ALA Recap: Book Haul, YALSA, and So Many Geniuses

ALA Floor

This last weekend I went to ALA Midwinter, a meeting of the American Library Association in Chicago. My publishing house sent me to be at YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults teen lunch, where 6 authors spoke to over 60 teens to connect and introduce them to their newest books. I was there with Ally Carter, Elizabeth Eulberg, Heather Burch, and Sabaa Tahir, and I had a great time speaking with the teens. They were so sharp and motivated, and had so many great questions. The other authors were wonderful, too, and I was honored to be at the event with them and sign my book for those teens.

After the event, I went to some panels, including one on reaching out to the female geeks and nerds in your community, and one on hot new adult literary debuts from LibraryReads. I walked the floor and grabbed some awesome new books, too: Atria booth


The AAP/Library Reads panel was especially good. Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train), Chigozie Obioma (The Fishermen), Colonel Jill Morgenthaler, (The Courage to Take Command), Melissa Falcon Field (What Burns Away), and Kirstin Valdez Quade (Night at the Fiestas) all spoke. Their books are some of the most anticipated debuts, and I’ve been hearing about Girl on the Train for months. One thing that amazed me about these authors was their vision. They have such a clear idea of where they fit in their genre, and they have something to say, and a story to say it with.

Left to right:

Melissa Falcon Field, Paula Hawkins, Colonel Jill Morgenthaler, Chigozie Obioma, and Kirstin Valdez Quade

Debut Authors Panel

After the panels Saturday, I met up with Elizabeth Blackwell, the author of While Beauty Slept, a riveting gothic retelling, and she also blogs for me over at Publishing Hub. We’ve been connecting online for a while but this was the first time I got to meet her in person, and it was so great to finally do that.

I met up with Bethany Robison, author and sports writer extraordinaire, for dinner, and author Nicole Baart for drinks after, and hanging out with those two is always a great time. I’m always stunned by what wonderful people authors and book lovers are.

Nicole and I, being excited about books:

Kate and Nicole

Unfortunately, because of the blizzard that hit Chicago, my trip that was supposed to be overnight turned into three nights. More ALA wasn’t a bad thing, though, and I used my time wisely– more books, more drinks with author friends, and more listening to geniuses speak on their favorite topics. Nicole introduced me to author Renee Rosen, author of What The Lady Wants, which I have in my pile of books and am very much looking forward to reading now!

Sunday Nicole and I watched pieces of the Super Bowl in between Nicole’s grand introduction to The Walking Dead, because a marathon was running and she hadn’t seen it before. Any of you who follow me on Twitter know I’m a huge fan of TWD, and I’m never happier than when someone else turns out to love something I love, too. (P.S. THE WALKING DEAD RETURNS THIS SUNDAY.) We did go down to the hotel bar at the end of the game to watch, though, because Nicole is a better American than I am.

Monday, my second flight was cancelled, and I discovered that cabs are extremely expensive. However, I was able to attend Renee Rosen’s session on Chicago as a historical setting, and Nicole Baart’s session on handling difficult topics in fiction. Both were wonderful and thought-provoking.

Nicole Baart speaking on The Beautiful Daughters (releasing from Atria April 28) and on handling difficult topics in fiction:

Nicole Baart

Author Renee Rosen speaking on What The Lady Wants and Chicago as a historical setting:

Renee Rosen


When I wasn’t in panels, it was great fun to walk the floor, meet librarians, booksellers, and publicists. It’s hard work for all these people, and by the end everyone is tired and ready to go home, but it’s so clear how much these people love books and authors.

The line at the Penguin booth for the display hardcovers:

Hardcovers line

 Books to watch for featured at the PopTop stage:

Poptop Stage 1

¬†Three of the new “it” books I saw featured all over ALA this year:


Poptop stage 2

Some other great things that happened at ALA this year:

2015 ALSC Book & Media Award Winners

And here is the shot you’ve been waiting to see– all the books I brought home from ALA! Ones I’m most excited for? The Alex Crow, Girl on the Train, The Start of Me and You, The Third Twin, The Dogs… okay, all of them. I’m excited for all of them!


Books 2