Deb Class of 2012

Debutante Joanne Levy

2012 Debutante Joanne Levy

Joanne Levy’s love of books began at a very early age.  Being the youngest and the only female among four children, she was often left to her own devices and could frequently be found sitting in a quiet corner with her nose in a book.

After much teenage misadventure, Joanne eventually graduated from university and now spends her weekdays as an executive assistant at one of Canada’s big banks planning meetings and thwarting coffee emergencies.  When Joanne isn’t working, she can usually be found at her computer, channeling her younger self into books.

Joanne still lives in Ontario with her husband and kids of the furred and feathered variety.


Joanne’s Debutante Ball posts
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Email Joanne at joanne (at) thedebutanteball (dot) com

Small Medium at Large
(MG, July 2012, Bloomsbury Kids)


Lilah Bloom hears dead people. And boy, are they annoying!  After she’s hit by lightning at a wedding, twelve-year-old Lilah Bloom develops a new talent: she hears dead people. Among them, there’s her over-opinionated Bubby Dora; a comically prissy fashion designer; and an approval-seeking clown who livens up a seance. With Bubby Dora leading the way, these and other sweetly imperfect ghosts haunt Lilah through seventh grade, and help her face her one fear: talking to and possibly going to the seventh-grade dance with her big crush, Andrew Finkel.




Pre-order a copy: Barnes & Noble | | Canada: | Canada: Chapters/Indigo | Powell’s | IndieBound

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Debutante Erika Marks

Erika Marks


Having held a variety of jobs, from cake decorator to carpenter, and resided in nearly 20 apartments in seven states, native New Englander Erika Marks now makes her home in North Carolina with her husband, their two daughters and Olive, the three-pawed wonder dog who firmly believes she is the inspiration for most of the characters in Erika’s books. Her debut novel, Little Gale Gumbo, will be released by NAL in October.




Erika’s Debutante Ball posts
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Email Erika at erika (at) thedebutanteball (dot) com

Little Gale Gumbo
(Fiction, October 2011, NAL)

Little Gale Gumbo, by Erika Marks



When Camille and her two teenage daughters fled New Orleans for the island of Little Gale off the coast of Maine, the islanders were initially more suspicious than welcoming. Twenty-five years later, Camille’s Creole restaurant, The Little Gale Gumbo Café, has become an island staple-as has the legacy of her romance with islander Ben Haskell. Camille and Ben, along with their children, created a new family unit with a seemingly unbreakable bond. But when Ben is found unconscious in his home, next to the body of Camille’s estranged husband, old secrets and suspicions reemerge, and the family must reunite to hope for Ben’s survival. But as revelations come to the surface, so do long-held secrets that will test the limits and definitions of family.


Order a copy: Barnes & Noble | | Powell’s | IndieBound | Canada: | UK:

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Debutante M. Molly Backes

2012 Debutante Molly Backes

M. Molly Backes has often been accused of being stuck in junior high — which might explain why she loved teaching there. After graduating from Grinnell College, she moved to New Mexico, where she got 150 middle school students to write novels with her for National Novel Writing Month. These days, in addition to teaching and tutoring writing, she works as the Assistant Director of StoryStudio Chicago, a center for writing and the related arts. (Her dog, a retired racing greyhound named Zia, is StoryStudio’s unofficial mascot.)
Molly has lived in Wisconsin, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Illinois. She’s not the kind of person to play favorites or anything, but she might just like Iowa the best.



Molly’s Debutante Ball posts
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Email Molly at molly (at) thedebutanteball (dot) com

The Princesses of Iowa
(YA, May 2012, Candlewick Press)

Paige Sheridan lives the perfect life. She’s pretty, rich, and popular, and her spot on the homecoming court is practically guaranteed. But when a series of poor decisions culminates in a drunk-driving accident, everything changes. Her best friends start ignoring her, her boyfriend grows cold and distant, and her once-adoring younger sister now views her with contempt. The only bright spot in her life is a charismatic new teacher who encourages his students to be true to themselves. But who is Paige, if not the homecoming princess everyone expects her to be? In this reverse Cinderella story, a girl who was once high school royalty must choose between living the privileged life of a princess or owning up to her mistakes — and giving up everything she once held dear.

Pre-order a copy: Barnes & Noble | | Powell’s | IndieBound

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Debutante Rachel Bertsche

2012 Debutante Rachel Bertsche



Rachel Bertsche is a journalist in Chicago, where she lives with her husband. Her writing has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, More, Teen Vogue, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Fitness, Women’s Health, New York,, Huffington Post and more. Before leaving New York (and all her friends) for the Midwest, Rachel was an editor at O: The Oprah Magazine. Her most recent office job was as a producer at These days she lives the life of a freelance writer (translation: she works in her pajamas). She blogs daily about her search for a new best friend at


Rachel’s Debutante Ball posts
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Email Rachel at rachel (at) thedebutanteball (dot) com


MWF Seeking BFF
(Memoir, December 2011, Ballantine Books)

MWF Seeking BFF, by Rachel Bertsche



When Rachel Bertsche first moves to Chicago, she’s thrilled to finally share a zip code, let alone an apartment, with her boyfriend. But shortly after getting married, she realizes that her new life is missing one thing: friends. Sure, she has plenty of BFFs—in New York and San Francisco and Boston and Washington, D.C. Still, in her adopted hometown, there’s no one to call at the last minute for girl talk over brunch or a reality-TV marathon over a bottle of wine. Taking matters into her own hands, Bertsche develops a plan: Meeting people everywhere from improv class to friend rental websites, she’ll go on fifty-two friend-dates, one per week for a year, in hopes of meeting her new Best Friend Forever.


Pre-order a copy: Barnes & Noble | | Powell’s | IndieBound

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Debutante Linda Grimes

2012 Debutante Linda Grimes

Linda grew up in Texas, where she rode horses, embarrassed herself onstage a lot, and taught teenagers they’d have to learn the rules of English before they could get away with breaking them for creativity’s sake. She currently resides in Virginia with her theater-god husband, whom she snagged after he saw her in a musical number at the now defunct Melodrama Theater in San Antonio. (There’s nothing like a rousing chorus of “If You Wanna Catch a Fish You Gotta Wiggle Your Bait” to hook a man for a lifetime.)

Like her globe-trotting main character, Linda has spent her fair share of time overseas, though fortunately under less stressful circumstances. Kidnapping and daring rescues are all well and good in fiction, but she prefers sanity in her real life.


Linda’s Debutante Ball posts
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Email Linda at linda (at) thedebutanteball (dot) com

In a Fix
(July 2012, Tor)

In a Fix is the first in a light urban fantasy series aimed at readers who enjoy a healthy dose of bawdy humor with their adventure.

Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor, is perfectly suited to step into her clients’ lives and fix their problems. As them. But when her island villa explodes and her client’s boyfriend is kidnapped by modern-day Vikings, Ciel finds herself in a mess she doesn’t know how to fix. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she’s been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors themselves—are tangled up in the intrigue. Ciel has to save her client’s boyfriend, foil the Vikings’ ridiculous but deadly plot, and somehow choose between two fascinating men without losing her mind. Or, you know, her life.

In Ciel’s world, it’s not unusual to be the Queen of England one minute and Boner Benjamin, awkward teen, the next. The most difficult thing to be is herself.

Pre-order a copy: Barnes & Noble | | Powell’s | IndieBound

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