A select handful of children’s book editors have arrived at BEA eager to spread word of forthcoming first novels for which they have have high expectations. They will participate in today’s Young Adult Editors’ Buzz panel and explain why are they are so enthusiastic about these books. Below, in their own words, they provide a sneak peek at the hot titles. Moderated by Jenny Cohen, owner of Waucoma Books in Hood River, Ore., the panel takes place this morning, 10–10:50 a.m., in room W184bc.
Flatiron Books senior editor Sarah Dotts Barley shares news of Caraval by Stephanie Garber.
Caraval is a story about two sisters who enter a legendary performance called Caraval, where the audience plays along in a dangerous game of what’s real and what’s fantasy. This is a book with a world like no other we’ve read. It has so many ingredients that you never expect to find in one book: a singular world, a love between sisters, a fantastic romance, a competition element (which I always love—who doesn’t?)—and the writing is so alive and electric. Caraval is literary/commercial YA at its very best. It’s fantasy, but appeals to anyone looking for a great story—whether or not they think they like fantasy.
Everyone in-house was bowled over by this novel, and I think people at BEA will be as well. On the Buzz panel, it is so exciting to be able to tell booksellers—who, being on the front lines, are engaging with readers directly in a way that editors rarely are able to do—about this incredible new storytelling talent.
Lee Byrd, president, copublisher, and acquisitions editor, Cinco Puntos Press, reports on Rani Patel in Full Effect by Sonia Patel.
Rani Patel, the story’s heroine, is a 16-year-old Gujarati Indian who lives on the multicultural, multilingual Hawaiian island of Moloka’i. She’s an outsider, unwilling to share her life or her family struggles with her peers for fear of revealing too much. Her life is so tumultuous that the only way out is through words and music. And when she finally allows herself to take the stage as the rapper MC Sutra, she does it “in full effect”: completely present. This book is a real gem.
Rani Patel in Full Effect is a many layered, deeply textured novel that reveals itself in so many rich ways. I wanted to bring it to the Buzz panel so I could show how it will open doors for its readers into culture, language, music. The panel will really help Cinco Puntos to build momentum for this debut title. In addition, it will introduce readers and buyers to Sonia Patel, herself a Gujarati Indian who lives in Hawaii, a huge fan and practitioner of hip-hop and rap, and a psychiatrist.
Namrata Tripathi, editorial director of Dial Books for Young Readers, offers a preview of Billy Taylor’s Thieving Weasels.
Seventeen-year-old Skip starts a new life in a northeastern prep school after escaping from his family of grifters, until they find him and bring him back for one last con. The only problem is, he can’t tell who the mark is, and when that happens, the mark is probably you. The voice appealed to me right away. It’s funny. And I can’t resist a good grifter story.
The Buzz panels help new voices and authors get on the radar of industry big mouths and tastemakers. There’s a terrific value in having someone who knows and cares about books hear about the title at this panel, decide to read it, and then possibly become someone who will recommend or hand-sell it to the folks they know.
Julie Strauss-Gabel, president and publisher of Dutton Books for Young Readers, spotlights Aaron Starmer’s Spontaneous.
For most seniors, high school graduation can feel like the end of the world, but for Mara, the smart, confident, and darkly funny protagonist of Spontaneous, it just might be. As her classmates begin to literally spontaneously combust, she and her friends must grapple with the raw, ridiculous, and heartbreaking truths of being alive (and being a teenager) when tomorrow isn’t a guarantee. Romance, quarantine, Bon Jovi, bloggers, and even a foul-mouthed U.S. president—no one is spared Mara’s genius snark or painfully raw truths. Aaron has rewritten every rule in this genre-defying YA.
Spontaneous is the very definition of a buzz book: once you read it, you want to share it; it’s infectious. It’s daring and smart and hilarious from cover to cover. When you have a book you can’t stop talking about, you want to tell as many people as possible. The Buzz panel gives me a chance to show our partners my passion firsthand. There’s no hiding how I feel about this book.
Jenny Bak, senior editor of Jimmy Patterson Books, introduces Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper.
As the daughter of a Victorian lord, Audrey Rose could lead a life of idle luxury if she chose. But tormented by guilt over her mother’s death, she secretly seeks redemption by studying the very thing that everyone fears most—death itself. Her skill with an autopsy scalpel draws her deep into the Ripper investigation, where she finds the answer to the most intriguing criminal mystery in history—and lives to regret it.
I’m proud that this is the first YA acquisition for the Jimmy Patterson imprint. It’s our mission to publish books that will inspire a lifelong love of reading, and this certainly fits the bill. Kerri has captured everything I want in a book—an inspiring character, a gripping and unpredictable plot, and a sincere, effortless voice that brings the emotion and history to life. Every time I read it, I know we chose the perfect book to launch our list.
As someone who has worked in bookstores, I feel that this is another chance for me to do the job I enjoyed most—telling readers about a book I love. I know firsthand the value of rallying bookseller and librarian support behind a debut novel—word of mouth is a powerful thing. Editors don’t get enough opportunities to connect directly with a large group of booklovers, so I want to make everyone as excited to read this as I am to publish it.
This article appeared in the May 12, 2016 edition of PW BEA Show Daily.