BEA! Yay!

The Book Expo of America is a massive book convention that makes booksellers like me squeal with joy. Authors, publishers, and editors come together to trade secrets and meet fans. It’s a three day event that is taking place this week, from May 25th-27th. I was lucky enough to get a free pass from Borders and anticipate going on Wednesday with my best of companions, Anastasia and Coleen.

Here’s the event hours for Wednesday:

Wednesday, May 26

8:00 am – 9:30 am Children’s Book and Author Breakfast
8:00 am – 6:00 pm Press Room Hours
8:30 am – 5:30 pm “Big Ideas at BEA” Conference
9:00 am – 6:00 pm Exhibit Hall
9:00 am – 6:00 pm Exhibitor Meeting Rooms
9:00 am – 6:00 pm International Rights & Business Center
10:00 am – 5:00 pm Author Stages
10:30 am – 12:00 noon Speed Dating with Children’s Authors (For booksellers only.)
12:00 noon – 2:00 pm ABA’s Celebration of Bookselling Luncheon
2:00 pm – 3:15 pm BEA Young Adults Editor’s Buzz
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm BEA Tweetup at Powerhouse Books, 37 Main St., Brooklyn, NY

So what am I excited to do? Just about everything! Here’s a listing of the events I’m hoping to attend:

You’re Reading That!?! Crossover YA/Adult Readers Come of Age 10:00 AM- 11:00 AM; Room 1E16

Pretty much one of the most intriguing concepts of the Young Adult genre is how many adults are reading it now. The main issues is how to stay connected to teens and still appeal to the older demographic, the big buyers of the genre.

Hot Book Club Titles for Fall 10:00 AM- 11:00 AM; Room 1E17

How am I going to make it to this event when I’ll be at the first one? Easy, I ask one of my companions to cover it. This is going to be the first time that I have guest writers share their input concerning aspects of events. I just can’t be everywhere! The matter of who covers this is going to be a surprise. This event has to be covered so I can make sure you guys know what to be on the look out coming fall.

Dystopian Fiction 10:30 AM-11:30 AM; Uptown Stage

Basically a talk featuring Ally Condie, Adam Dunn, Lesley Hague, and Sigrid Nunez. They’ll be talking about their forays into the not quite perfect utopias created in their novels.

Paranormal Fiction for Teens: From Vampires to Werewolves to Zombies and Shape Shifters 11:00 AM-11:50 AM; Downtown Stage

It’s no secret that I adore the fantasy aspect of Young Adult, it practically saturates the genre. Richelle Mead, Andrea Cremer, Holly Black, and Ivy Devlin will talk about their experiences writing fantasy for teens.

YA Authors Crossing Over 11:00AM-11:50AM; Midtown Stage

Connecting to the first event I listed, this will talk about the authors that crossover between adult and young adult fiction. Melissa Marr, Jennifer Donnelly, Stephanie Kuhnert, Michele Jaffe, and Jeri Smith-Ready will all be there to share what they think about the topic.

Nonfiction for Kids & Teens 11:00 AM-12:00PM; Room 1E14

Not quite sure if this is definitely going to make it for me, but I think nonfiction for kids and teens is very important; there’s not a lot. This panel will talk about hot titles for kids nonfiction and how to market better in stores and libraries.

BEA (Young Adult) Editors Buzz 2:00 PM-3:15 PM; Room 1E15

Editors will come together in a panel and discuss what’s coming out this Fall and their take on the new books and authors being released.

Steam Punk 3:00 PM-3:50 PM; Midtown Stage

One of the hottest new themes in media, steam punk is intriguing and captures the hearts of readers as well as gamers. Cherie Priest, Felix Gilman, and Catherynne M. Valente will talk about steam punk as a whole and in their own novels.

The Emerging Publishing Landscape: Where do Book Developers Fit In? 3:30 PM-4:30 PM; Room 1E16

This panel will discuss something we rarely think about as readers and book sellers, packaging. This panel will talk about the necessity to produce books faster and in a more economical fashion and how that is going to affect jobs and roles in the book developing world.

Full schedule, right? I’m not even finished yet! There are still all the authors I hope to meet!

Tony DiTerlizzi 10:00 AM-11:00 AM; Location: Booth 3940

Will sign: Mr. Toppit … ARC

Cornelia Funke 11:30 AM-12:30 PM; Location: Booth 3751

Will sign: ARC

Ridley Pearson 1:00 PM-2:00 PM; Location: Table 17

Will sign: Kingdom Keepers III… Book

Ticket required!

James Patterson 2:00 PM-3:00 PM; Location: Booth 3751

Will sign: Witch & Wizard… ARC

Lemony Snicket 2:00 PM-3:00 PM; Location: Table 16

Will sign: 13 Words … Broadside

Ticket required!

Holly Black 3:00 PM-4:00 PM; Location: Table 17

Will sign: Zombies vs. Unicorns … ARC

Rick Riordan 3:00 PM-4:00 PM; Location: Table 24

Will sign: The Kane Chronicles: …. Book

Ticket required!

Melissa Marr 4:00 PM-5:00 PM; Location: Table 18

Will sign: Radiant Shadows … Book

So if you’re going to be at the Book Expo of America, leave me a comment! Maybe we’ll run into each other.

