What I’m Reading: May 2013 YA New Releases

The S-Word  by Chelsea Pitcher

the s-word

First it was SLUT scribbled all over Lizzie Hart’s locker.

But one week after Lizzie kills herself, SUICIDE SLUT replaces it—in Lizzie’s looping scrawl.

Lizzie’s reputation is destroyed when she’s caught in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, Lizzie takes her own life. But someone isn’t letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie’s diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn’t deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, Angie’s own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out.

Debut author Chelsea Pitcher daringly depicts the harsh reality of modern high schools, where one bad decision can ruin a reputation, and one cruel word can ruin a life. Angie’s quest for the truth behind Lizzie’s suicide is addictive and thrilling, and her razor-sharp wit and fierce sleuthing skills makes her impossible not to root for—even when it becomes clear that both avenging Lizzie and avoiding self-destruction might not be possible.

I’ve read some not so great early reviews of this, but I’m still intrigued enough to check it out for myself. I volunteer at my local domestic violence shelter and have been developing a list of books about teens and sexuality for our teen dating violence prevention program. If only for that reason, I’m trying to read a majority of books about teenage sexuality.

Transparent  by Natalie Whipple


Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.
Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

This one just sounds fun. I’ve got Invisibility by David Levithan and Andrea Cremer which has a similar premise, but from what I’ve seen of Natalie Whipple’s writing style from her blog and Twitter have made me think I’ll enjoy her style and like it better.

Wild Awake  by Hilary T. Smith

wild awake

Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:

1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen:

1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy.

I’ve also been reading Hilary T. Smith’s blog since she was The Intern, and wow, does she have VOICE. I’ve seen great advance buzz about this book and really hope I love it too!

Criminal  by Terra Elan McAvoy


A searing and gripping read that explores the depths of desperation true love can inspire, from the author of Being Friends with Boys.

Nikki’s life is far from perfect, but at least she has Dee. Her friends tell her that Dee is no good, but Nikki can’t imagine herself without him. He’s hot, he’s dangerous, he has her initials tattooed over his heart, and she loves him more than anything. There’s nothing Nikki wouldn’t do for Dee. Absolutely nothing.

So when Dee pulls Nikki into a crime—a crime that ends in murder—Nikki tells herself that it’s all for true love. Nothing can break them apart. Not the police. Not the arrest that lands Nikki in jail. Not even the investigators who want her to testify against him.

But what if Dee had motives that Nikki knew nothing about? Nikki’s love for Dee is supposed to be unconditional…but even true love has a limit. And Nikki just might have reached hers.

Terra Elan McVoy’s previous novels have been kind of cutesy (I thought Friends with Boys was a sweet romance and a great story about a girl pursuing her own interests—full review here) so I’m interested in how she handles a grittier subject.

The 5th Wave  by Rick Yancey


After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Yancey is an author I’ve been meaning to check out. I’ve heard awesome early buzz about this and OMG aliens.

Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia  by Jenny Torres Sanchez


Frenchie Garcia can’t come to grips with the death of Andy Cooper. Her friends didn’t know she had a crush him. And they don’t know she was the last person with him before he committed suicide. But Frenchie’s biggest concern is how she blindly helped him die that night.

Frenchie’s already insane obsession with death and Emily Dickinson won’t help her understand the role she played during Andy’s “one night of adventure.” But when she meets Colin, she may have found the perfect opportunity to recreate that night. While exploring the emotional depth of loss and transition to adulthood, Sanchez’s sharp humor and clever observations bring forth a richly developed voice.

So this reminds me of Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets and I am all about sharp humor, cleverness, and voice. Plus, that graphic cover is AMAZING. And the title has ALLITERATION.

Winger  by Andrew Smith


Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn infographics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.

So boarding school books are not ever going to go away, so I might as well embrace them. And this doesn’t sound like a typical one and A. S. King said it was fabulous.


I could probably spend the whole month reading and still not get through all the new releases. I also have a new Sarah Ockler and a new Jessi Kirby. Summer reading is going to be fun this year!

What May releases are you looking forward to? 

2 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: May 2013 YA New Releases

  1. That graphic cover IS amazing, and I hadn’t heard of that book until your post. Also, Winger, though I actually like boarding school books and if A.S. King said it was good, it must be. (but I didn’t really like Smith’s earlier book The Marbury Lens) Your “OMG ALIENS” line made me laugh because it is exactly right. Even after reading a few reviews of The 5th Wave, I feel like most of what I know about it is that it is riveting, there are tons of POVs and OMG ALIENS.

    1. Glad I could get the word out about it! That’s why I do these kind of posts — mostly to force myself to sit down and plan my reading and put books on people’s radars. I’ve only started Winger, but it is so different from The Marbury Lens I almost couldn’t believe it was the same author and just thought it was a common name until I double checked. Yes, OMG ALIENS. Why are there not more alien books in YA fiction?

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