Monday, June 29, 2009

Belated BEA Recap: Part 2: YA Editor's Buzz

I told myself I wouldn't blog about anything else until I finally got around to finishing and posting Part 2 of my Belated BEA Recap. Well, here it is!

Probably the coolest part of BEA (which now was so long ago that it almost seems like a dream) was attending the Young Adult Editor's Buzz and getting the scoop on (and ARCs of) the biggest fall novels from the folks at the publishing houses who've already read what's coming and know what's going to be big.

Six editors were on the dais and each described one upcoming release. Then afterwards, they had a chance to mention other titles both from their publishing house and others that they were really excited about. Everything they mentioned sounded awesome, and I was lucky enough to get a few (but not all) of the ARCs before they seized upon by other hungry ARC hunters.

But onto what all the buzz was about…

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor (Arthur A. Levine Books) – Due out October 1st, Lips Touch contains three supernatural short stories, each of which revolves around a single kiss. I wasn’t lucky enough to nab an ARC, but this one sounds like it’ll suck you in and be hard to put down (or maybe Arthur Levine the man is just really good at marketing). Liz B. at Tea Cozy did get an ARC and has already raved about Lips Touch on her blog.

The Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda (Disney/Hyperion) – The first in a trilogy, The Devil’s Kiss is Sarwat Chadda’s debut novel about a girl who has often unwillingly sacrificed her normal teenage life to train and become the youngest and only female member of the Knight’s Templar. I’ve only read the first few pages thus far, but it sounded really dark and suspenseful from the booktalk. I’m thinking this might be a good recommendation for those who enjoyed Graceling and maybe The Hunger Games. Due out September 1st.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Delacorte Press for Young Readers) – Think Lord of the Flies meets the movie Cube meets anything ever written by M. Night Shymalan. My husband is reading this one right now, and I’ll hopefully be getting to it soon. It sounds really good, and again, edge of your seat, nail bitingly suspenseful! The premise: Every 30 days, a new boy arrives in “the Glade,” transported by an elevator which he doesn’t remember getting on. Not only doesn’t he remember how he got there, but he can’t remember anything about his previous life, except for his first name. Each morning, stone doors open onto a maze. Each night, they close tight. One day, a girl appears from the elevator bringing a disturbing message.

Refresh, Refresh by Danica Novgorodoff’s (First Second Books) – This one sounds like it might be a tear-jerker. Based on the award-winning short story by Benjamin Percy, Refresh, Refresh is artist Danica Novgorodoff's graphic interpretation, of the story of three boys about to graduate high school who are trying to figure out their future as they wait for their fathers, who are serving in the Iraq War, to come home. Anxiously awaiting communication from their distant fathers, they continually refresh their e-mail again and again. Look for it at the end of September.

The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander (Feiwel & Friends) – Another debut and another potential tear-jerker. The story centers around Austin and her quest to wind up on the hood of a pick-up truck as the “Sweetheart of Prosper County.” She owns a rooster named Charles Dickens and from what I’ve heard there’s a scene with her, Charles Dickens and some fishing that is particularly emotional. It sounds like it is in turns sweet, silly and sad, and it’s most definitely on my TBR pile. On September 1st it’ll make it’s way to your library bookshelf.

Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani (Harper Collins Children's Books) – Best-selling author Adriana Trigiani has decided to throw her hat into the YA ring with her first in a trilogy. As I understand it, this book, which hasn’t even been published yet, has already been turned into a screenplay and is in pre-production. A friend is borrowing it, and I haven’t had a chance to give it a read yet, but I remember something about her being fashionably different and going to boarding school, (maybe to experience “real life” since she’s a movie star?) and I typically LOVE boarding school books, as I see boarding school as this really cool environment where kids are tasked with being adults before they are really ready and all sorts of deep, meaningful experiences happen. My friends who’ve attended boarding school tell me it’s more about drinking, sneaking around, and awaiting care packages from parents. Alas, I’m still intrigued. Get it September 1st.

So, that’s a couple starts to trilogies and even more debuts, all of which sound like they’re going to be terrific reads. I’m very excited for September to roll around and bring the bounty of fall publishing releases. In the meantime, I’ll be working though the ARCs I have and picking up a few more at the ALA Conference, which kicks off in less than two weeks in good ol’ Chicago.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Case of the Missing LibrariYAn

You might have noticed that I haven't posted since last Saturday, and there's two good reasons for that:

1. My computer died, and I just got a new one yesterday.
2. The "Parade of Awesome" has taken me to Chicago, where I'll be working with Teach For America for the summer. I've been working 14 hour days in preparation for the beginning of our institute, but those should be getting shorter soon.

Once I'm back in the swing of things, I have planned exciting posts on topics like:

BEA Recap Part 2: YA Editor's Buzz
What Do Middle Schoolers Read?
Review in Two: Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Until then, I invite you all to have strong negative reactions to this article in the WSJ. My two cents (echoing sentiments expressed by others who've blogged about it) is that the author clearly hasn't/doesn't really read YA fiction. If she did, she'd know that YA fiction has always - since the days of The Outsiders and The Chocolate War - delved into the deeper and darker side of things. She'd also know that Speak and If I Stay are about the need for human connection and The Hunger Games is about fighting the power. I also took personal offense at her suggestion that (in reference to Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why) librarians "want to keep the book off the shelves." I don't know how many librarians Ms. Roiphe knows, but all the ones I know enjoyed the book and recommend it to their teen patrons. So, unless she means that librarians want teens to check the book out from the library, thus keeping it "off the shelves," I'm not sure where she's coming from on that point.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Belated BEA Recap: Part 1

So, I probably should've posted this about a week ago, but things have been busy in LibrariYAn land, so it just didn't happen. Alas. A week later than planned, here's my recap...

