[Top Ten Tuesday] – #44 – Top Ten Debut Novels For 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. I thought this would be a fun way to share a condensed version of potential rambles and thoughts that I have.


This Week’s Theme:
Top Ten Debut Novels For 2015

Initial Thoughts:

For the purposes of debut novels, the following will be inclusions of an authors initial published work in 2015. This will be a long post due to each books’ synopsis. All images link back to their respective Goodreads.


The Fire Sermon – Francesca Haig (03/10/15)

(I should be done reading this shortly to shoot out a review. The physical ARC I have actually looks like the image below, with grooves and stuff in the cover.)

The Fire Sermon – Francesca Haig (book cover)Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha—physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega—burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: Whenever one twin dies, so does the other.

Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.

Duplicity – N.K. Traver (03/17/15)

(I can perhaps overlook the inclination toward a certain trope because the mirror is obviously an allegorical weirdo.)

n.k. traver - duplicity (cover)In private, seventeen-year-old Brandon hacks bank accounts just for the thrill of it. In public, he looks like any other tattooed bad boy with a fast car and devil-may-care attitude. He should know: he’s worked hard to maintain that façade. With inattentive parents who move constantly from city to city, he’s learned not to get tangled up in things like friends and relationships. So he’ll just keep living like a machine, all gears and wires.

Then two things shatter his carefully-built image: Emma, the kind, stubborn girl who insists on looking beneath the surface – and the small matter of a mirror reflection that starts moving by itself. Not only does Brandon’s reflection have a mind of its own, but it seems to be grooming him for something—washing the dye from his hair, yanking out his piercings, swapping his black shirts for … pastels. Then it tells him: it thinks it can live his life better, and it’s preparing to trade places.

And when it pulls Brandon through the looking-glass, not only will he need all his ill-gotten hacking skills to escape, but he’s going to have to face some hard truths about who he’s become. Otherwise he’ll be stuck in a digital hell until he’s old and gray, and no one will even know he’s gone.

We All Looked Up – Tommy Wallach (03/31/15)

(Sounds like a YA vers. of James Ward Byrkit’s Coherence movie—a great watch. And I guess that’s why I’m intrigued with this book.)

we all looked up - tommy wallach (book cover)Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel.

They always say that high school is the best time of your life.

Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried “they” might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can’t wait to escape Seattle—and her reputation—and perfect-on-paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, doesn’t understand all the fuss about college and career—the future can wait.

Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors—along with the rest of the planet—wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they’re going to spend what remains of the present.

Magonia – Maria Dahyana Headley (04/28/15)

(That moment when covers get you to open up Goodreads.)

magonia - maria dahvana headley (book cover)Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

5-to-1 – Holly Bodger (05/12/15)

(I’m interested to see this premise pulled off in 200 pages, as a standalone with alternating POVs. And diversity = win.)

Holly Bodger - 5 to 1 (cover)In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa, though, doesn’t want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.


The Honest Truth – Dan Gemeinhart (01/27/15)

(There is a dog. I repeat. A dog. …I’m crying already.)

the honest truth - dan gemeinhartIn all the ways that matter, Mark is a normal kid. He’s got a dog named Beau and a best friend, Jessie. He likes to take photos and write haiku poems in his notebook. He dreams of climbing a mountain one day.

But in one important way, Mark is not like other kids at all. Mark is sick. The kind of sick that means hospitals. And treatments. The kind of sick some people never get better from.

So Mark runs away. He leaves home with his camera, his notebook, his dog, and a plan to reach the top of Mount Rainier–even if it’s the last thing he ever does.

The Last Leaves Falling – Sarah Benwell (01/29/15)

(The Internet is forever. Online friends are forever.)

sarah benwell - the last leaves falling (book cover)And these are they. My final moments. They say a warrior must always be mindful of death, but I never imagined that it would find me like this . . .

Japanese teenager, Sora, is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the ancient wisdom of the samurai for guidance and comfort. But he also finds hope in the present; through the internet he finds friends that see him, not just his illness. This is a story of friendship and acceptance, and testing strength in an uncertain future.

None of the Above – I.W. Gregorio (04/07/15)

(I think I’ve only come across transgender commentary on MTV’s Faking It but have never read about it. Maybe one day.)

i.w. gregorio - none of the above (book cover)What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned–something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

Conviction – Kelly Loy Gilbert (05/19/15)

(Simply intriguing.)

conviction - kelly loy gilbert (cover)“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Ten years ago, God gave Braden a sign, a promise that his family wouldn’t fall apart the way he feared.

But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden’s father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in the upcoming trial.

Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four-mile-per-hour pitch al- ready has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.

Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.

More Happy Than Not – Adam Silvera (06/16/15)

(Let me just put this into the Ari & Dante pile of TBR eventually.)

adam silvera - more happy than not (book cover)Happiness shouldn’t be this hard

The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto — miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor or how his friends aren’t always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough.

Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he’s can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.


(As I’m trying to delve into CanLit, I figured I’d throw in some debuts that I found and/or have an ARC for. Finding debut authors under this genre was like the most tedious thing ever.)

