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Happy Book Birthday, INK & ASHES!

It’s time for our June debuts! Today Valynne E. Maetani’s INK AND ASHES, an exciting mystery and winner of the New Visions Award in 2013, hits the shelves!

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Claire Takata has never known much about her father, who passed away when she was a little girl. But on the anniversary of his death, not long before her seventeenth birthday, she finds a mysterious letter from her deceased father, addressed to her stepfather. Claire never even knew that they had met.

Claire knows she should let it go, but she can’t shake the feeling that something’s been kept from her. In search of answers, Claire combs through anything that will give her information about her father . . . until she discovers he was a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The discovery opens a door that should have been left closed.

So begins the race to outrun his legacy as the secrets of her father’s past threaten Claire’s friends and family, newfound love, and ultimately her life. Ink and Ashes, winner of Tu Books’ New Visions Award, is a heart-stopping debut mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page.

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Critical Praise

“This thoroughly engaging tale in the tradition of Nancy Drew or Veronica Mars ends on a satisfying note, but readers will hope for a sequel because it’s just that good.”
—School Library Journal

“This fantastic debut packs a highly suspenseful blend of action, intrigue, and teen romance.”
Kirkus (Starred review)

“Full of character, culture, and suspense, Ink and Ashes is a fascinating read with surprising new elements and a true heroine in Claire Takata. Fantastic!”
Ally Condie, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy

“I love Claire from INK AND ASHES. I’ve been waiting a long time to read a YA novel with such a great heroine, and the mystery is a perfect match for her. One layer of deceit and intrigue is revealed, only to have another one waiting underneath. The suspense builds and builds to a fever pitch.”
Mette Ivie Harrison, author of The New York Times Notable Book The Bishop’s Wife

“In this twisty, slow-burn thriller Maetani balances murder, mystery, and family drama beautifully.”
Lamar Giles, author of Fake ID and Endangered

“Maetani has created a thriller built out of the secrets, loyalty, and revenge. Her main character, Claire Takata, is both an inspired creation and inspiring heroine!”
Sarwat Chadda, author of USBBY Outstanding International Book The Savage Fortress

“There’s nothing out there like this Japanese debut thriller by Valynne Maetani! Intense, absorbing and thoroughly entertaining. The main character Claire is truly a heroine I can root for. She’s smart, sassy and devoted even as she navigates soccer, piano, lock-picking, and, oh yeah, a little bit of murder. Maetani  incorporates themes from her own Japanese heritage and blends them with family drama and even romance in a mystery that will have you guessing until the very end.  My favorite debut of the year!”
Brodi Ashton, author of the Everneath series

“Ink and Ashes is a Japanese-infused thrill ride that will keep the reader guessing until the very last page!  From anime to yubitsume, author Valynne Maetani weaves her cultural roots into the life of Claire, a typical Utah high-schooler who stumbles upon dark secrets from her past. Believable and utterly unique!”
—Edgar Award-winning author Alane Ferguson

Congratulations, Valynne, on a thrilling debut!

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Happy Book Birthday, TINY PRETTY THINGS!

Our last debut of the month, TINY PRETTY THINGS by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton, is filled with dance, drama, and intrigue in a diverse, unique setting. We need the next book NOW!

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ABOUT THE BOOK

TINY PRETTY THINGS digs beneath the practiced poise of a cutthroat Manhattan ballet academy, where three young protagonists all fight for prima position while navigating secrets, lies, and the pressure that comes with being prodigies.

Free-spirited new girl Giselle just wants to dance – but the very act might kill her. Upper East Side-bred Bette lives in the all-encompassing shadow of her ballet star sister, but the weight of family expectations brings out a dangerous edge in her. Perfectionist June forever stands in the wings as an understudy, but now she’s willing to do whatever it takes – even push someone out the way – to take the stage.

In a world where every other dancer is both friend and foe, the girls have formed the tenuous bond that comes with being the best of the best. But when New York City Ballet Conservatory newbie Giselle is cast as the lead in The Nutcracker – opposite Bette’s longtime love Alec – the competition turns deadly.

