Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-me authors of 2016

Whoa, it’s been months since I last did a Top Ten Tuesday!  I happened to scroll down while I was preparing a list of my top new (to me) authors of 2016 and saw that I’d flagged this topic as one I absolutely had to do.  What are the chances that the timing would be so perfect?

So, without further ado, here are ten authors (listed alphabetically) that I read for the first time in 2016 and will, without a doubt, continue to read in the future:

  • Melissa Chambers.  I read Chambers’ The Summer Before Forever and was actually pretty surprised to find a young adult book that really delicately handled a romantic relationship between stepsiblings.  I’m really curious to see what she’ll come up with next.
  • Rebekah Crane.  Of all my Kindle First picks, Crane’s The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland is one of my favorites.  A motley crew of teenagers helping each other overcome their problems at a picturesque summer camp?  That’s just my kind of story.
  • Melanie Harlow.  BookBub often alerts me to free erotica, and nine times out of ten, it’s absolutely awful.  Harlow’s Frenched was a great exception to the rule, and I’ve already got an eye out for more of her work.

  • Aaron Hartzler.  When What We Saw came out earlier last year, my Goodreads feed was flooded with positive reviews.  It took awhile for my library to get it, but it was absolutely worth the wait.  Now I am waiting patiently for more of Hartzler’s work to show up.
  • Hazel Kelly.  Kindle Unlimited is a tricky thing.  There’s an awful lot of books available, and an awful lot of them aren’t very good.  But sometimes, you find a really good author whose books are well-written and don’t just feature the same plot over and over with different characters.  Kelly is one of those authors.
  • Robin Roe.  I haven’t yet reviewed Roe’s A List of Cages, but it hit me hard.  This story of a young boy with an abusive uncle and his friend who struggles to help him ripped my heart out.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
  • Tiffany Truitt.  Seven Ways to Lose Your Heart still stands out as one of the cutest (and also sexiest) books I read this year.  I fell in love with the characters and world created by Truitt.
  • Danika Stone.  If you’re looking for a good book about nerd culture, look no further than Stone’s All the Feels.  I have yet to read another book that so clearly captures the level of obsession I can get with a fictional universe.
  • Siobhan Vivian. I read two of Vivian’s books this year and was pleased with both.  The one I particularly liked was her new release, The Last Boy and Girl in the World.  I am so excited to see what she releases next.
  • Francesca Zappia. Saving the absolute best for last, Zappia’s Made You Up is one of my all-time favorite reads.  I absolutely adored the characters that she created, and I loved that we never quite knew whether what was happening was actually the truth.  I have so much respect for her as an author and I know she’s going to go on to do great things.

Which authors, if any, did you fall in love with this year?

   Goodreads   Amazon

I really like books that are real.  And by that, I don’t mean nonfiction or biographies or whatever.  I mean books that show the characters having realistic emotions.  Books where the teenagers don’t talk like they’re fifty years old.  Books where the characters make mistakes and behave realistically (even when that’s not reasonably).  And that’s what we have here.

Finally.  A book about teenagers in which the characters actually act their age.

Aberdeen is going under.  The ground never fully thawed before the spring rains started, so there was nowhere for the water to go.  Homes were destroyed – just washed away with the floods.  The governor is talking about building a dam, relocating the entire town, doing nothing to prevent flooding.  Just letting it happen.

Keeley and her friends have lived in Aberdeen for their entire lives.  Their parents, grandparents, even great-grandparents were born and raised in this small town.  When they hear about the relocation efforts, they don’t really know what to think.  But Keeley’s always been the funny girl, the one who can make light of any situation, the one who makes everybody forget about the bad stuff.  So Keeley feels like she has to keep up that persona.  While her friends are crying, she’s cracking jokes.  She might as well make the most of the time they have left, right?

This attitude causes a lot of problems for Keeley.  Her friends feel like she isn’t taking their problems seriously.  They don’t understand why she’s carrying on like nothing’s changing when literally everything will change in a matter of days.

But her attitude also opens some new doors for her.  Her lifelong crush, Jesse, takes notice.  As one of the biggest jokers in the school, Jesse is known for his pranks and his hilarious videos.  He starts involving Keeley in his plans.  Before long, they’re hanging out one-on-one.  Then they’re dating, sort-of-maybe, in that way that teenagers do.

When I finish reading a book that’s made a big impression on me, I like to scroll through the reviews, both positive and negative, to see what other people thought.  It seems to me that for this book, the overwhelming majority of people who didn’t like it complained about Keeley’s attitude.  It’s funny because that’s one of the things that I liked most about this book.

Keeley’s response to the events in this book could be anybody’s response.  She so clearly does not know how to handle what’s happening that she just defaults to what’s normal for her.  None of these kids have been in this situation before. There’s no handbook for what to do when your town goes underwater. None of them know the right thing to say or do.  They’re all dealing with it in their own way.  I was so happy that these kids acted like kids.  Imagine this book if all these teenagers had known exactly what to say and do – it would have been painfully boring.

I feel like I’ve just done a lot of rambling here about how much I enjoyed this book, but I hope that you’ll take that as a sign that you should read it!

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy!

Final rating: ★★★★☆

April is almost upon us, and there are three books coming out that I’m really excited for!

Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her weed-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. Scarlett never considers what might happen if they were to find out what she truly thinks about them…until a dramatic series of events exposes a very different reality than Scarlett’s stories, forever transforming her approach to relationships—both online and off.

Find it on Goodreads

Dolssa is an upper-crust city girl with a secret lover and an uncanny gift. Branded a heretic, she’s on the run from the friar who condemned her mother to death by fire, and wants Dolssa executed, too.

Botille is a matchmaker and a tavern-keeper, struggling to keep herself and her sisters on the right side of the law in their seaside town of Bajas.

When their lives collide by a dark riverside, Botille rescues a dying Dolssa and conceals her in the tavern, where an unlikely friendship blooms. Aided by her sisters and Symo, her surly but loyal neighbor, Botille nurses Dolssa back to health and hides her from her pursuers. But all of Botille’s tricks, tales, and cleverness can’t protect them forever, and when the full wrath of the Church bears down upon Bajas, Dolssa’s passion and Botille’s good intentions could destroy the entire village. 

Find it on Goodreads

What if your town was sliding underwater and everyone was ordered to pack up and leave? How would you and your friends spend your last days together?

While the adults plan for the future, box up their possessions, and find new places to live, Keeley Hewitt and her friends decide to go out with a bang. There are parties in abandoned houses. Canoe races down Main Street. The goal is to make the most of every minute they still have together.

And for Keeley, that means taking one last shot at the boy she’s loved forever.

There’s a weird sort of bravery that comes from knowing there’s nothing left to lose. You might do things you normally wouldn’t. Or say things you shouldn’t. The reward almost always outweighs the risk.

Almost.

It’s the end of Aberdeen, but the beginning of Keeley’s first love story. It just might not turn out the way she thought. Because it’s not always clear what’s worth fighting for and what you should let become a memory.

Find it on Goodreads

What are you excited to read next month?