Etta and Otto and Russell and James – Emma Hooper (01/29/15)

emma hooper - emma and otto and russell and james (book cover)I’ve gone. I’ve never seen the water, so I’ve gone there. I will try to remember to come back.

Etta’s greatest unfulfilled wish, living in the rolling farmland of Saskatchewan, is to see the sea. And so, at the age of eighty-two she gets up very early one morning, takes a rifle, some chocolate, and her best boots, and begins walking the 2,000 miles to water.

Meanwhile her husband Otto waits patiently at home, left only with his memories. Their neighbour Russell remembers too, but differently – and he still loves Etta as much as he did more than fifty years ago, before she married Otto.

The Merit Birds – Kelley Powell (05/02/15)

the merit birds - kelley powell (cover)Eighteen-year-old Cam Scott is angry. He’s angry about his absent dad, he’s angry about being angry, and he’s angry that he has had to give up his Ottawa basketball team to follow his mom to her new job in Vientiane, Laos. However, Cam’s anger begins to melt under the Southeast Asian sun as he finds friendship with his neighbour, Somchai, and gradually falls in love with Nok, who teaches him about building merit, or karma, by doing good deeds, such as purchasing caged “merit birds.” Tragedy strikes and Cam finds himself falsely accused of a crime. His freedom depends on a person he’s never met. A person who knows that the only way to restore his merit is to confess. “The Merit Birds” blends action and suspense and humour in a far-off land where things seem so different, yet deep down are so much the same.


Not gonna lie—this list was pretty difficult to draft up as most of my anticipated books are from non-debut authors. There must be an art to finding these debut novels that I simply haven’t mastered yet.


29 thoughts on “[Top Ten Tuesday] – #44 – Top Ten Debut Novels For 2015”

  1. Ok this list is great! Thanks for compiling so many debut authors. I’ve been looking for new authors to obsess over and this list looks like an excellent place to start.


  2. A very interesting list – I’ve only heard of a couple of these. I also struggled a bit coming up with debuts – probably because I already have such a lot of series on the go and am always waiting for Nos. 2, 3, etc. – bit like you really!
    Lynn 😀


  3. Wow! These books sound amazing… there are way to many 2015 Debuts that look wonderful… I think I have more than 10! Duplicity sounds so cool.


  4. Oooh, you’re basically done with your ARC of the Fire Sermon! I hadn’t actually heard of it before your post, I don’t know how I missed the hype surround this book that Dreamworks has already optioned (!!), but I’m guessing you liked it enough to it on this list? It sounds really intriguing and I’m loving that cover.

    I kept hearing everyone talk about Magonia but I never bothered to look it up but OH WOW THAT IS A GORGEOUS COVER AND HOLY SHIT NEIL GAIMAN BLURBED IT I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS BOOK NOW. Gaiman’s one of my favourite authors ever, so.

    Really interested in We All Looked Up and Duplicity as well! Duplicity has the coolest cover.

    Yeah, I love the premise of 5 to 1 but 200 pages?? I feel like that’s just way too short. I actually quite like meaty and lengthy books because I really love seeing things fully developed, so I’m not sure about this one. Still, I’ll see when more reviews come out!


    1. Well my “almost done shortly” is still probably a week or two (or more…I remember saying I was almost done Ness’ Monsters of Men and that spanned over 4 months LOLOL). There are so many upcoming books with film options (I only know of Red Queen/ Ember in the Ashes at the moment) that while I’m happy for them…I’m not convinced that they’d be immediate blockbusters. But you know how it is with the teen-market…

      Yeah I was surprised by 5-to-1 being 200 pages but I was citing Goodreads–could be longer though! I’m just thinking that the ideas might not be fleshed out since you could assume that both narrators (unless there are more than 2) have equal opportunity in narrating. So that’s 100ish per character? Seems real short–but I guess we’ll have to see. It’s performing okay so far in the early ARC circuit though so that’s good!


  5. I’ve added some of the books on your list to my TBR. It looks like 2015 will be a great year for new releases.


  6. I have an ARC of Magonia and Fire Sermon somewhere… need to dig them up, because I’ve forgotten about them til now. We All Looked Up, too, looks interesting!


  7. The Fire Sermon should be good. I hope you liked it. The mirror does sound like a weirdo. I don’t know if I like the sounds of that one or not. The mirror world sounds a bit unrealistic for me. (Not as in that couldn’t happen unrealistic, but as in not telling what is real and what isnt’) Magonia and 5 to 1 could be good.


    1. Yeah I’m just curious how much influence this mirror-entity has on the story considering its being predominately shelved in YA/Contemp (on Goodreads at least). Now if its through some mental illness then perhaps I could see it making more sense than a sci-fi/fant actual anthropomorphic…mirror LOL.


  8. Duplicity sounds like something that will turn out to be either really good or a really meh Alice retelling. 5-to-1 looks gorgeous so I (almost) didn’t even care to read the blurb, but diversity!! Now I want it even more.

    I haver read None of the Above and it was prrretty good. And More Happy Than Not is on my tbr too 🙂


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