Holly Black: The Darker Side of Young Adult Lit

I just finished Holly Black’s collection of short stories; The Poison Eaters and Other Stories. I’ve had the privilege of being introduced to Black’s writing when I was still in high school. My English teacher offered the students that had the best scores a chance to read whatever book we wanted. She had a class set of advanced reader copies of Tithe, Black’s first novel. My teacher told me that it was a modern faerie tale. I was in.

TitheTithe was raw and edgy, filled with shadows that hid conspiracies and secret plot points. Kaye was a protagonist that walked the razor’s edge of sanity. Everywhere she turned, faeries were there calling out to her. Black’s use of detail is enchanting, gripping the reader and pulling them under into a dark world made of very dangerous creatures. Black finds beauty in mundane objects, giving a destroyed merry-go-round horse an ethereal quality, creating magic where there was none to be found. Kaye becomes a pawn in a deadly game between two courts of faerie. Her childhood friends, filled with innocence and folly, have darkened over time. She finds herself navigating the double-sided words and tricky riddles that sprinkle the language of the fair folk. Kaye needs to rely on what she learned as a human to help her survive the world that had always called to her. The plot played out beautifully, keeping the reader on the tips of their toes, forever surprised and rethinking.

ValiantThe sequel, Valiant, was no disappointment. Beginning in a familiar Jersey setting, the main character (Val) finds herself in Manhattan. She starts living on the streets after finding out that her boyfriend and mother were having an affair. She finds herself living in a subway tunnel with a couple of junkies and a boy who is gifted with the Sight. This novel maintained a similar feeling of dark treachery moving behind the scenes. Black also approaches a very important topic among young adults; drug abuse. The drug of choice for these characters is like nothing any junkie has every shot up; it was a faerie medicine that gave mortal humans a taste of magic. This novel was intense and vibrant, revealing the desperate damage that teen girls can experience and how they choose to deal. The gritty truth of living on the streets, the heartbreaking honesty of kids that do what they have to in order to survive, and the youth that can’t live without their fix, all of these things are strongly represented in our rotten reality. Valiant does beautiful work of creating a glowing light around the despair that drags us down in everyday life.

IronsideThe conclusion to the Modern Faerie Tale collection, Ironside, tied the first two books together with wit and creativity. Characters came together from each novel, creating a tapestry of relationships that are as fragile as a snowflake. Roiben and Kaye’s relationship teeters, as precarious as it always is. Val is not as prominent in this novel, but one of her street rat friends is. Kaye is pulled into an impossible task in order to prove her love to Roiben. The faerie courts, as always, are treacherous and ready to destroy the balance that Kaye has become accustomed to. Yet again, Black twists words into unnatural but beautiful shapes. She uses words they way her faeries do, creating curses and spells of redemption. Ironside was engaging and twisted in all the right places. Black understands the complexities of human and faerie nature so well that the characters on the page could be sitting next to the reader, telling their tales in shaky, excited whispers.

The Spiderwick ChroniclesHolly Black continued her career with the Spiderwick chronicles, a short series of five books created for children. These treated faeries with the same eerie respect and understanding that they are not all light and flowers, they are much darker than we anticipate. Our heroes in these books are much younger than the cheeky teens in her young adult novels. She continued the story in Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles, utilizing the beautiful and detailed artwork of Tony DiTerlizzi. The artwork compliments Black’s writing with careful lines and outstanding imagery.

The Good Neighbors: KinThe Good Neighbors: KithThat was not the only time that Black teamed up with an artist. She also has a series of graphic novels with Ted Naifeh titled The Good Neighbors. While graphic novels tend to be a short read, Black and Naifeh craft a marvelous tale of shadows and trickery that makes you take the time to truly look at the images. Kin and Kith chronicle the story of a young girl whose mother mysteriously disappears after an argument with her father. Kind will be the conclusion to this series. Rue starts to see things after her mother’s disappearance, things she can’t explain. When faeries begin to circle her life, taunting her and her father, Rue must figure out what this has to do with her mother. The inner working of Rue’s mind reveals the confusion of being raised to believe you are what you are not.

The Poison Eaters and Other StoriesAside from several compilations, Black released a collection of her own short stories. Poison Eaters and Other Stories contains several stories that were featured elsewhere before finally being bound all together. I first read “The Coldest Girl in Cold Town” in The Eternal Kiss, a vampire anthology. Black consistently defies the expectation of the supernatural and approaches it with a darker perspective, an honest perspective. She realizes that the world is not shining and filled with white beauty. The world is dark and painful. She shows this in each short story. Black’s active imagination utilizes every corner of magic and mystery. She often takes advantage of a familiar New Jersey setting or resorts to New York. She takes the creatures that are frequently romanticized and brings to the table the “what ifs” that are never considered. What if being a vampire is not romance and living forever in secrecy? What if faeries didn’t just want to play pranks? What if a tailor could save a life?

Black’s next release will be the first in a series called Curse Workers in May 2010. The novel will be called The White Cat. She will also be featured in several anthologies due to be released this year. The one that I am looking forward to the most is Zombies vs. Unicorns. I’m down for the unicorns. They’re some tricky creatures. Besides, Zombies are fairly simple to figure out.

See Holly Black’s website here to find out more about her books and her writing.