Review: Peter Darling by Austin Chant

I was sent this book as an advance copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

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★★★★

Release date: today! (Feb. 15th, 2017)

Goodreads synopsis:

Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is.

But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.

TW: suicide attempt, improper use of personal pronouns (I don’t know if the latter counts as triggering but better safe than sorry?).

Let me get something out of my system first of all:
W
O
W
Okay, now that that’s out of the way: wow. I was completely blown away by this short book, which was a couple of firsts for me: mainly first trans story and first Peter Pan retelling.

Actually, I have to admit I didn’t know the first thing about Peter Pan, that is, if you don’t count the Disney cartoon, which I’m going to assume is not a very accurate representation (and even though I loved that cartoon as a kid, I kind of grew to hate it and its story over time).
Despite this, the premise of this book sounded like something right up my alley, and I’m glad to confirm that it was indeed a perfect book for me.

I just love retellings that turn the stories upside down and make them new with refreshing ideas, and the fact that in this book Peter’s assigned identity was Wendy made me click that request button on Netgalley so freaking fast.

As always when I’m feeling so hyped about a book, I’m also really scared once I do get to sit down and read it. What were my particular fears for this one?

– since it’s such a short book, I was really afraid that the romance (or the whole story) would have felt rushed (I was really dreading the much-hated insta-love);
– I thought that not knowing the original story would make me like this book less.

Well, I’m glad to say that both fears had no ground to exist.

First of all I want to address the pacing of this book: it’s only 140 pages short, so I really thought there would no room for things like subtlety and introspection, but it managed to give me both of those, together with everything I look for in both a fantasy and a romantic book.

The fantasy: while the essence of Neverland’s magic itself wasn’t explained, there was a very satisfying explanation for at least part of the things that happened there (it’s kind of a plot twist so I won’t go into detail)
I also loved how the fairies were described as having different shapes and colors and the role they played in the story (they mainly served to move the plot forward but they were also interesting enough that I was genuinely curious to find out more about them), and the other mythical creatures like the merpeople and the kraken were such good additions to this story.

Peter’s backstory: having read the blurb, one already knows who Peter used to be, but it’s something that gets gradually revealed in the first part of the book, and in a very delicate way, at least in my opinion. I know the author is trans himself so I trust him to have done a good job in this particular aspect. Not having experienced the struggle of a trans person, I still found myself crying in certain parts of the book and I felt real pain whenever Peter’s brothers or parents called him with his birth name and used the female pronouns to talk to/about him.
As per author’s decision, there is no big reveal/coming out between Peter and Hook, and I think that worked out amazingly.

Peter realized he was waiting for some kind of probing curiosity in return-some remark on what Peter sounded like, or worse on his body-but James’s only encroachment on the subject was to say, “Your shirt has seen better days. Would you like one of mine? Assuming all my clothes haven’t been eaten by moths.”
All at once it became easier to breathe. “Yes,” Peter said. “Please.”

The romance: let me demonstrate in .gif form my feelings about the romance:
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You can’t expect me to be rational about my absolute favorite romantic trope (enemies to lovers). Plus we all know I have a thing for pirates, right? Right.

“I win,” he panted, grinning. He slowely lowered his sword to aim at Hook’s heart. One thrust, and it would be over. Peter wet his lips with his tongue. “This is it. You’re mine.”
“Am I?” Hook asked, as Peter drew back his sword. “Or are you mine?”

This romance was perfect and healthy. It wasn’t too sudden or rushed, I genuinely felt like it had reason to exist and I loved everything about it.
For example, I love how Hook seems to understand Peter in that way that sometimes only your enemies tend to do.

“I find that enemies are the most satisfying people to share secrets with,” Hook said. “If you must tell someone, tell someone who’s sensitive to all your vulnerabilities, on account of trying to exploit them.”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“I’m making excuses for you,” Hook said impatiently. “You seem like the type to bottle up without an excuse.”

Both my BR partner and I were squealing so hard and honestly I’m glad I wasn’t reading this alone because I was in serious need to vent my feels™ about these two.

“Obsession?”
“Is that not what they call it,” Hook said, “when two men can think of nothing but each other?”

Other things I enjoyed:

The pacing: it was mostly consistent throughout the book and, while I noticed that things were kept as brief and as necessary as possible, it didn’t impact my reading experience (I’m one who usually prefers a slower pace). There was even some room for exploring a little bit of a secondary character (Ernest) and I quite enjoyed that.

