Tag Archives: debut author

Review: The Waiting Tree by Lindsay Moynihan

The Waiting TreeTitle: The Waiting Tree
Author: Linday Moynihan

Publisher: Amazon Children’s Publishing

Publishing Date: May 14, 2013

Source: Netgalley

Summary (from Goodreads): Eighteen-year-old Simon Peters wants to stand up for the truth about who he is. His love for Stephen is unwavering, but does he have the courage to defend it when his entire church community, including his eldest brother has ostracized him? Trapped in a cashier’s job he hates, struggling to maintain peace with his brothers after their parents have died, and determined to look after his mute brother, Simon puts everyone else’s needs before his own. It takes a courageous act of self-sacrifice on Jude’s part to change both of their lives forever. Jude, who knew that when the fig tree in their yard began to bloom, it was his time to finally be heard and to set Simon free.

Review: Simon’s situation is heartbreaking and almost too much to handle. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, this is not the book for you. I was surprised to find that this was not really a story about a gay relationship. It is, however,a story about family struggles, coming of age and overcoming obstacles. Simon’s thrown every curveball that one could imagine and then some curveballs that one wouldn’t even fathom could happen to one young man. I liked that Simon was a strong character who didn’t whine about his situation but was constantly thinking of others’ needs and what he could do to help them. His big heart and unselfishness makes him a likable character. I was instantly drawn into his world and invested in his future. In fact, all of the characters were well developed.  The only issue I had with the characters was the halfhearted attempt at southern dialect. It seemed that the dialect was randomly sprinkled in with a few “ya’lls” and “yers.” Otherwise, I sometimes forgot that this was taking place in the South. 

I was somewhat disappointed that Simon and Stephen’s conflicts and issues weren’t more of the story. It seemed, as you start to read that that is going to be the major plot line, but then it just takes a back seat for a majority of the story. I initially had a group of students who I thought would really identify with this story but as it ebbed so did my confidence in the intended audience. While I think that group of students would still be interested in the story, I don’t think they would identify completely with Simon’s issues.

My biggest issue with the plot was the ending. I was extremely disappointed. Without spoiling the story, the ending feels wide open. I was hoping there was at least one more page or even an epilogue, but I was left empty handed. Maybe I’ve been reading too many series books but this ending seemed to leave the door open for a sequel.

About the Author: Lindsay has had a passion for storytelling since her early childhood in Toronto, Canada. At eighteen, she moved to upstate New York to study at the Culinary Institute of America where she penned the text to Cake Art for the school’s publishing division. Moynihan currently lives in Orlando, Florida, where she attends the University of Central Florida, volunteers with local LGBTQ organizations, and continues to write about the struggles and successes of today’s young adults. The Waiting Tree is her first novel.

Want to find out more? Check out the The Waiting Tree’s Facebook page or follow Moynihan on Twitter.



Leave a comment

Filed under Debut Author Challenge 2013, New Releases, Reviews

Review: The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

The Rules for DisappearingTitle: The Rules for Disappearing

Author: Ashely Elston

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: May 14, 2013

Source: NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads): She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.

But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.

Review: Elston’s debut novel is must read. It is packed full of mystery, romance and danger. And who can resist a story about a teenager in Witness Protection ? I’ve always wondered what Witness Protection would be like–not that I want to join the program anytime soon. The Rules for Disappearing gives you an inside look and doesn’t gloss over the hardships that Protection costs families. I was immediately whisked away to Louisiana with Meg and still can’t get her, Ethan and Teeny out of mind.  Disappearing  really is a page turner. I’m looking forward to adding to Room 918’s bookshelves in May.

Leave a comment

Filed under Debut Author Challenge 2013, Reviews

Debut Author Challenge 2013

The Debut Author Challenge is hosted by Hobbitsies. The challenge is to read 12 books by debut authors in 2013. I’m looking forward to discovering new and upcoming authors in 2013. Join me in this exciting challenge.

Here are some titles (and authors) I’m excited about for 2013 (in no particular order):


Title: The Summer Prince

Author: Alaya Dawn Johnson

Publisher: Aythor A. Levine Books

Release Date: March 2013

Summary from Goodreads: The lush city of Palmares Tres shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him (including June’s best friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.
Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Tres will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.

Pulsing with the beat of futuristic Brazil, burning with the passions of its characters, and overflowing with ideas, this fiery novel will leave you eager for more from Alaya Dawn Johnson


Title: The Fire Horse Girl

Author: Kay Honeyman

Publisher: Author A. Levine Books

Release Date: January 2013

Summary from Goodreads: Jade Moon is a Fire Horse — the worst sign in the Chinese zodiac for girls, said to make them stubborn, willful, and far too imaginative. But while her family despairs of marrying her off, she has a passionate heart and powerful dreams, and wants only to find a way to make them come true.

