitney pays tribute to the great classic by not only tackling a heavy issue (date rape) and having justice always at the forefront, but also by the obvious and wonderful references to the classic that are sprinkled throughout the book. Though The Mockingbirds stands very well on its own, it works much better if you've read To Kill A Mockingbird beforehand. In either case, an incredible book with a great message, story, and characters.

2. Sea
Heidi R. Kling
Oh, Sea. One of the most unique and original premises I've come across in a long time, this book is definitely one-of-a-kind in the best way possible. Kling manages to not only write a wonderful tale of grief and love, but also weave together one of the best cross-cultural novels out there. With an emotional connection that's impossible to ignore and an incredibly atmospheric setting, Sea is one of those books that I genuinely wish everyone knew about. It's just that great.

3. The Naughty List
Suzanne Young
In one of the best subversions of stereotype, Young's The Naughty List mixes cheerleaders, espionage, and cheating boyfriends to create one of the sweetest books yet. With its sugar-sweet heroine, shades-of-grey questions of morality, and omg spies!!, this is not only refreshingly original, but also just plain awesome.

4. Tweet Heart
Elizabeth Rudnick
Told primarily through tweets, Rudnick's debut Tweet Heart is a cute story with a premise old as time (the old boy-likes-girl-who-likes-another-boy thing) and a cast of characters that are wonderfully quirky. I'm a sucker for stories told in interesting ways and the online drama of Tweet Heart is both adorably awkward and wonderful. Plus, you guys, there are just so many Star Trek references. (Never doubt my geek cred.)

5. I Now Pronounce You Someone Else
Erin McCahan
The story of a high school girl who gets engaged and spends her senior year planning a wedding, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else tackles a subject rarely mentioned in YA, and it does it well. Not only is the love story super incredibly wonderful, but the realism and pain of the situations that our protagonist finds herself in is handled really well. This novel covers not only teen marriage, but also the complex world of family dynamics, and what it means to be yourself versus what it means to be an Us. A story that I highly recommend.

Have you read any of my top 5 picks? If so, what did you think of them?


  1. Great list. I have only read one - Sea (which I loved) and own a copy of I Now Pronounce You Somebody Else. I will have to get my hands on the others.

    I found it hard to just pick 5!

  2. Cool list! The only one I've read is THE MOCKINGBIRDS - and I guess it just wasn't the book for me. It must have been hard narrowing it down to only five!

  3. Obviously I need to read The Mockingbirds.

  4. I just finished I Now Pronounce you Someone Else this morning, and I really liked it.

  5. Great list. I actually haven't read any of these, but I have Sea and plan to read it very soon!

  6. Nic
    Yeah, narrowing them down can be difficult. Definitely read I Now Pronounce You Someone Else!

    Yeah, I heard of some others who didn't exactly love The Mockingbirds, but I just think it was beyond brilliant. Love love love!!


    Yaaay!! I'm so glad!

    Little Miss Becky
    It's so great. I hope you can get your hands on some of the others, too.

  7. The only one I've read is the Mockingbirds.. and I put it on my list too :) I will have to check out your other selections!

    That Bookish Girl

  8. I haven't read any of these books but I'm curious about Sea.

  9. Thanks for stopping by. Lol, yay for I Now Pronounce You Someone Else! I bought The Mockingbirds a couple of weeks ago so it's sitting in my TBR pile and Sea is in my wishlist. I also got a chance to flip through The Naughty List but it just wasn't meant for me.

  10. I have only read Mockingbirds which I liked but thought the heroine's voice was not ultimately convincing to me. Your 5th one is on my list but the others I had not heard of. Eager to hear if you got the 'new' Betsy-Tacy hs books at ALA.

  11. Anonymous
    Oh, I hope you like I Now Pronounce You Someone Else! & I did get the reissue Betsy-Tacy books at ALA... a reissue of Betsy-Tacy and Heavens to Betsy & Betsy in Spite of Herself. I'm excited because I've never read the "only" Betsy books before.