I'm really impressed with the concepts of the last few YA books I've read. All of these get five stars for premise...
Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
Genre: Fantasy YA
Like a few other books, I first heard of this one because of a whitewashed cover controversy. I adore the current cover, but because so many reviews/summaries mentioned "steampunkish elements", the gorgeous cover wasn't enough to make me pick up the book. Until I stumbled onto this post at the author's blog, where she lays out seven of at least twenty drafts she wrote in getting the first chapter right. I was enthralled, both by the process and the chapter, so I read the rest of it. :)
Fair Coin by E.C. Myers
Genre: YA SF
I make a ridiculously high number of book choices based on Big Idea posts at John Scalzi's blog. This one talks about wishes. I love wish-stories, and it always bugged me that the stories never turned out well for the person making the wishes. My least favorite wish-story is The Monkey's Paw, which a classmate told us in the 7th grade in broad daylight, and which freaked me out so much that I didn't sleep well for a week afterward.
Anyway! In Fair Coin, Ephraim's having a rough time of it. His mother tries to kill herself with a handful of pills after being called to the hospital to identify Ephraim's body and claim his belongings. Of course, Ephraim isn't dead. But among his dead double's belongings is a strange coin. When Ephraim makes a wish and flips the coin, his wish comes true, but not quite the way he expected. And worse, when it comes up tails, his wishes come true with dire consequences...
And then there's
Cracked by K.M. Walton
Victor is terribly unhappy. He tries to kill himself, and ends up in the psych ward, rooming with the boy who has bullied him his entire life.
I think that's the best premise for a book I've heard in a while. Well, except for...
Starters by Lissa Price
This is another Big Idea post. The author was at Cosco trying to get a flu shot the year we had that dramatic flu vaccine shortage, and because she was not a child or old or sick, she couldn't get a shot. And the idea occurred to her, what if a disease came along that wiped out everyone who didn't get vaccinated the year of a shortage? We'd have a planet populated entirely by people under sixteen or over 60. And that's just the backdrop for the story.
Good stuff all round...