Last week I spent two whirlwind days at Book Expo America, a jam-packed conference dedicated to â€œthe content and the buzzâ€ of the book world. My experience of this involved talking to people about books while standing in lines to meet authors, meeting said authors and getting my hands on a pile of autographed titles, many of which won’t even be published until this fall. An experience worthy of many a fangirlish squee to be sure.
Upon my arrival on Tuesday, I was just in time to see this parked outside of the Javits Center:
Talking to Sarah Dessen was my major author related goal for the trip because I actually had something to say. As the author handed me a red velvet whoopie pie, I got to tell her how much I appreciated the librarian in her latest book What Happened to Goodbye. Cool, pink-sweater-wearing Lauren the Librarian helped out protagonist McLean and helped improve the image of librarians everywhere. Thanks Sarah Dessen! First mission accomplished.
Then I went inside and took in the spectacle. The basic lay of the land involved row after row of numbered booths, two stages for speakers, and the autographing area, a long line of tables each with its own designated queue. There was no way to see it all, so I will recap some of my highlights and forthcoming books you won’t want to miss.
Laini Taylor talked with Jennifer Hubert Swan of the blog Reading Rants! at one of the stages. Taylor’s eye-catching pink hair and insightful discussion of what makes good fantasy made this a memorable presentation. While I hadn’t heard much about it previously, Daughter of Smoke and Bone (September 27) became a priority on my to-read list.
The cover of the next book in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series was revealed. Unfortunately Clockwork Prince (December 6) is embargoed, so no ARC’s for us!
Daniel Handler, better known to many as the man responsible for Lemony Snickett, signed copies and gave out magnets with illustrations by Maira Kalman from their forthcoming teen book Why We Broke Up (January 2012). Fans were encouraged to share break up stories on post cards that were displayed at the booth.
Scott Westerfeld signed ARC’s of Goliath (September 20), sequel to Teens’ Top Ten nominee Behemoth and the third and final installment in the alternate history steampunk trilogy that began with Leviathan. This was my second major author goal. Westerfeld is one of my favorite authors. I got up really early to make sure I had a ticket for this autograph session.
Bill Willingham, best known for the graphic novel series Fables, did an interview about his new book for teens Down the Mysterly River (September 13) a wilderness adventure story with talking animals and scary bad guys.
Lines were long, and events were many so it was not possible for me to be everywhere I wanted to be and meet everyone I wanted to meet. I missed out on Maureen Johnson, promoting The Last Little Blue Envelope and The Name of the Star (September 29). I missed Maggie Stiefvater signing ARC’s of Forever (July 12), but still managed to get a copy of the book. I did not get a copy of Crossed (November 1), Ally Condie’s sequel to Teens’ Top Ten Nominee Matched.
Finally, a book that I really wanted to get as an ARC was Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. It wasn’t advertised that this treasure would be available, but I heard it through the grapevine that it could be obtained by asking nicely at the publisher’s booth. And lo and behold, they gave me one! Be sure to get your hands on this second book from the author of Anna and the French Kiss on September 29. Fans of Anna will enjoy seeing a certain couple of characters who have recently moved to San Francisco.
Actually I finished Lola and Goliath in the first few days after my return and am now very much enjoying Daughter of Smoke and Bone. This fall is going to be a good season for books!
-Erin Daly, currently reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and listening to Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater on audiobook in the car.