The (eventual) dual PoV: if we don’t count the prologue, we get some chapters from Hook’s PoV only after The Twist happens, and I think that decision was spot-on. I really think his PoV allowed us to enjoy the romance a lot more and to see Peter under a different light.

The last thing I want to say is that this was a perfect story to read on Valentine’s Day ♥

As you can see I loved loved  l o v e d  this book and I’ll make sure to keep an eye on the author’s next works.

January Wrap-Up

I’m so late with this post! I should have timed everything better but I somehow always end up forgetting that the month is coming to an end.

BOOKS:

I’ve already read a total of 20 books that count towards my reading challenge, but as you can see below (I had to screenshot this because I’m lazy) a lot of these are either mangas or short stories.

I also DNF’d three books, which is an awful lot if you ask me:

  • Saga, vol.1: I didn’t exactly find it bad, but I just wasn’t interested in reading it at all. I chose not to rate it because I didn’t read enough of it.
  • Gilded cage: I’m so sad. This was a book I was so looking forward to, and I had even managed to snatch an ARC of it, but I just couldn’t do it. What I mean is, I could have finished it, but I’ve decided to adopt a policy of if I feel like it’s not worth it,  I’m not going to stick to it because life is really too short. You can read my review on GR to have a better idea why this wasn’t for me.
  • Our Own Private Universe: TFW you want to read a sweet, lighthearted LGBT contemporary romance but it quite honestly sucks is not a pleasant one.

But let’s come to the books I’ve actually finished.

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I reviewed some of these on the blog already and I’ve reviewed all of them (or I’m in the process of reviewing) on goodreads. I can’t talk about all of them, but here’s a short list of my favorite:

  • Illuminae: I wanted this book to be my first read of 2017 and I couldn’t have made a better choice. I have a written a GR review that doesn’t make much sense and I’m still too emotionally unstable to make a proper review that would suit this blog.
  • The Summer Palace: This is a short story/epilogue to the Captive Prince trilogy and it’s probably the best thing that happened to this fandom. I’m kind of proud of my review for being among the top ones, and I want to reread this short story right now. If you’ve read the entire Captive Prince trilogy you definitely have to read this one.
  • How to Repair a Mechanical Heart
  • The Darkest Part of the Forest
  • Blood Bank: I’ve been thinking about it and I think this might be the first full manga (okay, it’s a manhwa, but still) I’ve read in my life, and it probably completely ruined my future experience with any other manga I’ll read from now on because it’s too beautiful and pure for this world and I don’t know if anything will ever come close to it. Due to its content, it’s definitely not suited for everybody, and I have to admit some of it makes me slightly uncomfortable, but if you’re not new to the genre I absolutely recommend checking it out!
  • The Song of Achilles: I haven’t been able to write a proper review for this yet. I’m getting tears just thinking about this beautiful book. It’s a story that means so much to me and it’s one of the most painful books I’ve ever read. I wasn’t able to stop crying and I couldn’t even see the words on my Kindle anymore because of it. I ugly-sobbed for hours and still do whenever I think about it.
  • The Foxhole Court: this is a re-read (I’m currently re-reading the next two books in the series) because the best books are the ones that hurt you. I have an extremely messy review on gr and a slightly better blog series review here, so do what you want with those.

Besides all of these, I’ve read so much Yuri!!! On Ice fanfiction it’s ridiculous. I’ve probably read more than one book worth of fanfic this month alone and since it’s a relatively new world for me I was positively impressed with the quality of many works.
All in all I can say this has been an excellent reading month for me!

I usually have a section here for shows/anime and music but I’ve been an extremely boring person and I haven’t watched or listened to anything new this past month! I’ve only tried watching Haikyuu and after the first two episodes I haven’t felt like continuing, but it’s not its fault. In fact, I liked the first two eps, but I think I’m just not in the mood for watching anything lately and I’d just rather read than watch anything, you know? Are you ever in such a mood?

Also, I’ve done a lot of buddy-reads and they’re honestly the best! I didn’t think I was cut out for BRs because I’m such a mood reader that I wasn’t sure it was something that would work for me, but it was just a matter of finding the right people to read with!

Now this is where I get slightly political so I don’t blame you if you just skip this part.

