Last night, I was lucky enough to be able to go to the PTA Showcase in Sydney at the Penguin Random House office. It was an awesome event full of food and bookish goodness. It was nice to catch up with some bookish friends as well as hear about the upcoming releases from Penguin. There are so many 2017 contemporary releases that I’m excited for and I’m going to list the five that I’m most excited for later in this post.
The night started with us all receiving the mystery box that we’ve all been seeing on Twitter and Instagram. There was a lovely display of them and we all picked one up on the way in. Inside was the 2017 Penguin Teen Australia Superproof, a Valentine card, a little Penguin classics notebook and a heart-shaped chocolate. There was also a massive spread of delicious food in the room, as well as ice cream, which I was extremely excited about since it was so hot yesterday!
The night started with a preview of some of upcoming 2017 contemporary releases. These included books like The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr, A Shadow’s Breath by Nicole Hayes, Before You Forget by Julia Lawrinson, Mr Romanov’s Garden in the Sky by Robert Newton, See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng, and Wreck by Fleur Ferris. All of these have stunning covers and all of their synopses sounded really good so I’m keen to get my hands on all of these when they’re released!
Next up was a conversation between Will Kostakis, author of Loathing Lola, The First Third, and The Sidekicks, and Fleur Ferris, the author of Risk and Black. They talked about how their writing styles have evolved and the difficulties of writing books with multiple perspectives. Will talked a little bit about why he was inspired to write from three very different and distinct voices in The Sidekicks. It was a lovely chat and I’m sad that I couldn’t really get a good picture from where I was sitting (also my iPhone 5S doesn’t have the best camera *cries*).
We then looked at some more upcoming contemporary releases. These included titles like Geekerella by Ashley Poston, Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel, One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus and Troublemakers by Catherine Barter. We also got some exciting news that Jennifer Niven will be coming to Sydney and Melbourne in May this year! I suspect that she’ll be making an appearance at the Sydney Writer’s Festival! It was also mentioned that Megan Jacobsen and Krystal Sutherland would be releasing new books this year as well. And there was a reminder that the Everything Everything movie would be out this year too.
Next on the schedule was a trivia section run by Will Kostakis. There were 10 giftbags up for grabs as prizes. A few of the questions were actually pretty hard so congrats to the people who managed to get them correct!
The final section of previews were fantasy books. To be honest, I kind of zoned out a little bit because my favourite genre is contemporary but I did manage to catch a few of the titles that are coming out. We have Now I Rise by Kiersten White, which is the sequel to And I Darken, This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada, Cradle and All by James Patterson, and The Spellbook of Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle. And of course, there was also Valentine by debut author, Jodi McAlister, who was present at the event. It was her very first appearance as an author at any event, which was super duper exciting. There was a short conversation between her and Will Kostakis about how she became a writer as well as what Valentine is about. We also found out that even though Valentine hasn’t been released yet, it’s already being reprinted, which made Jodi cry!
That was the end of the event, but there was cake to celebrate the launch of Valentine. I didn’t manage to get a photo of the cake but it was designed to look like the cover of Valentine. Plus it was super tasty :D. Before the event came to a close, there was a little surprise. They had placed a sticker at the bottom of three of the mystery boxes and the lucky owners of those boxes got an entire set of ‘Summer Flavours’ books. There was a mix of YA and adult books and they had the cutest ice cream design. Oh, and guess who won one?!
Inside the box were some of the books that had been spoken about during the evening, including Valentine, The One Memory of Flora Banks, and A Shadow’s Breath. I’m super keen to read those ones. I had already previously ordered a copy of The One Memory of Flora Banks but I’m so happy to have this extremely cute edition in my hands. At the end of the night, there were books for sale, thanks to Kinokuniya, and I ended up picking up a copy of Valentine, even though I’d already gotten one in the boxset, as well as a copy of Before You Forget, which was a book that was also available pre-release. All in all, I took home a massive collection of books and I’m super keen to get my hands on a lot of the books that were spoken about at the showcase.
