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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

BookExpo Preview 2013

BookExpo is next week! Here are some of the adult books with possible teen appeal that I’m excited to see on the show floor.

In no particular order (and with the understanding that cover art and signing/appearance times & places are subject to change):

Guests on Earth by Lee Smith (Algonquin, Oct.) begins in New Orleans where young Evalina loses her mother, a “woman of the night,” to suicide. Eventually, she is sent to a mental hospital in Asheville, North Carolina where she comes under the tutelage of fellow patient, Zelda Fitzgerald. I cannot wait to hear Lee Smith speak at the AAP Luncheon (sold out, I’m afraid), as I fell in love with her writing way back in graduate school when a friend handed me Fair and Tender Ladies. Stop by booth #839 to check for ARCs.

Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch (Little Brown, Oct.) is also speaking at an AAP event. I haven’t seen mention of a signing, but this is definitely a crossover book to watch.

Songs of Willow Frost (Ballantine, Sept.) is Jamie Ford’s second novel, following the widely praised Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (2009). 12-year-old William Eng and his school friend Charlotte search the streets of Seattle for information about his past, his mother, and a film star, Willow Frost. (In-booth signing at 10am Friday, #2739)

Duplex by Kathryn Davis sounds like a truly unique coming of age. Arriving in September from the small but powerful Graywolf Press (booth #1563), it seems to be set in a world of robots and sorcerers that is just around the corner from our own. 

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (Bloomsbury, Aug.) launches a multi-volume series beginning in 2059 London, about a young voyant who is arrested and put in prison (in what used to be Oxford University) under a mysterious keeper. Shannon will participate in a Crossover panel on the Midtown Author Stage, 11am Saturday.

Also from Bloomsbury — Jesmyn Ward’s new memoir set in rural Mississippi titled Men We Reaped (Sept.).  Ward is the author of National Book Award (and Alex Award) winning Salvage the Bones.

I’ve already delved into Havisham by Ronald Frame (Picador, Nov.), a look at just what happened to the traumatized woman in the wedding dress from Great Expectations. (Galley giveaway, Friday 2:30pm, booth #1557)

And speaking of classic connections, equally intriguing — Longbourn by Jo Baker (Knopf, Oct.), a look at the servants in Pride and Prejudice. Hello, Downton Abbey fans! (Inbooth signing, Friday 9am, #2738)

Margot by Jillian Cantor (Riverhead, Sept.) is a sort of alternate historical novel, in which Anne Frank’s sister survived. (Galleys will be available on Friday, 2pm at the Penguin book #1520)

I’ve had a chance to start John Searles’ Help for the Haunted (Morrow, Sept.) and it is a sure bet for crossover readers. In the very first pages a 14-year-old girl’s parents are murdered inside a church while she waits outside in the car. Where it is headed from there, I cannot wait to find out. (Searles will be signing on Friday at 10:30am in the autographing area.)

The Returned by Jason Mott (Harlequin, Sept.) is getting one of the largest pushes at the show. In this novel, the dead are returning, sometimes decades later, looking just as they did before death. Is this a benevolent miracle, or a more sinister event? A thoughtful novel for teens interested in dystopian or apocalyptic possibilities. (Multiple opportunities to meet and listen to the author: In-booth signing, Thursday and Friday at 10am, #1238; autographing session Thursday 1pm, and Mott will be speaking on the Midtown Stage at 3:30pm Friday)

Norton is touting a novel of WWI, The Cartographer of No Man’s Land by P.S. Duffy (Oct.) with a description that includes readalike comparisons to both The Song of Achilles and The Invisible Bridge, two recent favorites. She will be signing in the Norton Booth, #1920 at 3pm Friday.

I am even more excited about another Norton title which I’ve already had a chance to read: Brewster by Mark Slouka (Aug.), a beautifully written coming of age set in 1960s upstate New York. Get a copy at the Librarian’s Lounge on Thursday at 3pm (booth #757).

The Pantopticon by Jenni Fagan (Hogarth, July) is a debut that begins as its young narrator is being driven to an institution. She’s lived most of her life in the foster care system, and things are only getting worse. The buzz on this one is huge, the voice of its 15-year-old narrator being the focus of the praise.

Pamela Schoenewaldt has a new novel out. I loved and recommended her debut, When We Were Strangers (2011). Swimming in the Moon (Morrow, Sept.) also begins in Italy, this time in 1908. A 14-year-old and her mother leave Naples for Cleveland where young Lucia becomes an activist.

Flat Water Tuesday by Ron Irwin (Thomas Dunne, June) brings to mind last year’s The Starboard Sea. That one was about sailing, this one about competitive rowing. Both take place at a boarding school, and concern a tragedy that takes place among a small group of students that comes back to haunt the survivors years later. (Audio giveaway at booth #1557 on Thursday at 10:30am)

Random House will have copies of new novels by two YA crossover heavy-hitters: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld and Night Film by Marisha Pessl, author of the much assigned (and enjoyed) Special Topics in Calamity Physics (2007). Pessel has an inbooth signing scheduled for Thursday at 11:30am, and Sittenfeld for Friday at 2pm, both #2739.

Two more Random House ARCs to seek: first, On the Come Up by debut author Hannah Weyer (Nan A. Talese, July). AnnMarie is attending a school for pregnant teens when she goes to a casting call in Manhattan and lands the lead in a movie.

And the new Jhumpa Lahiri novel, The Lowland (Knopf, Sept.). Lahiri is consistently popular among the 11th & 12th graders in my library so I will be sure to take note of this one.

Love and Lament by John Milliken Thompson (Other, Aug.) is a southern gothic historical coming of age novel set at the turn of the 19th into the 20th century that is getting plenty of buzz. (in-booth signing, Thursday 3pm, #2839)

Long Division by Kiese Laymon is a coming of age, time travel novel that sounds like nothing I’ve read before. Called “Twain-esque” by the publisher, it takes place in 2013, 1985 and 1964, largely in post-Katrina Mississippi. Laymon will be signing on Thursday 1pm in the Agate Booth, #1330A.

I’m hoping Kensington might have copies of their upcoming Dream With Little Angels by Michael Hiebert (July), narrated by a teen boy, and that Sourcebooks might bring The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen by Lindsay Ashford (August).

I’m light on nonfiction here, but am looking forward to trying out Michael Daly’s Topsy: the startling story of the crooked tailed elephant, P.T. Barnum, and the american wizard, Thomas Edison. Daley will be signing at the Grove/Atlantic booth on Friday afternoon.

Neil Gaiman will be speaking on Saturday at 10am on the topic of “Why Fiction is Dangerous.” His new novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane is coming out in a few weeks from Morrow. Need I say more?

And finally, Quirk Books, the publisher who brought us Pride, Prejudice and Zombies, will have copies of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher (July) available. This is a re-telling of Star Wars in the style (and iambic pentameter) of Shakespeare. I’ve heard it pitched at a librarian preview already and much hilarity ensued. I can’t imagine teens won’t enjoy it.


If you are interested in more from the adult publishers, there are two Book Buzz sessions scheduled during which upcoming titles will be introduced.

  • Thursday, 2:15 pm – 3:30 pm; AAP Annual Librarians Book Buzz – Part I, Room 1E16 
  • Friday, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm; AAP Annual Librarians Book Buzz – Part II, Room 1E11

And finally, I will be participating in the 5th Annual Librarian Shout ‘n Share on Friday afternoon, 3:30 – 5pm in Room 1E11. I’m thrilled that the AAP (the panel sponsor) is interested in highlighting crossover titles this year!  Come join us!

Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.