Event Recap and Reflections: Victoria Schwab Signing This Savage Song

Last week I went to Victoria Schwab’s signing on July 7 for This Savage Song at Books of Wonder. This book was the only ARC I asked my BFF Nicole to try to get for me when she went to ALA Midwinter a few months ago. I added the event to my phone calendar almost as soon as it was announced and adjusted my work schedule to be sure I could be there early. I went alone because no friends could accompany me and it was that important for me to be there.

It was a great event. Victoria talked about how the main characters of this book, Kate and August, both explore different sides of anxiety. She mentioned that a theme she returns to often in her stories is an exploration of what it means to not feel comfortable in your own skin. She also explained that August’s voice came to her very early on in the writing process while Kate remained much more reticent–forcing the entire story to shift into third person so that Victoria could tell both characters’ stories throughout the novel. It’s a common pattern in her novels having tough, non-talkative female characters contrasted with more emotive male characters.

During the Q&A, Victoria imagined that her characters Delilah Bard and Victor Vale would be the most interesting ones to see locked in a room together. She guessed that neither of them would talk but that by the time they were released they would have a grudging respect for each other. Victoria discussed how she explores archetypes in many of her books but always strives to create something new (witches in The Near Witch, monsters in her latest novel and so on) and how her degree in the portrayal of monsters factored into her writing This Savage Song. (Spoiler: The way monsters are perceived has everything to do with humans and not always a lot to do with the monsters.)

During the course of her career (eleven books so far) she has realized that every character she writes represents one aspect of herself whether it’s something she strives for (Delilah Bard) or something closer to her reality (Victor Vale or Holland–jokingly). She also talked a bit about organizing her owned books by color and how she isn’t a re-reader which, as someone else who doesn’t re-read, I loved. She explained how her calendar method of tracking progress on various projects helps her to be a consistent writer even if she is not a fast writer. (I adore this idea and use star stickers and a monthly calendar to track my blog and work stuff–working on adding writing back into my routine too.)

I try to attend Victoria’s signings whenever she’s in New York (just about a year ago I was at McNally Jackson buying a red-endpapers copy of A Darker Shade of Magic) and this one obviously didn’t disappoint. At the end of the night I returned my newly signed copies of This Savage Song and A Gathering of Shadows to their spots on my bookshelf.

victoriaschwabbooksAfter staring at my books I started thinking about a lot of things (like how lucky I am to be in New York where so many author events happen). This signing was an interesting full circle moment for me.

Four years ago, in 2012, I worked at Books of Wonder for eight months. It felt like my library degree was a mistake and although I desperately missed librarian work, I had begun to wonder if it was ever going to happen for me as an actual career. Last week, while I waited for my number (61) to be called I considered that point in my life where earning more than minimum wage seemed like a pipe dream compared to now when I just marked my second anniversary as a full-time librarian in June.

Five years ago, in 2011, I discovered Victoria Schwab’s debut novel The Near Witch at a signing at Books of Wonder. I had just started attending book signings as I became more aware of the book community in New York through a combination of blogging, getting review books through Amazon Vine, and being in library school. I was at the signing for a different author but gave myself permission to buy one book. After much agonizing, I picked up The Near Witch. I read the book soon after and reviewed it on here, as I’m wont to do.

A few months later I met Terra McVoy at another signing (at Books of Wonder) and she offered to participate in a blog interview. And honestly, that changed my life. Because of that meeting with Terra, I began reaching out to other authors, including Victoria Schwab to talk about The Near Witch.

The rest is history.

Of course I snapped up The Archived and The Unbound. How could I not when I was a librarian and these books featured a library where the dead rest on shelves like books? Vicious became a point of pride book to get at BEA 2013 and a favorite read that I think still find myself thinking about to this day. And I can’t even tell you how often I’ve been recommending A Darker Shade of Magic (which I was lucky enough to read just before its release thanks to a very generous librarian who saw my tweets asking for ALA attendees who got an ARC to think of me). When I received an ARC of A Gathering of Shadows after requesting it from the publisher, I really felt like I had arrived as a blogger. Then, of course, there’s This Savage Song which might be my favorite Victoria Schwab book to date of the ones I have read.

Victoria talked about her “overnight” success on Tumblr last week. Specifically, about how framing her career that way isn’t the most accurate portrayal. Reading that post, seeing Victoria at a signing and knowing we are solid acquaintances now thanks to Twitter, and admiring my own books on their shelf, I realized what a privilege it is to follow an author  from their beginnings. It’s crazy to think about who I was when I attended that small panel signing where I bought my copy of The Near Witch compared to who I am this month when I was 61st in line for Victoria to sign copies of her eleventh book.

I am so grateful to be where I am and, silly as it is, a bit humbled when I think about how many opportunities I have found and received surrounding Victoria’s books (and so many other books that I  have discovered because I started blogging and going to book signings).

AAP Children’s Tri-State Book Buzz 2015: Event Recap Part 3

Last week I got to attend the American Association of Publisher’s Tri-State Book Buzz event. Book Buzz is an all-day event (at Random House HQ this year) where various publishers give brief presentations highlighting the new titles they will have in the upcoming publishing season (Spring 2016 in this case).

This is my attempt at a recap although there was SO much going on that I’m sure I’ll miss some good stuff. If you want to see what other people had to say about it on social media, you can check out the hashtag #BookBuzz2015 which attendees used to highlight the children’s/YA day (which I attended) as well as the adult one.

YOU CAN CHECK OUT PART ONE HERE!

YOU CAN CHECK OUT PART TWO HERE!

Macmillan:

  • Arctic White by Danna Smith, illustrated by Lee White (January 2016) is about a girl and her grandfather going to see the Northern Lights and it looks absolutely charming.
  • When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for Every Season by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad is a beautiful looking collection of seasonal poems.
  • Philip C. Stead returns with a new solo picture book called Ideas Are All Around (March 2016) with a combination of photos and illustrations that follows an author around his neighborhood as he looks for inspiration.
  • Where’s the Party? by Ruth Chan (April 2016) is picture book about a cat who loves to party. But where is the party?
  • Terror at Battle Creek by Watt Key (January 2016) is a middle grade novel that follows kids left behind in the chaos of evacuation during a category three hurricane.
  • Faith Erin Hicks has a new middle grad trilogy starting with The Nameless City (April 2016). The Nameless City is constantly being invaded and renamed but the residents know that no name will hold for long.
  • Underwater (January 2016) is Marie Reichardt’s YA debut that takes place in the aftermath of a tragic high school shooting as the main character grapples with survivor’s guilt and a father with PTSD.
  • Flawed by Cecelia Ahern (April 2016) is a YA debut being touted as Divergent meets The Scarlet Letter.

