The Debut Dish: Lori Goldstein (+ giveaway), Sarah Benwell, Holly Bodger (+ giveaway), and Sona Charaipotra (+ giveaway)

Posted May 3, 2015 by Jana in Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway / 5 Comments

The Debut Dish, a Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?


Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein
April 21, 2015 from Feiwel and Friends
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Modern spin on genies.

Why should readers pick up your book?
It’s no secret that life can kick us all in the tush, right? I think one of the best things about reading is the ability to escape into another world, but especially when it’s a familiar world. Becoming Jinn is a contemporary fantasy, meaning the magic is grounded in the world we live in. It’s the best kind of “what-if” to me because you can read and think “maybe…just maybe this could really happen.” I love that.

Personally, I’m always looking for humor in books. While there’s loss and longing and deeper themes about what it means to be a part of a family and to live up to expectations and responsibilities, Becoming Jinn explores it all while still hoping to make readers smile and laugh.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The people. Which sounds cliché, right? But it’s completely true. From the readers who love my characters as much as I do to the bloggers who are so supportive and make this all incredibly fun and rewarding to my fellow authors, especially the debuts. This writing community is generous, inclusive, and welcoming. Every day I feel lucky to be a part of it.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Junior mints. I’m a sucker for the combination of chocolate and mint. Mint chocolate chip ice cream, peppermint patties, bring it. Strangely, I don’t like mint flavor on its own. But combine it with chocolate…ah, my “one food I’d bring to a dessert island” answer.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I don’t know because I rarely sit at it. I’m a laptop and the couch kind of girl. Thankfully my job lets me work from home!

Fun event opportunity!

Lori and some of the other Freshman Fifteens are turning the month of May into a fun spring break tour, hitting bookstores and libraries along their way from New York City to New Hampshire. Four authors (Jen Brooks, Lori Goldstein, Lee Kelly, and sophomore advisor Trisha Leaver), three launch parties, 11 locations, and a ton of fun! Click here to see their schedule, and make sure you go visit them! Please say hi for me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell
May 5, 2015 from Simon & Schuster BFY/January 29, 2015 from Random House UK
Add to Goodreads | Author Twitter

And these are they. My final moments. They say a warrior must always be mindful of death, but I never imagined that it would find me like this…

Japanese teenager, Sora, is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the ancient wisdom of the samurai for guidance and comfort. But he also finds hope in the present; through the internet he finds friends that see him, not just his illness. This is a story of friendship and acceptance, and testing strength in an uncertain future.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Teenager boy faces his mortality.

Why should readers pick up your book?
It asks difficult questions: what’s the value of life, of dreams, of choice. And it (I hope) allows readers the space to find their own answers.

Also, it *might* give you the feels. >:D

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Getting to share my stories – my characters, their worlds, and things which I really care about – with readers. It’s just about the greatest privilege I can think of.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
I only ever get pick ‘n’ mix when I’m at the cinema, and OMG, those watermelon slices! <3

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Without context, the stack of death certificates is pretty odd, I guess. That, or the Lego meditation balls.


5 to 1 by Holly Bodger
May 12, 2015 from Knopf Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa, though, doesn’t want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view-Sudasa’s in verse and Kiran’s in prose-allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.

Describe your book in five words or less. 
Gender selection gone wrong.

Why should readers pick up your book?
It’s unique because it’s set in futuristic India but also because it’s half verse, half prose.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The fans! Seriously, I am a small-town Canadian girl so when someone from another country gets excited about my book, it totally freaks me out!

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Glosette’s Raisins. I could eat them by the truckload (just ask my butt).

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A note about my WIP that says “food get to KG kitchen”. I have no idea what it means but have kept it because I’m hoping to remember eventually.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
May 26, 2015 from HarperTeen
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.

Note from Jana: While Tiny Pretty Liars was co-written by two 2016 debut novelists, Sona is here to answer the Debut Dish questions.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Mean Girls at ballet school.

Why should readers pick up your book?
It’s delicious, it’s diverse, and it’s a world very few people get a peek at.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Meeting all these other awesome writers!

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Twizzlers!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Sandbox (complete with pail and shells) for those days I wish I was at the beach instead.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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5 responses to “The Debut Dish: Lori Goldstein (+ giveaway), Sarah Benwell, Holly Bodger (+ giveaway), and Sona Charaipotra (+ giveaway)

  1. I have recently been reading more stories based around Jinn, so I am definitely excited to read Becoming Jinn.

    As to Tiny Pretty Things, I have also loved the ballet, so this a natural to want to read.
    Layla recently posted…I Am Her Revenge