This week's pick is...
Coming March 8, 2011 - Preorder it below
It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin.
When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their badlands town.
Because 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, no friendship can withstand betrayal.
Have you heard about The Contemps? They're this super cool group of authors (including some of my favorites like Courtney Summers, Sarah Ockler, and Lisa Schroeder) who have contemporary YA novels coming out between August 2010 and August 2011. Newbie Kirsten Hubbard is one of them, and to be including in such great company speaks volumes to me. I love supporting debut authors, and Kirsten's Like Mandarin sounds like a real gem. I have a soft spot for small town girls with big dreams, and Grace sounds like a girl after my own heart.