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Critical Praise

“A page–turner with a heart.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Appealing both to dancers and drama lovers, this engaging, pulpy read skillfullyexplores a variety of issues, from sexual orientation to ethnic identity to single–parent households, in a glamorous, high–stakes setting.”
Booklist

“Diversity is organically spotlighted [in this] fun and fast read.”
School Library Journal

“A beautiful example of diversity in characters and settings.”
—Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

“Charaipotra and Clayton skillfully craft three distinctive, complex characters. This enticing glimpse into the ballet world is rich with detail and drama as the authors highlight its glamour and darkness.”
—Publishers Weekly

 

Congratulations, Sona & Dhonielle, on a dynamic, drama-filled debut!


Happy Book Birthday, MADE YOU UP!

This week’s debut is MADE YOU UP by Francesca Zappia. We couldn’t help adoring Alex, the ultimate unreliable narrator, and the fast pace and twists kept us turning the pages into the wee hours of the morning. If you like contemporary novels with humor, twists, and fascinating characters, we bet you’ll love this book too!

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

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Critical Praise

“Debut novelist Zappia presents readers with a wholly unreliable narrator, [but] the characters all seem authentic, thanks to Zappia’s careful attention to detail.”
–Booklist

“Zappia tackles some big issues in her debut, creating a messy, hopeful, even joyful book.”
–School Library Journal

Congratulations, Francesca, on a delightful debut!


Happy Book Birthday, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN!

We have so many amazing debuts this spring that our bookshelves runneth over with great reads. Today another class book debuts – Renée Ahdieh’s THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, a gorgeous, diverse fantasy that will leave you salivating for the sequel!

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ABOUT THE BOOK

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights.

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

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Critical Praise

“Set against a backdrop of political intrigue and a simmering revolution, this is a carefully constructed narrative of uncertain loyalties, searing romance, and subtle magic in a harsh desert city.”
–Booklist, starred review

“The rich, Middle Eastern cultural context adds to the author’s adept world building . . . a surefire hit with teens.”
–School Library Journal, starred review

“A dazzling, mesmerizing achievement.”
–RT Book Reviews

“Dreamily romantic, deliciously angst-y, addictively thrilling.”
–Kirkus Review

“Lushly imagined and powerfully characterized, it’s a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance.”
–Publisher’s Weekly

“This book is a fairytale, a mystery, and . . . promises to become a classic tale of its own.”
VOYA

“Don’t be surprised if the pages melt away and you find yourself racing through warm, golden sands or drinking spiced wine in cool, marble courtyards. This is an intoxicating gem of a story. You will fall in love, just as I did.”
Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of The Legend Trilogy

“In her absorbing debut, Renée Ahdieh spins a tale as mesmerizing as that of her heroine Shahrzad, filled with lush details and brimming with tension. The Wrath and the Dawn is truly an exceptional story, beautifully written.”
Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth series

“You will want to hear, taste, and touch everything. But it’s not just the world that is vividly alive. The characters are fascinating too: I loved the friendships, romance, and shifts in feeling. A beautifully written book, The Wrath and the Dawn is a story I could not put down.”
Marie Rutkoski, author of The Winner’s Trilogy

Congratulations, Renée, on a dazzling debut!


Happy Book Birthday, 5 to 1!

May kicks off with Holly Bodger’s 5 TO 1, a diverse near-future novel beautifully told half in verse, half in prose that we can’t wait to rave about with everyone else!

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ABOUT THE BOOK

In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, Koyanagar–a country severed from India–now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, and women are an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of wedding their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife. But after fighting so hard for freedom against the old ways of gender selection, these women have become just as deluded as their male predecessors.

Sudasa Singh doesn’t want to be a wife and Kiran, a boy competing to be her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa’s family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Kiran’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, each thwarts the other until they slowly realize that they might want the same thing.

This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view—Sudasa’s in verse and Kiran’s in prose—allowing readers to feel both characters’ pain and grasps at hope.

