Meeting some of my favorite authors at American Booksellers Association Winter Institute conference!

Every year the American Booksellers Association puts on a conference in February called Winter Institute. This year, it was my complete pleasure to be able to attend. Many different things happen at these conference, like seminars and advanced learning sessions, but one of my favorite parts was meeting authors! The second night we were there, Scholastic put on a reception for some of its authors, including Pam Muñoz Ryan, author of my favorite book of this year and in my top 10 list of favorite books of all time, Echo. I was able to give her a giant hug and thank her for signing over a thousand bookplates for Echo which will be for sale in our stores – get yours at your local Half Price Books today before they run out! Seriously, Echo is one of the best books I have ever read. And I read a lot of books!


Photo Source: Publisher’s Weekly

John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars, made a surprise appearance at the reception. I had met John at a previous event for The Fault in Our Stars movie in Dallas, but it was a crazy night and I never thought he would remember me. To my complete and utter surprise, he did! He even went so far as to recall the night we met in great detail! We reminisced for a few minutes and then he had to be on his way.

A little while later, I was back at the hotel bar, and I heard someone say, “Kristen, I’d like to introduce you to Erik.” I turned around and to my second great surprise of the night, it was Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City, In the Garden of Beasts, and the upcoming Dead Wake. We sat for a while in the bar and talked about his books and some of his most memorable signing tours.

It was definitely a remarkable night for me – one that I’ll never forget!

Yeah, I have the best job in the world.

Read more about the highlights from Winter Institute 10 in the Publisher’s Weekly article.

Kristen B. is Assistant Buyer at Half Price Books Distribution Center.
You can follow her on Twitter at @kbev302.

If You Like “The Fault in Our Stars,” You Might Also Like…

If you (like me) loved reading The Fault in our Stars by John Green, here are a couple of other similar books you might also enjoy.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

This winner of the 2012 Cybil Award for Young-Adult Fiction and the 2013 Westchester Fiction Award is about Greg Gaines, a socially invisible senior who only has one friend, Earl.  Greg and Earl spend their time playing video games and making their own movies.  Then Greg’s mother forces him to befriend Rachel, who has leukemia. However, when Rachel decides to stop her treatment, Greg and Earl must give up their invisible status and make a stand.

The Probability of Miracles by Windy Wunder

Sixteen-year-old Cam Cooper has spent the last seven years in and out of hospitals, but her mother and half-sister won’t accept that Cam’s cancer is terminal. So they decide to move 1,500 miles away to Promise, Maine, a town known for the miraculous events that occur there. Cam wants none of it, but she can’t deny the strange things that happen in Promise.  I’d tell you more, but I don’t want to give anything away.

As you may know The Fault in our Stars was dedicated to Esther Earl, a sixteen-year-old girl who passed away from cancer in 2010. Today, the book This Star Won’t Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl has been released.  This book is a collection of journals, fiction, letters and sketches of the late Ester Grace Earl.  If you are looking for other non-fiction titles like This Star Won’t Go Out, here are a couple you might want to check out.

Poster Child: A Memior by Emily Rapp

Emily Rapp was born with a congenital defect that required her to have her left foot amputated at the age of four.  She also became the smiling, indefatigable poster child for the March of Dimes, spending her childhood traveling around the country making appearances and giving pep talks.  Emily writes about her trouble finding artificial legs that can keep up with her activity level and how her disability has impacted her entire life.

 

Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

At age nine, Lucy Grealy was diagnosed with a potentially terminal cancer.  After a surgery in which doctors removed a third of her jaw, she returned to school to face the cruel taunts of her classmates.  She writes movingly about what it’s like to want to be loved for who you are and at the same time desperately wanting to be perfect, a contradiction everyone will be able to relate to.

You might also check out This Star Won’t Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl, out at the end of January; John Green dedicated TFIOS to Esther Grace, who died at the age of 16 from cancer. As always, Don’t forget to join the HPB Book Club in reading The Fault in our Stars this month, and be on the look out for the movie, scheduled to be released this June. 

— 

Julie is Production Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You may follow her on Twitter at @auntjewey.

6 Young Adult Fiction Male Protagonists to Root For

Every October we celebrate teachers and librarians at Half Price Books, AND last week was Teen Read Week, so we’ve had school days on the brain lately. In fact, this post was originally slated as a post about books with school settings. After thinking about it, however, I realized that my favorite books about schools don’t necessarily have as much to do with the setting as the all-important coming-of-age experience that happens in a final stretches of high school.

I also have a penchant for male protagonists — no offense to their female counterparts, but I found that I rooted a little harder for the lead boys in these books in particular:

    

Row 1: Catcher in the Rye‘s Holden Caulfield, the original in existential teen angst; Where Things Come Back‘s Cullen Witter, who searches for his missing brother while his small town obsesses over a long-believed-extinct woodpecker; Paper Towns‘ Quentin Jacobsen, who searches for his missing love using clues she left behind just for him.

Row 2: Me, Earl and the Dying Girl‘s Greg Gaines, who makes you root for him by being completely unaware of his own worth (even though everyone else thinks he’s awesome); The Perks of Being a Wallflower‘s Charlie, whose old-soul voice captures you from the first paragraph; Will Grayson, Will Grayson‘s Will Graysons — two kids with the same name whose intersection changes them both forever. 

Of course, my favorite young adult protagonist of all time is Harry Potter, but I think what sets these boys apart are their first-person voices. So, who did I miss? Which Book Male in a Leading Role did you love?
– Kristen D.

Kristen is Public Relations Specialist at Half Price Books Corporate. 
You can follow her on Twitter at @kristendickson.