One of the best parts of BEA is all the free stuff. I mean, let’s be honest. It’s a bookworm’s dream. You get to meet your favorite authors, and get free, signed copies of their books. In some cases, these are ARCs (advanced reader copies). In other cases, they’re the actual, finished books. Yes. For free!! All you have to do is stand in a line.
But aside from seeking out favorite authors and series, it’s also fun to find new books and authors you haven’t heard of. BEA is a place for publishers to show off their newest discoveries. I walked home with a giant tote bag full of books. Here are my top five finds.
My Top Five BEA Finds
By: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I hate to pick favorites, but in this case there wasn’t much of a question. I came into BEA wanting the ARC of Illuminae, and not expecting to get it. Most ARCs are paperback but this one is hardcover. It’s huge. And the design is unreal. It’s a scifi story told in letters, dispatches, emails and more. And what’s on the page is as important as what’s not–what’s been crossed out, censored, and what the teenage characters have written in about these messages. It’s such a creative form for a book, and the publisher clearly saw the benefit of putting out a fully designed, nearly final product to show readers just how unique this reading experience is going to be. I happened to walk by the Knopf booth when they’d set some out. Of course I grabbed one!
By: Virginia Boecker
The Witch Hunter is a book I’ve been hearing all kinds of buzz about. In this case, Little, Brown had left signs in the bathroom (yes, the bathroom!) advertising that their booth would be handing out copies at 1:00 on Friday. It was 1:05 when I saw the signs, so I decided to give it a try, and sure enough, there were a few left! I grabbed one and am excited to dive in to this historical fantasy with witches, wizards, pirates and more!
By: Nicola Yoon
Another way to find books at BEA is to attend panels. There are several listed throughout the day, and after getting to hear the authors talk about their books, you get to grab them! At the Buzz Books panel, you also get to hear editors discuss the books, which is always interesting. This is a great place to discover new books and authors. At the YA Buzz books panel, I grabbed an ARC of the gorgeous “Everything, Everything.” It’s a contemporary YA I’m so excited to read.
By: Susan Dennard
Full disclosure: I work for Tor, and would have felt guilty actually grabbing one of these. But what happened with the Truthwitch signing is a great BEA story. These galleys weren’t just set out. Instead, there was a ticketed signing. The tickets were free, but you had to line up to nab one, since there are only so many ARCs. This fantasy YA had so much buzz that people started lining up at 6:30, for a ticket line that didn’t open until 1:00! Needless to say, those who did manage to nan a truthwitch galley went home yappy.
I’m a YA writer, so my tastes skew heavily in that direction, but one of the books I was most excited to discover is called “Girl Waits With Gun.” It’s a novel based on the life of Constance Knopf, one of America’s first female sheriffs. The cover was enough to sell me, but the story sounds riveting. One of the best parts of BEA is you’ll just be walking around, and see a line forming. You hop in, discover a great new book, get to meet the author all in one go. Yes, please!