The January 2013 Anticipated YA Debuts

Did you read my post yesterday about my own debut experience and how much I like celebrating other writers’ debuts? If you did, then you know what this post is! I’m excited to share the two January 2013 Anticipated YA Debuts I’ll be featuring here on distraction no. 99 this month. This is a happy accident, but I like the way these two books connect visually, cover-wise… Here are the two YA debut novels I want to run out to the nearest indie bookstore to buy this month:


Coming January 15…


Uses for Boys

The story:

Anna remembers a time before boys, when she was little and everything made sense. When she and her mom were a family, just the two of them against the world. But now her mom is gone most of the time, chasing the next marriage, bringing home the next stepfather. Anna is left on her own—until she discovers that she can make boys her family. From Desmond to Joey, Todd to Sam, Anna learns that if you give boys what they want, you can get what you need. But the price is high—the other kids make fun of her; the girls call her a slut. Anna’s new friend, Toy, seems to have found a way around the loneliness, but Toy has her own secrets that even Anna can’t know.

Then comes Sam. When Anna actually meets a boy who is more than just useful, whose family eats dinner together, laughs, and tells stories, the truth about love becomes clear. And she finally learns how it feels to have something to lose—and something to offer. Real, shocking, uplifting, and stunningly lyrical, Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt is a story of breaking down and growing up.

The opening lines:

In the happy times, in the tell-me-again times, when I’m seven and there are no stepbrothers and it’s before the stepfathers, my mom lets me sleep in her bed.

Her bed is a raft on the ocean. It’s a cloud, a forest, a spaceship, a cocoon we share. I stretch out big as I can, a five-pointed star, and she bundles me back up in her arms. When I wake I’m tangled in her hair.

What people are saying:

“I wish every young woman could gain the wisdom found in these pages. Quiet. Stark. Possibly life changing.”—Ellen Hopkins

“Like its narrator, Uses for Boys is poetic, sensual, edgy and strong. Captivated, I finished it in two sittings and sobbed at the end.”—Francesca Lia Block

“If somebody had handed me this book when I was fifteen, I would have felt 75% less alone and 100% less crazy.”—Pam Houston

The trailer:

(The trailer for Uses for Boys was created by three teenage filmmakers: Julia Retzlaff, a sophomore; Tiffany Robinson a senior; and Evatt Carrodus an 8th grader. All three were alumni of TILT, the Youth Program of the Ninth Street Independent Film Center in San Francisco and were mentored by TILT Media Arts Educator, Kapi’olani Lee.)

The author:

Erica Lorraine Scheidt @ericalorraine

Visit her online at

Uses for Boys comes out on January 15 from St. Martin’s Griffin! Preorder or add to your shelf on Goodreads.

Coming January 29…


Nobody But Us

The story:

When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough.

Will: Maybe I’m too late. Maybe Zoe’s dad stole all her fifteen years and taught her to be scared. I’ll undo it. Help her learn to be strong again, and brave. Not that I’m any kind of example, but we can learn together.

Zoe: Maybe it’ll take Will years to comes to terms with being abandoned. Maybe it’ll take forever. I’ll stay with him no matter how long it takes to prove that people don’t always leave, don’t always give up on you.

Nobody But Us, told in alternating perspectives from Will and Zoe, is an unflinching novel, in turns heartbreaking and hopeful, about survival, choices, and love…and how having love doesn’t always mean that you get a happy ending. Described as “beautiful, heartbreaking, and exhilarating” by Kody Keplinger, author of The DUFF, Nobody But Us will prove irresistible to fans of Nina Lacour, Jenny Han, and Sara Zarr.

The opening lines:

He comes down the road in his Camaro, sliding left to right on the freshly oiled gravel and skidding to a stop in front of my house. He’s driving so fast that I’m sure my dad is going to rouse from his drunken stupor and catch me before I can get out of the house.

What people are saying:

“How do we love and what are the consequences? Kristin Halbrook paints an edgy and vivid portrait of two troubled teens on the run. This is a gracefully written, thought-provoking and absorbing debut. . . . I haven’t read a love story quite like it before, honestly.”—Courtney Summers

“Beautiful, heartbreaking, and exhilarating—Nobody but Us will have you holding your breath until the very last page.”—Kody Keplinger

“An achingly believable love story about two teens outrunning a society that has failed them, hoping the lights at the end of the highway aren’t just a mirage. Tense, lyrical, and heartbreaking; the kind of book that lingers a long time.”—Kirsten Hubbard

The author:

Kristin Halbrook @kristinhalbrook

Visit her online at

Nobody But Us comes out on January 29 from HarperTeen! Preorder or add to your shelf on Goodreads.

There you have it: The 2013 YA Anticipated Debuts for January. Stay tuned this month for more from the authors and chances to win these books!

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