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BEA 2017: Back To The Big Apple

Chicago was great, but we were glad to return to NYC.

BEA 2017: Back To The Big Apple

FYA HQ made its annual pilgrimage to our favorite book event, BEA--wait, sorry, Book Expo (you can try to rebrand, but it will always be BEA to us!)--and we're here to spill ALL the details.

POSH DELUXE

I never thought I would say this but... damn, it was great to be back at the Javits. Of course, that has less to do with the ambiance of the place (because zilch) and more to do with publishers not having to strain their staff and their resources to travel to Chicago. The result was a beautiful array of familiar faces and, let's be honest, better parties. Chronicle Books, for example, celebrated their 50th anniversary with ice cream and champers at their booth--happy birthday, indeed! We also got to hang with one of our long-time publishing pals, Faye from Simon & Schuster, at our first-it-was-a-joke-but-now-it's-our-fave-spot-because-booze-proximity-to-BEA, Clyde Frazier's.

We also got to spend time with FYA baes Leila Sales, Rebecca Serle and Bennett Madison. Bennett even came as our date to the shindig hosted by Big Honcho, a marketing agency of fierce females who work with us on giveaways and other promotions. The theme of the party was Stay Golden, which meant lots of sparkles, plus there was an open bar (i.e. my kind of soiree) and a photobooth to capture memories made fuzzy by the former.

But of course, it wouldn't be BEA (ok, FINE, Book Expo) without books, and I was over the moon to nab the latest novel from E. Lockhart, Genuine Fraud. It was a hot commodity for all three of us, actually, and the bonus make-up bags made us all the more excited to dive into another work by this brilliant writer.

It would also be a great mistake to underestimate the number of cocktails I consumed or the amount of fun I had hanging with Jennie and Mandy C. We LadyNerded (is that a verb? I just made it a verb) out to the max, and I'm already stoked for next year! My liver, not so much.

MANDY C.

Although I had a ton of fun at BEA in Chicago last year, it just felt right to be back in NYC, walking the Exhibit Hall floor of the Javits Center and seeing landmarks like the Empire State Building and Times Square. Even though we didn't have much time to do touristy things, just seeing the sights as we walked around (or, let's be honest, rode in cabs/Lyfts around) made it feel much more like BEA. (Regardless of the fact that the powers that be are trying to get us to call it BookExpo.)


Quoth Posh: "It's hard to make illustrations of people hot...but damn, these people are hot."

Personally, I was most excited to grab a copy of Cora Carmack's Roar, and to see the Marvel YA panel, which featured authors Margaret Stohl (Black Widow books), R.L. Stine (Man-Thing comics), Jason Reynolds (Miles Morales) and Rainbow Rowell. During the panel, we got to hear exclusive info on Rainbow's upcoming run on new Runaways comics. Can't wait!


Marvel Panel, showing the art from Rainbow Rowell's Runaways.

A couple other highlights of the event that happened outside of the Javits: The Fierce Reads/Macmillan Happy Hour, and the return of BEA-OKE.

The Macmillan HH was held at The Ainsworth, in a semi-private section at the back of the bar. It was dark and loud, but Jennie and I still managed to chat with the lovely Marissa Meyer and debut author Tomi Adeyemi. With Marissa, I couldn't help but gush about how much I love her books, particularly the continuation of the Lunar Chronicles universe (and Iko's story) in the graphic novels Wires and Nerve. We also chatted about Seattle—Marissa leaves in nearby Tacoma—and how social media is a weird, weird animal, particularly for kiddos who don't have an opportunity to say "no thanks, parents, I'd rather not be all over your Instagram." (TL;DR: It's one of those topics that seems to come up more and more these days, and no one's quite sure what to do about it.) Tomi, who we're sending an open invitation to hang out with us at FYA HQ, gave us the rundown on her upcoming novel, Children of Blood and Bone, which mixes current social issues like Black Lives Matter with Nigerian culture—all in a fantasy setting. (We've already added it to our TBR lists, even though we'll have to wait until March 2018 to read it. *stamps feet*)


Marissa Meyer, Jennie, and Mandy C.

We also hit up Karaoke One7 for the semi-annual BEA-OKE event. Members of NYCFYA joined us, and there were plenty of group songs sung. (Pro-Tip: A rousing rendition of Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA" will always go over well.)


NYCFYA member Jess, and Jennie, glowing from all the glorious karaoke.

JENNIE

I have to agree: as nice as it was to have a low-key BEA last year, there's nothing like NYC. Especially because this year, the weather was absolutely perfect

Mandy C. and I got in a little earlier than Posh, so we headed over to the Harlequin Teen party to eat delicious tacos, drink themed cocktails (and you know how we love themed cocktails), and talk with lovely authors. It was held in a gorgeous rooftop bar called Gansevoort Park--between the fun conversation (Amanda Foody is especially cool, and her book Daughter of the Burning City sounds really intriguing), the setting, and the treats, it was the perfect way to kick off our trip.

 

This year, in addition to E. Lockhart's Genuine Fraud (which is the only book from BEA that I've read so far, and it is delicious), I was most looking forward to snagging a copy of Holly Black's newest, The Cruel Prince. I've never gotten to go to one of her signings before, so it was exciting to get to meet her. (And yes--see the elf ears in person!) She was just as lovely as I'd imagined she would be.

It's not BEA without random celebrity sightings, so I took one for the team to be a creeper and snapped this photo of Chad Michael Murray. Apparently, he is writing a novel with romance novelist Heather Graham. He also looks pretty much exactly the same as he always has, leading me to believe he's learned Gabrielle Union, Pharrell, and Paul Rudd's anti-aging secret. 

We finished off the fun with a party by Penguin Teen at Print, where they fed us a delicious breakfast and then treated us to the equivalent of author speed dating. Marie Lu, Stephanie Perkins, Kristin Cashore, and debut YA novelists Peter Bognanni and Julia C. Dao each got ten minutes to tell us all about their upcoming books--then Penguin gave us these cleverly packaged copies!

 

Hearing the authors' enthusiasm for their books was so much cooler than reading back cover copy. For me, the highlight was Stephanie Perkins telling us that her new slasher book, There's Someone Inside Your House, is just like Anna, Lola, and Isla--there's a lot of kissing, just with a higher body count. You can't ask for a better blurb than that!

We all had so much fun. Traveling, spending time with each other, and, of course, fangirling over books, makes for a really special trip. Until next year, BEA!

Did you go to BEA? Which of these books are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!

Jennie's photo About the Author: Jennie Kendrick lives in San Francisco and has an excessive fondness of historical fiction, spreadsheets, turquoise sparkly things, and bourbon. When she's not reading, writing, or writing about reading, she cooks obsessively, runs an Etsy shop, and thrifts for vintage everything.