This year’s BEA was really the first Book Expo I’ve been to as like, a fully grown literary agent. I went last year, but I was just one month in, and didn’t even have proper business cards yet. This time around, I had a few book sales under my belt, actual business cards like an adult, and meetings scheduled with editors at a few publishers.
On the agent side of things, BEA was a delight. I nudged editors at publishing houses I’d yet to meet anyone at, had some great meetings, and met up with three of my brilliant YA authors, Dave Connis, Samira Ahmed, and Lizzie Cooke. I was lucky enough to be able to bring Dave and Samira to a few events, and seriously felt like a proud Dad while watching Dave network at a YA author meetup.
What? It’s not weird.
Me, Samira, and Lizzie, breakfasting for like three hours. It was awesome.
Dragging Dave around to things, hanging with Danielle Paige.
I also managed to squeeze in a bunch of workshops with writers, and attended the Chicago SCBWI’s meeting (with over 40 members!) to talk about agenting and querying on Thursday evening, and on Saturday, the Chicago Writers Workshop, to take queries before jetting back off to The Book Con for a panel.
Saturday night at The Book Con, I got to host an in-discussion panel with Michael DiMartino and Leopoldo Gout. You might know Mike from his work co-creating Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Leo has worked producing numerous James Patterson movies and television shows. It was an absolutely honor, and a HUGE thank you goes out to the Fierce Reads crew for having me out.
Other quick highlights of BEA including getting to see so many of my blogger friends, BookRioters, BookTube pals, and author BFFs. I finally met David Arnold, Danielle Paige, Paul Kruger, and Dhonielle Clayton, after being buddies on the Internet forever. I had the pleasure of getting to hangout with the brilliant Anna-Marie McLemore, who promptly prank texted me the entire weekend (seriously check that out here). And I only fanboyed a little bit when I met the hilarious John Corey Whaley.
Okay, maybe a lot. Whatever.
Oh, and did I mention that Bloomsbury was handing out Branded bookmarks? What a thrill! It was really fun to see my lil’ book getting some push at BEA this year, especially when it’s paired up with two other fantastic titles, AND being given out with temporary tattoos for Isaac Fitzgerald’s next book. Super honored. <3
All in all, 10/10, would go again.
Now, as for those books.
I managed to snag a mind-boggling amount of ARCs, and might have been seen leaving a party early just so I could go to a Target and buy a bag to lug them all home. Out of all of them, these are the ten I’m the most excited about… though I should note I’m SUPER psyched to get A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir and History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera. Couldn’t snag one at the con. Someone send me those please.
As for what I picked up… here we go! All book links in the list will take you to Goodreads, so please, go add these to your shelves, and join in the excitement.
Kids of Appetite by David Arnold: I’ll be honest. I wasn’t leaving Chicago without a copy of this book. It was either I’d get this book at BEA, or I would have to wait in Chicago until the book came out, wandering the streets, shouting at the sky outside Barnes & Noble. His debut, Mosquitoland, was one of my favorite books of 2015 (you can see that list here on Paste), and I definitely need his followup. I even got it signed.
Teach Me To Forget by Erica M. Chapman: I ran into Erica while wandering the convention, and was bummed to have missed her signing. But gasp! She said there were still copies at her publisher, Merit Press. So I booked it over there, and promptly held her book to my chest, ever-so-tightly. Rumor has it this one brings the tears. I am ready.
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova: I waited in line for this one. Zoraida and I actually went to Mexico last month on a writing retreat together (expect a blog on that soon, btw) and she didn’t have an ARC for me! The vacation was almost canceled. I waited patiently until BEA to get her latest, and I’m psyched to dive into this book full of culture and witchcraft.
Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner: This book has been getting a lot of buzz on the ol’ bookish Twitter, so it was way up at the top of my must-grab list when I was wandering BEA. Out with Candlewick in September, it sounds like a pretty devastating read about loss and grief. More tears! Ya’ll know I like to cry. The ARC has a pretty photo on the front of people swimming, so I think this will be an ARC I keep. <3
Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige: While I was really happy to meet Danielle at BEA this year (FINALLY), I was double excited to get the first book in her new series. The crew over at Bloomsbury (who were giving out Branded bookmarks, those sweethearts), hooked me up with an early copy, and I’m excited to see Paige’s take on another fairytale gone wrong.
Spindle by E.K. Johnston: How. Did. This. Happen. I was rushing by the Disney booth when an all-too-familiar cover caught my eye. I LOVED Johnston’s A Thousand Nights, and spotting the companion novel sent my heart racing. This one isn’t even out until December. So excited. They’d just put the ARCs out when I snagged one, and they promptly were devoured by the book hungry hordes. No surprise. Johnston is fantastic.
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles: Man there is a lot of buzz going on for this book. There’s even a blurb on that back of it from Peter Jackson. As in, the guy who directed the Lord of the Rings movies Peter Jackson. There’s a bounty hunter from Hell in it! And romance! Just… just gimme, I need to start this now.
Mice of the Round Table by Julie Leung: So Julie is actually in my writing group here in Philly. Or was. SHE LEFT US FOR NEW YORK. But oh, I am so excited for her middle grade debut. It’s charming, involves adorable mice that run around with swords and shields. It’s like middle grade Mouseguard, which is one of my favorite things in the world. Can’t wait. So proud.
Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West: I managed to snag this one during an ARC drop over at Holiday House, and focuses on an orphan who finds herself roped into a magical world, inspired by a number of myths and legends, including the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. So… yes. I am here for this.
Resurrecting Sunshine by Lisa A. Koosis: When I ran over to Albert Whitman for a Very Professional Agent Meeting (TM) I managed to stumble on Lisa’s signing. We chatted a bit and she was absolutely delightful, so I’m already way excited for her debut novel. YA contemporary, yes! And it’s about CLONING. Leaving the cover blank on this one, since I don’t think they revealed it yet. I don’t want to mess that up.
So these are the books! Look for them!