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June 14, 2018

Teenreads at BookExpo 2018

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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.

Teenreads.com: Who did you attend BookExpo with?

Ana Couto: I attended BookExpo on my own, but I met up with Dana, Jessica and Rebecca!

Dana Cuadrado: I attended BookExpo with my friend, Lili of the blog Utopia State of Mind, as well as meeting up with Ana, Jess and Rebecca! 

Jessica Cozzi: I attended with my co-bloggers, Amber and Emily!

Rebecca Munro: I attended mostly by myself, with lots of meetups with my intern Dana!

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: I attended on my own, but later met up with some of my blogger friends, Alex and Ying!

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

Ana Couto: Since it was my first time going to BookExpo, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but I was mostly excited for all the amazing books and getting to learn a bit more about upcoming buzz authors and new releases.

Dana Cuadrado: I was most looking forward to learning about all of the exciting Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 titles that publishers were promoting at the show and getting the opportunity to meet some of my favorite authors.

Jessica Cozzi: I was most looking forward to all of the incredible books that were going to be available. It was my first time at BookExpo and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it ended up being such an incredible experience and I got all of the books I was most anticipating, especially WHAT IF IT’S US by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera!

Rebecca Munro: The Young Adult Author Buzz panel! I was fortunate enough to get to speak to each of my authors beforehand, and I could not WAIT to see them all in-person for the first time! I was also really looking forward to the Rick Riordan panel about his new children's imprint.

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: I was really excited to hopefully get a lot of anticipated releases of mine including PRIDE by Ibi Zoboi and SEAFIRE by Natalie C. Parker, but I was also super hyped to meet up with my online friends that I haven’t seen in months and meet new people!

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

Ana Couto: I attended the Young Adult Buzz Authors panel, moderated by Rebecca Munro, the Editorial Manager here at Teenreads.com and Kidsreads.com. It was really interesting to hear all the authors talk about their upcoming books and the inspirations for their storytelling --- it definitely made me more excited to read their work! I’m particularly looking forward to SADIE by Courtney Summers and THE SIMILARS by Rebecca Hanover. I was also lucky to attend a Speed Dating event in which various publishing companies were represented. It was very interesting to hear the different publishers pitch their upcoming releases, and I left that event with lots of great books!

Dana Cuadrado: I attended two panels: the Young Adult Buzz Authors panel, moderated by Rebecca Munro, the Editorial Manager here at Teenreads.com and Kidsreads.com and the Young Adult Buzz Editors panel. It is interesting to hear why editors love the books they worked on and then hear about the author’s experience writing the story. The editor of SADIE by Courtney Summers was almost in tears talking about the book, which made me need to hear the author speak about it on her own panel.

Jessica Cozzi: I only attended one panel, and it was actually moderated by Rebecca, the editor here at Teenreads. It was a panel all about YA authors, and we got to hear from some of them as they talked about their upcoming books. I hadn’t really heard of or been super familiar with any of the authors or their books prior to their panels, but I left with all of those books on my TBR and all of those authors promptly followed on social media. I even got the chance to go to two of their signings after the panel as well!

Rebecca Munro: I attended a little of everything: Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel, Rick Riordan Presents Imprint Launch with Rick Riordan and Friends, Connecting Children's Books with Kids: Community, Education, Awareness, Bookselling, Marketing and Public Relations, Children's Authors Breakfast, Meet BookExpo Young Adult Buzz Authors, BookExpo Middle Grade Editors' Buzz, ABC/CBC Speed Dating Lunch With Authors, Meet BookExpo Middle Grade Buzz Authors and Graphic Novels: Genres Within Genres. My favorite is a tie between my panel, the Rick Riordan panel and the Speed Dating Lunch!

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: I ended up only having time to check out one panel which was about Fantasy Fairytales with Laini Taylor, Naomi Novik, and Rena Rossner. I really enjoyed hearing about Fairytales that inspired their own stories that weren’t the classic Disney tales, but ones’ that originate from different regions in the world with eclectic cultures. Now i’m super excited for their upcoming releases, especially Rena Rossner’s debut THE SISTERS OF THE WINTER WOOD.

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

Ana Couto: I was surprised to hear that SADIE by Courtney Summers is partially written in the form of a true-crime podcast. I can’t think of many other novels that feature this quality, and it certainly peaked my interest in this particular book!

Dana Cuadrado: One the YA Buzz panel, Natasha Ngan, author of GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE, shared that while her story is a lush fantasy world she wanted to explore the violence young girls and women face still face today because of her own experience of sexual assault.

Jessica Cozzi: I hadn’t realized that THE SIMILARS was Rebecca Hanover’s debut novel, and I didn’t know she was part of the #Novel19s, so that was a pleasant surprise! I love supporting debut authors, and we’ve been looking for 2019 debuts to feature on our blog, so it worked out perfectly. :-)

Rebecca Munro: I was really shocked and delighted to see Nic Stone and hear more about her upcoming book, ODD ONE OUT. When I first heard she had a new book coming, I immediately added it to my TBR without ever reading what it was about! It was fun that my first time hearing about the plot was directly from the author.

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: When I was getting IGNITE THE STARS signed by Maura Milan she told me that the model on her cover is actually her best friend! I think it’s so cool especially because her debut is going to have that much more of a personal touch to it!

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

Ana Couto: My best unexpected encounter was getting to meet the actress Sally Field, who was signing sample copies of her upcoming memoir, IN PIECES. I had no idea Sally Field was actually going to be present, so when I found out she was there I immediately got in line for a chance to meet her. I have been a fan of hers since a very young age, so this encounter was definitely one of my highlights from BookExpo.

