Libraries Are Awesome: LEVEL 2, CREWEL, & LANDRY PARK

Everyone pretty much already knows that libraries are awesome, right? I happen to live in a lovely county that has a lot of libraries and they are all very, very nice. I was away for a while (college… then that year in Australia) and just recently got my library card back. I’ve kind of gone crazy with it lately. I have ten books checked out now and a couple on hold… but they are all really good books and I’ve been dying to read them. If only there were more hours in the day! (Or, preferably, I didn’t have to work…)

OK, aside from the amazing selection at my library, yesterday they hosted a panel (Drama & Dystopians) which had two YA debuts. Really, it was three because the person who set it all up and was asking questions — while a librarian — is also a debut YA author herself. Her book is coming out later than the other two, though. Which is unfortunate… because it sounds really good.

The first debut author was Gennifer Albin author of CREWEL. I already saw her (and got her to sign my copy of CREWEL!) in an earlier author event. CREWEL was amazing to read and while I was listening to her talk about it last night, I kept thinking how much I wanted to re-read it. Luckily, I will be able to do so with a little different twist to it. At the end of the panel, they pulled a few names to give away early copies of LEVEL 2 and the new British release of CREWEL. While I would have loved to read LEVEL 2 for the first time, I was equally happy to get the British copy of CREWEL. It’s just so fun to see how different a British book is from an American one–all the weird spellings and formats.

I’ve heard some about LEVEL 2, it’s a debut that sold in a major deal to Simon & Schuster. How amazing is that? It’s a thriller set in the liminal place between our world and heaven, about a 17 year-old girl who spends her days reliving her memories from the security of her pod until she gets broken out by a boy from her past life. I cannot wait to read this book! The author of LEVEL 2, Lenore Appelhans was the other debut author at the event. Her experience with the querying/selling process was similar to Albin’s. They both got stellar agents fairly quickly, then sold the books within a week of sending out proposals to editors. Both of those aspects of the publishing process are highly unusual, but it’s always fun to hear about. Both Albin and Appelhans are represented by agents from Foundry Literary + Media (which sounds like a really stellar agency).

This is the British cover for CREWEL. Isn’t it beautiful?

Bethany Hagen put the panel together. She wrote LANDRY PARK which has been pitched as “Gone with the Nuclear Wind”. She, too, has an agent at Foundry Literary + Media (keeps sounding better and better, doesn’t it?) and sold LANDRY PARK in a major deal to Dial. Hagen talked some about her book and even read from a part of it. It sounds amazing.

Even though the panel was called Drama and Dystopians, I don’t think that any of these books are just dystopians. It’s just a trope within them, like how not all books that have romance are romance books. CREWEL was pitched as Mad Men meets Hunger Games (which I didn’t get when I read the book) but it’s not either of those stories. It’s so different from Hunger Games that, aside from strong female leads and a evil authoritarian government, nothing else really is the same. And those evil authoritarian governments? They couldn’t be any farther from each other and how they formed. LEVEL 2 is more speculative fiction than dystopian, from what I hear, but I haven’t read it… though I’m dying to. CREWEL is more sci-fa/drama and while I haven’t read LANDRY PARK, I wouldn’t restraint the story by labeling it as a dystopian either.

See, aren’t all that libraries offer amazing?

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