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June 12, 2017

Teenreads at BookExpo 2017


Every year, publishing professionals from all over the world meet up at BookExpo America, the largest annual book trade fair in the United States. Attended not only by publishers, but authors, librarians and buyers for book retailers as well, BookExpo is the number one place to learn about upcoming releases and trends. This year, Teenreads was on the scene to report back on all of the big hits and trends by attending panels, signings and giveaways. In this post, our team shares details about their experiences at BookExpo and what they learned over the course of the event. Who did you attend BookExpo with?


Amanda Melfi: I attended BookExpo with my fellow intern (and close friend) Dana Cuadrado.


Dana Cuadrado: I was lucky enough to get to attend Book Expo to help with the coverage for and I walked the show floor with Amanda, my fellow intern who is also a very close friend.


Kat Szabo: Just me.


Matthew Burbridge: I went to BookExpo with Rebecca Munro, but then wandered around a bit on my own.


Maya Gittelman: I could only make it for a bit on Friday, so solo!


Rebecca Munro: I walked around by myself for the most part, but I also ran around with my interns and friends.


Zoe Maffitt: The Children’s Book Council!



TRC: What were you looking forward to the most at the conference?


Amanda Melfi: I was most looking forward to meeting some of the great authors (such as Amanda Foody and Tristina Wright) who were signing their books at BookExpo.


Dana Cuadrado: I was most looking forward to learning about upcoming fall/winter YA/MG titles as well as meeting some of my favorite authors and new ones too.


Kat Szabo: I only got to go at the end of the day on Friday, so I was just looking forward to walking around and catching a panel or two.


Matthew Burbridge: The Young Adult Buzz Authors panel.


Maya Gittelman: We Need Diverse Books: Following Up After Fouling Up: Real Talk About Real Apologies. Also, just being around so many books and book lovers!


Rebecca Munro: I work with kids and teens books primarily, so I was secretly looking forward to hearing about the adult books people were excited about.  Of course, I was also really looking forward to moderating the Young Adult Book Buzz panel and seeing all five of the authors together on stage for the first time.


Zoe Maffitt: This was my first time at the event so I was interested in just getting a feel for what it was all about. I didn’t have any expectations...but still had a blast! I ended up spending less time on the floor and more time in the panels.



TRC: What events did you attend? Which was your favorite? Why?


Amanda Melfi: My favorite panel at BookExpo was one that I attended with Dana. We went to go see our very own Rebecca Munro moderate the YA Book Buzz panel. She asked some very interesting questions about the books that the authors had written. This panel really got me excited to read these books! With such a diverse panel of authors (and books) it was great getting to know some insight on how certain authors wrote their stories. For example, Nic Stone talked about her book DEAR MARTIN and how she was able to write from the point of view of a boy.


Dana Cuadrado: My favorite panel at Book Expo featured someone you might be a bit familiar with our very own Rebecca Munro, who was the moderator for the YA Book Buzz panel that featured books that deserve an extra spotlight and will make a huge splash after the panel. The authors featured were all funny, interesting and genuine. Rebecca gave such great insights about all of their books --- which for the most part no one in the audience had read yet since they are fall releases --- and asked great questions to draw out responses from the authors about their craft and experiences.


Kat Szabo: I only attended a panel on the creative process featuring Veronica Roth, Reshma Saujani and Zac Posen, but it was very fun and informative. I can’t wait to check out Reshma’s book, GIRLS WHO CODE.


Matthew Burbridge: The Young Adult Book Buzz panel was well-organized and exceptionally moderated.  Outside of a few giveaways and signings, that panel was the only one I was really interested in attending. BEASTS MADE OF NIGHT by Tochi Onyebuchi is going to be the fantasy book to read this year.


Maya Gittelman: I could only make it to We Need Diverse Books: Following Up After Fouling Up: Real Talk About Real Apologies. But it was epic.


Rebecca Munro: My first day of BookExpo was a whirlwind, starting with a brunch with NOVL featuring author Ryan Graudin. While we ate pastries and sipped mimosas, we were able to hear from editors about the newest YA titles, which was easily my favorite part. RIght after brunch I raced downtown for a lunch with...wait for it...a 10-year-old reporter and debut author named Hilde Lysiak! Believe me, there’s nothing to motivate you like hearing from a 10-year-old who is already making a name for herself. Throughout the next two days, I attended a few signings and giveaways, but my absolute favorite event was the Young Adult Book Buzz panel --- and not only because I was moderating it. The authors all worked really well together and it was amazing to see excited they were about each other’s books. When it comes to events I wasn’t moderating, the Children’s Book and Author Breakfast was incredible. Anyone who knows me knows that I have an embarrassingly large crush on Jason Reynolds, and he stole the show. It was also really fun to see Isla Fisher and Marieke Nijkamp, both of whom are authors I never thought I’d see in person.


