Books I Got at BEA '12: YA and MG edition

This is the third in a series of posts on books I acquired at Book Expo America 2012. This will be the longest post because YA seemed to dominate BEA.


This is the sequel (out on October 2) to the wonderful The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, which I reviewed here. Valente is a fellow Mainer and I have really enjoyed hearing her talk about her work (read this post for an example). Here’s the blurb:

September returns to Fairyland to reunite with A-Through-L, Saturday, and Gleam, and to confront her shadow-self, who has become the queen of Fairyland-Below, the upside-down world beneath the Fairyland of the first novel, filled with creatures of water and shadow, tales of ancient Fairyland before the human world was born, and not a few hungry buffins, blind birds of ice and moonlight. The yearly revels of Fairyland-Below climax in a mysterious rite September must avert or else lose her shadow forever.

There was a lot of buzz about the debut epic fantasy/YA  Throne of Glass (out August 7), which was described in the BEA catalog at “Game of Thrones meets The Hunger Games.” Here’s the blurb:

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.


Splendors and Glooms will be published August 28. Laura Amy Schlitz is a librarian at Park School in Baltimore County, Maryland and the author of several highly regarded children’s books. I think I followed someone into this autographing line. I have never read Schlitz, but I was very attracted by the beautiful cover, the dark Victorian comedy, and the blurb:


Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz brings her sorcery to a Victorian gothic thriller — an enthralling, darkly comic tale that would do Dickens proud.

The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini’s act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants.
Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack — adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara’s life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall.
As they seek to puzzle out Clara’s whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini’s criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it’s too late.

Newbery Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz’s Victorian gothic is a rich banquet of dark comedy, scorching magic, and the brilliant and bewitching storytelling that is her trademark.


I had this one signed by the authors, one of whom was wearing a blue space girl getup (complete with blue fingernails and spiky blue wig) for my ten year old son. Max is beyond this reading level, but he occasionally likes to pick up an easy read of yestergrade’s level. Helooked pretty excited when I handed it to him.  Pond Punkies is a sci fi series for 7-10 year olds, with indie publisher Ravine Publishing. They are also introducing a trading card game based on the series. While series like Magic Treehouse were popular in my house. we experienced a dearth of sci fi series pitched at this age group. Click here for buying info for all three books (also available in digital).


This title — which was published in hardcover and e this week — was extremely popular at BEA. In fact, the line was so unexpectedly long, that Peterfreind agreed to sign for an additional half hour. even so, her assistant had to count back to make sure they had enough books for everyone. I happened to be the last person in line to get a book. I’ve always wanted to read Peterfreund, and the hook of a SF/YA being inspired by Persuasion interested me. Click here for more info and buy links.

The blurb:

It’s been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.



Dearly, Departed was published last fall. It is a zombie YA. I didn’t seek it out, so it must have been handed to me by a publisher. Here is more information from the author’s website.


Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune, and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal disease that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, steampunk meets romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

It looks like this was supposed to be the first in a series. I’m not seeing any information about book two.

I sought out Eve and Adam (to be published October 2) at the author’s in-booth signing. The title and tagline, “And girl created boy” hooked me. The authors are married, and both have published before as individuals, but never together. We had a lovely chat about the Kings (Stephen and Tabitha). (I learned quickly that I could break the ice with any author by letting them know I hail from Maine.) Click here for buying info. Here’s the blurb:

In the beginning, there was an apple –And then there was a car crash, a horrible injury, and a hospital. But before Evening Spiker’s head clears a strange boy named Solo is rushing her to her mother’s research facility. There, under the best care available, Eve is left alone to heal.

Just when Eve thinks she will die – not from her injuries, but from boredom—her mother gives her a special project: Create the perfect boy.

Using an amazingly detailed simulation, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up. Eve is creating Adam. And he will be just perfect . . . won’t he?

Cohn is a very popular, established YA writer, perhaps best known for writing Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist with David Levithan. I see that my copied is signed but have no recollection of standing in line for it. Admittedly, by about day three I was in something of a fugue state with regard to books at BEA. From Cohn’s website:

Coming this October 2012, the first in a 4-book YA sci-fi/fantasy series for Disney-Hyperion, called Beta.

In a world constructed to absolute perfection, imperfection is difficult to understand—and impossible to hide.

Elysia is a clone, created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen year old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of teenaged clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to be created.

Elysia’s purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air there induces a strange, euphoric high that only the island’s workers—soulless clones like Elysia—are immune to.

At first, Elysia’s new life on this island paradise is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne’s human residents, the most privileged people in the world who should want for nothing, yearn. And, she comes to realize that beneath its flawless exterior, there is an undercurrent of discontent amongst Demesne’s worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care—so why are overpowering sensations clouding Elysia’s mind?

If anyone discovers that Elysia isn’t the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When Elysia’s one chance at happiness is ripped away from her with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she’s always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive.