Sourcebooks:

  • A Year in the Life of a Complete and Total Genius by Stacey Matson (November 2015) is the start of a middle grade series about a boy coming to grips with the death of his mother. The ephemera format also promises that the book will appeal to reluctant readers.
  • The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary (January 2016) is being touted as Spirited Away meets A Christmas Carol. The story features a Japanese heroine, 3 nights, 3 guides and 3 chances to break the curse!
  • Just Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh (April 2016) is a diverse story about a girl with two adopted Chinese sisters. It also has summer camp and shenanigans!
  • Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins (November 2015) is being called a time slip mystery with a dual POV. Color me excited.
  • The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand (March 2016) is filled with dark humor. The publicist presenting this title said it was like The Hangover but in high school and with a zombie movie. Despite the comparison the book is also a clean read.
  • Cori McCarthy’s latest You Were Here (March 2016) is an “emotionally cathartic page-turner.” The novel includes multiple POVs that follow traditional prose format, graphic novel format from character who is a selective mute and one told in art poetry.
  • Don’t Get Caught by Kurt Dinan (April 2016) is a debut about a prank club and characters seeking payback Ocean’s 11 style. Sure to have high reluctant reader appeal.
  • My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul (April 2016) is another debut receiving comparisons to The Spectacular Now and Freaks & Geeks. It’s a friend story with promposal fail.

Chronicle Books:

  • Molly Idle returns with Flora and the Peacocks (May 2016) about the challenges of a three person friendship.
  • President Squid by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Sara Varon (March 2016) follows the exploits a squid who knows all of the ins and outs of becoming president. Ties, for instance, are VERY presidential!
  • Gena/Finn by Kat Helgeson and Hannah Moskowitz (April 2016) is a story about fan fiction, online friends and slash fic! All in an epistolary format!
  • Beth Kephart’s latest This is the Story of You (April 2016) is a mystery set in a town ravaged by a superstorm.

Soho Teen:

  • Barnabas Miller began writing his novel The Girl With the Wrong Name (November 2015) with the question “How would you tell yourself a story that you didn’t know you needed to tell yourself?”
  • I’m From Nowhere by Suzanne Myers (January 2016) is a companion to Stone Cove Island. It’s about a girl sent to boarding school by her single mother who has no clues about who her father is. It’s being pitched as a novel perfect for fans of subculture/chosen family novels like This Song Will Save Your Life.
  • It Wasn’t Always Like This by Joy Preble (May 2016) is Tuck Everlasting meets Veronica Mars and that, frankly, is all I needed to hear.
  • Little White Lies by Brianna Baker and F. Bowman Hastie III (February 2016) is a story of “millennial mayhem and magic” according to Rita Williams-Garcia. It’s also the story of how we construct identities online with alternate formatting besides.

Quirk Books:

  • Warren the 13th by Tania Del Rio, Wilhelm Staehle (November 2015) is a series starter that is ideal for fans of Coraline, Wes Anderson and Edward Gorey.
  • Quirk is also making a illustrated storybook of Home Alone just in time for the 25th anniversary. Watch for that this month!

Sterling Publishing:

  • Cici Reno #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker is Cyrano for the digital age.
  • In Mr. Particular even a complainer can save the day!
  • I Am NOT a Dinosaur is based on the AMNH collections and explains that not every pre-historic creature was a dinosaur.

Perseus Books:

  • Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood is being described as Game of Thrones. In space.
  • One of Us by Jeannie Waudby is a military suspense story about a girl who has to figure out who to trust and how to stay alive after being recruited by an insurgent spy organization.

Penguin Young Readers Group:

  • Ruta Septeys returns with a new historical fiction novel. In Salt to the Sea (February 2016) she explores the biggest maritime disaster in history (a German ship that sank during WWII) in this novel told from 4 POVs.
  • Where Futures End  by Parker Peeveyhouse (February 2016) is a debut sci-fi with 5 POVs. It’s being compared to one of my favorite novels of all time, The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick, which is all I needed to hear.
  • Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (March 2016) is being pitched as Arabian Nights meets Mockingjay. Also: Genies! In the wild west!
  • The Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox (March 2016) asks readers an important question: “Would you rather be trapped in an old Scottish castle with a ghost or a Nazi spy?
  • Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer (February 2016) is a debut picture book where a little boy asks different animals, “what is poetry?” with illustrations reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats.
  • Marilyn Singer and Josee Masse deliver another reverso poem collaboration in Echo, Echo (February 2016) which looks at and retells Greek myths.
  • Hoot and Peep by Lita Judge (March 2016) is an owl story so of course I’m excited. Hoot is the older brother teaching his wise owl ways to little sister Peep in this bedtime story.
  • Ten Days A Mad Woman by Deborah Noyes (February 2016) is a new biography about Nellie Bly and how awesome she was.

Little, Brown:

  • In Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat (April 2016) time starts to go so slowly that it begins to go backwards on a long roadtrip.
  • Sherman Alexie makes his picture book debut in Thunder Boy Jr. illustrated by Yuyi Morales (May 2016) in which Little Thunder wants a new name and he and his father have to figure out what it should be. I wish I had some artwork to show you all because it looks absolutely stunning.
  • In The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito, illustrated by Julia Kuo (August 2016) a boy in Tokyo looks for the silence between sounds.
  • Peter Brown makes his middle grade debut in The Wild Robot (April 2016) in which a robot alien has to take care of a baby goose and soon becomes part of the natural world.
  • Matthew Quick has a new YA coming called Every Exquisite Thing (May 2016) where a girl befriends a reclusive author in this celebration of self.
  • Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse (April 2016) was blurbed by Elizabeth Wein. It’s a WWII/Holocaust story that explores the ways in which “we are all heroes and villains at the same time.”
  • Annabel Pitcher is back with Silence is Goldfish (May 2016) in which a girl finds out, through a blog post, that she was conceived via IVF with a sperm donor. Shocked by this news she stops speaking and goes looking for her biological father. I’m not sure if the book is even in print anymore but this one sounds a lot like Donor Boy to me.

AAP Children’s Tri-State Book Buzz 2015: Event Recap Part 2

Last week I got to attend the American Association of Publisher’s Tri-State Book Buzz event. Book Buzz is an all-day event (at Random House HQ this year) where various publishers give brief presentations highlighting the new titles they will have in the upcoming publishing season (Spring 2016 in this case).

This is my attempt at a recap although there was SO much going on that I’m sure I’ll miss some good stuff. If you want to see what other people had to say about it on social media, you can check out the hashtag #BookBuzz2015 which attendees used to highlight the children’s/YA day (which I attended) as well as the adult one.

YOU CAN CHECK OUT PART ONE HERE!

