Stack o’ books or, a big “thanks!” to all you publishing companies for the free swag!

One of the benefits of attending the ALA Annual Conference in the free food. I mean tote bags. I mean books. I mean, to learn stuff!

Okay truthfully, it’s the books. The ARCs (advanced reader copies), also known as galleys, are a fantastic perk to the already-awesome annual conference. Publishers use the opportunity of the gathering of 20,000+ book-pushers to push new books that we can therefore push to our patrons. The stack pictured above is just one of the 4 “stacks” I photographed upon my return from Anaheim. Lets go through each of these titles.

**Please believe me when I say that I am very discerning when I walk through the exhibit hall. Unless I can think of a specific person who might enjoy the book, I do not pick it up. I think people that grab for any/every free item they can get their hands on are freeloaders and selfish. And people that grab 2 copies? Do not get me started.

I couldn’t even wait to read Amped, so I didn’t! I started reading it on the plane! See my review.

But I only started that after I finished The Forgotten Waltz.

Almost Home by Joan Bauer (to be released Sept. 13, 2012) is the absolute cutest cover I picked up at ALA. (Look at the dog, people.) The dog on the cover doesn’t just entice readers to pick up the book; it is actually the main character’s saving grace. Twelve-year-old Sugar thinks she is saving the shelter dog, but perhaps the dog is actually saving her.
Joan Bauer writes wonderful novels, Peeled was my favorite. It takes place in an orchard town in New York, and we get to know Hildy, who is using her savvy sleuth skills to try to figure out if the town’s “creepy happenings” are legitimate or made up.

Smashed by Lisa Luedeke (set to be released August 21, 2012) has been compared to Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel Speak, and is similar in that a teen girl finds herself in a compromising situation, and no one believes her side of the story. The cover is intriguing because of the smashed glass, but then you notice the girl’s face which is rather passive. And her fist on the glass is more resting than punching. I really hope the publishers re-do that cover, because a second look at it replaces the rawness with weakness. Probably not the best characteristic for publishers to impress upon young female readers.

I Swear by Lane Davis (to be released Sept. 4, 2012) is a timely (what with the trial of Tyler Clementi’s roommate having recently concluded with a rather shocking punishment) YA novel about bully-cide, suicide as a result of bullying. Allow me to let the publisher give the synopsis: “After years of abuse from her classmates, and thinking she had no other options, Leslie took her own life. Now her abusers are dealing with the fallout. In the eyes of the accused girls, they are not to blame: Leslie chose to take her life. She chose to be the coward they always knew she was. As criminal proceedings examine the systematic cyber bullying and harassment that occurred, the girls vow to keep their stories straight and make Leslie seem weak. But as the events leading up to her death unfold, it becomes clear that although Leslie took her own life, her bullies took everything else.”
I am interested in knowing if the author writes like he has a personal agenda, or if he allows the reader to come to his or her own conclusion. I don’t quite have the time to read it, but I’ll make sure a teen reader reports back to me. Also, this is another cover I don’t like. Five faces, one is diverse, the others are completely typical. Come on, publishers…so disappointing.

In other bullying titles, I picked up Cornered: 14 stories of bullying and defiance edited by Rhoda Belleza (already for sale). The short stories are written by such authors as James Adoff and Jennifer Brown, authors familiar with the topic, as their previous novels were based on the topics. The stories are just that, fiction, and delves into hallway- and cyber-bullying, and the psychological, physical, and emotional consequences of bullying. I wonder if teens won’t pick this up, as the pop culture market has been saturated with anti-bullying themes. I will read a few of the short stories before recommending this to anyone.

These are just a few of the titles I picked up over the 4 days of trekking along the Convention Center exhibit hall. Thanks to all of the publishers and exhibitors for getting out there and showing support of libraries!

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