Return to Me, a contemporary YA, will be published in hardcover in January 2013 by Hyperion. This is Chen’s fourth book. The previous three, including North of Beautiful, are award winners and seem well liked by readers. My copy is unsigned, which suggests someone handed it to me or I grabbed it form a pile in the publisher’s booth. This was one of the few contemporary YA titles I saw at BEA. Based ona wholly subjective anecdote, I would say YA is still dominated by SFF/UF.  Here’s a description of Return to Me:

Three months before Rebecca Muir is set to begin college, her father reveals a secret that tears the family apart: he is leaving them.

In an instant, Rebecca’s life crumbles—she has to rely on her mother now, when her whole life she’s been her father’s girl; she’s not sure she can trust her high school boyfriend; and her carefully planned-out life suddenly feels all wrong.

Reb’s journey takes her across the country and back, and is for anyone who has experienced uncertainty or betrayal. This book will inspire readers to overcome life’s challenges and come out triumphant on the other side.

Pollock made a big impression at Book Blogger Con and BEA. One of the few young handsome men in a setting dominated by women, he is also English. Apparently, he has built a positive reputation using social media and many of the YA bloggers were excited to meet him and get a copy of his debut, out in September.

I picked this one up for my twelve year old son. Pollock paused for a minute when I mentioned his age, but I assured him my son is very mature. He wrote, “For David. Really Hope You Enjoy it. Lots of Luck.” Just a nice guy all around.

More info (including the superior UK cover)  here. Here’s the blurb:

Hidden under the surface of everyday London is a city of monsters and miracles, where wild train spirits stampede over the tracks and glass-skinned dancers with glowing veins light the streets.When a devastating betrayal drives her from her home, graffiti artist Beth Bradley stumbles into the secret city, where she finds Filius Viae, London’s ragged crown prince, just when he needs someone most. An ancient enemy has returned to the darkness under St Paul’s Cathedral, bent on reigniting a centuries-old war, and Beth and Fil find themselves in a desperate race through a bizarre urban wonderland, searching for a way to save the city they both love.

The City’s Son is the first book of The Skyscraper Throne: a story about family,friends and monsters, and how you can’t always tell which is which.

My great failure as a mother came when I brought home an unsigned copy of this book. Apparently, I needed tickets to the R. L. Stine signing, found out too late, and refused to get in line at 6:00am to attempt to get the few they had left.  My son Max, a devoted Stine fan, has declared that he is attending BEA next year so I don’t screw up again. This book is out in July, and can I just say that I have NEVER met a reader who was excited — in a good way — that a series was switching to hardcover. Click here for buying info.

Here’s the blurb:

For the first time ever, Goosebumps is in hard cover! Catch the series’ most notorious characters–undead or alive…

From horror master R.L. Stine come two new chilling stories in one spooky standalone:

Lu-Ann Franklin usually loves Halloween. Not this year. Her best friend, Devin O’Bannon, is going away for the week. And she has to go to a boring party where nothing exciting could ever happen. But when Lu-Ann comes face-to-face with The Haunted Mask, major trouble lies ahead.

Devin O’Bannon didn’t want to leave his best friend Lu-Ann Franklin behind on Halloween. He didn’t ask to go on this trip. And that was before he heard the strange scratching on his windows and saw the shadows moving around in the fields. Something is out there and it doesn’t seem to want Devin around!

16 responses

  1. Nice haul! I’m most interested in Throne of Glass – though I’m also cautious of the Game of Thrones reference. I do hope it doesn’t merely ride the HBO-infused popularity of that series and stands on its own. Not to mention the Hunger Games tag. Hmm. Maybe I’ll wait for opinions on it before buying in August.

    I have Valente’s first book in that series. I need to get to it soon.


  2. YA covers seem to have cornered the market on memorable and unexpected. Would I buy a YA book for the cover — I think I just might 🙂


  3. Hi! I didn’t realize that was you, holding up the end of the line at the For Darkness Shows the Stars signing! I was one of the two a little bit in front saving a spot for another girl who desperately needed the restroom (and we made sure she was ‘counted’). Looks like you got a lovely haul – hope you enjoy the books!


  4. I was very amused by the Tom Pollock appreciation at BEA. 🙂

    Yeah, I’m not sure why they only scheduled the Peterfreund signing for half an hour. She’s a pretty popular YA author – I wasn’t surprised by the line!


  5. I’ve been wibbling about whether or not to try the Peterfreund: Persuasion is my favorite Austen, but Peterfreund’s college series didn’t work for me. If you enjoy it, will you share your thoughts?


  6. Um…how did you these all home? Very interesting posts, these. Thank-you. YA seems to be everywhere.


  7. @KMont: You really DO have to get to the Valente!

    @Elizabeth Miles: I rolled my eyes, too, but, for all the rolling, I LOVE Hunger Games and I LOVE (the TV adaptation of) Game of Thrones, so…

    @Victoria Janssen: Yes, I agree. I hope it’s good.

