YA dominates at BookExpo America, BookCon


Young adult literature has been one of the most steadily-growing fields in publishing for the past few years. The masses can’t help but eat it up – and publishing thrives on it. At this year’s BookExpo America, YA authors were there by the dozens, with even more upcoming YA titles and books being pushed.

BookExpo America is a professional publishing conference. This year, it ran from midday on Wednesday, May 27 to Friday, May 29 at the Jacob J. Javits center in New York City. Between the authors, the books, and the huge banners advertising the big upcoming titles from publishers, YA was all over the floor.

Libba Bray and Barry Lyga chatted in the Librarian’s Lounge while HarlequinTeen authors met hundreds of excited YA readers. Even more authors were scattered around the floor, signing at tables or in-booth, while editors gushed at the YA Editors’ Buzz Panel about their favorite books of the upcoming year.

At the YA Editors’ Buzz Panel, excited fans packed into a standing-room only space to hear editors talk about their most exciting books for the upcoming year. Featured books were Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt, Everything, Everything by Niola Yoon, Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski, The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch: Volume 1: A The Edge of Empire by Daniel Kraus and This Raging Light by Estelle Laure. (A more in-depth look at the panel and summaries will be posted over the next few days.) The authors spoke on a panel the next day.

At the Children’s Breakfast on Friday, May 29, YA author Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl, Eleanor and Park) sat with Nathan Lane (Naughty Mabel), James Patterson (Treasure Hunters series), and Oliver Jeffers (The Day the Crayons Came Home). At the conference, James Patterson announced that he would be launching his own imprint at Little, Brown Books. Called “jimmy patterson,” the imprint will focus on a diverse range of kidlit books, including middle-grade titles and YA titles. The first book, to be published in September, is the third book in James Patterson’s middle-grade Treasure Hunters series.

And while some authors spoke on panels, and others sat at tables in the autographing area, even more signed in-booth. Dahlia Adler, whose signing ran opposite of the We Need Diverse Book panel, had quite the substantial turn-out for her new book Under the Lights. Though technically a sequel to Behind the Scenes, Under the Lights can be read independently and features a queer romance, as can be seen on the cover. (We had the chance to interview Adler on the floor; keep an eye out for a feature with her over the next week.)

Marieke Nijkamp also signed in-booth. The novelist, who came overseas to sign the advanced copies, was pleasantly surprised to find that her line ran on… and on… and on… until the booth eventually ran out of books. Her new novel This Is Where It Ends takes place as a school shooting begins. It releases from Sourcebooks Fire in January.

Another heavily-pushed book at BookExpo America was the new book about Marvel’s Black Widow. Played by Scarlet Johannson in the recent movie adaptations, the YA novel is written by Margaret Stohl (of Beautiful Creatures fame) and will be released by Disney-Hyperion in October.

Over at the Penguin Random House booth, advanced copies of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae were being handed out like candy. The book – which was also decked out across the Javits’ stairs – is currently in its second incarnation of advanced copies, having gone from an original paperback advanced copy to a hardback advanced copy. (The next stage, of course, will be when the book releases in October – an actual, real, no-errors-you-can-buy-this hardback copy.)

Illuminae, rather than a traditional YA novel, is a collection of found documents that follow Kady, who broke up with Ezra the morning her planet was invaded. The two must team up (despite Kady swearing not to speak to him again) as they try to solve what’s happening around them.

Continue to page 2 to read about BookCon.

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About Author

Nicole Brinkley

Nicole is the editor of YA Interrobang. She has short hair and loves dragons. The rest changes without notice. Follow her on Twitter at @nebrinkley or Tumblr at nebrinkley. Like her work? Leave her a tip.

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