Bloomsbury Children’s Books:

  • I’ve been hearing nothing but amazingly good things about Be A Friend by Salina Yoon (January 2016) and I have to say I’ve never wanted a mime book more.
  • Mousquerade Ball (May 2016) is a rhyming counting tale from power duo Lori Mortenson and illustrator Betsy Lewin.
  • Blue in the Face: A Story of Risk, Rhyme, and Rebellion by Gerry Swallow (December 2015) is a story set in a world of fracture nursery rhymes. In this “hilarious and irreverant” tale the main character is a girl whose super power is throwing epic tantrums by holding her breath.
  • How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin (March 2016): Sometimes a genius needs to do something dumb to unwind. Like make his pet cat gigantic and invisible. Recommended for reluctant readers.
  • Carrie Jones makes her middle grade debut in Time Stoppers (May 2016) which is a start to what is being called a “whimsical and sweeping” trilogy.
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord (April 2016) needs no further introduction I am sure.
  • Burning by Danielle Rollins (April 2016) is a story about girls in a detention facility. This psychological thriller also has the BEST tagline: “Monsters are much more interesting than heroes.”
  • Printz winner Nick Lake is back with a “fresh high concept tale” set in New Jersey in Whisper to Me (May 2016) which is a summer romance told in reverse.
  • The Leaving by Tara Altebrando (June 2016) promises to be a real page turner (blurbed by E. Lockhart!) about six children who were kidnapped. And the five who came back as teens.

MICRO-TREND ALERT: Thrillers are IN right now. I would even go so far as to call this a full-on trend. Forget the micro part.

Griffin Teen, Flatiron Books, Tor Teen & Starscape:

This one was tag-teamed by two publicists so there were LOTS. OF. BOOKS.

  • Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (January 5, 2016): epic fantasy where the main focus is friends NOT an all-consuming romance.
  • Riders by Veronica Rossi (February 2, 2016) is a dark fantasy where the four horsemen have to save the world.
  • Character Driven by Dave Lubar (March 1, 2016) is a funny book with an unreliable narrator. And no sci-fi elements despite coming from Tor.
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (May 6, 2016) is a high school romance with a transgender main character. The young woman on the cover is also a transgender model and I just think it’s great.
  • In American Girls by Allison Umminger (June 7, 2016) a girl runs away to LA only to have to find a job to work to earn enough to make her way back home.
  • In Real Life by Jessica Love (March 1, 2016) sounds a lot like Tonight the Streets Are Ours to me with its interplay or real life and online personas. It was also pitched as “The Hangover meets My Best Friend’s Wedding but for teens” so I really don’t know what more you need.

MICRO-TREND ALERT: Lots of stuff is being comped to The Hangover which I find oddly delightful.

  • Roshani Chokshi’s The Star-Touched Queen (May 3, 2016) is a fantasy inspired by Indian folklore.
  • The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson (May 17, 2016) is a debut that retells Much Ado About Nothing. I never did get to that play but I for one am intrigued.

HarperCollins Children’s Books:

  • I feel deeply and intensely betrayed by all of my bookish friends who never told me that Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek are married in real life. They have a new book coming called When Spring Comes (February 9, 2016) which looks lovely.
  • Pax by Sarah Pennypacker (illustrated by Jon Klassen) (February 2, 2016) is a publicist favorite about a boy and his fox.
  • Cammie McGovern makes her middle grade debut with Just My Luck (February 23, 2016) about a boy in fourth grade who has to deal with the chaos in his life while watching out for his brother who is autistic.
  • Wing & Claw by Linda Sue Park (March 1, 2016) is a series starter. With talking bats.
  • All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor (March 1, 2016) is a book about a boy raised in the correctional facility where his mother is an inmate. Pitched as perfect for fans of Wonder and When You Reach Me.
  • Lauren Myracle has a new book called Wishing Day (May 2016) which sounds like a charming middle grade about the magic of wishing.
  • Front Lines by Michael Grant (January 26, 2016) is the start to a new alternate history series where girl soldiers are on the front lines of World War II.
  • The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig is a debut novel about a girl who can time travel. Pitched as Rae Carson meets Outlander.

MICRO-TREND ALERT: Many time travel novels are coming and I couldn’t be happier about it!

Albert Whitman & Co.:

  • The William Hoy Story by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Jez Tuya (March 2016) looks awesome. William Hoy was a deaf baseball player who did not get a spot on the local deaf league. So he practiced and played until he became a professional player. Being deaf, Hoy had difficulty following the umpires calls and eventually worked with them to create the hand signals that are still used today. How cool is that?!
  • How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk, illustrated by Valentina Belloni (March 2016) tells the story of the first female Pinkerton detective and how she saved the president from a failed assassination attempt.
  • Of Better Blood by Susan Moger (February 2016) was blurbed by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Wein. It’s about a girl who recovers from polio and becomes tangled in the Eugenics movement that swept the US in 1922.

WW Norton & Co:

  • The Big Adventure of a Little Line by Serge Bloch (February 2016) is a story about a boy who finds a line and picks it up without another thought. A story about artistic development.
  • Miro’s Magic Animals by Antony Penrose (April 2016) looks at the famous artist’s work through a child’s eyes.
  • AbZzzz… A Bedtime Alphabet by Isabel Minhos Martins and Yara Kono (May 2016) is a fun bedtime alphabet book.

Harlequin Teen:

  • In Firstlife by Gena Showalter (February 2016) there is, in fact, life after death. And you get to choose where you live.
  • Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun (April 2016) is a standalone high fantasy pitched as “Final Fantasy meets Castle in the Air.”
  • Bestseller Jennifer L. Armentrout is back with The Problem With Forever about a girl in foster care who has been homeschooled but decides to go to public school in her senior year.

After the break for lunch it was time for our second guest speaker. Barnabas Miller talked to the audience about his latest title The Girl With the Wrong Name which sounds absolutely fascinating. The story stems from some very personal inspiration for Miller and after hearing him speak, I cannot wait to read it.

Simon & Schuster:

  • I don’t actually have notes for The Night Gardener by the Fan Brothers (February 2013) but it has three stars on my handout and an owl topiary and magic and I have never needed a picture book so badly in my life.
  • Debut author Amber Smith’s The Way I Used to Be (March 2016) is being likened to Speak and takes place in four parts that span the main character’s four years in high school.
  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson (January 2016) follows a teen boy who must decide if the world is worth saving.
  • Tim Federle makes his YA debut in The Great American Whatever (March 2016) which is being called “laugh out loud sad.”

Check back for Part three later this week!

AAP Children’s Tri-State Book Buzz 2015: Event Recap Part 1

Last week I got to attend the American Association of Publisher’s Tri-State Book Buzz event. Book Buzz is an all-day event (at Random House HQ this year) where various publishers give brief presentations highlighting the new titles they will have in the upcoming publishing season (Spring 2016 in this case).