Then a young man named Sterling Promise comes to their village to offer Jade Moon and her father a chance to go to America. While Sterling Promise’s smooth manners couldn’t be more different from her own impulsive nature, Jade Moon falls in love with him on the long voyage. But America in 1923 doesn’t want to admit many Chinese, and when they are detained at Angel Island, the “Ellis Island of the West,” she discovers a betrayal that destroys all her dreams. To get into America, much less survive there, Jade Moon will have to use all her stubbornness and will to break a new path . . . one as brave and dangerous as only a Fire Horse girl can imagine.


Title: The Testing

Author: Joelle Charbonneau

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Release Date: June 4, 2013

Summary from Goodreads:  The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies–trust no one.
But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.


Title: Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1)

Author: Kasie West

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: February 12, 2013

Summary from Goodreads: Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.


Title: The Loop

Author: Shandy Lawson

Publisher: Hyperion

Release Date: April 30, 2013

Summary from Goodreads: Ben and Maggie have met, fallen in love, and died together countless times. Over the course of two pivotal days—both the best and worst of their lives—they struggle again and again to resist the pull of fate and the force of time itself. With each failure, they return to the beginning of their end, a wild road trip that brings them to the scene of their own murders and into the hands of the man destined to kill them.

As time circles back on itself, events become more deeply ingrained, more inescapable for the two kids trapped inside the loop. The closer they come to breaking out, the tighter fate’s clutches seem to grip them. They devise a desperate plan to break free and survive the days ahead, but what if Ben and Maggie’s only shot at not dying is surviving apart?


Title: The Tragedy Paper

Author: Elizabeth LeBan

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Release Date: January 8, 2013

Summary from Goodreads: Tim Macbeth is a 17-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is, “Enter here to be and find a friend.” Tim does not expect to find a friend; all he really wants to do is escape his senior year unnoticed. Despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “it” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim’s surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, and she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone finds out. Tim and Vanessa enter into a clandestine relationship, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

The story unfolds from two alternating viewpoints: Tim, the tragic, love-struck figure, and Duncan, a current senior, who uncovers the truth behind Tim and Vanessa’s story and will consequently produce the greatest Tragedy Paper in Irving’s history.


Title: Crash and Burn

Author: Michael Hassan

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Release Date: February 19, 2013

Summary from Goodreads: Michael Hassan’s shattering debut is a tale of first love and first hate, the story of two high school seniors and the morning that changed their lives forever. It’s a portrait of the modern American teenage male, in all his brash, disillusioned, oversexed, schizophrenic, drunk, nihilistic, hopeful, ADD-diagnosed glory.
And it’s a powerful mediation on how normal it is to be screwed up, and how screwed up it is to be normal.


Title: OCD, The Dude & Me

Author: Lauren  Roedy Vaughn

Publisher: Dial

Release Date: March 2013

Summary from Goodreads: With frizzy orange hair, a plus-sized body, sarcastic demeanor, and “unique learning profile,” Danielle Levine doesn’t fit in even at her alternative high school. While navigating her doomed social life, she writes scathing, self-aware, and sometimes downright raunchy essays for English class. As a result of her unfiltered writing style, she is forced to see the school psychologist and enroll in a “social skills” class. But when she meets Daniel, another social misfit who is obsessed with the cult classic film The Big Lebowski, Danielle’s resolve to keep everyone at arm’s length starts to crumble.


Title: Being David Henry

Author: Cal Armistead

Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen

Release Date: March 1, 2013

Summary from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old “Hank” has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything –who he is, where he came from, why he’s running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or “Hank” and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of–Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead’s remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home.


Title: Severed Heads, Broken Hearts

Author: Robyn Schneider

Publisher: Katherine Tegen

Release Date: June 4, 2013

Summary from Goodreads: Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?


Title: Bruised

Author: Sarah Skilton

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Release Date: March 5, 2013

Summary from Goodreads: When Imogen, a sixteen-year-old black belt in Tae Kwon Do, freezes during a holdup at a local diner, the gunman is shot and killed by the police, and she blames herself for his death. Before the shooting, she believed that her black belt made her stronger than everyone else — more responsible, more capable. But now her sense of self has been challenged and she must rebuild her life, a process that includes redefining her relationship with her family and navigating first love with the boy who was at the diner with her during the shootout. With action, romance, and a complex heroine, Bruised introduces a vibrant new voice to the young adult world — full of dark humor and hard truths.


Title: Taken (Taken #1)

Author: Erin Bowman

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: April 16, 2013

Summary from Erin Bowman’s website:

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?


Title: Reboot (Reboot #1)

Author: Amy Tintera

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: May 7, 2013

Summary form Goodreads: Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.


Can’t wait for 2013! What debut authors have you excited?

1 Comment

Filed under Debut Author Challenge 2013