The 2012 Debut Author Challenge--my reading list

It seems strange to be thinking ahead to the books I'll read in 2012, when the books I must read for the Cybils (about fifty more to go) are so insistently demanding that I read them now! But over at The Story Siren, the 2012 Debut Author Challenge has come to life, and so I headed over to Goodreads to make a list of debut books I'll be looking for in 2012!

I'll probably be adding to it, as time goes on....please let me know if you know of one you'd think I'd like (time travel, shapeshifters (who aren't werewolves), fairy tale retellings, and diversity are things I especially want more of!)

Storybound by Marissa Burt "In the land of Story, children go to school to learn to be characters: a perfect Hero, a trusty Sidekick, even the most dastardly Villain. They take classes on Outdoor Experiential Questing and Backstory, while adults search for full-time character work in stories written just for them.

In our world, twelve-year-old Una Fairchild has always felt invisible. But all that changes when she stumbles upon a mysterious book buried deep in the basement of her school library, opens the cover, and suddenly finds herself transported to the magical land of Story.

But Story is not a perfect fairy tale. Una’s new friend Peter warns her about the grave danger she could face if anyone discovers her true identity. The devious Tale Keeper watches her every move. And there are whispers of a deadly secret that seems to revolve around Una herself.... "

Level Two, by Lenore Appelhans "In Level Two, the liminal place between our world (Level One) and heaven, Felicia spends her days reliving her memories from the security of her pod—until she gets broken out by Julian, a boy she met on Earth."

The Book of Wonders, by Jasmine Richards "Magic, Djinn, Ogres, and Sorcerers. Thirteen-year-old Zardi loves to hear stories about fantastical beings, long banned from the kingdom of Arribitha. But anyone caught whispering of their powers will feel the rage of the sultan—a terrifying usurper who, even with his eyes closed, can see all.
When her own beloved sister is captured by the evil ruler, Zardi knows that she must go to any lengths to rescue her. Along with her best friend, Ridhan—a silver-haired, violet-eyed boy of mysterious origins—and an unlikely crew of sailors led by the infamous Captain Sinbad, Zardi ventures forth into strange and wondrous territory with a seemingly impossible mission: to bring magic back to Arribitha and defeat the sultan once and for all.

The Vanishing Game, by Kate Kae Myers "Jocelyn's twin brother Jack was the only family she had growing up in a world of foster homes-and now he's dead, and she has nothing. Then she gets a cryptic letter from "Jason December"-the code name her brother used to use when they were children at Seale House, a terrifying foster home that they believed had dark powers. Only one other person knows about Jason December: Noah, Jocelyn's childhood crush and their only real friend among the troubled children at Seale House.

But when Jocelyn returns to Seale House and the city where she last saw Noah, she gets more than she bargained for. Turns out the house's powers weren't just a figment of a childish imagination. And someone is following Jocelyn. Is Jack still alive? And if he is, what kind of trouble is he in? The answer is revealed in a shocking twist that turns this story on its head and will send readers straight back to page 1 to read the book in a whole new light.

Keeper of the Lost Cities, by Shannon Messenger "Twelve-year-old Sophie has always been different -- she's years ahead of the other kids in school and can read minds. She's always assumed there's some kind of logical explanation for her talents, but when she meets an adorable and mysterious boy, she finds out the shocking truth. She's never felt at home because she, well, ... isn't.

There are secrets buried deep in her memory, secrets about her true identity and why she was hidden among humans, that others desperately want and would even kill for. And she must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first.

The Girl With Borrowed Wings, by Rinsai Rossetti "Every aspect of sixteen-year-old Frenenqer Paje’s life is controlled by her father and restricted by the desert, where each day is tediously the same. For as long as Frenenqer can remember, she’s dreamed of having wings to escape. Then a small act of rebellion explodes her world, and she meets Sangris. A boy, but not just a boy—a Free person, a winged person, a shape-shifter. He has everything Frenenqer doesn't—no family, no attachments, no troubles, no nothing. He's free. And he wants Frenenqer. When the delicate balance of their friendship threatens to rupture into something more, Frenenqer must confront her isolation, her father and her very sense of identity."

Above, by Leah Bobet "Matthew has loved Ariel from the moment he found her in the tunnels, her bee's wings falling away. They live in Safe, an underground refuge for those fleeing the city Above--like Whisper, who speaks to ghosts, and Jack Flash, who can shoot lightning from his fingers.

But one terrifying night, an old enemy invades Safe with an army of shadows, and only Matthew, Ariel, and a few friends escape Above. As Matthew unravels the mystery of Safe's history and the shadows' attack, he realizes he must find a way to remake his home--not just for himself, but for Ariel, who needs him more than ever before.

Crewel, by Gennifer Albin "Incapable. Awkward. Artless. That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape. Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back."

Tempest, by Julie Cross "The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future. Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him. Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

Queen of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas "An infamous young assassin who is more than she seems must battle her way to freedom in a corrupt kingdom where magic has been outlawed."

Scarlet, by A.C. Gaughen "Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance. Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in. It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for."

The Cabinet of Earths, by Anne Nesbet (on my list last year, but I guess it got pushed back) "All Maya really wants is for her mother to be well again. But when her baby brother James goes missing, 12-year-old Maya has to take on the magical underworld of Paris, in which houses have bronze salamanders for door handles, the most beautiful people are all hooked on the sweet-smelling “anbar,” and a shimmering glass Cabinet of Earths has chosen Maya to be its next keeper. With the Cabinet’s help, Maya may be able to do for her mother what doctors cannot: save her from death, once and for all. But now that the clock is ticking for James, the price the Cabinet demands may be too high."

And just for kicks, here's my list from last year. I read all but Luminous, which I still want to hunt down....

Maurissa Guibord -- Warped
Sarah Jamila Stevenson -- The Latte Rebellion
Alexandra Monir -- Timeless
Eilis O'Neal -- The False Princess
Beth Revis -- Across the Universe
Cameron Stracher -- The Water Wars
Elsbeth Edgar -- The Visconti House
Stephanie Burgis -- Kat, Incorrigible
Dawn Metcalf-- Luminous
Melanie Welsh -- Mistress of the Storm
Nick James -- The Pearl Wars (Skyship Academy)


  1. This is an awesome list! 2012 will be a great reading year.

  2. I've got some similar books on my list - and I just found a couple more that you wrote about to add to it! As soon as I saw your post I knew I had to check it out to see what I might have missed. ;)

  3. Hey Charlotte! So excited my book's on your list :) I can't wait for you to get to read it!

    Also, that's amazing follow-through for your 2011. WOW!

  4. I'm looking forward to it lots, Lenore!

  5. How lovely to be on your list! There are some great books coming in 2012!

  6. What a fun sounding list! (How do you find these things?)


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