Saturday, June 30, 2012

YALSA Coffee Klatch

You might remember that we went to the YALSA Klatch last year, and met some really great authors. This year we have to admit that we were highly disappointed with the fact that there was no food nor tea served, it really started the entire klatch off on the wrong foot. Sad. Now to the fun stuff, this year we met:

 Ally Condie wrote Matched (which I really didn't like) and Crossed, Reached is coming out November. She got the idea for this from her time teaching at a high school and chaperoning prom. Her students made sure that everyone was matched up and able to go with a date to prom. I was one of two people that had read the book, the other was a high school librarian who raved the entire time about how much her students love the books. I eventually asked her why she set her story in a utopian/dystopian culture, and she said that she chose to do it in a futurustic setting because she didn't want to do the research of setting it in a a past society and she didn't want to offend a culture.

Ken Oppel has written a lot of middle grade, such as Silverwings and Skybreaker, and he has a new young adult book coming out called Dark Endeavor which is a prequel to Frankenstein about Victor Frankenstein's apprenticeship. He did a lot of research for this book. Drawing his own blueprints and understanding cultural aspects of the time. I would really enjoy reading this book.

Deb Caletti wrote The Story of Us, Stay, and Honey, Baby, Sweetheart. She talked about parent/child relationships, and how they play out in her books and how her own experience with a divided family influences her writing. She's writing her first adult book which will come out sometime next year.

Jessi Kirby is a rather new writer, having written Moonglass and In Honor (which I totally want to read sometime soon). I think she's interesting because she deals a lot with death in her books. Or rather the aftereffects of death on family and friends and what people do to come to grips with their grief. On a rather ironic note, Jessi admitted that she's never really experienced a great loss. But from what I gather, she does a brilliant job of writing about it.

Margarita Engle is a Cuban American and is a Newbery Honor and Pura Belpre Winner. The book that she was mainly talking about was Hurricane Dancers about pirates and the Cuban Native Americans. It has a lot to do with identity and ties in with her own personal lineage. The Wild Book is a series of stories that her grandmother told her about growing up in Cuba, this is also a very personal story because her grandmother grew up dyslexic and Margarita has dedicated it to reluctant readers.

Megan Sayres has just republished her books with an independent publisher. Her newest book is a companion book of historical fiction. The first book is called Anahita’s Woven Riddle, which is a bit like a fairytale and reminds me of Scheherazade, and the companion is a bit darker as it deals with racism and slavery. Megan has been traveling to Uzbekistan since the 1980s and really made sure that it was historically accurate. She also has the agenda to make sure that some literature about the Middle East is positive.

Andrew Smith also sat with us, and I do not mind shouting to the heavens that I think he is magic. I reviewed Marbury Lens two years ago, and Andrew was lovely enough to respond. He published Stick last year, and this year he has Passenger coming out which is the sequel to Marbury Lens. Andrew was kind enough to tell me why he wrote a sequel (I thought it was incredibly strong as a standalone), and he said that he wrote Passengers because that's what his readers wanted. He's amazing.

Stacey Jay wrote Juliet Immortal and has Romeo Redeemed coming out in October. She started writing this because she was an English major and thought that Juliet was a stronger character than portrayed and that Romeo was an untrustworthy character. Romeo and Juliet is not a love story but rather a cautionary tale about obsession. Clever, right? She has a new book coming out in 2013 that is a flip on Beauty and the Beast, that deals with what the role of beauty is when the Beast is female.

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