Last weekend in Northern California, a little something magical happened. It's no secret that we are spoiled for choice when it comes to YA authors living here, and so FYA's own Christy (along with her blogging partner, Nancy, at The Ravenous Reader) got together with a local indie bookstore, who then reached out to the wonderful Stacey Lee, and BAM: the first annual Bay Area Blogger/Author Brunch was born!
Look at these faces. Who wouldn't want to have brunch with these faces?
Christy and Nancy (on the far right), along with Hannah from Books Inc. (in the middle back) were the brain and brawns of this operation, and they really knocked it out of the park! (Humblebrag: all three of these ladies are in my book group. FYA OAKLAND REPRESENT.)
Books Inc. hosts a series of author salons for adults who love YA, and Hannah is the Captain of Making All of That Happen. It's called Not Your Mother's Book Club, or NYMBC for short, and I have spent many an evening in terrible Bay Area traffic to get to one of their events! They just opened their newest location in Santa Clara, and it made a pretty great venue for our brunch.
Clockwise from top left: Kelly Loy Gilbert, Nina Lacour, Traci Chee, and Stacey Lee!
Twelve Northern Californian authors were on deck: Rahul Kanakia, Traci Chee, Christy Lenzi, Alexandra Sirowy, Sonya Mukherjee, Jessica Taylor, Kelly Loy Gilbert, Parker Peevyhouse, Tim Floreen, Nina LaCour, Tara Sim, and Tricia Stirling! After a brief intro from each author, they paired up with their pre-designated blogger for a little one-on-one chat!
True story: I was SO nervous when I drew Jessica's name. What if I didn't like her book?? My fears were soon laid to rest because Wandering Wild is a gem of a story:
Raised by Wanderers, sixteen-year-old Tal travels the roads of the southern wild in her Chevy by day and camps in her tent trailer at night. Hustling, conning, and grifting her way into just enough cash to save her fifteen-year-old brother, Wen, from bare-knuckle fighting was once enough to keep her dreams of traveling the whole world at bay. Everything changes when the Wanderers set up camp in a little town called Cedar Falls.
There, Spencer Sway, a boy Tal tried to hustle at a game of billiards, keeps popping up into her life—and worst of all—into her scams. Buttoned-up, starched-and-ironed Spencer talks of places where Tal’s truck can’t take her. His promises of traveling across oceans are almost enough to shatter her love of the Wanderer life.
When a boy shows up at camp, ready to make good on a nearly-forgotten arranged marriage to Tal, Tal and Wen make a pact: No matter the cost, they will use their limitless skills of grift to earn the bride price and buy back her future—even if Spencer Sway gets used along the way.
I am fascinated by anything remotely cult-ish, and some travelling communities definitely can fall into that category. When I asked Jessica about her research for this book she told me that she herself has a great aunt that was raised in a traveling family; she left when she was seventeen. We discussed the different types and varied cultures among travellers, the stigma and slurs that are still very much tolerated (romance writers REALLY need to stop using the G-word), and how important it was to her for Tal's journey of first love to be one that brimmed over with sex positivity.
Getting an author selfie with my new BFF, Jessica Taylor.
Jessica's next book, A Map for Wrecked Girls, is out this August. It's being described as Pretty Little Liars meets To All the Boys I've Loved Before, and Jessica told me that it has dual narratives between two sisters that take place before and after a huge event, like I'll Give You the Sun. Two sisters, once close who now despise each other and need to get along to survive being stranded on an island? I AM READY.
You can get the scoop on any of the above authors by clicking through the rest of this blog tour, and you might even find a new blogger (or four) to follow!
Hannah at NYMBC
Nancy and Christy at Tales of the Ravenous Reader
Hikari at Folded Pages Distillery
Jesalin at JBelkBooks
Alyssa and Addie at San Jose Public Library
Enna at Books, Boys, and Blogs
Cristina at Girl in the Pages
Joss at Tealreader
Camille at The Young Folks
Alicia at Shooting Stars Mag
And don't forget to check out our shameless author/blogger love-fest on Storify. We're pretty sickening, tbh.
Thanks for letting me gush about my local book community everyone! There's nothing we love more than meeting OTHER FYA book club members, so if you're ever in the Bay Area hit up FYA Oakland! How many of you are lucky enough to attend author events? Any in particular that stand out in your memory?