Friday 15 July 2011

Indigo event at Orion

Ok, small admission, I started my blog 2 weeks earlier than I had planned to because my good friend MattLibrarian told me if I had it up and running in time I could go with him to the Indigo Bloggers event at Orion Publishers on Tuesday 12th July...of course I couldn't resist that offer (and thanks to Nina at Orion for allowing me to tag along), and so turned up on the evening feeling like a total fraud!  Funnily enough though I recognised loads of the bloggers from author events that I've been invited to through being on the YLG London Committee, a number of them I follow and they follow my mini-reviews on twitter already, so they were very nice about my virgin status :-)

It was a fantastic evening, four authors with books due to be published on this new teen imprint were there to talk about their books, some of which I was really pleased to nab proof copies of:

Marcus Sedgwick kicked off talking about how he got the idea for his new book, Midwinter Blood:
Have you ever had the feeling that you've lived another life? Been somewhere that has felt totally familiar, even though you've never been there before, or felt that you know someone well, even though you are meeting them for the first time? It happens. In 2073 on the remote and secretive island of Blessed, where rumour has it that no one ages and no children are born, a visiting journalist, Eric Seven, and a young local woman known as Merle are ritually slain. Their deaths echo a moment ten centuries before, when, in the dark of the moon, a king was slain, tragically torn from his queen. Their souls search to be reunited, and as mother and son, artist and child, forbidden lovers, victims of a vampire they come close to finding what they've lost. In a novel comprising seven parts, each influenced by a moon - the flower moon, the harvest moon, the hunter's moon, the blood moon - this is the story of Eric and Merle whose souls have been searching for each other since their untimely parting. Beautifully imagined, intricately and cleverly structured, this is a heart-wrenching and breathtaking love story with the hallmark Sedgwick gothic touches of atmosphere, blood-spilling and sacrifice*
It sounds pretty immense, which is what you expect from Marcus so I hope it lives up to it!  While mingling on the terrace after the event I had a really nice chat with him about libraries and reading, such a nice man, and was ever so slightly gushy-fan when he signed my copy for me...

We then heard from Sara Grant who introduced us to her first YA novel, Dark Parties:
Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says...
Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most*
I really liked the sound of this book, and it was another I mananaged to get a copy of that she signed for me later on while chatting about meeting children and signing bookmarks...

Kate Harrison next told us a bit of her background as a journalist and her reasons for writing Soul Beach:
When Alice Forster receives an email from her dead sister she assumes it must be a sick practical joke. Then an invitation arrives to the virtual world of Soul Beach, an idyllic online paradise of sun, sea and sand where Alice can finally talk to her sister again - and discover a new world of friendships, secrets and maybe even love . . . . But why is Soul Beach only inhabited by the young, the beautiful and the dead? Who really murdered Megan Forster? And could Alice be next? The first book in an intriguing and compelling trilogy centred around the mystery of Megan Forster's death*
I didn't get a copy of this book but not because I don't think it sounds good, I'm sure it will go down really well at my school so I shall definitely be putting it on my next order...

Last but definitely not least, Sally Gardner teased us with the opening chapter to her new novel for older teens, The Double Shadow:
Arnold Ruben has created a memory machine, a utopia housed in a picture palace, where the happiest memories replay forever, a haven in which he and his precious daughter can shelter from the war-clouds gathering over 1937 Britain. But on the day of her seventeenth birthday Amaryllis leaves Warlock Hall and the world she has known and wakes to find herself in a desolate and disturbing place. Something has gone terribly wrong with her father's plan. Against the tense backdrop of the second World War Sally Gardner explores families and what binds them, fathers and daughters, past histories, passions and cruelty, love and devastation in a novel rich in character and beautifully crafted*
I loved listening to her read, so much so that I plucked up the courage afterwards to tell her that I think she should read her own audiobooks!  While she signed my copy we had a really interesting conversation, along with Matt, about children's and YA literature and the difference between being able to read a book and being ready to read about the subject covered, and how subject should or shouldn't be softened for a younger market.

We were also told about some other books in the pipeline for the Indigo imprint, some that have been published before but are being repackaged for the YA market but some completely new books, including:
Shelter by Harlan Coben - I picked up a copy because I always like to see how an 'adult' author manages the cross-over into YA
The Hunting Ground by Cliff McNish - had to take this because I love Breathe and Savannah Gray
Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding - one I read a while ago and really enjoyed
An Act of Love by Alan Gibbons - no copies to run off with but one that I really want to read
Firespell by Chloe Neill - bought for my Library ages ago and it is in and out pretty regularly

Darkness Falls by Mia James - sequel to By Midnight, another that is popular with my girls
White Cat by Holly Black - I read it a while ago and I'm afraid I didn't like it much...can't remember why though, which probably says something!
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher - LOVED this book when I read it a few months ago - wasn't what I expected at all - they're planning a completely new look for the cover that wasn't ready to present yet so I will be interested to see how it turns out.

Next week is the last week of term for my school so I'm looking forward to being able to spend a bit more time doing reviews longer than 140characters, although I find it very difficult sometimes to get beyond 'I really liked it'...after spending so long encouraging children to write book reviews you'd think I'd be really good at it! Anyway, here goes...

*book summaries taken from Goodreads

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