Today I’m sharing 10 debut novels I can’t wait to read and hope after reading this you’ll feel the same way. This is the third in a three part series where I’m sharing some 2017 book releases. There are so many amazing books coming out this year that I couldn’t write about them all in just one post. My other posts are about sequels (read here) and standalones/first in a series by a non-debut author (read here). A few of these aren’t available for preorder yet, so I’ve added a link to Goodreads and the author’s twitter account. Add the book and follow the author so that you can be notified once it’s available for preorder.
Friendly reminder that if your local library doesn’t have a book you want, make a purchase request! The more interest they see in a title, the more likely they’ll buy it. This helps just as much as buying/preordering a copy yourself. Libraries usually have a form you can fill out on their website, but you can always call or ask in person.
The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi
Salaam Reads | March 28, 2017
A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair.
When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand—a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik’s cube—they know it’s up to them to defeat the game’s diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed. But first they have to figure out how.
Under the tutelage of a lizard guide named Henrietta Peel and an aeronaut Vijay, the Farah and her friends battle camel spiders, red scorpions, grease monkeys, and sand cats as they prepare to face off with the maniacal Lord Amari, the man behind the machine. Can they defeat Amari at his own game…or will they, like the children who came before them, become cogs in the machine?
The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
Simon and Schuster | February 21, 2017
Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.
THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:
Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.
With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…
Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.
Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh (previous title: The Amaterasu Project)
Lee & Low Books/Tu Books | Fall 2017
YA science fiction/action novel set in a futuristic Korea about a former gangster who is recruited into the military over a secret prototype weapons project—which turns out to be a genetically modified girl.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Balzer + Bray | February 28, 2017
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.
27 Hours by Tristina Wright (no cover yet)
Entangled Teen | October 3, 2017
Rumor Mora wants revenge. He’s lived all of his seventeen years on the colonized moon of Sahara, and he can’t remember a time when humans weren’t warring with the gargoyles—frightening beasts that attack human colonists during the night. Now the gargoyles have gone too far—they attacked his city and burned it to the ground. The sole survivor of the attack, Rumor is determined to avenge the death of his father, and no one is going to stand in his way. No one. Not even the incredibly hot boy who keeps trying to tell him that the gargoyles aren’t the monsters he thinks they are.
Nyx Llorca wants understanding. She was born deaf, and the moon vibrates under her feet in an urgent language she can’t figure out. As war between humans and gargoyles rages around her and the vibrations grow more insistent, she’s terrified that the moon is trying to warn her of something much bigger and more terrible to come. And if that isn’t enough, she’s fallen in love with her best friend and is terrified admitting the truth will destroy their friendship.
Jude Welton wants peace. He has lived most of his life in the forest community of Azrou, far from the colonies, and the bias of the humans who use the slur “gargoyle” to describe the creatures who live on Sahara. He belongs to a group of people who believe that the humans and creatures—called chimera—can exist together in peace. But when his chimera friend, Vala, goes missing, Jude must step out of his peaceful existence and directly into the war. And the angriest boy he’s ever met just happens to know where Vala is. Rumor is Jude’s key to getting her back—if only Jude can convince him that not all chimera are evil.
Braeden Tennant wants belonging. As the son of a colony commander, he’s grown up with expectations of a military future, of continuing the unending war against the gargoyles. All he wants to do is steal a spaceship and leave Sahara—maybe take an automata cat with him. But when he finds the seeds of friendship with Rumor’s arrival and is pulled into a vast conspiracy involving his friends, the gargoyles, the forest rebels, and his moms, he has to decide where his loyalties lie once and for all.
27 HOURS is a sweeping, thrilling story featuring a stellar cast of queer teenagers battling to save their homes and possibly every human on Sahara as the clock ticks down to zero.
Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
Sourcebooks Fire | May 1, 2017
Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.
Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves.
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Crown Books for Young Readers | October 17, 2017
The cover was recently revealed on Thoughts and Afterthoughts along with an excerpt!
Dear Martin (aka, Dr. King),
Quick intro: Justyce McAllister, 17 years old, senior and full-scholarship student at the “prestigious” Braselton Preparatory Academy. I’m the debate Team captain, ranked fourth in my class, and despite growing up in a “bad” area, I have a bright future ahead of me.
Sadly, during the wee hours of this morning, literally none of that mattered. Long story short, I tried to do a good deed and wound up in handcuffs.
It shook me, Martin. I need to pay more attention. I wanna try to live like you. Do what you would do. See where it gets me.
Justyce McAllister is top of his class at Braselton Prep, captain of the debate team, and set for an Ivy League school next year—but, none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He’s eventually released without charges (or an apology) but the incident rattles him. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his new classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.
Justyce has long studied the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But do they hold up in 21st century America? He starts a journal “to” Dr. King to sort things out.
But then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white, off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fall-out that follows, it’s Justyce who is under attack.
Raw, revealing, and utterly riveting, Nic Stone boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Thomas Dunne | February 7, 2017
Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.
All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.
But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.
Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.
The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke (no cover yet)
Albert Whitman | 2017
A YA novel about a 16-year-old girl who goes back in time to 1988 East Berlin, and lands in the middle of a Cold War conspiracy of history and magic. The only way to stop people from dying may be to destroy her only way home.
-the author has published other books before (NA), but this is Locke’s first YA book so I’m counting it as a debut.
Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
Salaam Reads | March 14, 2017
A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this sweet and moving middle grade novel from the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.
Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.
Amina’s Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.
-this isn’t the author’s first book but I believe it’s Khan’s first middle-grade title, so I’m counting it as a debut.