Friday, August 27, 2010

Life After Mockingjay: Fall Books to Look Out For

Now that arguably the most highly anticipated book of 2010 has been released and, for a large part, devoured, the question turns to... what do we look forward to now? Which upcoming books would be worthy of our high standards for literature?

Luckily, I've read a few fall releases in a range of genres that I'm an evangelist for. Here are some that you should definitely keep an eye on, whether online or in stores in the next few weeks or months:

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
(Little, Brown / Sept. 7, 2010)

One-sentence summary: Bianca Piper feels inadequate next to her beautiful best friends, and so she starts hooking up with Wesley, whom she hates, only to discover that she might not hate him after all.

Why I Love It: I had the extraordinary fortune of reading this back in May, around BEA. I say extraordinary because this book deserves the label: it's edgy, in your face, and sexy in a way that the latest generation of teen readers will respect and appreciate. Definitely not for the innocent and pure, but powerful and relatable to others. Best of all, it comes out real soon!

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
(Little, Brown / Nov. 2, 2010)

One-sentence summary: With her friends' support, Alex approaches the secret student justice society at her prestigious boarding school after she is date-raped.

Why I Love It: Sexual assault awareness and prevention is something I care very deeply about, and Daisy Whitney presents this tough issue in a way that is straightforward and gut-wrenching. I cried throughout, and put the book down at the end with an enormous sense of empowerment and the motivation to go out in the world and make a difference. Now that's what I call powerful.

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / Oct. 18, 2010)

One-sentence summary: Death visits anorexic Lisabeth and informs her that she is the next Famine, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Why I Love It: It has the mythic "vastness" of a fairy tale in its narrative style, with the too-real contemporary issues of eating disorders and body image. This is urban fantasy author Jackie Kessler's first YA book, and her UF skill of weaving a thoroughly convincing alternate world along with the movement of her storytelling is apparent through Hunger. Plus, there's a wise-cracking Death who's like the guy your mother told you you should never date. What's not to like?

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
(Razorbill / Sept. 21, 2010)

One-sentence summary: Mackie Doyle is a changeling who is forced to deal with his "heritage" when his classmate's baby sister dies.

Why I Love It: A fan of Maggie Stiefvater's beautiful writing? Holly Black's dark and crazy imagination? Then you may enjoy Brenna Yovanoff's debut novel. It's not perfect, but I was enthralled by her way with words, and the way she set up Mackie's mindset and the quietly creepy, Tim Burton-esque world that is the town of Gentry. Well worth your time!

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
(Little, Brown / Sept. 7, 2010)

One-sentence summary: Nastasya is an immortal who is tired of her meaningless partying life, and so she goes to a "reform farm" for immortals, where she realizes big things about her past and her future potential to be a good vs. evil immortal.

Why I Love It: I have had paranormal overload for a while now, but this is this genre done right. A snappy, disenchanted, irreverent protagonist; elaborate world-building with flashbacks that are not awkwardly placed in the narrative but that actually contribute to building suspense; and a hot-hot-hot forbidden romance. I devoured this in one sitting. It's not fantastic literature or anything, but I was still duly impressed, and am going to read the second book when it comes out.


Now it's your turn! Have you read any great ARCs you're raving about, or are there are fall titles you're waiting anxiously on?


  1. I just recently read Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, due out this October from Philomel, and loved it. It's fun and fast-paced, with a love triangle that was interesting and made sense. Plus, it was finally a book with real consequences, and had a supporting cast of characters that felt real and that I cared about (finally!) Plus, I still think there are some fresh ideas left to be done with werewolves, and I think this is one of them.

  2. There are two I absolutely loved: Firelight by Sophie Jordan and Matched by Ally Condie. Two of my favourite books of the year!

    Thanks for the list!

  3. <3 The Duff! I think every single one of the others are on my tbr list. Great post! I've heard some fabulous things about The Mockingbirds too. I'm also looking forward to Fixing Delilah.

    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

  4. I'm excited about everything on your list, but I think I want to read THE MOCKINGBIRDS the most.

  5. Great post. I've added all of these books to my TBR pile. I have heard such great things about Mockingbirds- definitely excited to read that one.

  6. Great recs Steph...I read The Duff earlier this year and loved loved loved it!

  7. I havent heard of any of your list! Thanks for that!

    I agree with Prophecygirl MATCHED by Ally Condie!

  8. I want most of these especially The Mockingbirds. I've only read Immortal Beloved but I really loved it too!


  9. That's a great list! I want to read them all, to be honest. But the one that stands out in my mind is The Mockingbirds. That sounds incredible!

  10. I enjoyed The Mockingbirds, The Replacement, and Immortal Beloved. Another fall release I liked is Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon which comes out in September.

  11. I definitely second the recommendation of The Replacement- it was an excellent book!

    I have to admit, most of these books were not ones that struck me as interesting when I first heard about them, but as I've read more and more in the blogosphere about them they definitely sound intriguing. I definitely have book blogs to blame for my TBR list being as vast as it is.

  12. Thanks for the heads-up...I've already read The Replacement and Teh Mockingbirds is sitting on my kitchen table just waiting to be read! I am so looking forward to the DUFF!

  13. I hadnt heard of any on your list so thanks for the highlights.

  14. I now hold you responsible for many additions to my wishlist! ;p Especially Duff : your description completely changed the idea I had of it and now I really want to read it. Thanks!

  15. What a great list of books! I love the cover for The Replacement; it's so deliciously creepy.

  16. Yes, The Duff was FANTASTIC! And I Loved The Replacement as well. I am soooo eager to read The Mockingbirds and you're kind of convincing me to pick up Immortal Beloved.

  17. Great post, Steph! I love your "Why I love it" summarys! I'm definitely reading The Mockingbirds now. I am looking forward to Matched, though I haven't read it yet and definitely I think NIGHTSHADE is an awesome Fall release! Have you read it yet?


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