The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a vampire book...I know, I know haven't we all had enough vampire books, but this one is different I promise. First of all, the heroine is not a ridiculous, swoony girl who can't bear to be without her vampire (I think we all know to whom I am alluding here.) Tana is remarkably strong-willed in the face of some pretty harrowing stuff. There is no way around it, this book is not afraid to talk about what vampires do, which is suck the blood out of people and sometimes kill them.
Tana wakes up after a party to find that only she, a friend who has been bitten, and a vampire have survived a huge and horrific vampire attack. It is only through guts and some probably unwise behavior that Tana gets the survivors away. Not knowing their fate, she heads for the nearest coldtown where Aidan (the bitten friend), and Gavriel (the vampire) probably need to be and where she herself may need to be if she has been infected by a slight encounter. I really do not want to give much away, but this is certainly a vampire novel to redeem YA vampire novels and to realign with the greats of vampire fiction: Dracula and Interview with the Vampire. I for one would not mind more of Tana and Gavriel. (My insider info. tells me Holly Black is not done with this world.) WHAT INSIDER INFO. YOU SAY???
Well, in my previous post I revealed that I would be introducing Holly Black at the National Book Festival.
This is Holly Black speaking to the crowd after my introduction. She was funny, and gracious to all those who asked questions and came up to her afterwards for pictures and to ask questions. She even signed my book before going on. Now you might be saying that I could have just snuck up by the side of the stage and snapped this shot.....but
This one is indisputable...this is me WITH Holly Black after her talk. After this I wandered around the Book Festival in a bit of a daze until I got my act together to go see Patrick Ness give his talk. His was actually in an interview format with a Washington Post reporter, but he did take questions afterwards.
He is super adorable, and has a husband....I did not know this. My crush is however unabated. His newest book More Than This is one at the top of my TBR pile. I loved A Monster Calls and have been looking forward to reading others for a while now. I was walking by the fiction tent when I happened across Brad Meltzer and stopped, became entranced by his stories about the Archives, Washington DC, and being invited to the White House. As you can see I was quite far away, but had a perfect line right to him.
After that I had to head to the Library of Congress for my presentation that went quite well despite the windyness. My final author of the day was Paulo Bacigalupi author of Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities. In the Q & A he specifically address the idea of sequels which he does not like to do. But he also said, he does not think he is done with the world he created in those two novels. The book he spoke about was Zombie Baseball Beatdown, which I bought on the off chance I got to introduce him, but I doubt I will read it now because does not sound like my thing. I think I'll send it to my favorite nephew who may really enjoy it.
I truly appreciated the opportunity to hear all these wonderful authors. But all that pales in comparison with the experience I had today. I began by being present for the "Book that Changed Me" awards for which I had been a judge in the final round. The three kids who were the top winners almost brought me to tears with their sweet and wonderful readings. The essays were not really sad, but to know that these kids were so deeply affected by books is why librarians, teachers, and parents work so hard to get kids to read. Part of the ceremony was also the "Letters about Literature" national winner who happens to live in DC. She wrote to Laura Ingalls Wilder and connected her works to the life of her father who had grown up in Eritrea and then back to her own life during which she has not had to struggle to find food, water, or education. That one made me cry because is was a sweet homage to her father and Little House on the Prairie.
I then worked our booth through the afternoon talking to many librarians and teachers from around the nation who are eager to use or already use primary sources with their students. Near the end of the day, Dr. James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress stopped by, and this happened. What a day and what a weekend!