2012 doesn’t look like it’s going to be a slow year for debut novels at all, and once again, March offers up a host of books written by first-time authors, spanning every genre. There’s a lot to get excited about, and if you do read something written by a debut author this month or this year, don’t forget to take the time and suggest it for the committee to consider for YALSA’s William C Morris Award.
Meredith Zeitlin’s Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters (Penguin/Putnam, 9780399254239) follows 14-year-old New York City girl Kelsey as she begins her freshman year in high school. She’s got dreams that are way bigger than her bank account and her closet, and while she sees starting high school as an opportunity to finally become the girl she’s always wanted to be, her plans are ruined time and time again. The book sounds like it’s a funny one and a good pick for younger teens, and the description says fans of Meg Cabot and Lauren Myracle will enjoy this read.
It seems like tackling the topic of cancer is a trend this year–see John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and Megan Bostic’s Never Eighteen–and now, Jesse Andrews offers one up in his debut Me & Earl & The Dying Girl (Abrams/Amulet, 9781419701764). Greg’s a film maker. Well, he was a film maker until he decided he’s made his last film and now, he’s writing this book. He doesn’t want to, but he is. Greg’s self-deprecation is funny, but it’s ultimately his way of dealing with the fact his mom has made him befriend a girl named Rachel that he knew from church back in the day. The thing is, Rachel’s got cancer, and Greg’s mom believes that by making him befriend her, her days will be a little easier. While he’s reluctant to forge a relationship, he does, and the pay off is much different than he expects–which is why he’s writing the book and why he gave up film making in the first place. Andrews’s debut is funny, and while it tackles a heavy and tough topic, it’s never maudlin.