I want to keep this a book blog obviously and I don’t feel like I’m qualified to speak about much else, but there’s so much awful stuff going on in the world that I feel like I should say something about it, but at the same time I don’t even know where to start.
In case it’s not clear, yes, I’m talking about Tr*mp, who is a literal piece of shit. I’m obviously not in the US, and quite frankly I’ve lost interest in even visiting it as a tourist long ago, but for what it’s worth I can honestly say a lot of people here overseas are feeling scared. It’s only been a couple of weeks and it already seems like everything is going to hell.
I don’t know what I can do as an European citizen, except retweet every piece of useful info I can find and restate my support to every minority – although, given that countless minority groups plus every single woman are being targeted…we’re not really a minority anymore, are we?
If you live in the US, please think of your safety and well-being first. If you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed, reread that book that made you smile like an idiot. Take a hot bath. Marathon that anime. Recharge. You will have more energy to fight tomorrow.

#T5W: Current Favorites that Aren’t Books

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started and I discovered through the lovely Samantha‘s videos. If you’re interested you can join the goodreads group to get the topics for each week.

This week’s topic:

February 1st: Current Favorites that Aren’t Books
— Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from books and talk about some other things you’ve been obsessed with. These all don’t have to be in the same category. Mix it up! What TV shows have you been enjoying, makeup you’ve been wearing, food you’ve been eating, etc.??

Okay this is going to be fun because, as much as I love talking about books, it’s nice to share something about me other than that. Hopefully it’ll be interesting to read as well!

I just went with the first five things that came to my mind – probably not the most creative post out there but since I like to talk about other things (music, anime etc.) in my monthly wrap-ups (I’m totally behind with my blogging so I still didn’t post my January one! Shame on me!), I decided to exclude those things here.

 

FAVORITE SOCIAL NETWORK(S):

I can’t really decide between Goodreads and Twitter so I’m going to cheat and include them both!
Goodreads is where I can talk extensively about the single books I’m reading and keep track of them; it’s where I found virtual friends with similar bookish tastes who have almost become family by now; it’s where I can write a silly or short review (something I feel like I don’t want to do here on the blog) when a book has left me in such an emotional state that I can’t possibly think of writing a proper review.
Twitter is where I can connect fast and super easily with anyone in the world, be it my favorite authors or random people I found through our common fandoms. Twitter friendships are slightly different than GR ones, but I really am fond of this way of finding new people through fandoms.

FAVORITE MAKE UP:

I haven’t been wearing a lot of make up lately (when I do it’s usually only mascara and sometimes lipstick – I only go for the “full face” look for special occasions), but I recently found these Lush colored lip balms (for half-price!) and I find them such a great option for winter.

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You’d think a colored lip balm would offer little color, but these are so pigmented that I have no problem calling them lipsticks. Despite being technically lip balms, they’re not too creamy, which means the colors doesn’t move around too much, but they also offer more moisture than a normal lippie. They’re probably not extremely long lasting, but they do leave a stain for a couple of hours or until you eat, which is something some people hate – I personally don’t mind it since I trust Lush’s ingredients.

FAVORITE WINTER LIFESAVER:

I always get extremely dry hands in winter, and after having gone through endless hand creams to no avail, two years ago I found what works perfectly for me.

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Alverde Körperbutter is technically a body butter, but I’ve been using it mostly as hand cream and it’s the only thing I’ve ever found that works in the long run and not just while you’re using it. Also it’s not oily at all so it’s perfect even during the day. The only downside is that it’s only sold in a German drugstore (dm, which is actually also in other countries but sadly not in Italy), so I have to stock up whenever I’m there.

FAVORITE TEA:

I’m a self-declared tea addict and my friend fueled my addiction by giving me this lemongrass black tea for Christmas, which I’ve sadly almost finished already. I’m going to have to buy it again because winter is still long and I need my tea.

