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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

BookExpo Preview 2014

BookExpo America is one of my favorite events of the year. It’s all books all the time. And now that the availability of e-galleys effectively lessens my need for paper galleys (well, in some cases), the pressure of making it to this or that booth at a particular time is off. More time and energy to browse and discover.

That said, there are a few upcoming must-haves for readers of adult books with teen appeal. Keep an eye out for these over the coming months — or next week at the Javits Center if you’re in the city. (If you are attending, please double-check the days, times and booth numbers given here. I try to get them right, but things can change and I would hate to steer you wrong!)

Megan Abbott has a sure AB4T winner in The Fever (Hachette, June).  Shall I give you a teaser quote from Mark’s upcoming review? “The trouble begins when Deenie Nash’s best friend, Lise, has an unexplained seizure–in full view of her high school classmates–that lands her in the hospital in a semi-conscious state. Soon, other girls, first close friends, later total strangers, begin exhibiting similar symptoms…” Abbott is on a mystery writer’s panel, Downtown Stage on Friday, 11am-noon and signing just a bit later, 1-2pm at Table 1.

At last, a book by Amy Bloom we can recommend to teens! Lucky Us (Random House, July) follows two young women on a sort of 1940s road trip, from Hollywood to Long Island and beyond. Bloom will be signing in Booth #2839 on Thursday 10:30-11:30am.

We have a starred review already in the holding pen for Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (Penguin, June). Hear the author speak on the  “My First Novel: Things I Wish Someone Has Told Me” panel on Saturday 11:15am. (Ask at the Penguin booth for location information.)

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein (Simon & Schuster, Sept) is also a ghost story, concentrating on a 14-year-old boy whose parents are divorcing. Remember the popularity of The Art of Racing in the Rain? Stein is signing in booth #2638 on Thursday at 3:00 – 4:00pm.

Rooms is the first adult novel by Lauren Oliver (Ecco, Sept) — an author teens know and love. This is a ghost story in which a family moves into a haunted house. Oliver will be autographing on Thursday, 10 – 10:30am at Table 15. 

Another perennial teen favorite is appearing on both Friday and Saturday — Jodi Picoult. Her new novel, Leaving Time (Ballantine, Oct) is about a daughter seeking her mother, who disappeared after a tragic accident. Picoult will be signing in booth #2839 on Friday from 2:30 – 3:30pm, and talking about best sellers on Saturday from 11am – noon in Room 1E15.

The ever-popular John Scalzi will be signing his latest, Lock In (Tor, Aug.) twice! Thursday, 3-4pm at Table 13 and Friday 2-2:30pm at Booth #1728/39. In the near future a virus sweeps the globe leaving 1% of the world’s population locked in–“fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus.”

The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline received a great review on AB4T when it came out last year. It has since exploded on the bookgroup scene, so Kline will be autographing on Friday, 10:30-11:30am at table 19.

And one more of last year’s reviewed titles — Jesmyn Ward will sign copies of her memoir, Men We Reaped on Thursday, 11:30-11:55am at booth #1749.

Now, a few galleys to collect —

Thorn Jack by Katherine Harbour (Harper Voyager, June) is said to combine “the sorcery of The Night Circus with the malefic suspense of A Secret History” in a retelling of Tam Lin, a Scottish ballad.  Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Clare, and Melissa Marr are also noted in the publisher description! Haunt booth #2038 for a galley.

And another from Harper — this one they’ve been marketing hard — The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (July). Young Game of Thrones fans are legion, so I’m betting teens will fall for this fantasy debut. Galleys (they’re very handsome) at booth #2038/9.

For a completely different sort of novel, The Hour of Lead by Bruce Holbert (Counterpoint, July) is a tale of the American west being compared to McCarthy’s Border Trilogy. Give it a try at Booth #1221.

The folks at Grand Central are over the moon about The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Chris Scotton (January), a coming-of-age novel set during the summer a 14-year-old boy goes with his mother to live with his grandfather in the Appalachia mountains of Kentucky. They are grieving the sudden death of his younger brother. Booth #2819.

This August, Lev Grossman finishes the trilogy he began in the Alex Award-winning The Magicians with The Magician’s Land (Viking). Insert fangirl squeal here… Check booth #1521 for galleys.

Tana French is one of my favorite mystery/crime authors. I’ve never been tempted to recommend them to students in my library before, but I’m curious to see if her latest, The Secret Place (Viking, Sept) might change that. Her novels are very dark, and this is a long-shot, but I understand it’s predominantly about teenagers. Booth #1521.

And finally, rumor has it that Simon & Schuster will give away a limited number of copies of Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King on Saturday.


In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides (Doubleday, Aug.) is adventure/survival fare to be compared to Frozen in Time or Into Thin Air. Sides will be signing in booth #2839 on Friday, 9-10am. 

Fire Shut up in my Bones by Charles M. Blow (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sept.) is a memoir being hailed by such luminaries as Alice Walker and Henry Louis Gates. It remains to be seen how it reads for teens. Look for a galley in booth #1657.

Another survival story detailing an event that happened only a few years ago powers Deep Down Dark: the untold stories of 33 men buried in a Chilean mine, and the miracle that set them free by Héctor Tobar (FSG, Oct). Check booth #1738/9 for an ARC.

The Birth of Korean Cool: How One Nation Is Conquering the World Through Pop Culture by Euny Hong (Picador, Aug)  could appeal to teens. The Kirkus review ends with “A pleasing mix of Margaret Cho, Sarah Vowell and a pinch of Cory Doctorow.” Pick up a copy in booth #1738/9.

Hopefully, we will see more likely nonfiction on the floor than I’ve seen in the preview publicity. Meantime, one YA nonfiction title that I cannot resist mentioning — The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming (Random House, July) is one of the best books you’ll read this year. If they’re giving them away, don’t miss it!


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.