I loved last year's Bloggers Book Feast at Scholastic and so I was thrilled to be invited back for this year's edition. The event was jam-packed with interesting publishing panels, author talks, a sneak peek at all the young adult releases ahead of us this year and lots of bookish goodies. I had an absolute blast and I think I may have found a new most anticipated book of 2017!
2017 YA Titles
In the first session of the day the publicity team talked us through all of the 2017 YA releases and oh my gosh, Scholastic has lots of brilliant stuff in store for us this year! I'm excited about all releases but there are quite a lot so I want to take a brief moment to stand still by my top 5 most anticipated ones (in order of publication):
Ink by Alice Broadway (2 February) – In this book, people's stories and accomplishments are tattooed on their skin. When someone dies their tattoos are saved in a 'skin book'. But when Leora looks through her dad's skin book she realises that something is missing...
See How They Lie by Sue Wallman (2 March) – At last year's Bloggers Book Feast we first heard about Sue's debut novel Lying About Last Summer, which I loved and it even ended up being picked for the Zoella Book Club! Needless to same I'm thrilled another novel is on the way.
Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined by Danielle Youngen-Ullman (6 April) – 'When Ingrid arrives at wilderness camp, she quickly realises there has been a big mistake.' Wild for teens, need I say more?
Show Stopper by Hayley Barker (1 June) – This is the book I'm most excited about. It sounds similar in atmosphere to Caraval by Stephanie Garber, which was my favourite book of 2016 (out in 2017, but I read it last year) and OMG the proof cover is a beauty! 'Welcome to the deadliest show on earth. Can two people of harshly different worlds come together to end a brutal tradition?'
A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke (October) – 'Red, red, the lights glow red, beware the dangers up ahead...' This highly imaginative fantasy is about a world where the colour of the sky indicates that danger is coming. The last time the sky went red hundreds of people in the village died, what will happen this time around?
After a short break, during which I had some delicious wraps, chocolates and a much-needed cup of tea (I'd had a late night the day before), it was time for the Designers Panel, which had been one of the most memorable last year (I still remember the fascinating insight into the The Hunger Games covers from across the globe, especially the camouflage ones *grabby hands*).
This time around we looked at the designs for 2017 titles The Goldfish Boy and Noah Can't Even. The Goldfish Boy stayed very close to its original design, with only certain characters popping out from the front cover, whereas Noah Can't Even went to a lengthy process looking at similar titles within the market... only to go a completely different direction when they decided to go for a big banana of the cover. It's bold, and just a bit rude, and will certainly catch people's attention in shops!
Finally, they talked about a 'design graveyard' of covers not used, but from which they sometimes will still use a type, finish or idea. Clever.
#NoahCantEven cover reveal! The final image looks nothing like the initial ideas and is a bit rude 🍌😂 @scholasticuk #bloggersbookfeast pic.twitter.com/Lb4qWoVv5W— Zarina ❄️ (@zarinatweets) January 21, 2017
The Editors Panel was all about the acquisition process, especially surrounding debut novels – fascinating stuff. Some interesting things that were mentioned: One editor said she loves it when an agent calls up with a pitch for a book that they believe is right for that Editor and publishing house, because it adds a personal touch. The auction process on the other hand... while different for each book, depending on the agent, the consensus was: "It's like The Hunger Games".
How does an editor decide on publishing a particular book? "There are lots of different ways, but when reading a manuscript it isn't necessarily about being blown away by it, but also seeing what it could potentially be."
And then there is commissioning; commissioning a title from an existing author on the list or going out there with an idea they want to publish. They even recently commissioned a book based purely on a cover design idea they had. "Nowadays editors have to be more proactive and commission books in the space we want to see them in."
Contemporary Panel Panel
After another break during which we had the chance to chat to fellow blogging attendees, it was time for the much-anticipated author panels. First up were the contemporary lot; Sue Wallman (See How They Lie), Lisa Thompson (The Goldfish Boy), Simon James Green (Noah Can't Even), Eve Ainsworth (Damage) and Beth Garrod (Truly Madly Awkward).
I loved listening to the authors, so much so that I barely made any notes... but here are some fun quotes for you:
Simon was asked how much of Noah was him, and while he highlighted many examples that were similar to his own time in school, he pointed out that his mum "has never done, and never will do, a Beyoncé tribute act".
The first book that made Lisa Thompson cry was Charlotte's Web when – spoiler alert – Charlotte died.
Eve Ainsworth is exciting for Damages to be published, but sometimes she also just wants to put her head under a blanket. Don't we all, Eve, don't we all.
All the books from this panel sound ace, but I'm ESPECIALLY excited for See How They Lie, because I loved Sue Wallman's Lying About Last Summer so very much.
The final panel of the fabulous Bloggers' Book Feast was with all the fantasy-authors: Alice Broadway (Ink), Melinda Salisbury (The Scarecrow Queen), Hayley Barker (Show Stopper) and Lisa Lueddecke (A Shiver of Snow and Sky). Since three out of my five most-anticipated Scholastic YA reads of 2017 fall within this category, needless to say I loved listening to the authors talk about their books, writing, and Hamilton (thanks Mel, I can't believe it took this long for the show to be name-dropped!).
My only notes from this panel were about Show Stopper because I am THAT excited for it. Hayley Barker mentioned that within it she wanted to capture the atmosphere of Enid Blyton's circus books and combine it with the world's current political and social unrest. It sounds incredible (and man, have I mentioned the gorgeous proof cover yet? *drools*).
To finish of what was already an ace day it was time for a quiz, as tradition would have it (last year's was The Hunger Games themed). We were 'sorted' into Team Niffler, I bet you can guess the theme of the quiz? That is right... it was Fantastic Beasts! Our team did pretty well, only missing one question but sadly for us one of the other teams had a perfect score (the author at their table had seen it ten times already, so really we didn't stand a chance ;)).
So no stack of Fantastic Beasts movie tie-in books for us, but we did leave with a lovely goodie bag (which had a proof of Show Stopper within it, eeee!) as well as some books I picked up from the stacks displayed in the event room. It was a good bookish day.
Thanks lovely Scholastic team for the invite and for taking such good care of us ♥
You guys, @scholasticuk has spoiled us (thank you ♥) 😱 What book should I read first?! (I'm swaying towards Showstopper) #bloggersbookfeast pic.twitter.com/gteJFdLf2d— Zarina ❄️ (@zarinatweets) January 21, 2017