Jessica Cozzi: I was surprised with how kind everyone was at BookExpo. Having been to BookCon the last four years, all I knew was that crowds were always screaming and shoving and pushing and super competitive. So it was really nice (and not to mention relaxing!) to be with a group of people that were kind and collected and calm and professional. I feel like that was one of the biggest differences to me, in the best of ways.

Rebecca Munro: Courtney Summers shared with me that she was a "Supernatural" fan and my heart absolutely exploded. She is instant-BFF material and I had so much fun discussing Sam and Dean with her!

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: I ended up meeting Natasha Ngan when I was getting her book, GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE, signed and she is literally the sweetest! Rebecca told me the night before how cool her accent was but hearing it in person was even better. I also told her how aesthetic her Instagram is and she said that she would follow me back which definitely made my day!

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

Ana Couto: Where do I even begin to answer this question? I’m tempted to say all of them, but I suppose the ones I’m most excited for are VOX by Christina Dalcher, SADIE by Courtney Summers, A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY by Brigid Kemmerer and THE SIMILARS by Rebecca Hanover.

Dana Cuadrado:A few of my favorite grabs at BookExpo were WILDCARD by Marie Lu, the highly anticipated sequel to WARCROSS, CITY OF GHOSTS by Victoria Schwab, and PRIDE by Ibi Zoboi.

Jessica Cozzi: I went into BookExpo knowing I wanted to read ALL YOUR PERFECTS by Colleen Hoover and WHAT IF IT’S US by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, so I was super excited to get those. I was also introduced to THE SIMILARS by Rebecca Hanover and I scooped up a copy immediately because Rebecca’s introduction at the panel made it seem like a book that I definitely can’t miss!

Rebecca Munro: WILDCARD BY MARIE LU --- aka the one book I didn't get! I am also dying to read ODD ONE OUT, naturally.

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: Gosh, too many to hold that’s for sure. My family had to buy another carry-on bag just to fit them all (that’s stress that I would definitely not like to revisit), but a few of my favorites are LITTLE WHITE LIES by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, THE DARKEST LEGACY by Alexandra Bracken, AN ASSASSIN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND TREASON by Virginia Boecker, and THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE by Samantha Shannon!

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

Ana Couto: I would encourage friends to read VOX by Christina Dalcher. The concept sounds incredibly interesting, especially when considering that, in today’s world, free speech and women’s rights are still being fought for on a global scale.

Dana Cuadrado: I am a huge fan of all things Jennifer L. Armentrout. She is my most read author because her books are always laugh out loud funny, fast-paced, and full of swoon worthy romances. Her Lux series, which is a YA alien paranormal romance, has a new spin-off coming out called THE DARKEST STAR. So if you haven’t read any of her many books you should start now!

Jessica Cozzi: Oh my goodness, WHAT IF IT’S US. I would push this book into everybody’s hands if I could. I couldn’t put it down and I just wanted to keep reading even when I had other events and panels and things to do.

Rebecca Munro: I think that every single person in the world should read DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY and SADIE. These contemporary fiction novels take common themes and completely turn them on their heads.

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: I would recommend THE GIRL KING by Mimi Yu since it has a female Asian protagonist (who seems so badass by the way!) with a storyline that sounds too intriguing to pass up!

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

Ana Couto: My best memory would definitely be all the amazing people I got to meet! Since this was my first time at BookExpo, I felt very overwhelmed, but I wouldn’t have had such a positive experience if it wasn’t for all the kind and friendly people who helped me out!

Dana Cuadrado:I have so many great memories of the two days from hanging out with blogging friends I don’t get to see often to meeting authors. But I definitely have to say I love the quiet moments in the Javits food court when I got to sit, talk about books with friends, and eat chicken tenders.

Jessica Cozzi: All of the awesome friends we got to meet up with! And definitely the feeling of getting our badges for the very first time. We’ve been dreaming about that moment since we started our blog five years ago, so it felt like an absolute dream.

Rebecca Munro: Okay, now I can definitely say my panel --- or at least the five minutes after it was over when my authors and I were all congratulating one another! It was such a fun, heartfelt moment --- and it was all about books!

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: Definitely getting to hang out with my friends who I haven’t had the chance to see in a long time! Also being around fellow bookish lovers, you meet the greatest people while waiting in lines so starting conversations and developing friendships is always something I look forward to at events like this!
 
TRC: What was the best/most helpful thing you learned?

Ana Couto: The most helpful thing I learned was to wear comfortable shoes (which I did not do on the first day and had suffer the consequence of blistered feet), and to be selective about the books you pick up! Just because an ARC is being handed out doesn’t mean you need a copy. In other words, even if a book is free, if the description doesn’t sound appealing to you then let someone else have it --- someone who would very much like that book! And besides, your tote bags are going to fill up VERY fast, so there’s no point in adding unnecessary onto your poor shoulders (I guarantee you they will be sore the next day).

Dana Cuadrado:It is definitely very important to schedule what you want to do most, but I think it is most important to maintain healthy behavior. You have to wake up very early and you’re on your feet for long hours. Making sure to stay hydrated and eating more proper meals (not just granola bars) is key for me!

Jessica Cozzi: That there’s a world outside of BookCon where people aren’t screaming and wild and crazy to grab books, LOL. BookExpo has tons of great books to grab, but it’s also more about the experience, making connections with publishers, and getting to meet authors. The books are a plus but they aren’t all the event is about.

Rebecca Munro: Schedule everything, but don't feel like you need to stick to it! I walked around with a really fleshed out schedule that helped me direct myself, but if I wasn't feeling up to something, I just walked around and absorbed. It made the event a lot less pressure-filled.

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: I think the most important thing I learned is to prioritize the things on my schedule. You definitely won’t have time to do everything on your list (especially if you’re alone) so knowing what comes above other things and having to sadly sacrifice other events can sometimes make an important find still satisfying.