young adult book reviews & more

A few good book events

Over the last week, I had the pleasure of attending a handful of great events!

Last Saturday, I headed over to one of my neighborhood indie bookstores, Bank Street Bookstore, for a book signing with Daphne Benedis-Grab and Deborah Heiligman. It was great to hear both of them read, especially after running into them previously at the launch event for Soho Teen.

Deborah Heiligman & Daphne Benedis-Grab

When I got to the bookstore, a few minutes before the event was scheduled to start, the event space was already packed! There seemed to be tons of family and friends of the authors, including authors David Levithan, Donna Freitas, Eliot Schrefer, Judy Blundell, and Carolyn Mackler. Each featured author read from her most recent, or in Daphne's case upcoming, novel, and then they took questions from the audience. In all, it was a fun event (and a great study break, since it was less than a five minute walk from where I live!).

Then, the following Wednesday, I went on down to the Jefferson Market branch of the NYPL for the last Teen Author Reading Night of the year! This great event featured many authors, including Colleen Clayton, Leanna Renee Hieber, P.G. Kain, Suzanne Weyn, Eliot Schrefer, Daphne Benedis-Grab, Amy McNamara, and Margaret Stohl.

Colleen Clayton, Leanna Renee Hieber, P.G. Kain, & Suzanne Weyn
David Levithan, Eliot Schrefer, Daphne Benedis-Grab, Amy McNamara, & Margaret Stohl

As always, each author introduced and read from his or her latest book, answered a few questions from moderator David Levithan, and then took questions from the audience. I have to say that one of my favorite parts of that evening were Eliot's responses to David's pants label prompts (since the story of Endangered came from a pants brand called Bonobo): Dockers is about a futuristic world where the emergence of a highly dangerous strain of bacteria that affects boats has led the the creation of genetically engineered dock workers, and Lucky Jeans is about a fortune cookie factory where fortunes really come true—but since people can only eat so many fortune cookies, the factory workers decide to sew fortunes into the inseams of jeans. I'm sure my little summary doesn't quite capture the entirety of Eliot's brief story pitches, but I assure you they were much funnier than they come across here!

I had a wonderful time chatting with authors Eliot Schrefer, Daphne Benedis-Grab (whom I got to see three times in one week!), and Michael Northrop, as well as my favorite bookish friends Sam of Living Little Women and Ruth.

Then, the next day, I went to my favorite bookstore haunt, Books of Wonder for yet another book signing. This one was for Colleen Clayton, Amy McNamara (yes, I totally saw both of these authors the night before), E.C. Myers, and Tiffany Schmidt.

Colleen Clayton, Tiffany Schmidt, E.C. Myers, & Amy McNamara

Each author read briefly from his or her newest novel, coincidentally all scenes involving cars, before taking questions from the audience. I bravely volunteered for the first question: I wanted to know how the title of Amy's novel Lovely, Dark, and Deep came about, since I recognized it as a line from a Robert Frost poem. In fact, his poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" features into a key moment in the story.

After the main part of the event, I mingled a bit, chatting with Amy about how excited I am to pick up her novel at some point (I wanted to buy it then and there, but unfortunately, I won't have time to read until winter break, and I won't have any room for books in my suitcase—good thing there are bookstores in California!), another publishing Rachel, as well as authors E.C. Myers and Lindsay Ribar.
Finally, the day after that (yesterday), I went back to Bank Street Bookstore for another event, this one a Victorian-themed party to celebrate the release of The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart by Leanna Renee Hieber. As you can see below, Leanna was quite appropriately decked out for the occasion.

Leanna Renee Hieber, in Victorian-themed garb

I've heard Leanna read multiple times before, and since it's always such a treat, I had to take a video:

After reading, Leanna took some questions for the audience and then generally chatted about why she loves Gothic fiction and sets all her books in the 1880s. I didn't have any books to get signed, but I did snag her attention to let her know that, coincidentally, I'm writing my thesis on Gothic feminism, which she thought was great considering that's part of her niche market. Hopefully I find it just as exciting when I actually have to get down to writing it!

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