I don’t want to brag, but David Levithan is an amazing individual when you see him in person… which I did yesterday!
Twice a year, my library’s book supplier hosts a 3-day program for teachers, publishers, and librarians in which different publishers present their upcoming children and teen titles. They give away big bags of swag, and also have keynote speakers, who are prominent authors in children’s and teen literature (Neal Shusterman and Michelle Knudsen were there earlier this week) along with a book signing. And, dude. Let me say, there are some really, REALLY sweet sounding books coming out soon. But I’ll get to that in a minute…
I knew I was going to adore David L. when he took the podium and announced in a freakishly lively manner, “Wow. I’ve never played an Elks Club before! I’m very gay and very Jewish! So…” He talked about his writing process and read an excerpt from his upcoming book, Every Day (which will be coming out this Fall and is in no way related to Every You, Every Me).
Every Day is the story of A, who wakes up every day in the body and life of a different person. A has no race, no cultural background, no prejudices, no favorites, and every day must meet new people and adapt to the body and life for which A will be responsible for the 24 hours. A can never get too close and tries to never make waves. A’s goal is to swim in and out of these people’s bodies and lives as seamlessly as possible. Things change when A wakes up in the body of Justin, and meets his girlfriend, Rhiannon. And then falls in love.
At first, I would say that the first word that comes to mind is, “AWKWARRRRD!” Especially if A wakes up in the body of a chick. But that would be beneath me to mock. This book does not deserve any mockery whatsoever. All I can do is commend David Levithan for creating such an original premise (even though it reminds me a little of the 80’s TV series Quantum Leap, which I’m assuming most of you young’ens have never heard of). As he read a portion of it, I was nearly moved to tears. There’s something incredibly moving about hearing an author read his own story, reading it with the passion he felt when he wrote it.
There was a brief Q&A which had the entire room in fits of laughter, especially during this particular anecdote: The novel Boy Meets Boy was not actually based on David Levithan’s actual life experiences EXCEPT for the part when the Kindergarten teacher suspects that young 5-year-old Paul is gay. Levithan described it as the part of the story that most people think is so exaggerated it can’t possibly be true, but it’s the only part of the story that actually is. Of his Kindergarten teacher, Levithan said, “her gaydar was DEAD. ON.”
Shortly thereafter, we all got in line to get our signed books. And I have to admit… I went fangirl on his ass and I’m proud of it. So sue me… it’s hard not to gush at someone who wrote one of your favorite books!
All in all it was an awesome day. I walked away with a bag o’ swag, including a personalized and autographed book for my library, and heard about some really fabulous sounding titles that will be coming out in the next few months. Some titles we already knew about, such at The Kill Order by James Dashner, Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay, and Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Here are a few of the lesser known promising titles we can expect for summer/fall (in no particular order)…
Undead by Kirsty McKay
“Returning from a ski trip, everyone gets off except for the new girl, Bobby, who stays behind with Smitty, the class bad boy. They finally see the other kids heading back – but they’ve changed. And not in a good way – they are ZOMBIES and the bus’s metal doors are all that stand between Bobby and Smitty becoming their next meal.” September 2012
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
“Katherine is sent to her uncle’s remote Victorian estate to have him committed to an asylum and salvage her own inheritance. As the mystery of the estate unravels Katherine finds that much more than her inheritance is at stake.” September 2012
Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch
“Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life without knowing what might be on the other side of it. But the other side of the Rift will bring truths about what really happened to Glenn’s mother, and will put them at the center of the an age-old struggle between two halves of a divided world.” October 1, 2012
Tap Out by Eric Devine
“Honest, raw, gritty, and thought provoking, Tap Out is the story of a teenage boy who finds escape in Mixed Martial Arts from the trailer park, his family, and uninvited trouble.” September 11, 2012
Skinny by Donna Cooner
“15-year-old Ever weighs 302 pounds, and is haunted by a voice she calls “Skinny.” Skinny whispers all the cruel thoughts she is sure her classmates have about about her. When Ever undergoes gastric bypass surgery, her journey is far from over – she must confront Skinny before she can find love as well as her own true voice.” October 12, 2012
Fangirl by Ken Baker
“Can an unexpected romance between a teenage girl and her pop idol survive beyond the comforting distance of Twitter, text, and phone calls, and moreover, the paparazzi?” October 2, 2012
The Downside of Being Charlie by Jenny Torres Sanchez
“Charlie Grisner used to be fat, but that was before his father guilted him into joining fat camp during the summer before his senior year. The story opens with Charlie back home from Camp Fit (now 30 pounds lighter). His mentally distraught mother has run away (again), which he and his father never discuss. But there’s two things Charlie can look forward to this year besides being thinner: his advanced photography class and getting Charlotte VanderKleaton, the new girl. But there’s several other problems he must deal with along the way: Charlie still feels like a fat kid inside, and he can’t forget the memories of being bullied, and his father is cheating on his mom, and Charlie might just blow it with Charlotte, and…” May 22, 2012
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
“When Ruby wakes up on her tenth birthday, something about her has changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation” camp.” December 18, 2012
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
“A new vision of knights, dragons, and the fair maiden caught in between…” July 10, 2012
Yesterday by C.K. Kelly Martin
“A fast paced post-apocalyptic time-travel novel of two teens on the run. Perfect for fans of The Maze Runner and Daughter of Smoke and Bone.” September 25, 2012
That’s just some of the juicy awesomeness we can look forward to in the next few months. *squeal!* Stay tuned because I’m sure we’ll have reviews of most of these as the titles come out!