Chicago Reads: ChiYA Book Babies

Two ChiYA members released their book babies into the world! What a time to be alive!

On January 16, Samira Ahmed released her debut, LOVE HATE & OTHER FILTERS.

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This amazing #ownvoices book tells the story of American-born 17-year-old Maya Aziz, who is torn between worlds: the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter, and the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe pursuing the boy she’s known since grade school, who’s finally falling into her orbit.

There’s also the real world. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, the community Maya’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must determine in which world she truly belongs.

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On January 15, ChiYA members attended a launch party at Anderson’s Bookshop to celebrate the birth of this book baby.  The night was exciting! The event was packed; friends, family, and fans alike turned out to welcome LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS into the world.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, the next week, we received the joyous news that LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS debuted on the Young Adult Hardcover New York Times bestseller list! I get the feeling she’s only getting started.


On February 6, Gloria Chao released her debut, AMERICAN PANDA.

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First of all, HOW CUTE IS THIS COVER? I can’t get enough of smiling POC on YA book covers. It makes me so happy and definitely sets the tone for the book.

AMERICAN PANDA is a hilarious, touching #ownvoices book about 17-year-old Mei, a freshman at MIT who is on track to fulfill a future predetermined by her parents: become a doctor, marry a pre-approved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, and produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth—that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is definitely not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if the secrets are worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

 

Once again, CHiYA headed out to Anderson’s for Gloria’s launch event, and it was super fun. There was cake served on panda plates, sparkling cider, and joy all around. I know this book is deeply personal for Gloria, and I think that makes it all the more special.


And there’s more coming from these brilliant authors!

Samira is under contract for two books: MAD, BAD, & DANGEROUS TO KNOW, a YA thriller told in dueling narratives that weave between past and present, follows a Muslim-American teenager who partners with a descendant of French author Alexandre Dumas to unravel the mystery of a 19th-century Muslim woman who appears in letters between Dumas and Eugene Delacroix (2019), and INTERNMENT, a YA book about a near future in the United States where Muslim Americans are forced into an internment camp and a seventeen-year-old must fight against Islamophobia, oppression, and complicit silence (2019).

Gloria’s next project is MISALIGNED, a YA novel about a teen outcast who is simultaneously swept up in a whirlwind romance and down a rabbit hole of dark family secrets when another Taiwanese family moves to her small, predominantly white Midwestern town (2019).


Interested in meeting the authors in person and getting your book signed? This blog post outlines upcoming events, including a don’t miss one featuring both authors.

I’m so proud to be a member of ChiYA. Stayed tuned. Great things are coming from all of us!


This post is brought to you by Ronni Davis at ChiYAwriters.com.

Chicago Reads: Upcoming YA Book Events (Feb/March 2018)

The next couple of months are packed with great YA readings at Chicago’s many independent bookstores, including debut book events with ChiYA’s very own Samira Ahmed (LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS) and Gloria Chao (AMERICAN PANDA)!!!

Check out these upcoming events, and as always, let us know if we missed anything in the comments:

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REIGN THE EARTH
A.C. Gaughen
Thursday, February 1 at 7:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (La Grange)

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BEFORE I LET GO
Marieke Nijkamp
Friday, February 2 at 7:00 p.m.
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

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LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS
NOTEWORTHY

Samira Ahmed and Riley Redgate
Saturday, February 3 at 3:00 p.m. 
57th Street Books (Hyde Park)

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THE HAZEL WOOD
Melissa Albert
Saturday, February 3 at 2:00 p.m.
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

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AMERICAN PANDA
Gloria Chao
Tuesday, February 6 at 7:00 p.m.
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

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THE SWEETEST KIND OF FATE
Crystal Cestari
Tuesday, February 8 at 7:00 p.m.
The Book Cellar (Lincoln Square)

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AMERICAN PANDA

Gloria Chao
Saturday, February 10 at 3:00 p.m.
57th Street Books (Hyde Park)

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LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS
AMERICAN PANDA

Samira Ahmed and Gloria Chao
Friday, February 16 at 7:00 p.m. 
Women & Children First (Andersonville)

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SATELLITE
Lauren Emily Whalen
Friday, February 16 at 7:00 p.m. 
The Book Cellar (Lincoln Square)

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BLACK PANTHER THE YOUNG PRINCE
Ronald L. Smith
Monday, February 19 at 7:00 p.m.
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

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HEART OF IRON

Ashley Poston
Friday, March 2 at 7:00 p.m.
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

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CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE

Tomi Adeyemi
Thursday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m.
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

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RESTORE ME
Tahereh Mafi
Friday, March 9th at 7:00 p.m.
Community Christian Church (hosted by Anderson’s Bookshop)

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This post is brought to you by Lizzie Cooke at ChiYAwriters.com.

Chicago Reads: Upcoming YA Book Events (Nov/Dec 2017)

Chicago’s many wonderful independent bookstores host a wide variety of readings, signings, and discussions. Check out these upcoming Chicago-area YA events, and let us know about any events we missed in the comments!