This is my attempt at a recap although there was SO much going on that I’m sure I’ll miss some good stuff. If you want to see what other people had to say about it on social media, you can check out the hashtag #BookBuzz2015 which attendees used to highlight the children’s/YA day (which I attended) as well as the adult one.

The day started bright and early with welcome notes from Chris Vaccari before the morning keynote from Andrea Davis Pinkney.

Andrea Davis Pinkney gave a fantastic presentation about the inspiration and writing process for her latest book Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound. I’ve never seen Andrea Davis Pinkney in person before but I sure hope I have a chance to now. Her presentation was fantastic complete with some Motown songs and great visuals. The book is close to her heart and it was fascinating hearing about the research that went into it. While Rhythm Ride is an obvious choice for music fans, I think it will also have a lot of appeal for any non-fiction fans and reluctant readers as well.

After that it was time to dive right into the publishers presentations. (Huge shoutout to all of the intrepid publicists/editors and marketing people who were on point talking up their latest and greatest titles.)

First up we had. . .

Disney Book Group and some of the titles I’m really excited about:

  • Pigs and a Blanket by James Burk (April 5, 2016) is a picture book about siblings learning to share when their favorite blanket rips.
  • Good Night Owl by Greg Pizzoli (April 19, 2016) is about an owl who hears a noise when he tries to go to sleep. What readers realize (before owl) is that the noise is a very sneaky mouse!
  • Elizabeth Started All the Trouble by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Matt Faulkner (February 23, 2016) looks fantastic. The only notes I have are “Elizabeth Cady Stanton! Suffrage!” but just trust me it looks amazing.

MICRO-TREND ALERT: In my totally informal findings, there are a lot of books coming out about Woman Suffrage and I am excited about it!

  • Mo Willems will be wrapping up his 25 book Elephant and Piggie series with The Thank You Book (May 3, 2016)
  • Powerhouse duo Sara Pennypacker and Marla Frazee will start a Clementine spin-off series with Waylon! One Awesome Thing (April 5, 2016) with the familiar gang but now in fourth grade.
  • Stranded on Planet Stripmall! by Tom Angleberger (March 8, 2016) is an adventure featuring Rocket and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy which looks delightful. Rocket tells most of the story but Groot gets to illustrate parts at the end which will be done by John Rocco.
  • Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan (April 12, 2016) is the start to a new series where a girl escapes from a kingdom where magic is prohibited. But she’ll have to learn if she want to save her kingdom.
  • Rick Riordan will return to Camp Halfblood in The Hidden Oracle (May 3, 2016).
  • Obviously I am already SUPER excited about Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (January 5, 2016) because I am a superfan. For those who are not: It’s Bracken’s riff on Outlander themes with time travel and adventure and romance.
  • Disney’s next Twisted Tale will be Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell (April 5, 2016). It will work around the question: What if Sleeping Beauty never woke up? Instead Prince Phillip also falls asleep when he kisses Aurora and Aurora will have to fight out of her dreams. I know reviews were mixed for A Whole New World but I’m hoping for something cool here.
  • Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano (May 3, 2016) follows Smoke, a boy in juvenile detention for a crime he didn’t commit who uses his ability to astral project to try and find the real culprit.
  • Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider (May 3, 2016) is a debut about Sloane who finds out her BFF is pregnant–with Sloane’s boyfriend’s baby–right before heading on her summer vacation.

NorthSouth Books:

  • Mr. Hulot on the Beach by David Merveille (May 1, 2016) features the Inspector Closseau like Hulot in another wordless adventure–this time on the beach.
  • Sebastian Meschenmoser returns with Gordon and Tapir (April 1, 2016) which features an odd couple pair of friends. Except this time the friends realize they realy are better off living apart.
  • Surf’s Up by Kwame Alexander with illustrations by  Daniel Miyares (February 1, 2016) follows surfer frogs Dude and Bro as they spend the day at the beach were, much to Bro’s dismay, Dude wants to keep reading Moby Dick.

Scholastic:

  • A Birthday Cake for George Washington by Ramin Ganeshram, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (January 5, 2016) is a beautiful book about a real-life birthday cake for Washington. Complete with recipe. From a food writer.
  • Two Friends by Dean Robbins, illustrated by husband and wife power couple Sean Qualls and Selina Alko (January 5, 2016) is about the friendship of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. I’ve seen Alko and Qualls talk about illustrating this book twice already at work and I am more excited about it every time.
  • Emma and Julia Love Ballet by Barbary McClintock looks like a delightful ballet story. I want to highlight it here because the ballerina is a woman of color which I think is fantastic and timely.

MICRO-TREND ALERT: There are many books coming with characters named Emma. I guess it was only a matter of time.

  • Come Home, Angus by Patrick Downes, illustrated by Boris Kulikov (July 26, 2016) has a very Maurice Sendak vibe with an Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day kind of plot.
  • Rodman Philbrick imagines a world with no electricity anywhere in The Big Dark (January 5, 2016).
  • Ruby Lee and Me by Shannon Hitchcock (January 5, 2016) is a middle grade historical where a segregated town in North Carolina gets its first black teacher. Based on the author’s own experiences.
  • Kirby Lawson starts a new series about a bookworm longing for adventure with Audacity Jones to the Rescue (January 26, 2015).
  • Emma wants to have a dream that will reveal her destiny–just like everyone else in her family–in The Key to Extraordinary (February 23, 2016), Natalie Lloyd’s follow-up to A Snicker of Magic.
  • Beetle Boy by M. G. Leonard (February 23, 2016) is a trilogy starter about a boy hunting for his kidnapped father with humor and real science.
  • Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan (April 26, 2016) follows the unlikely friendship of Ravi and Joe, which started over a shared love of M and M’s in fifth grade.
  • Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart (January 26, 2016) is a western set in the 1890s where Joseph has to reclaim his horse when it is sold without his permission. This one also got comps to War Horse.
  • My Name is Not Friday by Jon Walter (January 5, 2016) sounds like a really powerful story. It starts with two free black boys at the end of the Civil War. One of them is sold into slavery and has to make his way back to freedom.
  • Goldy Moldavsky’s Kill the Boy Band (February 23, 2016) is an in-house favorite debut. The novel comes out in defense of fangirls with a “darkly funny murder mystery.”
  • Luanne Rice makes her YA debut with The Secret Language of Sisters (February 23, 2016) which follows a girl suffering from Locked In Syndrome while her sister tries to make sense of what is happening to her sister and to reconcile her guilt over the accident that caused it.
  • Jenny Downham is back with Unbecoming (February 23, 2016) which follows three generations in one dysfunctional family including a lesbian protagonist.
  • Paul Rudnick creates a Lizzie Lohan/Miley Cyrus type character in It’s All Your Fault (January 26, 2016) where her straight-laced cousin is tasked with keeping the actress in line before her big movie premier.
  • The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork (January 26, 2016) follows a girl who wakes up in a mental ward after trying to commit suicide. It already has three stars.
  • A non-fiction title which will publish simultaneously with an adult edition: Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb (April 26, 2016).