    @Janet W: I really enjoy them too, so much more than romance covers.

    @Cecelia: Yes! I was in a PANIC that she had not been counted and all my waiting would have been for naught. You were very reassuring. 😉 I look forward to your review.

    @janicu: Yeah, she is very popular with romance readers, too, so it was weird. I am excited to read it. Very excited, the most of all the books listed.

    @jmc: Yes absolutely. thanks for asking.

    @Pam Regis: Some people brought empty rollerboard suitcases but I can’t bear to check luggage, so I shipped them. It was expensive. Next time, if there is a next time, I’ll be one of the rollerboard horde.


  8. @Pam Regis: Sorry – one more thing about YA. A few people tried to explain the success of YA to me by saying it could be written in any genre — romance, SF, UF, fantasy, mystery, suspense, horror. And while that is true, I think the same is also true of romance.

    So why are so many adults who wouldn’t touch a romance (and I met many of them at BEA) happy to pick up a YA? I don’t know. Seems hipper? Younger? Cooler? Less bound by genre restrictions? Nicer covers? Anyone got any ideas?


  9. So excited to get to read the new Valente (I also persuaded my mum to try the first book! Hurrah!).

    Throne of Glass sounded interesting to me because when I met the author at the Apocalypsies event, she described it as a Cinderella-as-assassin story – and the novel is what happens after things go awry at the ball. Altogether a more interesting blurb than the “SUPER POPULAR THING meets ANOTHER SUPER POPULAR AND RELEVANT THING”.

    You’ll have to let me know how the Peterfreund title worked out for you! Or maybe I should actually just *read* Persuasion, since (shame shame), I’m only acquainted with the Rupert Penley-Jones film.

    Tom Pollock was a HUGE draw at the Teen Author Carnival on Tuesday during BEA. The audience and female panel members made much of how he pronounced “chocolate” and “twitter.”

    Honestly, maybe I should be ashamed of this (since I read a lot of Goosebumps as a child as well as his older slasher books with evil stepsisters and boyfriends etc.), but when people announced RL Stine was at BEA, I exclaimed, “Wait, he’s REAL?” For some reason I thought he was a pseudonym for a string of writers a la authors of Nancy Drew.


  10. I read Laura Amy Schlitz’s Drowned Maiden’s Hair a while back and thought it was a good neo-Victorian Gothic. Kind of Sarah Waters for kids (without, you know, the sex). Her new book sounds good, and Peterfreund’s is tempting too.

    The YA craze is odd. There’s great YA and children’s fiction, and I read some of it, but it’s curious to me that many adult fans of Rowling or Meyer moved on to more YA rather than adult fantasy or romance, and that some adult women seem to read YA almost exclusively. If you like all those genres, you can read fiction in all those genres.

    One of the great scholars of children’s lit, Perry Nodelman, argues that if children’s lit is a genre, one defining feature is a hopeful or happy ending. I think that’s true of YA too, though to a lesser extent, and so maybe readers are seeking the same thing romance readers do, but in a more trendy/acceptable form.


  11. @Jessica: All of the above. If you think about it, YA, MG, and Children’s Lit has only exploded into the mainstream less than ten years. When I was growing up in the 90s, I don’t recall any Big Books like Twilight or Diary of a Wimpy Kid—I was reading Baby-Sitters Club and Joan Lowery Nixon! I also think the format of YA/MG/CL books play a part in their crossover success. MMPB is still the red-headed stepchild of publishing, and the fact that most, if not all, YA/MG/CL is published in hardcover or trade paperback means they are expected to reach those “discerning” readers who consider MMPB the province of “trashy” fiction.


  12. @AnimeJune:

    Throne of Glass sounded interesting to me because when I met the author at the Apocalypsies event, she described it as a Cinderella-as-assassin story – and the novel is what happens after things go awry at the ball.

    That’s more interesting to me than the tagline they featured at BEA.

    @Liz Mc2:

    maybe readers are seeking the same thing romance readers do, but in a more trendy/acceptable form.

    Re: trendy: it can definitely be fun to read books that have a big buzz, and lots of online content or book review sin the magazines, or that your friends or kids are reading. I agree that must be part of it. Also more acceptable. You don;t hear adult readers of YA saying they need a kindle.

    @Evangeline: I would have been reading MG in the late 70s/early 80s and YA in the mid 80s while I recall a few books my friends’ parents were reading (like Fear of Flying or Passages or Thorn Birds), I don;t have any recollection of “big books” for my age group, with the exception of Judy Blume’s Forever.

    Great point about format. I never think about those things, but it must be a part of it. And I don’t think you can pick up YA in the supermarket either.


  13. Love these books. Haven’t read them all but the ones I have bear a striking resemblance to some of the themes that were so dominant in Fritz Lang’s work. Anyone agree? Disagree?



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