Monday, July 7, 2014

YA Author Coffee Klatch

Something my fellow library friends and I have been doing regularly for the last several years is YALSA's YA Author Coffee Klatch.  It's usually held on Sunday morning, and it's like author speed dating.  You sit at a table and every two or three minutes a whistle is blown and a different author sits down with you to chat about their latest books and answer questions.

Last year the Klatch started almost 15 minutes late, and the authors had five minutes at the table.  This year things ran much more smoothly, and authors had less time at the tables but it allowed us to talk to many more authors.  I liked the shorter amount of time, actually.  I thought things ran very well this year.

The first author to sit down at our table was Jonathan Friesen, whose new book Both of Me will be out in December 2014.  Both of Me tells the story of a young man who has multiple personalities.  Friesen has also previously written a book with a character with Tourette's.  I asked why he chose to focus on characters with mental health issues.  Friesen has Tourette's himself, and said he felt the YA world was lacking books with characters with mental illnesses.  Mental illness still has such a stigma around it, and he felt it was important to write these stories.

Matt Dembicki is a comics creator whose newest book is one he edited and contributed to called Wild Ocean.  It's an anthology of 12 stories each focusing on a different endangered sea creature.

Lorie Ann Grover, who was wearing a fabulous hat, told us about two of her novels.  Firstborn takes place in a dystopian world where first born children must either be male, or if they are female, must die or take on the role of a male for life.  Grover got the idea for this story from the deaths of baby girls in China.  She also told us about Hit, about a girl who is hit by a car driven by the teacher she had a crush on, and putting her life back together afterwards.  Lorie Ann Grover used to be a ballet dancer, but she grew too tall.  Apparently her partner would have had to be 6'7", and there weren't a lot of 6'7" male ballet dancers.

Nathan Hale is a comics creator who wrote and illustrated the fabulous Hazardous Tales series.  Each book tells the story of a historical event.  The newest one is Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood which is about World War I.  He gave us a fabulous visual presentation using his iPad where we learned all about the various hats of WWI.  You see, when the war started, everyone was wearing soft hats.  They quickly found out that soft hats weren't very effective with a war that now involved shelling each other across trenches and things raining down on your head.  All the hat stuff isn't actually in the book, Hale just learned it while researching.  I wish I had video taped it.  It was hysterical.

Jenny Han told us about her book To All the Boys I've Loved Before, which looks really cute.  A girl writes love letters to all her crushes over the years, but never sends them.  Then her letters get mailed!  Horror!  There will be a sequel called P.S. I Still Love You coming out in Spring 2015.

Neal Shusterman talked about Undivided, the final book in the Unwind series.  It comes out October 14, 2014.  Also coming out in the Fall will be Challenger Deep, which is about teen mental illness.  It was great to hear that YA authors are starting to tackle this issue more!

Ellen Hopkins' newest book, Rumble, will be coming out this August.  It's about a boy who's an atheist who is dating a girl who's very religious.  I'm quite interested to read this one.  I can't think of a whole lot of YA books that look at religion.  Religion is a very touchy topic.  I'm interested to see what Rumble is about.

Jon Scieszka came to out table next, and worried about how almost all the other writers had some kind of swag for us (bookmarks with their new books on them, a handout sheet, etc.) so he proceeded to take the sheet Ellen Hopkins had given us, crossed of her new and wrote his own.  Scieszka's new series is Frank Einstein, the story of a boy science genius.  Each book in the series will tackle a different area of science.  The first book, out in August, looks at matter.

Lauren Myracle returns to the characters of her book ttyl in YOLO.  The girls are now in their freshman year of college.  Myracle said she wrote these books because girls wanted books were girls talked about regular things.  Like sex, for instance.

Our second to last author was Claudia Gray.  Her book is A Thousand Pieces of You, out in November 2014.  I can't even begin to summarize it because it sounds crazy complex and amazing.  But it involves alternate dimensions and murder.  So look for it.

Our final author was Alan Gratz whose book is The League of Seven, out in August.  It's middle grade steampunk and I thought it sounded awesome.  I was able to get an ACR later on and I'm looking forward to reading it.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much, Arianna! You all were the highlight of the conference to me!


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