Friday, June 25, 2010

Eagerly Awaiting: LIKE MANDARIN

I mentioned in my last post that I was planning to write about great future YA finds every few weeks. But . . . I lied. Not intentionally, though. I would never deliberately mislead you, Dear Readers. This misstatement was only because I had no way of knowing all the fantastic upcoming titles I was going to discover while meeting other YA authors through Twitter and the fabulous “Elevensies” 2011 Debut Authors group ( So I couldn’t let another Friday go by without mentioning the latest title I’m eagerly anticipating, which is: Kirsten Hubbard’s debut novel, LIKE MANDARIN.

Kirsten is a fellow Random House/Delacorte author, and her book will be published in March 2011.

I’ve blogged (and tweeted) about the importance of covers, and this one really does its job. I love that the image shows only half of the  face and that she’s giving us an intense but wounded stare. I can tell  that this story is going to be nuanced and emotional, and that’s the experience I’m always hoping for when I open a book. I’m also captivated by the synopsis (taken from Kirsten’s website at

I want to be beautiful like you, I thought, as if Mandarin were listening.

I want apricot skin and Pocahontas hair and eyes the color of tea. I want to be confident and detached and effortlessly sensual, and if promiscuity is part of the package, I will gladly follow your lead. All I know is I'm so tired of being inside my body.

I would give anything to be like Mandarin.

(Excuse me for interrupting, but how gorgeous is that writing? Okay, let’s go on…)

It's hard to find beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming. Fourteen-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances and pickup trucks adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild girl Mandarin Ramey: seventeen, shameless and utterly carefree.

Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin.

When the misfits are united for a project, they embark on an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and constantly searching for someplace magic. Grace even plays along when Mandarin suggests they make a pact to run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds that plague their badlands town.

But all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, even the best friendships can't withstand betrayal.

Add this one to your list, Dear Readers. LIKE MANDARIN sounds as if it's going to be a great work of realistic YA favorite genre!