Friday, June 17, 2011

This is Teen

One of the major perks of bookselling is getting to hang out with authors. Something I've noticed in four years of spending time with authors is that there are some very different communities within the publishing world. Some authors keep to themselves. Others (usually award-winners) limit their author-author relationships to people who are at least as famous as they are. Still others have a tight-knit community of local writers.

But it's the Young Adult community that really blows my mind. These people are crazy. First of all, it seems like most of them are friends with each other, even the ones whom you'd never expect to get along. Second of all, follow any one of them on Twitter and you'll quickly learn that they have WAY more fun than you do. While you're going about your day, doing your boring day-things, they are inventing crapfts (crappy crafts) and making bets that end in someone eating a Crisco milkshake and passing around a pair of traveling pajants. I'm not making this up. All of these things have actually happened. And in between they're getting angry about injustice and convincing young people to care about something other than what their classmates are thinking about them.

Also, they write books.

So I'm always a little wary when I come across an author whom I know to belong to this group of lunatics. Some of them seem perfectly nice and normal on the outside, and then BAM! They're doing an interpretive dance to summarize their latest book for a middle-aged man who hasn't read it yet.

Which is exactly what happened last week at a Scholastic luncheon with Libba Bray.

"Livin' Large," featuring Meg Cabot, Maggie Stiefvater, and Libba Bray

I was really excited about this luncheon, because I have a lot of respect for all three authors who were there. Libba Bray (Beauty Queens), Meg Cabot (Abandon), and Maggie Stiefvater (the Shiver series and The Scorpio Races) are giants in YA literature. I don't know why I expected them to be be sober, serious professionals when I know for a fact that they're actually way more interesting than I am. The fact that Scholastic is sending them around the country together means that the publishing industry is starting to wise up to the fact that YA authors can be used for entertainment as well as for the signing of title pages. And believe you me, we got some serious entertainment.

It's common knowledge that The Young Adult Genre Is Exploding. Every day I have adults wander into the bookstore looking for this "new thing," YA. So, great, now you've read your first YA book, good for you. The next step is to start organizing outings to readings with YA authors (with, of course, a group of young adults). I promise you, something interesting will happen...and you never know who else might be in the audience.


Anonymous said...

Awesome! Did you go to the This is Teen event that evening in San Francisco? It was so much fun! What did the guy think of Libba's interpretive dance? She, along with Meg and Maggie, were a hoot! :)


Jake the Girl said...

I missed the event that night--I had to go to work after the luncheon. I wish I could have gone!

The guy seemed a little unsure of what to do for about 30 minutes after the dance. I think he doesn't read much YA...