Random House:

  • Raul Colon is illustrating a new picture book biography of Hillary Clinton called Hillary by Jonah Winer (January 5, 2016)
  • Beatrix Potter & the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Charlotte Voake (February 2, 2016) is a “mostly true story” of when young Beatrix borrowed a neighbor’s guinea pig to draw it from life. Only to have the guinea pig die while in her care!
  • Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit (January 26, 2016) is a debut that is being compared to The Book Thief. The story follows seven-year-old Anna in Poland during World War II.
  • The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (February 23, 2016) is another debut about growing up in Alaska in the 1970s. Inspired by the author’s own life and compared to Alexie, Saenz and Rowell.
  • Jeff Zentner’s debut The Serpent King (March 8, 2016) follows the son of a Pentecostal preacher and his two fellow outcast friends confronting their own demons while navigating high school in a small Tennessee town.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak will be getting a fancy tenth anniversary edition in both hardcover and paperback on March 8, 2016.
  • Julie Buxbaum makes her YA debut with Tell Me Three Things (April 5, 2016) and honestly just from the cover I can tell you that I need it in my life.
  • The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas (April 19, 2016) is being marketed as perfect for Gillian Flynn fans. It’s a psychological thriller about “the lies girls tell and the deadly truths those lies become.”

Little Bee Books:

  • I love Douglas Florian so I’m pretty excited about his new book The Wonderful Habits of Rabbits illustrated by Sonia Sanchez (February 2, 2016)
  • Little Bee’s “Look!” and “Blast Back!” series also look fantastic.

And that’s it for now! Check back for part two (and maybe three) which I hope to have up later this week!

In the Afterlight: Launch Recap and Why I Love this Series

This week was pretty exciting for me as a reader for a couple reasons (one which I won’t talk about here is that I received an advanced copy of a book I’m super excited about). The main reason for all of this excitement is that it was the release week for In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken.

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On Tuesday night Nicole and I headed over to Books of Wonder to attend the launch party for In the Afterlight. (We were both so excited we planned our schedules so we could leave work early to arrive in time to get good seats!)

The event itself was a delight. Alex and her editor Emily Meehan talked a bit about the series before fielding questions from the audience. At the event we learned a bit about Alex’s writing process (packing everything into the final half of the story!) as well as what revisions looked like.We also heard about the inspiration behind this series–the characters came to Alex almost fully formed which was a first, she said.

The audience also got to see some mock-ups of covers for In the Afterlight which was really interesting. Many of the rejected covers looked similar to covers for other books while the final cover for this book looked more unique. (Also if you get a hardcover be sure to look inside the dust jacket!)

The Q & A session was also pretty cool as Alex revealed a little bit about how the final colors and powers in the books were chosen as well as a bit about the names of the Orange characters. (There is a push and pull between Reds and Oranges throughout in terms of who might actually be the most dangerous.)

By the end of the launch, I was even more excited about reading the conclusion to this series.

After the discussion and the Q & A, Alex was on hand to sign books (of course).

It didn’t really hit me until I was on line and talking with Alex, but this series has been hugely important to me as a reader and a blogger so it’s very, very strange to think that when I finish reading this final book, it will be over.

My interactions with this series started back in 2011 when Nicole and I headed to our first BEA. The day was great but planning wise it was kind of a mess because it’s hard to know how to plan for a thing you’ve never previously attended. That said, we stumbled across a lot of great signings including Alexandra Bracken signing paperback copies of her first novel Brightly Woven. I had been hearing about this book a lot because 2010 was the year of tapestry-centric fantasies. I was taken with the cover. And, when I was a Cybils judge in 2010, I thought it might be a book I’d end up reading for the shortlist. That didn’t end up happening and somehow it was still unread by the time BEA 2011 rolled around.

Needless to say I was very excited to see Alex was still signing. I started reading Brightly Woven three days after BEA 2011 (it was the second book I read from those acquired at BEA) and was completely charmed. Soon after I found Alex on twitter and started following her social media where, eventually, she started talking about her new book which she was then calling Black is the Color.

It’s a weird thing to be excited about a book not just before it’s published but before it’s even finished. But that’s how it was for The Darkest Minds. So eager was I for this title, that it became a key factor in planning for BEA 2012. As soon as I knew Alex would be signing again, I knew I had to be there. While getting an ARC from Alex I told her I had been following the book’s progress since it was called Black is the Color and that I couldn’t wait to read it. In fact, I started this book almost as soon as I left the convention center on the final day of BEA. It completely lived up to my extremely high expectations.

Victory! This was my first BEA read and it was SO. Good. I am already eagerly waiting for the sequel and this one isn't even out until December!

By 2013, a lot of other people were big fans of this series and Alex. So much so that, when Nicole and I began planning for BEA 2013 we knew Alex’s signing would be a priority (the prospect of being one of the first 30 in line and receiving a Ruby & Liam & Chubs & Zu tote was an added bonus). The hour wait was well worth it and again I gushed incoherently about the series while getting a signed ARC.

Alex Bracken BEA13Actually reading Never Fade took a bit longer this year because of crushing review obligations BUT it was still the first actual from BEA title I read. I obviously read and loved the first book, but this one blew me away with the expanded world building and Ruby’s growth as a character. Don’t even get me started about how well the plot comes together.

After the ending of Never Fade and all of its twists, I was really looking forward to seeing how everything comes together in In the Afterlight (and also to see the cover and title which, when I read Never Fade, weren’t actually known yet.) The weirdest thing about BEA 2014 was knowing that there would be no new Bracken title. But I think the wait will be worth it.

Which brings us back to the launch event I attended with Nicole on Tuesday night and that signing line where I was waiting to get my book signed with a business card ready as a sort of introduction because I never expect authors to remember me from my blog.

When I handed my book to Alex I told her about how I’d been following this series from the beginning–including seeing her at two BEA signings for it–and how much I loved it. Then, much to my surprise, Alex said she recognized me from twitter and my reviews before thanking me for supporting the series. After signing my book, Alex also gave me a hug before I left. Which was really nice.

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Later, when I got home from the signing I came home to find the giveaway I had won from the blog tour for In the Afterlight had arrived.

So now I am carrying my copy of In the Afterlight in this new totebag. And yes, I do have some duplicate copies (which also means I don’t have to worry about messing up my signed copy of In the Afterlight). But maybe that just means I have something else to talk about the next time I go to an Alexandra Bracken signing.

Obviously I’m really excited about this series. But what about you? What series books have you followed from the beginning? Is anyone as excited as I am about In the Afterlight?

