The Debut Dish: Tanaz Bhathena, T.E. Carter, Tomi Adeyemi, & Brenda Rufener (+ Giveaways)

Posted February 25, 2018 by Jana in Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway / 7 Comments

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly 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?

This issue of The Debut Dish features Tanaz Bhathena (A Girl Like That), T.E. Carter (I Stop Somewhere), Tomi Adeyemi (Children of Blood and Bone), and Brenda Rufener (Where I Live).


A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena
February 27, 2018 from Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved.

Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school.  You don’t want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.

This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers. It tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion, and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Jeddah: Girl dies. Chaos ensues.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
The very first one, where my main character, Zarin, is dead and looking down at the scene of her accident. That scene hasn’t really changed since I first wrote it in 2006.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was eating pizza and wallowing over a short story getting rejected.

What’s your favorite junk food?
I can’t resist chocolate!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A measuring tape. And I have no idea why I put it there!


I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter
February 27, 2018 from Feiwel & Friends (USA)
April 19, 2018 from Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim, and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

TE Carter’s stirring and visceral debut not only discusses and dismantles rape culture, but it also reminds us what it is to be human.

Describe your book in five words or less.
We need to believe girls.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Strangely, my favorite is actually a moment where the main character stops and observes the daily routines around her at school. She talks about how everyone interacts, but doesn’t realize it, and I like that. I like the recognition of how we affect each other without realizing it.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at home. I wish I had a more exciting story!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Probably vegan chocolate chip cookies from Whole Foods

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
The WoW game collection.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
March 6, 2018 from Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Describe your book in five words or less.
African: The Last Airbender (or “Black Girl Magic!”)

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I know you’re only supposed to have one favorite, but I have a few! Though if I really had to narrow it down and not give away any spoilers, there’s one scene at the end of the book that just gets me riled up, excited, and cheering every single time (which means something since I’ve read my book 100+ times lol). It features a character named Amari!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was actually in Hawaii! My boyfriend’s grandmother had a timeshare that she couldn’t use, so she asked us if we wanted it (and of course we were like “yeah!”) I’m surprised no one called the police or at least sent someone to check on us because I was screaming and sobbing very loudly (lol).

What’s your favorite junk food?
Pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza. I spent most of my childhood eating pizza every single day. As an adult I’m trying not to eat it every single day (but the struggle is real).

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I have friends that bring me cool trinkets for my desk when I’m writing, so I have a little copper owl from Greece, a decorated, heart-shaped rock from Tanzania, and a glass turtle from Hawaii!


Where I Live by Brenda Rufener
February 27, 2018 from HarperTeen
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Linden Rose has a big secret–she is homeless and living in the halls of her small-town high school. Her position as school blog editor, her best friends, Ham and Seung, and the promise of a future far away are what keep Linden under the radar and moving forward.

But when cool-girl Bea comes to school with a bloody lip, the damage hits too close to home. Linden begins looking at Bea’s life, and soon her investigation prompts people to pay more attention. And attention is the last thing she needs.

Linden knows the only way to put a stop to the violence is to tell Bea’s story and come to terms with her own painful past. Even if that means breaking her rules for survival and jeopardizing the secrets she’s worked so hard to keep.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Homeless teen lives at school.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There’s a scene in WIL where Linden and her friend, Seung, get ready for homecoming. Seung’s mother does Linden’s hair and the moment evokes emotions Linden has carefully stuffed away. When she feels the tender touch of a mother, she can’t help but think about her own. The moment has always tugged at (okay, yanked) my heartstrings.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In my home office. My agent called and said we had two offers at the same pub house. There were lots of tears after the call and a lot of trembling during.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Is cheese a junk food? If so, it’s my favorite. But it has to be good cheese, not large blocks of yellow cheddar. Aged, white, and the sharpest of sharps.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A small bottle of vitamin D*. Think I need to venture outside more.

*Obviously, I’m not eating nearly enough cheese.

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7 responses to “The Debut Dish: Tanaz Bhathena, T.E. Carter, Tomi Adeyemi, & Brenda Rufener (+ Giveaways)

  1. Danielle Hammelef

    Both of these books promise raw, emotional writing which is my favorite to read. I am excited to read about a homeless character in high school as well as one that has to find the courage to speak out.

  2. John Smith

    “Why are you excited to read I Stop Somewhere?” Sounds like an interesting read, although the subject matter is very serious.

    “Why are you excited to read Where I Live?” It sounds like an unusual tale about homelessness!

  3. Sandy

    You just brought I Stop Somewhere? to my radar and I need to read this. Why? I love how she wants to be invisible but struggles with remaining so. There is that internal fight. She knows she can’t remain silent but she doesn’t want the spotlight. Sounds fantastic.

    I’ve had Where I Live on my radar for a while. I think this novel sounds feasible. I really want to know all the secrets the book has.

    Thanks for the reviews and the giveaways.