Summer Book Conventions: El recaps BookExpo America & BookCon 2018!

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Better late than never, eh?

This year I attended the final day of BookExpo America (BEA) and the two days of BookCon, which took place from June 1-3 in New York City.

This is book-lovers’ paradise– a massive convention hall filled with publishers. And most of them are really eager to sell (or give away) their upcoming releases.

But before I get to the exciting part– the ARCs, of course! (and maybe a giveaway of my own…?)– I want to share some of my experiences from the Cons.

Check it out. And don’t forget to read to the end of the post, where you might find some awesome surprises.

I think the book community knows about BookCon pretty well, so let’s start with BookExpo America!

BEA is, in some ways, the grown-up version of BookCon. It’s a lot more serious and professional. Librarians, booksellers, and educators use the three days (Wednesday through Friday) to meet with publishers and expand their knowledge of upcoming releases.

I only attended on Friday this year, so I missed out on a lot of the excitement and discussion from the first two days. But I was thrilled with what I saw and learned.

Okay, fine, let’s talk about the ARCs. Because there were a lot of them up for grabs at BEA!

Disney Publishing was heavily promoting Rick Riordan Presents, their new imprint focusing on diverse characters and mythology from non-European countries. I’m genuinely impressed with their push to bring these books to kids and teens and broaden cultural awareness!

Scholastic had their #ReadWithPride wall up again, as BEA and BookCon fall during the start of Pride Month. the staff were incredible, and chatted about the strive for inclusivity in Middle Grade publishing.

Adult fiction was also huge… fantasy and paranormal seem to be ramping up, and queer characters and themes are definitely in the spotlight. One of the biggest releases for early 2019? The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. It’s a beast of an epic fantasy novel (coming in at about 900 pages in hard cover), and early reviews are lavishing praise on it!

But the biggest focus was definitely on Young Adult fiction.

Oh, where to begin? Well, let’s talk about the most hyped book of this fall (if you’re a teen, that is): the gay romance from bestselling authors Adam Silvera and Becky Albertali, What if It’s Us. When I say this one is in high-demand, what I mean is that folks at BEA waited in line for hours to get a copy of it. Oh, also Adam Silvera came by while we were in line, which is the BEA equivalent of a rock star coming by to meet the fans.

(And I’ve read it. But you’ll have to wait a bit longer to see what I thought.)

A personal must-have was Check, Please! #Hockey, the paperback novelization of Ngozi’s famous kickstarter webcomic. It’s about an adorable, gay, southern boy who plays hockey and bakes pies. You can read it online for free, but… trust me, this one needs to be on your list.

BEA was a tame, well-mannered prelude to BookCon. In comparison, BookCon was chaos and stress… but also more fun in a lot of ways. While BEA spread it’s focus across all age groups, I think it’s fair to say that BookCon is all about the YA.

Oh, and the lines. It’s also all about the lines.

(I still have nightmares about the lines. Crushing hoards of desperate readers trying to get super limited ARCs. At least there was no riot this year, though?)

While I got most of my ARCs at BEA, BookCon was a chance to see what readers are really excited about. Some books seemed to slip under the radar a little more than others… like Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, which is a stunningly beautiful forbidden-romance fantasy. Other books, like Natalie Parker’s Seafire (it’s about LADY PIRATES and that is honestly all you need to know) were on everyone’s tongues.

Of course, there were books everyone was talking about: Laini Taylor’s Muse of Nightmares; anything and everything by Cassandra Clare; the aforementioned Silver/Albertalli collaboration. But I think BookCon did an amazing job of putting lesser-known releases into the spotlight and getting them into reader’s hands!

Of course, a trip to NYC is just about the book cons… it’s also about the food. So here, let me make you hungry really quickly, before we get to the giveaways:


If you follow us on twitter (we’re @justlovereviews, come say hi!) then you know that we’ve been giving away so many books over the last month or so. But hey, I came home with a full suitcase from BEA/BookCon, so you know there’s gotta be more to come, right?


How about FOUR different giveaways, for FIVE different books! That means you have even more chances to win.

I’m going to give away copies of:

All of these giveaways open on 7/30 and end on 8/5. And I’m really, truly sorry, International readers, but these are U.S. and Canada only. (I don’t make any money on this blog, and can’t afford to ship books overseas right now, but I’ll be doing another international giveaway very soon, hopefully!) You gotta be 18 years or older, or be 13+ with parental permission, in order to enter.

Want to enter? Just click on the links above and you’ll be taken to the giveaway platform for each book. You can enter for just one giveaway, or all four. (Note: if you enter multiple giveaways, you only have to tweet once/leave one blog comment to get those entry points!)

Good luck!

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6 thoughts on “Summer Book Conventions: El recaps BookExpo America & BookCon 2018!

  1. I tweet @jlmiller516 and entered for the giveaway. I can never have too many books on my shelf 🙂 I also started a book review blog of my own recently. It features LGBTQ children’s picture books. It is an AMAZING subgenre I don’t think gets enough attention. I’d love it if you took a look and told me what you think. You’ve obviously been doing this awhile!


  2. Thank you for sharing your experience and giving others a chance to read! Girls of Paper and Fire is one of my most anticipated books this year and I can’t wait to read it whether I get a chance to read and review an arc or if I have to wait for my preorder. 📚💖


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