Zoe Maffitt: I attended the Middle Grade Buzz Books panel and the panel hosted by We Need Diverse Books (How to Fess Up When you Foul Up). The latter was particularly illuminating. They discussed what makes a good (and bad) apology, when and how to apologize and how to understand who the truly vulnerable parties are (read: minorities) in given situations.



TRC: Were there any authors who surprised you or shared something unexpected? Who and why?


Amanda Melfi: I feel that a lot of the authors were really open about answering questions and sharing their personal experiences. One, however, really stood out from the rest. Amanda Foody, author of DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY, was an author who Dana and I met at the HarlequinTeen party. She was really, really friendly and talked to us for a majority of the night! Then, we got to meet her again at BookExpo and she recognized us immediately. What I didn’t know is that Amanda is actually only 22. She also gave us some tips on how to write that she said she had learned only just recently. This really showed that writing is always a learning process.


Dana Cuadrado: One author who I met and became a huge fan of just after talking with her was Amanda Foody, author of the upcoming YA debut DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY. We met at the HarlequinTeen party that Amanda and I attended. Amanda Foody is only 22 with her first novel being published and was very relatable. It is incredible how accomplished she is and that makes me really excited to read about her really cool book.


Kat Szabo: I was not familiar with Reshma Saujani before checking out the Creatives Minds Discuss the Creative Process panel, but now I can’t wait to check out all of her work! She spoke about empowering young women to teach themselves coding and filling the gap of educational books for all girls.


Matthew Burbridge: The GENUINE FRAUD giveaway was a big hit for me. I’m sure that book was already announced, but the giveaway was a great surprise. Having just finished it, I can definitely say that it will be a huge hit.


Maya Gittelman: Not really --- I knew everyone at the panel I went to would be amazing, and they all surpassed my expectations!


Rebecca Munro: THE GOLDEN COMPASS giveaway was life-changing for me, because it includes an exclusive excerpt from Philip Pullman. A good friend of mine hinted that it would be happening, but it was still amazing to see Philip Pullman getting some new buzz.



TRC: What was your best unexpected encounter with an author or fan?


Amanda Melfi: My best unexpected encounter was with Adam Silvera’s signing for THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END. When Adam was signing my book, he asked me if we had met before. I joked and told him that I looked so familiar because we were good friends. He then laughed and signed my book, “Amanda - BFF.” I was super excited and Dana and I took a photo with him. Later on at BookCon, I ran into Adam again and he immediately remembered our joke. It was amazing that he remembered who I was days later and after meeting an abundance of people! I guess Adam and I are BFFs now.


Dana Cuadrado: My best unexpected encounter with a fan was on the line for Adam Silvera’s signing and I realized that I was so tired that I didn’t want to stay for the ticketed signing for Leigh Bardugo. I’ve met her previously and I was able to get the sampler of THE LANGUAGE OF THE THORNS that she was signing, so when I overheard two women talking about how they weren’t able to get tickets to it I asked if they would want my ticket. The woman who got my ticket was almost tears because she was so happy and had a really hectic morning trying to get a ticket. It really hit home how important authors and their books are to people.


Kat Szabo: I wasn’t at BEA for very long, so I didn’t actually get to interact with anyone.

Maya Gittelman: Author Daniel Jose Older recognizes me now, and this gives me so much energy to keep writing and fighting. Also makes me feel that much more at home at these events!

Rebecca Munro: This wasn't exactly a surprise, but every time I ran into Tochi Onyebuchi and Nic Stone, it felt like we had an amazing, friendly connection that totally warmed my heart. I'm so honored to have been included in their first BookExpo.


Zoe Maffitt: I had a lovely moment with David Barclay Moore, author of THE STARS BENEATH OUR FEET. We are both from St. Louis and love it dearly, so we chatted about the city --- particularly about the neighborhood where I grew up. He said he had an idea for a story set there! When I said “YES, PLEASE” he laughed and said “maybe someday.”



TRC: And of course, the books! Tell us some of the books that you came away wanting to read after Book Expo.


Amanda Melfi: Only SOME?! How can I only pick a few?! They all seem so amazing! Hmm...I guess THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Black, BEASTS MADE OF NIGHT by Tochi Onyebuchi, and 27 HOURS by Tristina Wright.


Dana Cuadrado: There were so many books that I picked up at BEA that I didn’t know about and even more that I was dying to get my hands on. Three of the books I am most excited to read are HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA by Kerri Maniscalco, ZENITH by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings, and BERSERKER by Emmy Laybourne.