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Critical Praise

“An engaging dystopian novel set in India that poignantly explores gender politics.”
School Library Journal

“Flavored by a South Asian cultural essence, this accessible dystopian novel builds readers’ belief in the driving message: to be fair to oneself.”
Booklist

“5 to 1 is a visual and intriguing masterpiece that opens the imagination and never leaves even after the book is closed.”
USA Today

Congratulations, Holly, on a fantastic debut!


Happy Book Birthday, IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT!

Today marks our last April debut – IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT by Jen Brooks! We love this story with its contemporary setting, fascinating sci-fi twist, and dash of a romance! In other words, if you’re looking for your next spring read, this book is… just right 🙂

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About the Book

Imagination takes on new meaning for a uniquely talented teen in this debut novel that is a breathtaking blend of contemporary, fantasy, and romance.

Sometimes Jonathan Aubrey wishes he could just disappear. And as luck—or fate—would have it, he can. Ever since coming out of a coma as a kid, he has been able to create alternate worlds. Worlds where he is a superhero, or a ladies’ man, or simply a better version of himself. That’s the world he’s been escaping to most since sophomore year, a world where he has everything he doesn’t have in real life: friends, a place of honor on the track team, passing grades, and most importantly, Kylie Simms as his girlfriend.

But when Jonathan confuses his worlds senior year and tries to kiss the real Kylie Simms, everything unravels. The real Kylie actually notices Jonathan…and begins obsessing over him. The fantasy version of Kylie struggles to love Jonathan as she was created to do, and the consequences are disastrous. As his worlds collide, Jonathan must confront the truth of his power and figure out where he actually belongs—before he loses both Kylies forever.

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Critical Praise

“A shining debut. Smart, tender, heartbreaking, triumphant. In a World Just Right is a miracle.”
Julie Berry, author of All the Truth That’s in Me

“Elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance combine in a well-paced story that still manages a surprising conclusion . . . A thoughtful story that still feels fresh amid the many other sci-fi/romance combinations out there.” –School Library Journal

“Jonathan is the best kind of main character any story could want; he is sympathetic, flawed, and is as surprised as the reader by how events unfold . . . Every piece of the puzzle that is this book slides into the exact right spot, forming a picture-perfect work of fiction.”
VOYA (starred review)

“Coping with devastating loss and near-death tragedy takes many forms, and, in Brooks’ caring narrative, an appreciation for the rationale for world making is made to feel just right.”
Booklist

“Loneliness, choice, forgiveness and heartbreak are all tucked inside this ‘feels-filled’ romance. And it has the very best kind of writing—the kind that touches your heart at the same time it challenges your mind.”
Justine magazine

Congratulations, Jen, on an exciting, twist-filled debut!

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The Class of 2K15 Goes to ALA!

We’re so thrilled to share that the Class of 2K15 is following in the footsteps of 2K14 & 2K13 and will have a panel at ALA Annual this year in San Francisco! Our panel will be on Monday, June 29, 9am-10am on the Pop Top Stage.

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2K15 Panel

Representing multiple genres, join the 2K15 panel featuring Courtney Alameda, Alexis Bass, Virginia Boecker, Fonda Lee, and Valynne Maetani. These up and coming young adult novelists will speak with reference to school and library visits, as well as information and resources related to their novels.

We can’t wait to see you there!


Happy Book Birthday, ZEROBOXER!

Today Fonda Lee’s ZEROBOXER is out in the world! It’s Rocky meets Gattaca in a YA sci-fi novel – we love it, and we can’t wait for you to read it too!

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About the Book

Carr “the Raptor” Luka is an athletic phenom, a rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing. Training and competing aboard the lunar orbiting city-station of Valtego (where It’s More Fun on the Dark Side TM), all he’s ever wanted is to win the championship title. His talent and marketability don’t go unnoticed by the top brass of the Zero Gravity Fighting Association. They assign him a brandhelm; after all, anyone who wants to be anyone needs a dedicated personal marketing strategist. Beautiful and ambitious, Risha is one of the genetically engineered Martian colonists that Earth dwellers view with resentment and suspicion. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity, and stolen his heart along the way.

