Debut authors pop up every year, and out of the new crop, there are always several that stand out among the rest. In 2011, that author was undoubtedly Veronica Roth with her YA dystopian “Divergent” that rivals “The Hunger Games”with intensity and grit. This list details the Best 2012 YA Debut Authors (so far) that made an impact with their first novel, and for some, the sequels are geared up for a 2013 release.

Veronica Rossi, “Under the Never Sky”

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Rossi created two polarizing worlds — one magical, the other primitive — and placed fierce, unyielding characters within each in this dystopian debut. What starts as a fish-out-of-water story soon turns into one of pure determination, will of heart and survival. In January, Rossi shared the tale of Perry and Aria with readers across twenty international markets, and it still tops my must-reads of the year.

What’s Next: Besides being optioned for film by Warner Bros., the sequel “Through the Ever Night” releases in January 8th 2013 by Harper Collins.

Leigh Bardugo, “Shadow and Bone”

A remarkable fantasy, Bardugo doesn’t censor the dark elements (body-slicing, anyone?)  in order to construct an original YA novel in a market of many copycats. Bardugo’s villains are the perfect combination of sinister and seductive.

What’s Next: Book 2 “Siege and Storm” will release sometime in 2013 by Henry Holt and Co..

Wendy Higgins, “Sweet Evil”

When angels and demons have been sadly overdone in the past three years, Higgins managed to put a fresh twist on a trite concept. Set in southern Georgia, “Sweet Evil” will have you giggling with each page. I ranked it as a perfect fit for a television series, and it definitely deserves the number one spot on that list.

What’s Next: The sequel “Sweet Hope” is still in consideration for publication by HarperTeen. It’s crazy to think a series this good needs to be considered, but with fan support, hopefully it’ll see a release date soon.

Kristen Simmons, “Article 5″

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The realistic underbelly of “Article 5” is what makes this dystopian tale a haunting read and incredibly engaging. The high-stakes and seemingly impossible escape for the heroine brings forth a tone similar to filmsMidnight Express” and “Full Metal Jacket.” Simmons’ debut solidified her place within the YA community as a true dystopian force.

What’s Next: The sequel “Breaking Point” will release February 5th 2013 by Tor Teen.

Other notable 2012 debut authors

Brigid Kemmerer, “Storm” — Hot boys, cool powers and crazily addictive writing. The sequel “Spark” just released in August 28th 2012 by K-Teen.

A.C. Gaughen, “Scarlet” — Gaughen puts a spin on the classic tale of Robin Hood with a female version of Will Scarlet, and she captures the merry gang’s essence with ease.

Jodi Meadows, “Incarnate” — A world in where reincarnation exists, Meadows’ debut is not just a pretty cover. It has all the makings for a great start: dragons, slyph and people who live to be 5,000 years old.

What debut sequels are you looking forward to? Share your own 2012 Debut Author list in the comments!

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Becca Ritchie