To celebrate, here's three mini-reviews of books by YA authors that debuted in 2008. To be balanced, two are girly and one is aimed at boys.
By Kathryn Williams
Annie McRae's family moves to Alabama at the start of her senior year. Not only does she have to make friends all over again, but she probably won't get a field hockey scholarship and be able to attend Brown University. Her grandmother will help out - if she becomes a debutante.
I understood how much the move upset Annie. It's tough at any time, much less in a year when you were just expecting to coast. I was exasperated with her at points. Yes, being a deb is a little silly and way expensive, but there are a ton of girls (including one of her friends) who would really enjoy doing it. She makes it out to be the end of the world when all her grandmother wants her to do is learn manners and attend parties in a pretty dress.
Though my sympathy for Annie varies, it's still a cute, fun book. There's a romance (of course) and any romance is improved by a Southern gentleman.
Bringing the Boy Home
By N. A. Nelson
Tirio was adopted from the Takunami tribe as a young boy, after his mother left him to die due to his disability, a club foot. Adopted by an American anthropologist, he was raised with excellent medical care and love. Now that his thirteenth birthday is coming, he wants to return to the Amazon and become a man of the tribe. In a parallel story, a boy of the tribe is preparing for his own soche sente tente.
N. A. Nelson manages to pull off a clever twist in the story about what you think is happening. I thought I saw the direction the two stories were moving in and completely missed the mark. I do love surprises (even if I could tell the orthodics would be important). Nelson creates an interesting culture, to the point where I wondered if the Takunami were real. (She confirms in her author's note that they're made up.)
BRINGING THE BOY HOME is written for middle grade readers, but some older teens will probably enjoy it. It's a well-paced adventure story, perfect for a boring day. It doesn't hurt that it addresses several identity issues.)
La Petite Four
By Regina Scott
Emily, Priscilla, Ariadne and Daphne know exactly how the ball that will present them to Society will go, and they have a number of plans for the Season. Unfortunately, Lord Robert announces his intention to marry Emily, making him an obstacle to the girls' debut. They set out to prove he's no good.
What follows is a charming, light mystery. The girls do little detecting; most of that is left to James Cooper, Emily's real love interest. And despite the title, this is really Emily's story. The other girls could be fleshed out quite a bit more. The story is fun enough, but it has the potential for more substance. (And I'll just plug the blog Scott co-authors with Marissa Doyle because I like it that much.)