The Talk of Book Expo America

At Book Expo America, we got a sneak peek at the most-talked about new Y.A. and children's titles, and we referred to some publishing industry insiders for their takes on the books you don't want to miss. 

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Book Expo America is over until next year, but what it has wrought is only just beginning, as many of the books being passed around and discussed are released to the reading public over the summer and throughout the fall. We got a sneak peek at the most-talked about new Y.A. and children's titles, and we referred to some publishing industry insiders for their takes on the reads you don't want to miss. (You don't even have to wait for some of them!) And there's something for everyone. As author Beth Kephart wrote in a piece for Publishing Perspectives on Y.A. at Books Expo, the "trend," if there is one, among Y.A. at the moment is more about defining rather than chasing book trends. So it's not all dsytopia or fantasy, for example. As for what Y.A.-reading grownups should try to get their hands on first...

Sarah Gerard, who runs the children's section at New York City bookstore McNally Jackson, told The Atlantic Wire, "One big buzz book right now is Code Name Verity, from Hyperion, which has really shown in sales, and which I often get requests for. Also, Never Fall Down, by Patricia McCormick, is getting a lot of well-deserved attention. It tells the fictionalized story of a real Khmer Rouge survivor and is just...a very intense read, to put it lightly." Gerard added that Paolo Bacigalupi's sequel to Ship Breaker, The Drowned Cities, which came out just a few weeks ago, has a lot of in-store fans, including adults. Veronica Roth's Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent, is also drawing crowds. "People come in asking for her daily," says Gerard. As for middle grade, she cites Natalie Standiford's The Secret Tree, which is the only title in the children's window. "I recommend her for anyone who loves Rebecca Stead, and who doesn't?" says Gerard. Also in middle grade, one of McNally Jackson's teen reviewers was impressed by the new book by Chris Colfer (of Glee), The Land of Stories; she told Gerard "it made her think about fairy tales in a whole new way."

Author R.L. Stine, who on Wednesday signed 200 copies of Wanted: The Haunted Mask, the first book in the 20-year-old Goosebumps series to be published in hardcover, told The Atlantic Wire that he's excited about Macmillan's Monument 14, a Y.A. book by Emmy Laybourne, and a middle grade book called Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, about a child with a facial deformity (we've heard good things about it, too). He also recommended The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen, calling it "a really interesting Y.A. book and very well-written."

Nielsen's was one of our picks in the race to the next Hunger Games, as was a book mentioned by Macmillan's Joy Peskin, Crewelby Gennifer Albin, "a big get for Mac Kids and their lead for fall." Peskin was also excited about Gabrielle Zevin's second book in the Birthright series, Because It Is My Blood, which she calls "beautifully written." As for non-Macmillan books, she mentioned Donna Cooner's Skinny (a title we heard from several people); Peskin said she was so eager to read it she started it on her way home.

Sandie Angulo Chen, a media professional who "blogs about Y.A. lit on the side" at Teen Lit Rocks, told us, "So many books in the Y.A, space look like they're going to be big hits, like Libba Bray's roaring twenties occult mystery Diviners to Donna Cooner's heartbreaking tale of an obese teen's struggle through gastric bypass, Skinny." Chen mentioned Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys [yet another of our nominees for the next Hunger Games] and Colin Fischer, about a teen with Aspergers who solves a school mystery. "The authors happen to be A-list Hollywood screenwriters, so I definitely have high expectations," she says (moviegoers take note!). As for the crowd at BEA, Chen added that tons of authors promoting their second and third books in a series—this is a big thing we noticed as well, lots and lots of books in a series—were there, like Marie Lu and Ally Condie, and that she "loved meeting the group of debut authors who dub themselves the Apocalypsies, like Gennifer Albin, Hilary Weisman Graham, Gina Damico, Jess Rothenberg and Zoraida Cordova."

Scholastic's Tracy van Straaten told us people at her booth were clamoring for The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater, and that there was also lots of buzz about Infinity Ring, by James Dashner, "a new multi-platform time-travel adventure series." Also, Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers, by Dave Pilkey—it's the first Captain Underpants book in six years and has a one million first printing—as well as Drama, by Raina Telgemeier (the author of Smile), and Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-Up Adventure, by Matthew Reinhart (we got a glimpse of a preview; space nerds: There is a light saber that changes colors!). And two books by debut authors were hot: Skinny, by Donna Cooner and The Dark Unwinding, by Sharon Cameron.
At Bloomsbury, we grabbed a copy of the second in the New York Times best-selling Princess Academy series, Palace of Stone, by Shannon Hale. Over at Houghton Mifflin, we spoke with Jennifer Groves, who mentioned Son by Lois Lowry, the fourth in the series that began with The Giver, and The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde, both "definitely generating lots of conversation, buzz, and requests." Also attracting attention at Houghton Mifflin were What Came From the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt, his first foray into sci-fi/fantasy: "ARCs went like hotcakes, and we've had lots of folks coming by specifically to ask about this title," says Grove; Scorch by Gina Damico, a follow up to Croak, the story of a teenage grim reaper with anger management issues; and The Warrior's Heart by Eric Greitens, a Y.A. adaptation of his best-selling novel The Heart and the Fist, about "the author's evolution from average kid to globe-traveling humanitarian to warrior, training and serving with the most elite military outfit in the world: the Navy SEALs."

Whew. You can pick up with these when you finish that summer reading list we gave you last week.

Image via @wordforteens.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.