BEA 2014 Recap: Day 2 (Friday)

You can also see my Thursday recap.

Friday–aka BEA Day 2–was our worst day. Partly because it was super busy but also because, being suckers, Nicole and I were going to a book signing after Book Expo. This meant we had to bring books to the convention center. This meant we actually bought books. This also meant we would be going, and on our feet, for roughly twelve hours. Although it was not, perhaps, the best idea it was totally worth it in the end.

The day started, as BEA days always do, bright and early with a trip to the Javits Center where Nicole and I were poised to hit the exhibit floor right when it opened at 9.

Nicole and I were suitably chipper as we waited in line.

Nicole waiting in line.

Nicole waiting in line.

Here I am waiting in line. (You will be seeing many pictures of me as this post continues!)

Here I am waiting in line. (You will be seeing many pictures of me as this post continues!)

First up was a quick trip past Penguin to get a copy of Zodiac by Romina Russell. After that it was over to Abrams to see A. G. Howard who was signing copies of Unhinged. Abrams always does things right at BEA–this year was no exception. Their booth was well laid-out, everyone was very helpful and courteous. Also: A. G. Howard is super nice. Now that I have shiny copies of both Splintered and Unhinged I’m even more excited about the series. Yay retellings!

 

A. G. Howard with a shiny copy of Unhinged.

A. G. Howard with a shiny copy of Unhinged.

Told you it was shiny.

Told you it was shiny.

Next Nicole and I tried (and failed) to acquire some books from a Macmillan drop, but it wasn’t meant to be. Neither was seeing Becca Fitzpatrick signing her new book Black Ice. BUT we happened to be at Harper at just the right time and heard someone asking, “Do you still have tickets for Kiera Cass’ signing?” She did. And even better, she had two tickets for me and Nicole. I can’t even articulate how great and wildly unexpected this was. It meant re-planning some of the afternoon but obviously Kiera Cass would be fit in. I mean, come on.

The golden Kiera Cass Ticket

The golden Kiera Cass Ticket

After that it was time to head over to the autographing area. Remember how I am now completely obsessed with Little Elliot in the Big City and went to great lengths to get that tote on Thursday? Well, Little Elliot creator Mike Curato was signing copies today. Obviously this was high priority. So high, in fact, that I even asked to take a picture with Mr. Curato. (You might have noticed that I don’t do that often with authors but obviously this was a special situation.) Suffice to say meeting him was everything I had hoped it would be and I am so excited for all of you to be able to read this fantastic picture book in August.

Me and Mike and his fabulous picture book.

Me and Mike and his fabulous picture book.

Can you tell I'm excited about this book?

Can you tell I’m excited about this book?

Having finally gotten everything it was possible to get with that adorable baby elephant, it was time for another signing. Next up was The Jewel by Amy Ewing. I actually don’t know much about this book but the cover is similar to The Selection and The Winner’s Curse which is enough to sell me. And a lot of other people based on the line for her autographing session.

The line was so big, in fact, there was even a sign for the “overflow” line. A sign which Nicole got to hold for a little while.

With big lines comes great responsibility as Nicole learned.

With big lines comes great responsibility as Nicole learned.

Eventually we did make it to the front of the line where we got to see Amy Ewing and get our books signed.

Amy Ewing is so cool that my phone's camera exposure even lost its mind when I took her picture.

Amy Ewing is so cool that my phone’s camera exposure even lost its mind when I took her picture.

Ryan Graudin’s line, unfortunately was too long so Nicole and I next decided to heed the siren song of lunch.

After lunch things got a little crazy.

Also there was a car:

A car painted up for Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

A car painted up for Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

First up was Chelsea Philpot’s signing for Even in Paradise which is a riff on The Great Gatsby. Everyone was excited for this book. The line was crazy. I can tell you that first-hand because this time I got to hold the sign. Let me tell you, it was more stressful than you’d think.

Don't let my smile fool you, I took my job as sign holder very seriously.

Don’t let my smile fool you, I took my job as sign holder very seriously.

Chelsea Philpot with her debut Even in Paradise

Chelsea Philpot with her debut Even in Paradise

After that, Nicole and I had to start planning for the BIG part of the afternoon which was Holly Black signing The Darkest Part of the Forest at 2:30pm. A line was, predictably, already forming. Nicole held places for that line while I ran over to see Lenore Applehans who was signing paperbacks of The Memory of After. Another long line but I did get to see her just before the cutoff.

I had to get a mid-signature candid of Lenore Applehans because time was running out.

I had to get a mid-signature candid of Lenore Applehans because time was running out.

Nicole and I tried and failed, for the second time today, to get copies of Falling into Place by Amy Zhang but it was not meant to be today (it would happen tomorrow though). Which left us with a lot of time to wait for Holly Black.

Nicole also once again had important sign-holding duty.

Nicole was a little excited.

Nicole was a little excited.

And that was totally worth it. I was reduced to non-insightful comments about her blue hair when I got my book signed, but that’s okay. Worth. It.

Me and Holly Black!

Me and Holly Black!

Next we made a quick stop at Macmillan where we scooped up Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini before heading over to the Harper booth.

At Harper we happily waited in line with our shiny tickets to see Kiera Cass. I just recently finished the Selection trilogy, which I loved, so I was quite excited about this. The whole thing is a bit of blur but I did get a picture with Kiera Cass.

Me and Kiera Cass!

Me and Kiera Cass!

And everyone got a beautiful chocolate covered cookie. Kiera Cass was signing The One which, as the title suggests, involves a rather important wedding so all of the cookies were decorated as either brides or grooms. In another bit of luck I got a “bride” and Nicole got a “groom” cookie so we could create this adorable photo:

Isn't it cute?

Isn’t it cute?

Still totally pumped from meeting Kiera Cass AND Holly Black, Nicole and I split up. While she went to see Molly Idle, I headed over to Simon and Schuster to meet up with Cecelia and Ginny where we all waited to meet Scott Westerfeld. I love Scott Westerfeld and I’m very excited about his new book Afterworlds even with it being 600+ pages so this was really a thrill–particularly since I didn’t even think I’d be able to touch his line. But I did! And I have photographic evidence!

Scott Westerfeld with his forthcoming title Afterworlds.

Scott Westerfeld with his forthcoming title Afterworlds.

Next it was a quick stop at Isabel Gillies’ signing of Starry Night.

You can't see it but Isabel Gillies also drew a giant star next to her signature.

You can’t see it but Isabel Gillies also drew a giant star next to her signature.

Then it was time to retrieve out bags and, like the suckers we are, head over to Books of Wonder.

Books of Wonder had a great panel set up with Garth Nix, J. L. Armentrout, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Gretchen McNeil, Maggie Stiefvater, A. G. Howard and Alethea Kontis.

