Friday, 16 February 2018


Highlights from the Scholastic Bloggers' Book Feast

Scholastic is the actual best. Not only have they recently published some of my most favourite reads, such as Vanilla by Billy Merrell (which I was telling everyone at the event to pick up and read asap as there were a few copies up on display) and Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy (review to come closer to pub date), but they also work closely with bloggers and throw some of the best bookish bashes in the industry. I've been lucky enough to attend their Bloggers' Book Feast both in 2016 and 2017 – and I was thrilled when the invite for the 2018 edition arrived in my inbox. There were many, many, MANY awesome titles presented on the day, and you can find my personal highlights below.

The Light Jar by Lisa Thompson
(4 January)

I remember Goldfish Boy by Lisa receiving raving reviews last year and after her reading from The Light Jar I can see why. It sounds like an extremely moving middle grade novel with an important message. Not only that, but we had a chance to hear Lisa's journey to becoming a published writer which was hugely inspiring (after two years of nothing happening with her agent she was dropped, only to be signed on by someone else who sold her books in a matter of weeks!) and I am excited to read her work.

Shell by Paula Rawsthorne
(4 January)

This novel is a modern-day YA retelling of Frankenstein, and I'm all here for it! It sounds like it'll be particularly delving into moral and psychological issues surrounding the idea, which has especially peaked my interest.

Spark by Alice Broadway
(5 April)

I admit, the gorgeous, gorgeous Ink by Alice Broadway, which I was *so* excited to read after last year's event has remained unread on my shelves for the past year (though lots of copies did pass through my hands when I dropped it on the tube for Books on the Underground!). I've meant to pick it up many a times as it sounds so amazing but then another review book got in the way of 'pleasure reading'. The sequel though, sounds ace and I'll definitely make an effort to read Ink asap so I can pick up the second book too!

Night of the Party by Tracy Mathias
(3 May)

I don't tend to read much about politics, fictional or otherwise, as it's a pretty depressing topic and with the current state of the world not one I'd particularly want to be reminded of in a fictional escape. However, this book sounds SO intriguing, and I know I need to not stick my head in the sand so much when it comes to politics, so this has quickly become one of my most anticipated reads of the year.

Your Turn To Die by Sue Wallman
(3 May)

Whatever Sue Wallman writes or does next, I'm there. I love her super intriguing YA thriller reads and how different each novel is, yet still filled with her telltale twists and turns. I don't tend to read many thrillers actually, especially of the YA variety, but if all the books would be as good as Sue's I'd definitely read more of them! The third novel by her hand is set in a house where terrible things have happened, dun dun dun...

The Surface Breaks by Louise O'Neill
(3 May 2018)

This one, is hands down, the book I am MOST excited for from Scholastic in 2018. The Scholastic team actually approached author Louise O'Neill with the idea of a feminist retelling of the classic fairy tale and the way the main character silences herself and self mutilates to be attractive to a man shows an important yet harrowing parallel for issues affecting young women today, which is what drew Louise in to write it. We also got a first glimpse at the gorgeous cover last weekend (now officially revealed here) and man it's a stunner. I didn't think it was possible but I am even more excited for this retelling of Little Mermaid now!

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
(5 June)

I really don't know much more about this one other than what it says on the slide but how incredibly intriguing does it sound? I also don't really want to know more than that (and be potentially spoiled before I dig in), just bring it on!

A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood
(5 July)

Gosh, I just loved Laura's presentation at the Scholastic event! I don't tend to go for historical fiction but her love for Cornwall really came through and has made me excited about the setting too. Besides, a summery romance will be just the thing I need come July.

Riverdale tie-ins

I'm surely not the only one who has become obsessed with this teen show on the CW/Netflix (especially Jughead, hello!)? So I was pleasantly surprised when the Scholastic team revealed they'd be publishing tie-in titles to the popular TV-show, which will provide a background to the characters we know and love. Yes please!

A Storm of Ice and Stars by Lisa Lueddecke

If you haven't heard me rave about A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke, uhm where have you been these past few months?! I've endlessly gushed about this epic and original YA fantasy set in a magical world and needless to say I'm super excited a prequel is in the works.

Designers panel

As if seeing a preview of all the exciting titles they have in store for us this year isn't enough already, one of the best things about the Scholastic event each year is the panels that follow on from the book presentations. This year we had Sean and Liam from the design team talk us through some of their recent work, which was super fascinating, and rather than rehashing everything they said I'd like to show you with a few visuals how some of their ideas and designs changed over the course of the process.

The books they spoke about are Twister (which was a Waterstones-led title so the design was inspired by past Waterstones books of the month, meaning an intricate design rich in detail) and the previously mentioned Night of the Party (which had the tricky element of focusing on politics but needing to look like a YA title despite having adult elements, and was worked on closely with the author herself).

Pretty cool, huh?

Author panel

There was also a super interesting Editors panel on taking books from manuscript to submission and being the internal champion for a title, followed by the largest author panel I've ever seen! I was too engrossed in listening to take proper notes from it all but some highlights include:

Alice Broadway started Ink with loads of laying down and daydreaming. 

Paula Rawthorne's idea for Shell came from her daughter asking her what would happen in real life if rich people could cheat dead by extending their lives.That sentence kicked off something in her head.

Tracey Mathias started her book with the characters and moral dilemma, not the political climate. She started writing it at the beginning of 2015 before Brexit was really a word (though UKIP was gaining popularity and coverage).

Laura Wood wrote the draft for A Sky Painted Gold during NaNoWriMo in 2016. Brexit had just happened, Trump had just happened... and so she she wrote the first draft as an escapism of it all with zero conflict between the pages.

Eve Ainsworth spoke about the fact that she has characters in her head first of all and she writes what moves her. She doesn't want to patronise but open up discussions and create empathy.

Simon James Green said that he always planned for Noah Can't Even to be funny. "It's important to laugh because it's a great way of bringing people together."

Sue Wallman starts with the setting of her books and the story progresses by layering up what she knows and where she wants to get to, though often her plan doesn't go that way and scenes move around. Fun fact: There were no woods originally in You Turn to Die but after art director Sean had added it tot he cover design that sparked the idea!

Thank you so much to Olivia and the wonderful Scholastic team for yet another stellar event. So many excellent 2018 reads to look forward to, I can't wait! ♥

🎵 Listening to: Hamilton – My Shot
🔹 Mood: Good


  1. Wow that looks amazing! I have never been to one of these events before. Great post!

    Megan @ Ginger Mom & the Kindle Quest

    1. Thanks for your comment, Megan! Hope you get to go to a book blogger event sometime soon, they're lots of fun :)


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