Monday, June 01, 2009

BEA YA Editors Book Buzz Panel...

I'm back in the office today after spending last week in New York attending BookExpo America. This week I'll be offering some reports on the conventions here on my blog. This is my first.

I was excited when I saw the list of BEA special events a few months ago and learned that this year there would be the first-ever BEA Young Adult Editor's Buzz panel. Past shows have featured Books Buzz panels, but never for YA. Which is crazy. Because there are some amazing YA titles out there that deserve to be buzzed just as much as any novel for grown-ups.

The YA Buzz panel allowed six editors to spend about 10 minutes talking about one title on their upcoming fall lists that they're really jazzed about. Scholastic Press/Push Editorial Director (and an author himself) David Levithan served as the master of ceremonies and introduced the editors on the panel.

Here are the editors, ready to buzz...
Left to right: Host David Levithan;
Mark Siegel, Editorial Director, First Second Books;
Ari Lewin, Senior Editor, Disney/Hyperion;
Tara Weikum, Executive Editor, HarperCollins Children's Books;
Krista Marino, Senior Editor, Delacorte Press;
Liz Szabla, Editor-in-Cheif, Feiwel & Friends;
Arthur Levine, VP & Editorial Director, Arthur A. Levine Books.

Here's a quick rundown of the books they talked about so I can help spread the buzz! (I couldn't Twitter this session because because it took place in one of the many vortexes of no-reception that exist in the Javitz Center.)

  • Ari: Devil's Kiss, by by Sarwat Chada. It's an adventure story focusing on Billi, the youngest and only female member of the Knights of the Templar in the present day. (Release date: September 1)
  • Krista: The Maze Runner, by James Dashner. This a book that the editor says changed the way she sees her world. The opening of this distoptian novel is disorienting, and the book crosses genres, delving into adventure, mystery and sci fi. It was acquired as a stand-alone, but envisioned as a trilogy. (Relase date: October 6)
  • Mark: Refresh Refresh, by Danica Novgorodoff. This is graphic novel about high school seniors in a small town coping with the fact that their fathers are off serving in the Iraq war. The editor says it's a story that not calculated but born of need, the type of book that defines the First Second line. Graphic novelists, he says, are "the new literary rock stars." (Release date: September 29)
  • Liz: The Sweetheart of Prosper County, by Jill Alexander. The editor describes this smalltown Southern comic novel as "a big delicious cassarole, a give-me-goosebumps novel." It was acquired on the first five pages. (Yes, you read that correctly.) (Release date: September 1)
  • Tara: Viola in Reel Life, by Adriana Trigiani. This book is the story of a girl misplaced--the main character moves from Brooklyn to a boarding school in Indiana while her film maker parents are off working. Two more Viola books are in the pipeline. (Release date: September 1)

The wonderful thing about this Editor Buzz sesssion was that chance to see editors speaking with such passion about these projects. This wasn't marketing copy, it was from the heart. It made me feel just as excited about these books as they were. (I even teared up a little when Liz Szabla talked about Jill Alexander's debut novel.)


Unknown said...

Thanks for this info! I really enjoyed Trigiani's adult book, Lucia, Lucia - so, I will be looking for her YA (plus it's set in Indiana & I'm a Hoosier!)

They all sound like great reads. I'm adding them to my list.

James Dashner said...

Hey, great report Alice! It was really awesome to meet you and hang a bit at BEA.

Christy Raedeke said...

Thanks for the Buzz Panel recap - always interesting to see what the editors are excited about.

It's interesting how varied their choices are!

Aileen Leijten said...

That was an interesting event. I just finished reading The Sweetheart of Prosper County, by Jill Alexander. It was good, not great. It's a little disappointing that Liz chose this book to buzz about. Hoping to get more out of the other books that were discussed.

Stephanie Perkins said...

I've read Laini's book and confirm that it's WONDERFUL -- romantic and creepy and beautiful. Starred reviews will soon be pouring in!

Wish I could have been at BEA.

(Le sigh.)