Now, my love for Alethea Kontis knows no bounds. Garth Nix, as I mentioned, is almost never in New York. I had a copy of Splintered just waiting for A. G. Howard to sign it. And, through sheer happenstance, I managed to acquire a copy of all of Maggie Stiefvater’s YA books. SO even though it hurt my soul to go to a book event right after being at a book convention, this really was a no brainer. And, believe it or not, Nicole felt the same way. So we dutifully headed over to Chelsea.

Now, the event was very crowded and I was already very tired so I can’t share much in the way of a recap beyond saying that all of the authors were very smart and charming.

I was very excited to get my full set of Old Kingdom books signed by Garth Nix.

A. G. Howard was delightful and had necklaces with key and lock charms for every reader.

Also Alethea Kontis looked fabulous. (I am so excited to read Dearest!)

Alethea Kontis looking fabulous as usual.

Alethea Kontis looking fabulous as usual.

And Maggie Stiefvater stood on the table. (She’s such a rockstar. One day soon when I have more time I have to finish all of her books. I’m also ashamed because I forgot to tell her The Scorpio Races is my favorite of her books not The Dream Thieves–although I also loved that one. It just gets confusing when you have a stack of books to get signed and have been awake for twelve hours!)

Maggie Stiefvater standing on the table.

Maggie Stiefvater standing on the table.

And with that, finally, day two of BEA came to a close.

Check back tomorrow for my final recap of day three.

We came, we saw, we rocked it. (The NYC Teen Author Festival, that is.)

If you live in New York and read young adult books you might already know this, if not, let me clue you in: Last week (March 14 to March 20) was the third annual New York City Teen Author Festival. The week-long event includes author readings, signings, and other wacky  events. The festivities culminate in a MASSIVE author signing at Books of Wonder–a delightful independent bookstore (with in-house cupcakes!) that always hosts really great events.

I’m sure it’s a huge amount of work but the festival a lot of great events and introduces people to a lot of really fabulous books. As always, this year I was floored by how smoothly everything went, how well it was organized, how many authors participated (and were willing to take the time to do so), and of course how very, very fun it was.

I attended the first year’s massive author signing when I was still finding my voice as a blogger and last year I attended two great events with friends I met during library school. The first year kind of changed my life–I’d never actually been to a book signing or met any authors before–and the second year was great to go to so many events with my friends and fellow book lovers.

This year, though, was really fantastic. Together with the inimitable Nicole who blogs as the Book Bandit, my friend and event buddy for all things book related, I think this year I really managed to rock the NYC Teen Author Festival like a pro. (The week started a day early, the Sunday before the Festival, with a viewing of Gnomeo and Juliet–again with The Book Bandit–it was a lot of fun and essentially a movie length homage to Elton John. What’s not to love?)

The Teen Author Festival is always a big deal for me and something I look forward to. This year, I took it to the next level. Nicole and I have been preparing for this week for a month. Seriously. I think expeditions to the top of Mount Everest have been mounted with less preparation.

The week of Festival events started, as many weeks do for me, with reader’s theater. On Tuesday, with The Book Bandit, I attended a Reader’s Theater event at Barnes and Noble in Union Square. The event, featuring  Holly Black, Judy Blundell, Gayle Forman, and Eliot Schrefer (AKA E. Archer), was hosted by YA dynamo David Levithan. For the event, each author adapted an excerpt from one of their books into a script to be performed . . . by the authors! Reader’s theater is always a good time but this event was especially fun because the readings were a blend of some of my favorite authors new books (“>Where She Went and “>Strings Attached) and some of the funniest excerpts I’ve ever heard (“>The Good Neighbors and“> Geek Fantasy Novel). It was a magical evening all around made even better by getting to talk to Judy Blundell and Gayle Forman (who liked the jewelery my mom made!) and getting Judy Blundell’s new book Strings Attached which I am crazy excited to read. The performance from Geek Fantasy Novel was definitely the funniest thing I’ve heard in weeks–if the excerpt is any indication then the book is going to be absolutely hysterical.

The very next day Nicole and I headed uptown to NYPL’s Schwarzman Building for a combination Tiger Beat/book reading event. Tiger Beat is a band comprised of . . . YA authors! Specifically the band consists of: Libba Bray, Natalie Standiford, Daniel Ehrenhaft, and Barnabas Miller. They do a variety of covers and some original songs, perhaps most famously The YA Song which expounds the virtues of none other than Holden Caulfield.  (They also debuted a song this time mentioned in Bray’s Printz winning novel “>Going Bovine. Between sets the audience was also treated to a variety of readings by Philana Marie Boles, Libba Bray, Barnabas Miller, Jon Skovron, Jeri Smith-Ready, and Rita Williams Garcia. All of the readings were great (of course) and there are a lot of books to be excited about from this bunch.

The week-long author fest culminated at Books of Wonder for a signing featuring FORTY-FIVE authors. It was epic. Nicole and I were there for three hours. We both had huge bags of books. It was crowded and crazy. And it was worth it.

It’s always great to meet the author of a book you love. This year, for me, it was really cool because I was able to line up some exciting things for future blog content, pass around business cards (yes, I have cards), and talk books. And acquire books. (I’m doing my part to support the publishing industry.) All of the authors were delightful and charming and fantastic. The day was amazing and I walked away having talked to a lot of my favorite authors.

For anyone who is desperately curious, here are the authors I met at the signing:  Maryrose Wood, Maggie Stiefvater, Alyssa Sheinmel, Leila Sales, Sarah Mlynowski, Terra Elan McVoy,Melina Marchetta, David Levithan, Melissa Kantor, Gwendolyn Heasley, Kim Harrington, Elizabeth Eulberg, Sarah Beth Durst. ‘

Here’s a fun surprise: Some of the signed books aren’t for me. They are for YOU, dear readers. Whiles I am not doing weekly giveaways anymore I do have big plans for this year’s Blog Birthday–so watch for that!

“Are you Miss Print?”

What ensues is going to be an embarrassingly detailed account of the events leading up to Thursday night which was, by far, the highlight of my week:

On Wednesday one of my favorite authors, Carolyn MacCullough, tweeted about an event at Books of Wonder where she would be appearing. I almost never get to go to events like this because they inevitably conflict with my work/school schedule. But the stars aligned on Thursday and I was able to attend!

I had posted on my own twitter about the event and my plans to attend because, well, it seemed like something everyone should go to. Much to my surprise and excitement, Ms. MacCullough responded to my tweet saying she hoped to see me there. I was pleased, but didn’t think much of it because I imagine authors always get crazy amounts of replies on Twitter and just try to respond to what they can to be nice (because writers are inevitably the nicest people in the world after librarians).

The event was short, but so much fun. I always love visiting Books of Wonder because it reminds me of Meg Ryan’s store in You’ve Got Mail. And because they have a cupcake shop. I always feel like the employees are watching me, but that might be my own paranoia from bringing in my own books to be signed–it feels wrong somehow.

