Just in case you aren't aware Alyssa at The Shady Glade organized a debut novel book battle this spring. For all the details check out Alyssa's Introduction Post.
As one of the round 4 judges I read two book The Iron King by Julie Kagawa and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Needless to say it was a very difficult decision to choose between these phenomenal debut novels. Both have uniquely original plots, but being from different genres (fantasy vs contemporary fiction) made a decision much harder. While I love Kagawa evocative and poetic prose, and characters, Oliver's realistic setting and authentic YA issues are very appealing too. I did feel that Samatha's character growth in Before I Fall was much more dynamic than Meghan's was in The Iron King. Finally, my
judging partner, Elizabeth from Thinking of Thinking, and I both felt that Before I Fall has a stronger, more compelling message than Iron King .
So Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver will go on the round 5.