FAVORITE FANDOM:

This is a difficult one because I feel like it’s almost a tie between the Captive Prince/All for the Game (I’ll talk about them and why I cound them as one in a minute) and the Yuri!!! On Ice fandoms, but after some consideration I think it’s safe to say that the CP/AFTG one is my favorite one. That is not to say that the YOI one isn’t! It’s my second-favorite after all, but I feel like what makes it great (its size) is also why I can’t put it as #1. Inevitably when there’s so many people in a fandom there has to be someone who doesn’t agree with something or goes overboard (if you’re in the fandom, I’m mostly thinking, for example, of the whole Otayuri ship deal – feel free to ask me for my opinion in a comment because I don’t want to make this post too long and off-topic).
((There’s one thing where I find the YOI fandom better though, and that’s fanfiction! There’s so much of it and there’s something for every taste, so I’m happy I get to mention it here in this blog post too.))
The Captive Prince and All for the Game fandoms are relatively smaller and I count them as one here because often who has read one series has also read and enjoyed the other. And when I say “enjoyed”, I really mean suffered, because these two series are so emotionally painful to get through, especially if you’re alone. Fortunately Twitter and Tumblr are great outlets for one’s feelings during/after these series, because one can see a lot of fanart and there’s literally tons of people (strangers!) ready to help you through them. I have never seen such a supportive fandom, and the fact that often people have read both series means that there’s already a solid base for a virtual friendship, which is awesome!

What are some of your random favorite things lately? If you’ve also written a T5W post leave me a link in the comments, I will check it out for sure ☺

#T5W: Favorite Underrated Books

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started and I discovered through the lovely Samantha‘s videos. If you’re interested you can join the goodreads group to get the topics for each week.

This week’s topic:

January 25th: Favorite Underrated Books 
–Give some love to those books that aren’t as widely talked about. Those hidden gems. Those books that maybe used to be popular but people have forgotten about and they still deserve some love.

In no particular order (links bring to my reviews):

How to Repair a Mechanical Heart, by J.C. Lillis

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Read it. Read it. Read it. Read it. Read it. Read it. Read it. Read it. Read it. Read it. 

Truth in the Dark, by Amy Lane

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Adhhsdhjds read this one too please. 

The Darkest Part of the Forest, by Holly Black

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And then read this while you’re at it. 

Air Awakens, (series) by Elise Kova

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This is the only one of these books that I have not reviewed (I will do it whenever I reread it, because I will rearead it) but I absolutely adore this series! It has such a classic fantasy feel to it and yet it feels completely fresh and it has so many different themes. The characters are spectacular and I love every single one of them (that’s not always something to be glad about, because people in this series get hurt for real. All I’m saying is: guard your hearts.)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone, (series) by Laini Taylor

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I feel like this trilogy is more popular than the other books I mentioned, but I still think it’s not as wildly popular as it should be. I’ve barely seen any booktuber mention it and I don’t really know why, because it deserves to hang out with the popular  books.

I understand why and how some books become more popular than others. That doesn’t take away from their value in my opinion, but I think we bloggers should try to do our best to review what we genuinely want to and try to keep in mind that while reviews for popular books will attract more blog views, it is important to also review books that aren’t as well-known, so that more people can have a chance to find out about them.

Review: The Darkest Part Of The Forest by Holly Black

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★★★★

Ben told stories. Hazel became those stories.

There are many ways to describe The Darkest Part of the Forest. Everyone will tell you something different, probably. To me, it’s a story about brothers and sisters.

“You and your sister are very dear to each other. To show your regard, you give each other lovely bouquets of lies.”

Hazel and her brother Ben live in a town where fae and humans live on…not exactly friendly terms, but those who are born and raised in Fairfold are relatively safe (unlike the tourists who often visit it, many of which end up missing or dead).
When they were kids, Hazel had dreamed of being a knight, and she’d become one, hunting “bad” faeries with the help of Ben’s magic. Until things became too scary and dangerous and they’d stopped. That’s when they began keeping secrets from each other.

Sparing another person is a tricky thing. It’s easy to think you’re succeeding when you’re failing spectacularly.

Hazel makes a deal with the faeries and that changes the way she goes on with her life.

She seemed to be running toward trouble, leaving no stone unturned, no boy unkissed, no crush abandoned, and no bad idea unembraced.

She and Ben are still very close but everything is different now.

Flirting didn’t mean anything to her.[…] While she was flirting, Ben was falling in love for the first time.

But one of the things they still have in common is their love for the faerie prince who sleeps in the forest, in a glass coffin, to whom they have told their secrets for many years, but who has never woken in…decades? Centuries? (I’m not entirely sure about the timing in this.)

They were in love with him because he was a prince and a faeries and magical and you were supposed to love princes and faeries and magic people. […] They loved him as they loved the Eleventh Doctor with his bow tie and his flippy hair and the Tenth Doctor with his mad laugh. […] It wasn’t like it was real. It wasn’t like he could love them back. It wasn’t he’d ever have to choose.

