The April 2013 Anticipated YA Debuts


It’s the first day of the month, April 1 to be exact, which means it’s time to reveal what two April YA debuts I’m excited to read and want to share with you… But first: a little mention about the future of this blog.

Soon I’ll be taking a step back from blogging features like this—and I’ll let you know more about my creative cocooning before I vanish entirely for a long, extended season—but in the meantime, April is the last month this year that I’ll be featuring two YA debut novelists in my YA Anticipated Debuts series! Don’t you want to know the last two books I’ll be featuring?

Coming April 2…


BlackbirdsCoverFinalThe story:

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

The opening lines:

I stepped inside the railroad car, and three dozen pairs of eyes peered my way. Gauze masks concealed the passengers’ mouths and noses. The train smelled of my own mask’s cotton, boiling onions, and a whiff of something clammy and sour I took to be fear.

Keep moving, I told myself.

What people are saying:

“Words like ‘unputdownable’ and ‘irresistible’ are simply not enough for Cat Winters’s In the Shadow of Blackbirds. Days after finishing this story, it remains the first thought I have in the morning, and the thing that haunts me until I sleep.” —Lauren DeStefano

“Cat Winters deftly captures the darkness and the light of human nature… This dark and startling story lingers long after the final page.” —Saundra Mitchell

“In the Shadow of Blackbirds bundles everything in a spookily atmospheric and almost otherworldly early-twentieth-century San Diego. From the first page, I was captivated by Mary Shelley Black…” —Katherine Longshore

The author:

Cat Winters @catwinters

Visit her online at

In the Shadow of Blackbirds comes out on April 2 from Amulet Books! Pre-order or add to your shelf on Goodreads.

Coming April 16…


TakenThe story:

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?

The opening lines:

Today is the last day I will see my brother.

I should be spending these remaining hours with him but instead I’m in the meadow, watching a crow pick at the carcass of a half-eaten deer. The bird is a filthy thing: slick black feathers, a beak of oiled bone. I could wring its neck if I wanted, sneak up on it and crack its frail frame between my palms before it even heard me coming. It doesn’t matter though. Crushing the life from the bird’s small body won’t save my brother. Blaine’s been damned since the day he was born.

Just like me. Just like all the boys in Claysoot.

What people are saying:

“An action-packed thrill ride from beginning to end. I devoured this in one sitting and might have gnawed a nail or two off from all the excitement. More, please!” —Marie Lu

“A suspenseful trek. Readers will eagerly await the next installment!” —Kirkus Reviews

The author:

Erin Bowman @erin_bowman

Visit her online at

Taken comes out on April 16 from HarperTeen! Pre-order or add to your shelf on Goodreads.

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

3 responses to “The April 2013 Anticipated YA Debuts”

  1. xdanigirl says:

    Sigh.. There goes my next paycheck… Lol. Thank you for these great suggestions!! I’m sad that you won’t do more though! I will have to check out older ones for more suggestions!

  2. I’ve read both and I love both. Brilliant last pics, Nova.

  3. I have to say that In the Shadow of the Blackbirds has an incredibly scary cover to me. But I’ve been reading more about it and seeing reviews, and I must admit that I’m very intrigued. It sounds like an interesting story.

    As for Taken, I’m super happy that it’s being featured on your blog! I am VERY excited to finally read Erin’s book, as I’ve been anticipating it for quite a while now. From what I’ve read via her blog tour thus far, it sounds SO GOOD.

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