teen fiction

New York Trip Part Two: Book Expo America (with lots of pics!)

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Since my return from New York, I have of course been way behind on everything, but I am belatedly getting to one of my favorite events there--Book Expo America (BEA).

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Let's be clear--I have never been to a book event of this magnitude before. It's thousands of square feet at Javits of ... BOOKS. Yes, it is truly, amazingly booktastic, and now they open it to the public one day, so you should def check it out next year.

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But anyway, my publisher had set up a half-hour signing for me in the autographing area. It felt super official (and super nerve-wracking). You had to go sign in at this special booth and then make your way through this behind-the-scenes curtain (where they stored boxes of everyone's books) to pop out just as the author before you left and make everything look super seamless. Then a bunch of people get in line and you just sign your book to your heart's content. Since I'm such a new, unknown, I was a little worried I'd have the sad empty line, but I didn't. It was full the whole time. I met a lot of cool people, and got some great practice on my autographing skills :) It was awesome to meet people who'd seen the book in the show catalog and had marked it down as one to pick up!

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After that, the publicist swept me back to the F&W booth, where we did another impromptu signing with my tower of books. See above. (It's not really allowed, so shhh, but it was really fun.)

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All in all, it was truly an amazing and humbling experience. I felt like a real author for maybe the first time. One of the women walking by even said, "You're the author? You look to young to be an author!" I'm going to take that as a compliment.

Other highlights included cool LEGO structures and getting a glimpse of the Ron Hubbard scientology booth. See below.

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I want these.

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Really bad.

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That's right, a book really is sold every 2 seconds... If that's not terrifying, I'm not sure what is.

Awesome Girl in Fiction: Arya Stark

I've posted before on feminism role models in YA literature, and while the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) isn't exactly YA, given the age of Arya at the beginning of the series (9), I think she's worth a look.

Early on in the series, Arya is show to detest sewing, prettying herself and all those other girl things, and instead chooses to try her hand at sword lessons, which a series of circumstances cause her to master a bit sooner than she'd expected. She's a big like Hermione Granger, in that she's not afraid to be herself and never turns from adventure, but she's more rambunctious, more outspoken, and even less likely to be swayed by what society expects of her. In short, she's awesome.

Some might say that Arya simply adopts the traits of a boy, and thus her power comes from acting the part (she even pretends to be a boy later on in the story). But given the strength of Martin's other female characters (more on that later), I don't think he's at all saying that you have to act like a boy to have power. Instead, you have to be who you are--not what your teachers or your sister or even your parents want you to be. It's what I think most of us try to infuse in the characters in our books, regardless of whether or not they actually have swords.

Cunning, brave, adventurous, and even vindictive at times, Arya Stark deserves a place among the kick-ass girl heros like Hermione and Katniss.

Plus, how adorable is she above?

“A sensitive look at the wake of a friend’s suicide, infused with genuine emotion, hope, and just enough well-placed romance.”~Booklist

“The Writing King of Difficult Subjects has to be John Green. After reading The After Girls, I would definitely put Ms. Konen in his court.”~Ink and Page

“A striking debut and an eerily good book… THE AFTER GIRLS is a vivid portrayal of interrupted lives and enduring friendships. It is as much about the known as the unknown and as much about healing as loss.”~Michael Northrop, author of ROTTEN, TRAPPED and GENTLEMEN

Ella, Astrid, and Sydney were planning the perfect summer after high school graduation. But when Astrid commits suicide in a lonely cabin, the other girls' worlds are shattered. How could their best friend have done this--to herself and to them? They knew everything about Astrid. Shouldn't they have seen this coming? Couldn't they have saved her?

As Ella hunts for the truth, and Sydney tries to dull the pain, a chilling message from Astrid leaves them wondering whether their beloved friend is communicating from the after life. The girls embark on a journey to uncover Astrid's dark secrets. The answers to those questions--questions they never dreamed of asking--will change their lives forever.

Get a copy of my debut young adult novel, THE AFTER GIRLS, here.