Except now he’d woken. That changed everything.

His awakening has moved things and there’s a monster in town that they have to defeat, with the help of Jack (Ben’s best friend and a changeling) and the faerie prince himself, who is very much involved in this whole deal.

This is a very folklore-heavy book, but it doesn’t feel heavy at all. There’s a lot of myths mentioned and interwoven in the plot, but they’re all explained (in a very nice and non-boring way – I always lose my focus right away whenever a story is told within another story, but that never happened once in this book). Furthermore, if you grew up in an English-speaking country and/or have read a lot of YA fantasy, you might be familiar with some of these already. I personally was only familiar with this one I’m about to quote and let me tell you, I got tears in my eyes because this myth is told in my favorite German poem (Der Erlkönig) and to see it mentioned in a YA book made my day.

‘But Alderking has a more sinister meaning, too. Perhaps you’ve heard this before:

“Mein Vater, mein Vater,
Jetzt faßt er mich an!
Erlkönig hat mir ein Leids getan!”’

The other myths that I actually didn’t know anything about (we don’t really study northern/Anglo-Saxon mythology in Italy -faeries and such are completely out of our lore) were extremely interesting and told in such a way that made me want to find out more about them for the first time since I started reading fantasy.

Another element that I loved in this book was the romance. Don’t let the synopsis fool you, there’s no love-triangle in this (at least I don’t see it as such). This is also a really good example of how to include more diversity in fantasy. A character just happens to be gay, and instead of being only defined by his sexual orientation, that’s just part of who he is.
Let me just add that the whole gender-role-reversal was amazingly done. Hazel was the one who wanted to be a knight and there is no shame in that. That didn’t make her masculine-looking or other stereotypes like that. Not to say that she couldn’t have been masculine-looking, but that would have really been a little bit too stereotypical and frankly we can all do without that. At the same time, Ben wasn’t just uselessly waiting for his sister to save him, and even if he wasn’t the knight, he helped fight the faeries with his magic, and saved the day at times when physical force wasn’t going to be of much help.

As I was saying, the romance. It felt refreshing in a way. There’s a lot of kissing and talking about kissing -kissing for fun, kissing because you’re scared, because you don’t know what else to do at a party, because the boy you want to kiss is the sleeping faerie prince inside the glass coffin that won’t break. If you judge Hazel for the way she acts I will personally fight you.

When actual romance (and not just random kisses) develops, it is so sweet and -combined with the amazing writing- it makes me want to reread parts of this book right away because they were just too good.

“When I heard your voice that night, I recognized it instantly. It’s a voice I know better than my own. […] You know, it nearly drove me mad to listen to so many voices, a cacophony of sound, of words I didn’t know piling up, of time slipping in skips and jumps. And then you, speaking to me-to me. I started to know the length of a day in the interval between your visits.

While reading this book, I couldn’t help often being reminded of The Raven Cycle. There are some parallels – the town where magic stuff happens, the kiss-talk – but this book is also more…grounded? I adore TRC with all my being but the actual fantastic elements can be confusing at times, just because they’re not explained, whereas with this one everything is explained and it leads back to a myth.

There are no loose ends (it’s a real standalone) and I found the ending very satisfying and I would recommend this book to everyone ☺

Review: How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis

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★★★★

Wow. This was so incredibly cute and heartwarming, and it’s definitely a new favorite of mine.

I keep asking for signs. And here she is. Someone who prays to a neon Virgin Mary and lives her whole life in all-caps and thinks God and my happiness go together just fine.

Brandon lives in a very religious family, to which he came out as gay not long ago. They didn’t take it well, bringing their priest into it and all, but allow him to go on a six-weeks road trip with his friend Bec, in the hopes that he…becomes straight and falls in love with her, I guess. This road trip will connect all the locations of the conventions of Castaway Planet, a show Brandon is huge fan of.

Little does his family know that Abel, co-host of the most famous Castaway Planet vlog channel together with Brandon and very openly gay, will go on the road trip with them.
They have one purpose besides meeting the Castaway Planet actors at the conventions: prove the Cadsim (Cadmus+Sim, protagonists of the show) crazy fangirl shippers wrong by asking the actors and creators of the show whether something happened or not between Cadmus and Sim in the season finale, because it obviously can’t have happened, despite what every piece of Cadsim fanfiction says. I mean, Sim is a freaking android, so there’s no way. No way.
Fangirls go a bit beyond Cadsim shipping though, and Brandon and Abel will have to deal with them in a different way.