Anyway, after Ms. MacCullough and the two other authors (Philip Reeve and Mari Mancusi) finished talking about their books, people were encouraged to get their books signed. And I did not need to be told twice.

I went up to Carolyn MacCullough feeling very awkward with my three books to be signed (Once a Witch and Drawing the Ocean are two of my favorite books and I’m looking forward to reading my library-borrowed-copy of Falling Through Darkness and my newly signed copy of Stealing Henry). I felt really awkward because that’s a lot of books for one person to want signed, so I went up to her (first person to do so, also super awkward) and said that I didn’t know if she would want to sign all of them.

Then the unthinkable happened.

Carolyn MacCullough, one of my favorite authors in the world, asked me who I was because I looked familiar. I was so floored that only bad, tongue-tied explanations came from my mouth. I tried to explain that I had retweeted about the even and she had replied but I don’t think it came out right. But eventually it came across that I was on Twitter.

And then something else unthinkable happened.

I was recognized (by one of my favorite authors!) as a book blogger. Carolyn MacCullough said to me, “Are you Miss Print?” And, as my readers already know, of course I am! I became, if possible, even more tongue-tied and needed a moment to regroup, telling her that I couldn’t believe she knew who I was.*

And so Carolyn MacCullough signed my books (saying it was nice to meet me in one of them) and we had a really nice conversation. It turns out she had been reading my blog and even asked how my mom was doing.** I told her that Drawing the Ocean is one of my favorite books (it actually has been since I read it after seeing her read part of it at an author event at Jefferson Market Library several years ago). And she said, I had given her one of the best reviews on Amazon and that it brought tears to her eyes.

Then we parted. She said it was nice to meet me in person and I said of course that I was thrilled to meet her and to have made it to the event and confirmed her suspicion that she would see more of me on Twitter. And then I went home with some of the cupcake shop’s awesome cupcakes in tow.

The funniest thing about the whole thing was that I almost didn’t go. I felt weird about going alone. Especially to an event that featured young adult authors. No one is a bigger champion of YA books being for everyone (not just teens) but it felt strange, somehow, to be going to an event ideally targeting teens when I was not a teen. But I went anyway because my mom said I was being silly and the stars had aligned to allow me to go and because I really wanted to meet Carolyn MacCullough even if it was weird and I was nervous before talking to her (at which point I was so excited there was no room for anything else).

I’m so, so glad I did. Because it was worth it. So, I guess if you’re going to get anything besides my fangirl-y happiness from this just know that if you want to go somewhere, you should go. Even if it means going alone or feeling weird or silly, it’s worth it. Because you’ll be doing what you want to do. And maybe Carolyn MacCullough (or you know, whoever you might call your favorite ________) will recognize you too. And that will be an opportunity that you claimed for yourself and made into a really amazing moment***.

*I’ve won scholarships and awards before. I’ve gotten good grades. But somehow this recognition was almost sweeter because it was for something I built from scratch on my own, simply because I wanted to.

**If even one of my favorite authors is wondering about my mom, it occurred to me that I should post something mentioning that she is, in fact, doing well.

***If anyone doubts me, Ms. MacCullough also tweeted me after the event saying it was nice to meet so I have incontrovertible proof that I wasn’t dreaming all of it.

I’m walking on sunshine (and don’t it feel good)

I am not ashamed to admit that one goal of this post’s title is to get that song stuck in someone’s head.

It’s been a while since I posted a chatty post. I am happy to report that I am no longer giving off sparks every time I touch anything, now it’s just sometimes. Small steps. This week did not start of awesome, but it ended that way. Here’s what happened:

I started the week (my spring break) in a bit of a funk after some research about Robin Hood. I had thought he was one of those legends who got to ride off into the proverbial sunset and was much aggrieved when I read on Wikipedia that he was, most often, killed by an angry Prioress during a bloodletting procedure. I have not found anyone who shares my level of outrage but just trust me, that ending is outrageous. This Robin Hood jag led me to conclude that I never want to read a Robin Hood legend ever again but renewed my interested in finishing the Robin Hood themed cross stitch I have been working on for a million years (like, literally).

In other not awesome news, I completely destroyed the heels of both feet with a series of ill-advised shoes. They are healed now, mostly, and I procured some backless shoes (my first pair of clogs!) to prevent further mishaps. I also completed my taxes and finally worked that deduction magic that everyone else seemed to know about already.

Now we get to why the week (and actually much of this month) has been awesome.

First of all, this developed a couple weeks ago but I never got around to mentioning it. Through a series of fortuitous events and connections I now have a new blog over at NYPL’s official website. (Here are the details on that initiative.) That blog just has the book-related content from this blog, but it’s still rather exciting for me so I thought I’d share. I also think the new blog is affecting this blog’s search ranking which is boring to everyone else but I find it fascinating to monitor the jump in blog views. I’m not sure why–maybe I have an inner statistician?

I’ve also been getting a lot of reading done, which generally pleases me because, as my alias and career path suggest, I kind of like books. A lot.

Last Wednesday I reviewed Girl Overboard which was a really great book and my review got a really great comment from the author (who is also really great). And all of that made me really happy.

Then, this weekend was the Whole Bead Show which my Mom and I missed last time around. This event has been in my calendar since last year so I was really excited when it was beautiful weather the day we visited. We had a great time looking at all of the nifty beads and jewelery items for sale and even found some new inventory for our own online stores.

To make the weekend even more awesome (hardly possible, I know), today was the Biggest Teen Author Signing Ever! at Books of Wonder–the last event of the NYC Teen Author Festival. I’ve been looking forward to this signing for two weeks even though I knew I’d be going alone and was kind of worried I’d look weird for (a) not being a teen and (b) for being by myself.

I had never been to Books of Wonder but I’m glad I ventured over there because the store is really neat–very like the store that Meg Ryan’s character owned in You’ve Got Mail. The event was insanely crowded, so no one really noticed who I was with (or not with) anyway, although one of the authors (SCOTT WESTERFELD!) might have noticed that I was not a teen since he asked if I was a librarian–or perhaps I already project that elusive hip librarian vibe?

Anyway, it was really fun to be bumped and jostled by all of these really famous teen authors. Plus I got books signed by Maureen Johnson(!), Judy Blundell, SCOTT WESTERFELD, and Lisa Ann Sandell. It was just a great end to my mini-vacation from school. Especially when I stumbled upon the adjacent cupcake cafe where I got some delicious cupcakes to share with Mom once I got home with all of my loot.

Where we proceeded to FINALLY watch WALL-E!!!! (Which was as awesome as I knew it would be from the moment I saw the trailer, before any of my friends would agree with me.)

In summary, this week = EPIC WIN.