But success could be the worst thing that happens to them. As his fame grows, Carr must come to terms with the fact that he’s become an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet now angry at falling into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. When Carr learns of a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating personal secret. Not only will his choices place into jeopardy everything he holds dear, they may spill the violence from the sports arena out into the solar system.

An action-loaded story of celebrity, competition and personal responsibility, ZEROBOXER will be available from Flux in April 2015.

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Critical Praise

“Top-notch science fiction and a great sports novel too.”
–Kirkus Reviews

“Lee’s debut novel is an intense, smart, and action-packed read.”
VOYA (5Q rating)

“This gripping sci-fi novel will have teens screaming for a sequel.”
–School Library Journal

“[A] thought-provoking read.”
–Booklist

“[A] strong debut from Lee, combining brutal, visceral athletic scenes with science fiction action, all woven around a complex moral dilemma.”
–Publisher’s Weekly

Congratulations, Fonda, on an exciting, action-packed debut!

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Happy Book Birthday, NONE OF THE ABOVE!

April brings more debuts for Class of 2K15! Today marks the launch of I.W. Gregorio’s groundbreaking YA contemporary debut, NONE OF THE ABOVE!

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About the Book

Middlesex meets Mean Girls in this one-of-a-kind YA debut.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s world completely unravels. With everything she thought she knew thrown into question, can she come to terms with her new self?

Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

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Critical Praise

“[R]emarkable…Eye-opening and important.”
Booklist

“…a compelling and touching narrative…NONE OF THE ABOVE rises above most young adult fiction because it has potential to evoke significant change.”
—VOYA (5Q rating)

“Engaging and well-paced, with smart characters.”
School Library Journal

“Sensitive, informative and a valuable resource”
Kirkus Reviews

“Noble, daring and necessary—I.W. Gregorio’s groundbreaking debut is a bittersweet, painful and ultimately life-affirming voyage of identity.”
Elizabeth Wein, award-winning & NYT bestselling author of Code Name Verity

“I couldn’t put this book down—it opened my mind in ways that few books have done before.”
Jacqueline Woodson, award-winning & NYT bestselling author of Brown Girl Dreaming

“Like the beloved physician that she is, I.W. Gregorio brings rare knowledge and acute empathy to the illumination of an anatomical difference—and to the teens who discover, in the nick of time, the saving grace of knowing and being one’s truest self. A book unlike any other.”
Beth Kephart, award-winning author of Small Damages and Going Over

None of the Above is a sensitive, beautifully written story, told with heart (break) and humor. Gregorio deftly explores the isolation of being ‘other’ in a highly relatable way. Bravo!!”
Kristin Elizabeth Clark, acclaimed author of Freakboy

“This beautifully written and moving novel chronicles Kristin Lattimer’s discovery of her AIS diagnosis, and the fallout that occurs when her “secret’ is revealed…The universal theme of rising above a difficult situation is one everyone can relate to, and Kristin’s courage will be a source of inspiration to all those who read this exceptional book.”
Heather Hebert, Haverford Children’s Book World

“Both deeply moving and triumphant, I.W. Gregorio’s None of the Above explores the adolescent pains of discovering one’s self and embracing both the good and bad. Full of heartbreaking believability that resonates with readers, she explores the important topics of learning to love yourself in ways that too few YA novels explore.”
Bonnie Lynn Wagner, Barnes & Noble Neshaminy Mall, PA

“Smartly and compassionately written for a young adult audience, None of the Above puts a new twist on the theme of adolescent difference and acceptance.”
Arlene Baratz MD (Moderator,  Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome- Differences of Sex Development Parents Group www.aisdsd.org)

Congratulations, Ilene, on a thought-provoking debut!


A New Book Deal for Stacey Lee!

Class member Stacey Lee’s debut UNDER A PAINTED SKY has garnered critical praise and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus which is why we’re so excited she’ll be writing more books, this time a YA contemporary with HarperCollins!

StaceyLeeNewDeal2

Congratulations, Stacey!

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