From start to finish, my day at BEA was pretty fantastic. I went in armed with the following plan:

Step 1: Get ARC* of Catching Fire
Step 2: Visit publisher booths and collect as many cool YA ARCs as possible
Step 3: Attend the YA Editor's Buzz to learn about hot upcoming fall titles
Step 4: Depart en route NJ with bags of books

And pretty much, that's exactly how the day went, except that I was able to acquire two ARCs of Catching Fire and once I was there I learned of another hot ARC that I HAD to get my hands on before proceeding to Step 2. What ARC was that, you ask? Why, it was the second book in Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Ask and the Answer. The first book in the trilogy, The Knife of Never Letting Go, was a big hit, and many people I've talked to thought it was even better than the first book a certain other trilogy whose second book I was quite hungry to get my hands on at BEA. But, they'd given out all the ARCs. Luckily, one of the kind folks at the Candlewick booth took down my info. and had one shipped to me! It arrived yesterday and is patiently waiting on my TBR pile.

But on to Step 2: The collection of cool YA ARCs from the exhibitor booths. It seems every librarian I've talked to collected a completely different set of ARCs than I did. I'm jealous of some of theirs, and proud of mine. Since I'm headed to a middle school come the fall, you'll note my titles span for ages 12-18. Here's what I brought home and will reading this summer:

Forest Born by Shannon Hale (fourth book in Books of Bayern/Goose Girl series)
Girl in the Arena by Lise Hai (a gladiator's daughter steps into the arena - sounds Hunger Games-esque)
Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klein (what if MacBeth had a daughter?)
Liar by Justine Larbalestier (unreliable narrator tells her story)
A Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup (Series of Unfortunate Events-ish)

Walker Books (for Young Readers)
Demon Princess: Reign or Shine by Michelle Rowen (girl learns she's part demon, and is heir to the throne)
Breathless by Jessica Warman (semi-autobiographical tale of talent, boarding school and family secrets)
The Tear Collector by Patrick Jones (vampires that feed on your tears)

Little, Brown
School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari (scaredy cat kids go to an exclusive school to help overcome their fears and find there's more to afraid of than they thought)
Soulstice: The Devouring Book 2 by Simon Holt (demons inhabit human bodies; trouble ensues)

Troy High by Shana Norris (retelling of Homer's Illiad with rival high schools and football)

The Importance of Wings by Robin Friedman (fitting in and standing out)

Kids Can Press
Recipe for Disaster by Maureen Fergus (the arrivel a new girl threatens to burn Francie's perfectly baked life)

I've about halfway through Liar and plan to finish it today. It's pretty good, and I'm just waiting for that "gotcha" moment when it all comes together - or falls apart. Not sure which I'll read next, but am open to suggestions, if there's one you'd love for me to preview on the blog. Let me know in the comments.
But back to the Expo...After a morning of schlepping around, it was time for some lunch. With tote bags filled to the brim and aching shoulders, my next stop was the Young Adult Editor's Buzz.

Stay tuned for my next installment of the Belated BEA Recap to see what editors are forecasting to be this fall's biggest YA books.

* For those new to the terminology, an ARC - Advance Reader's Copy - is an uncorrected proof. Publishers create these and distribute them to reviewers, librarians and booksellers in advance of the release of a book to generate buzz for a upcoming title. ARCs are generally low-quality, unpolished, unfinalized versions of the books they will become. They are NOT items for sale and are NOT the real book. There's typically additional copyediting, artwork and sometimes entirely rewritten passages before the ARC becomes a published book.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Twilight Zone: New Moon Trailer

You've probably seen this elsewhere already, as it's been on the interwebs for at least a good 24 hours, which is like weeks in back in the 20th century, but...

The Acting: Still pretty bad (at least on RPatz and KStewart's behalves)
The Budget: Cleary improved, even from this short trailer
The Jacob: From cute to hot (and now shirtless)
The Verdict: I'm still going to see it opening weekend

Monday, June 1, 2009

And the winner of the Catching Fire ARC is...


With a record 212 comments from friends who evidently ALL plan to borrow your prize, you are the winner! Congratulations!*

I have no idea who you are or how you found out about my contest, San, but you clearly love The Hunger Games and are very deserving of the ARC. In order to redeem your prize, I'm going to have to get your address, so please send me an e-mail (check my profile for my info.) with your address, and then begin making the daily run back and forth to the mailbox in nervous and joyful anticipation of your prize.

In all, the contest received 445 comments, which is way more than I ever thought could possibly occur. I was hoping for 10. Ha! I just hope that y'all stick around and continue to read and comment, since that was really my goal.

And in that vain, I'll let it drop here that I'll be at ALA in July and plan to come back armed with another ARC of Catching Fire which I also plan to raffle off through the blog. Next time, however, the rules will be different: no anonymous comments will be accepted and there'll be a quality component (i.e. you will win because I like your story and want you to get the prize, not because you got hundreds of people to post on my blog).

Stay tuned...

* I would also like to note that both Charlotte and Lola also gave really strong showings.