Top Ten Tuesday is a meme by The Broke and The Bookish, and this week, we’re talking about debut novels in 2016! Without further ado, here are my picks this week… 🙂
1) A Study in Charlotte – Brittany Cavallaro
The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father.
But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability.
Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.
Who can resist Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in YA-verse? Not me, to be sure.
2) Enter Title Here – Rahul Kanakia
Reshma is a college counselor’s dream. She’s the top-ranked senior at her ultra-competitive Silicon Valley high school, with a spotless academic record and a long roster of extracurriculars. But there are plenty of perfect students in the country, and if Reshma wants to get into Stanford, and into med school after that, she needs the hook to beat them all.
What’s a habitual over-achiever to do? Land herself a literary agent, of course. Which is exactly what Reshma does after agent Linda Montrose spots an article she wrote for Huffington Post. Linda wants to represent Reshma, and, with her new agent’s help scoring a book deal, Reshma knows she’ll finally have the key to Stanford.
But she’s convinced no one would want to read a novel about a study machine like her. To make herself a more relatable protagonist, she must start doing all the regular American girl stuff she normally ignores.
Reshma sounds extremely ambitious (which I greatly appreciate), and I can remember all too well the anxiety of college applications. On to my TBR list this book goes!
3) The Heir and the Spare – Emily Albright
Family can be complicated. Especially when skeletons from the past pop up unexpectedly. For American Evie Gray, finding out her deceased mother had a secret identity, and not one of the caped crusader variety, was quite the surprise. Evie’s mom had a secret life before she was even born, one that involved tiaras.
In this modern day fairytale, Evie is on a path to figure out who her mom really was, while discovering for herself what the future will hold.
Who doesn’t remember Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries? That series was my life when I was a teenager and the blurb of this book reminds me so much of it. Secret royals! Actual nobles! Yep, this sounds like it’s going to be a really fun read.
4) The Way I Used to Be – Amber Smith
Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.
What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.
Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma.
I always enjoy books that tackle difficult issues, and personally, we really don’t talk about assault—sexual or otherwise—enough.
5) The Year We Fell Apart – Emily Martin
In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from—and fix—her past.
Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.
As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.
The moment I read that this book is similar to Sarah Dessen’s, I’m sold. Plus, books about cancer are always somewhat confronting, and the death of a parent, illness or not, is one that’s unfortunately a very, very real thing in our lives.
6) Shallow Graves – Kali Wallace
When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why.
All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.
I’m the first to admit that I’m the hugest scaredy-cat I know, but I’ve made my resolve to read books outside of my comfort zone. Shallow Graves will hopefully be good enough to convince me to continue doing so. :p
7) The Abyss Surrounds Us – Emily Skrutskie
For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.
There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.
A marine fantasy? Count me in! Plus the cover looks gorgeous, and existing reviews on Goodreads honestly make me want to read this book so bad.
8) The Star-Touched Queen – Roshani Chokshi
Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds friendship and warmth.
But Akaran has its own secrets – thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran’s magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar’s plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk – it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.
It’s no secret that I absolutely love culturally inspired fantasies, and this one is apparently Indian mythology-inspired! Hopefully it actually reads like one. 🙂
9) Burning Glass – Kathryn Purdie
Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.
Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. One mistake, one small failure, will cost her own life and the lives of the few people left in the world who still trust her.
Who doesn’t love intriguing, suspenseful fantasies? Somehow I feel like we’re going to see a lot of those in 2016, and this one has caught my eye the moment I glanced at the cover.
10) The Way to Game the Walk of Shame – Jenn P. Nguyen
Taylor Simmons is screwed.
Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.
Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.
I’m not a big fan of the title (I think it’s a bit awkward), but I have a HUGE soft spot for pretend relationships in a contemporary setting. It’s cute, it’s sweet, and sometimes, it really is just plain fun. No drama there. Plus, this reminds me a bit of To All The Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before by Jenny Han, which I actually quite enjoyed.
What 2016 debut novels are in your TBR list? Link me to your Top Ten this week! ❤