Matthew Burbridge: HOUSE OF ASH by Hope Cook, GENUINE FRAUD by E. Lockhart (finished already), THE GOLDEN COMPASS by Philip Pullman (embarrassed to admit I haven’t read it yet but started it this morning), BEST DAY EVER by Kaira Rouda, TOO SCOT TO TROT by Grace Burrowes, STRANGE PRACTICES by Vivian Shaw, and Robert Repino's MORT(E) and the entire series attached to it!


Maya Gittelman: All of the Adam Silvera books that I haven’t gotten around to, FLAME IN THE MIST by Renee Ahdieh, IT DEVOURS from Welcome to Night Vale, SURPASSING CERTAINTY, and I was lucky enough to snag an ARC of SHADOWHOUSE FALL, sequel to Daniel Jose Older's SHADOWSHAPER, and I couldn’t be more excited about it!!


Rebecca Munro: INVICTUS by Ryan Graudin, INSIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF A CACTUS by Dusti Bowling, LONG WAY DOWN by Jason Reynolds, BEFORE I LET GO by Marieke Nijkamp, WHICHWOOD by Tahereh Mafi, and so, so many more.


Zoe Maffitt: All the middle grade buzz books (I say while licking my lips.) Also GEORGE by Alex Gino, which I’ve been wanting to read for quite some time. And a lot more. (BEA was not kind to my bookshelves but it made my heart happy.)



TRC: What book would you encourage your friends to read after your hearing from the author?


Amanda Melfi: MASK OF SHADOWS by Linsey Miller.


Dana Cuadrado: DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone sounds like an incredible and timely novel. I think fans of THE HATE U GIVE will really love it. Nic Stone was a great author to hear speak about her debut novel, plus she was beautiful and was wearing a unicorn horn so clearly amazing.

Matthew Burbridge: BEASTS MADE OF NIGHT by Tochi Onyebuchi.



Rebecca Munro: DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone and THE 57 BUS by Dashka Slater.


Zoe Maffitt: If you haven’t already, GEORGE by Alex Gino. If you have already, THE STARS BENEATH OUR FEET by David Barclay Moore.



TRC: What’s your best memory of the day?


Amanda Melfi: BEA was a great experience as a whole! But my favorite memory is definitely getting to do the photobooths with Dana. We took pictures and made Boomerangs at the Shadowhunter, Grisha and Owlcrate booths. We went so frequently that we were sure the people working them knew who we were. The booths had some great props that we took advantage of (of course) and even had pins based on the books that we ended up collecting.


Dana Cuadrado: While I loved meeting authors and getting books, my favorite moments of the two days were at the photobooths with Amanda. We took pictures at the Shadowhunters, Grishaverse and Owlcrate booths. It was a lot of fun and we ended up with some great pictures that we can save forever!

Maya Gittelman: Just hearing the panelists share their wisdom! Oh, and I took a cute picture with Jason Reynolds and he is brilliant and glorious and so kind (and tall) in person.

Rebecca Munro: I swear this is the last time I'll mention it, but moderating my first panel was such a joy and honor. The authors I worked with were so professional, yet fun, and I felt as though we were all rooting for one another. It made my heart feel so full.


Zoe Maffitt: I enjoyed the experience in its entirety. But I got a simple, quiet pleasure out of chatting with a librarian from Nebraska when we were both waiting in line for our books to get signed. It reminded me of why we were all there: we love books and we want them to find readers and succeed.



TRC: What was the best/most helpful thing you learned?


Matthew Burbridge: Go to BookCon to meet your favorite Image Comics writers. The comic section of the convention is much smaller and somewhat tucked away, but artists and writers are in and out of there doing signings all the time. I met and chatted up Brian Azzarello more than I’d ever be able to at NYCC. Regrettably I forgot to head back for Scott Snyder. I’ll know better next time.

Rebecca Munro: MAKE A SCHEDULE! Or, if you are spoiled like me, have your intern do it. I would not have made it without the amazing schedule my intern Dana put together. It's always fun to wing things, but with something like BookExpo or BookCon, you'll miss too much if you go in without a plan.

Zoe Maffitt: You guys, I’m serious. The We Need Diverse Books panel was excellent. I’d quote the whole talk if I could. But the conversation was prefaced with the fact that we’re going to mess up and offend someone at some point. The question is how to apologize and acknowledge the hurt we caused. (Hint: 1. Apologize sincerely. 2. Thank for pointing it out--it takes courage to do that. 3. Don’t explain why you made the mistake or how you didn’t think it was a mistake. 4. If necessary, educate yourself further--NOT relying on the person who pointed out your error to teach you.)


Maya Gittelman: I second this. That panel rocked me. It was called Following Up After Fouling Up: Real Talk About Real Apologies. It featured Alex Gino, Daniel Jose Older, Kiera Parrott, Ibi Zoboi and was facilitated by Dr. Laura Jimenez. It was so well-handled and excellent.