Young Adult has a special place in my heart, and while this year has been a little shy of phenomenons like “Twilight,” “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent,” there have been so many great books and plenty of success stories. The best come from debut authors who let their first book drift into the big open sea for the very first time, hoping that many readers would nibble. And nibble, we did.

I want to stress that I have not read books from all of these authors. They were chosen based on ratings, reviews, overall hype and popularity. Feel free to leave a comment if I missed your favorite debut author of the year! And weigh in by voting on the poll below.

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Here we go (in alphabetical order)…

A.G. Howard (Splintered series): Not only does Howard interact with each of her fans via Twitter like a champ, her debut “Splintered” captured the essence of a tale we all know and love — “Alice in Wonderland.” She weaves prose like lines of poetry, so beautiful and vivid that you’ll feel lost inside wonderland with Alyssa. The sequel “Unhinged” releases January 7th, 2014 by Amulet.

Amy Tintera (Reboot series): Highly rated and well-received, Tintera’s debut “Reboot” brings a whole new take on zombies. But what sets Tintera apart are her dynamically crafted characters that you’ll quickly fall in love with — because at the heart of every dystopian are the people we’re rooting for. The sequel “Rebel” will release May 13th, 2014 by HarperTeen. Read my review.

Cristin Terrill (All Our Yesterdays series): Terrill’s debut “All Our Yesterdays” was one of the most hyped books of the year. Bloggers raved about Terrill’s science fiction world that made time travel seem effortless and alluring, and even the most critical of my blogger friends gave high praise to the execution of “All Our Yesterdays,” and pleasing some of the harshest reviewers is a feat that does not go unnoticed. The untitled sequel is said to release August 14th, 2014.

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Kasie West (Pivot Point series, “The Distance Between Us”): An author who has stamped her mark in two genres, Kasie West has proved to be a powerhouse writer. And she’s not going anywhere. She debuted with “Pivot Point” — a science fiction that explores parallel realities — and then released “The Distance Between Us” — a romance about the economic divide between a girl and a boy. Much like “Pretty in Pink.” What makes West such a phenomenal writer is her quick wit with each character. You gobble up one of West’s books, and you’ll soon want another. The sequel to “Pivot Point” (“Split Second”) releases February 11th, 2014 by HarperTeen. Read my review of “Pivot Point” and “The Distance Between Us.” 

Megan Shepherd (The Madman’s Daughter series): Shepherd re-imagines Frankenstein’s monster by creating a super spooky and eerie setting while mixing in mystery and intrigue. What makes Shepherd’s debut so great: the steamy romance that’s sexy for not only YA but historical. And the twists and turns in each gothic corner will leave you utterly satisfied. The sequel “Her Dark Curiosity” releases January 28th, 2014 by Balzer+Bray. Read my review.

Now it’s your chance to weigh in! Take the poll below.

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— Becca Ritchie