There are so many themes within these 250 pages.

First off, the fandom and fanfic themes are huge and interwoven in the narrative, a bit similarly (but even more so) to Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. If you are or have ever been an active member of any fandom, this element alone will appeal to you.

“When I give the world my characters, it’s because I don’t want to keep them for myself. You don’t like what I made them do? Fucking tell me I’m wrong! Rewrite the story. Throw in a new plot twist. Make up your own ending.”

Second, is obviously the romance. There’s not much I can say without spoiling it, but know it’s just adorable.

I want to make a sweater out of this week and wrap myself up in it until it falls apart.

Last but not least is the religion. I wouldn’t say that Brandon is struggling with internalized homophobia because he never thinks his feelings are wrong, but throughout the story he remembers what Father Mike told him or he imagines what he would say. Horrible things that I don’t even want to repeat here, coated with a facade of understanding and “God loves you”.

…I glance past the rides and snack stands to where the blond stone wall of the church is, but I can’t let my eyes linger there either. It’s like looking at a house you don’t live in anymore. You wish you could go in again, but strangers live there now and you aren’t welcome, and it wouldn’t be the same anyway.

The religious element isn’t too heavy and, as an atheist, its presence didn’t bother me. What bothered me were Brandon’s family’s hateful words – don’t get me wrong, they’re not the worst family I’ve ever read about, but for some reason this made me legit angry-cry even more while reading their words.

Despite the last few things I wrote about, this is a very fun and overall lighthearted novel. I really have no idea why I haven’t heard about it before my friend read it and recommended it to me, because it seems like it should be on everyone’s bookshelves.

#T5W: 2017 Debuts You Are Excited For

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started and I discovered through the lovely Samantha‘s videos. If you’re interested you can join the goodreads group to get the topics for each week.

This week’s topic:

January 11th: 2017 Debuts You Are Excited For
–There is already a ton of hype for well established authors, but here is an opportunity to discuss some debut (new) authors and showcase their books. There are plenty of debut author challenges and lists you can find if you are having trouble with this one 🙂

 

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

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Release date: May 16th 2017

Goodreads synopsis:

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

This is by far the debut I’m most excited for. In case the blurb isn’t clear enough, let me tell you: this is exactly what it sounds, which is, a love triangle planned by a secret organization, in which the two Love Interests fall for each other instead of for the girl. Sounds amazing, right? I’ve been trying to get my hands on an ARC but I’ve missed my chance when it was on edelweiss some weeks ago and I’m so sad. I really hope to somehow put my hands on this baby before release date because I really can’t wait until May.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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Release date: January 31st 2017

Goodreads synopsis:

Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

This book is one I’ve heard so much about that honestly the hype has almost turned into anxiety. It sounds awesome, but for some reason it looks like one of those books that you either love infinitely or you just can’t get into.

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

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Release date: February 28th 2017

Goodreads synopsis:

If you want something done right….

When the ruthless Pirate King learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows that there’s only one pirate for the job—herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the enemy ship. After all, who’s going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell?

Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it’s down to a battle of wits and will… Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan?

Debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.

Pirate stories are so cool, and yet I haven’t really read many. For some reason they seem to be pretty rare in the YA genre, but I’m really excited to see more coming out, and this debut sounds very intriguing. (Also, yay for female pirate!)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Release date: February 28th 2017

Goodreads synopsis:

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. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.

I really want to read more books based on events and issues of the real world (even though fantasy is my favorite genre). This book sounds like an important one, and I’ve heard so much about it already that I’m really excited for it to finally come out.

Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

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Release date: January 10th 2017

Goodreads synopsis:

A teenage assassin kills with a single kiss until she is ordered to kill the one boy she loves. This commercial YA fantasy is romantic and addictive like– a poison kiss– and will thrill fans of Sarah J. Maas and Victoria Aveyard.

Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya a poison maiden is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based in Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

This is the only one of this list of books that is already out. It sounds like a really classic YA fantasy and while I think I should wait to be in the right mood for it (I’ve been in a weird let’s read something different than I usually read mood lately, I don’t know why), I’m excited to eventually get to it.