My 5 Most Anticipated Books from the PTA Showcase
1. Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen (March)
Not only do I love the title of this book, but its tagline is “a love story for cynics”. That’s pretty much all I need to know.
2. See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng (March)
This is a middle grade book and it’s been likened to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. This book caught my interest because the author is Asian and when I heard the synopsis of the book, I knew immediately that I had to read it. There’s no better story than one about a boy and his dog.
3. Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle (June)
I still haven’t read The Accident Season even though I’ve owned it since it was first released, but I can’t pass up a magical realism novel. The synopsis sounded fantastic and definitely something that’s right up my alley.
4. Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel (July)
This is a book about grief and it’s been described as Love Letters to the Dead meets The Sky is Everywhere, so I can’t wait to get my hands on it. The team at PTA said that they loved Juniper’s character, so I’m really excited to meet her.
5. Geekerella by Ashley Poston (April)
This novel just speaks to my heart. It’s about a geek girl who is obsessed with a sci-fi series. There’s a ball and a cute actor and seriously, what’s not to love?
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[…] was intrigued by Before You Forget from the first time that I heard about it at the Penguin Teen Australia YA Showcase in January. It’s an Aussie YA release that focuses on early onset Alzheimer’s and […]
Thanks for sharing, Jenna! This way I can vicariously visit book events. It looks like you had a great time. Congratulations on your winning this box set of books. Looking forward to your thoughts about them.
I had such a great time at the event! It's been a while since I've been to a bookish event so this was so much fun! And it was made even better by the awesome prize that i won!!!!
WAH so sad I couldn't go (those tickets sold fast, damn). But I'm glad you noted down all the contemporaries because they're my favourite too haha. So many amazing ones coming out this year!
Yessss, on the night I was like "I wish Emily was here to appreciate all these contemporaries with me!" I can't wait to check them all out because they all sound beautiful!
I was following your Tweets on the night Jenna and it looked like everyone had a brilliant night. There's so many incredible books being released this year and that Summer Flavours box is absolutely gorgeous! Do you know if they're thinking of selling them at any point? Gosh I hope so. Congratulations on your win Jenna, really looking forward to seeing what you think of them! <3
Thanks Kelly! I'm not sure if they're going to be bringing out the box set for sale. I don't think they mentioned it on the night but they totally should because a lot of people have been asking about it!
I loved reading your recap Jenna, it sounds like it was a really fun and entertaining event! When I got to the fantasy section I was like nooooo don't tune out lol. Wish I could be there with you guys, thanks for sharing!
Haha I didn't fully tune out but I stopped taking photos of the covers and was like "blerghhh I have enough books on my list". HAHAHA classic me. Can't wait to do this with you at SWF!!!
I went to the melbourne PTA showcase and it was amazing! I loved seeing the upcoming books and am super excited for so many new 2017 releases!!
Oooh yes, I saw your instastories! Congrats on winning that bag of goodies!
JENNA, THESE PHOTOS ARE GORGEOUS! Those boxed books too – I love how they all match, even though theyre from different authors and all. The ice-cream and pastel theme is beautiful!
Valentine looks really interesting – I'm going to look it up!
Have you started reading any of the books yet?
YES, THEY'RE SO BEAUTIFUL! I was so happy to have won that set of books! They look STUNNING together! I took so many photos of them haha. Valentine sounds really intriguing. I wasn't sure about it when I first read the synopsis but the author was just so lovely that I was keen to check out what she wrote! I haven't started any of the books yet but I'll probably read The One Memory of Flora Banks first! I'm SUPER excited for that one!
So fun and informative! I'm so lazy (and cheap) so I don't attend these book cons etc. Maybe I'll make an effort this year…
Oooh you totally should! These events are so much fun and it's great to be around other bookish people!
Wow Jenna congratulations on all the books! Sounds like you had a great time!
Thanks! I was so excited that I won the box set of books because I never win anything haha. It was a wonderful night and I hope publishers do more events like these because it got me really excited for all the upcoming releases this year!