What happens at TLA stays at TLA. Well, until I write this blog post.
So, last weekend TLA happened. This was my second year attending TLA and it was incredible. Here are 5 of my highlights and 5 of the titles I am looking forward to reading.
1. I MET A.S. KING
On Thursday, I had a couple of hours to kill and a bag full of stuffs, so I walked over to the parking garage to unload and figure out what my plan of action was. Suddenly, I got a cryptic text from my friend Stacy (from Girls in the Stacks): “Where are you?” She then let me know that she was standing there talking to A. S. King (my hero). So I texted her back, “I will be there in 5!” I then proceeded to run down 9 flights of stairs, cross the street, and run through the exhibit hall to have the moment I have been waiting over a year to happen. But there she stood – A. S. King. I would like to say I totally kept my cool but the truth was, I was a dork. She was very gracious about it. And after she left, I broke down sobbing – although luckily it was in the Little, Brown booth. Witnesses proclaimed that it was “cute”, but I think here they meant cute as a code word for “dorky”. It does not matter because I MET A. S. KING. Friends stood in line and got me a signed copy of her upcoming title (October) Reality Boy, which I have already finished reading. That’s right, after being gone for 4 days I spent all day Saturday ignoring my children and not doing all the blog things I was supposed to do and read Reality Boy. I am here to tell you that A. S. King has once again written an amazing, insightful book that I will gush about. This is also the story of how Stacy became my hero by making sure I got to meet A. S. King.
2. I Had Dinner with Mind Games author Kiersten White, Sweet Venom author Tera Lynn Childs, and Through Her Eyes author Jennifer Archer
Because of the superfab Naomi Bates at YA Books and More (we are going to start vlogging together about School/Public Library cooperation), I got invited to a Harper Collins dinner which involved a bunch of people from Harper Collins – and me apparently. I sat right next to Kiersten White (and this time managed not to cry thank you). I really liked Mind Games and it was nice to get to talk to her about it. I also met Jennifer Archer, author of Through Her Eyes, and Tera Lynn Childs, author of Forgive My Fins and the Medusa Girls series. It was an amazing experience and I learned a lot about the publishing side of things. We had a very interesting conversation about how there is a need for more books with MCs that are POC, but how they don’t tend to sell as well. It was enjoyable and informative. Also, yummy.
3. A. S Howard reveals the cover to the sequel of Splintered, Unhinged.
Sometimes you have a moment of being in the right place at the right time. That is what happened to me when I ended up being at the cover reveal of Unhinged, the sequel to Splintered. I love the colors and the way the two covers work together.
4. It’s Time for Tea in Texas
A special thanks to everyone who put together the Texas Tea, where I met a wide variety of my favorite authors and got to learn up their new or upcoming titles. Pictures are Sharon Flake, who was a good sport and put on the mustache, John Corey Whaley, who is just adorable, Krissi Dallas, who always has a rockin’ presence, Tessa Gratton, who is very excited about her mythology inspired The Lost Sun coming out soon, and Lisa McMannon, who shared her inspiration for her book in the multi-author Infinity Ring series. I also met Matt De La Pena who talked about growing up as a multi-racial young man and shared a short story he wrote for something called One Teen Story, a literary magazine for YA readers (which is new to me).
5. Writers are Readers!
Look, there’s Michael Buckely – author of the N.E.R.D.S series – reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson at TLA. It was so fun to run into authors who were gong to booths to try and get titles that they wanted to read.
And here are a few of the books that I heard about that I want to read
Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines: Described as “The Avengers meet The Walking Dead”. This book is already out, but it is part of a 4 book series that hasn’t gotten enough publicity. That tagline should make it easy to sell.
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis: About a girl living in a post-apocalyptic world who must defend what little water she has. Dystopian and environmental, a winning combination.
Counting by 7s by Holly Golberg Sloan: I ran into award winning author John Corey Whaley and THIS is the book that he was going to get an ARC for. He says it is fabulous and should be a strong contender for the Newberry.
Winger by Andrew Smith: First, this book has the best cover ever. Seriously. Everyone who has read it raves. And A. S. King is a fan.
Infinityglass by Myra McEntire: Speaking of best covers ever. Is this not amazing? I am a HUGE fan of the Hourglass series by Myra McEntire (as are my teens) and I can’t wait for the next installment. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out.
How about you? What were your fave TLA highlights? What upcoming titles are you looking forward to?
And did I mention – I met A. S. King!!!!!!
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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