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LANDSCAPE WITH INVISIBLE HAND
SYMPHONY FOR THE CITY OF THE DEAD

M.T. Anderson (accompanied by members of the Chicago Sinfonietta Quartet!)
Tuesday, November 14 at 7:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

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EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR
GenYA Book Group Discussion
Saturday, November 18 at 2:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (Downers Grove)

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COUNTING BY 7S
Never Too Old: A YA Book Club for Adults
Wednesday, November 29 at 7:30 PM
The Book Cellar (Lincoln Square)

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PRINCE IN DISGUISE
Stephanie Kate Strohm
Tuesday, December 19 at 7:00 PM
The Book Cellar (Lincoln Square)

Keep an eye out for January/February events, including book launches by ChiYA’s very own Samira Ahmed (LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS) and Gloria Chao (AMERICAN PANDA)!!!

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This post is brought to you by Lizzie Cooke at ChiYAwriters.com.

Chicago Reads: Jenny Han and Jennifer E. Smith

Here is an old post I had written up prior to our summer hiatus that I’m reviving! This was a post recapping an event from May 2, 2017:

I trekked up to Winnetka for a book event with Jenny Han and Jennifer E. Smith. They were there promoting their latest releases: Always and Forever, Lara Jean and Windfall, respectively.

The Book Stall is such a lovely bookstore. Their YA section is fantastic. One of the largest I’ve seen, with spot-on picks. I wish it wasn’t so far away because I would love to frequent this bookstore!

Jenny and Jennifer are friends, and it was fun to listen to their conversation.

Some of my favorite behind-the-scenes tidbits from the event:

  • Jennifer talked about how after each book, she wonders how she will ever write another book again. This was reassuring to hear, especially since she is a prolific writer!
  • Jennifer said her books begin with a big What If?, with the concept, and her characters come later.
  • Jenny Han was present for the cover photo shoot, and there are a lot of fun Easter eggs:
    • The photo in the upper left corner, to the left of the “A long forever” picture, is actually a photo of Jenny Han and the model from the shoot.
    • Jenny’s dress is hanging over the chair and the pink shoes on the floor are hers.
    • On the back flap, the framed photo of Leo and Claire Danes from Romeo and Juliet is Jenny’s, from high school. If you look closely, you can see the horizontal glue lines.
    • If I recall correctly, I believe the ladder on the back flap is also Jenny’s.
  • Jennifer brought the little figurines that are on her cover. She said the bear was originally a panda that they painted gold.
  • Jennifer had fun swag. Since her book is about winning the lottery, she had scratch tickets!

I love events with more than one author, and it’s an extra pro if they’re friends and have a great rapport!

About Always and Forever, Lara Jean:Always and Forever Lara Jean

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

About Windfall:

WindfallThis romantic story of hope, chance, and change from the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is one Jenny Han says is filled with all of her “favorite things,” Morgan Matson calls “something wonderful,” and Stephanie Perkins says “is rich with the intensity of real love.”

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

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This post is brought to you by Gloria Chao at ChiYAwriters.com.

Chicago Reads: American Writers Museum

Earlier this year, the American Writers Museum opened in Chicago at 180 N Michigan Ave. It was designed for the reader, with interactive exhibits that explore the art of writing and the art of reading.

Upon entering, there’s a wall of bookmarks for you to pick from, with each bookmark featuring a famous author and an inspiring quote.

The exhibits include:

  • Writers Hall
  • American Voices
  • Surprise Bookshelf
  • Word Waterfall
  • Readers Hall
  • The Mind of a Writer
  • A Writer’s Room
  • Featured Works
  • Word Play
  • Chicago: A City of Writers
  • Children’s Gallery
  • Changing Exhibits Gallery

In this post, I’m going to highlight Children’s Gallery, American Voices, Surprise Bookshelf, Story of the Day, and Word Play.

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The Children’s Gallery had displays on classics like Dr. Seuss and Little Women, and the bright room housed an impressive collection of books that visitors could sit and peruse. Personally, I wish there had been more young adult coverage, but their children’s book selection was well curated. It was a lovely trip down memory lane.

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I spent a lot of time in the American Voices and Surprise Bookshelf exhibits, which are across from each other down a long hallway, with the former on the right and the latter on the left in the following picture:

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American Voices “takes visitors on a journey through the literary history of the United States” and the Surprise Bookshelf presents a series of illuminated boxes that showcase “samples of great American writing.”

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Story of the Day is an exhibit within the museum’s Mind of a Writer section and comprises an interactive space where visitors can write stories on paper and pencil, typewriters, or digital media. Once they are done, there is a wall where you can display your work.

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I had a lot of fun playing around with the typewriters there (and it made me love my laptop and Microsoft Word even more), and it took me an embarrassingly long time to type up the first paragraph of AMERICAN PANDA to put on the wall:

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Word Play is another exhibit within The Mind of a Writer and featured an interactive tabletop with word games which were fun and, frankly, quite difficult. My husband and I spent quite a bit of time here playing around.

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More photos and descriptions can be found on the museum’s website. All in all, this was a lovely way to spend an afternoon, and there’s plenty of information to absorb and fun activities to engage in.

If you sign up at their website for their newsletter, you can receive 20% off your first visit. For details on ticket prices and hours of operation, see below:

Tickets

Adults $12
Seniors (ages 65+) $8
Students (w/ valid ID) $8
Children (ages 12 & younger) Free

Final ticket sales are 30 mintes before closing

Hours of Operation

Monday closed*
Tuesday-Wednesday 10 am – 5 pm
Thursday 10 am – 8 pm
Friday-Sunday 10 am – 5 pm

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This post is brought to you by Gloria Chao at ChiYAwriters.com.

 

Chicago Reads: Upcoming YA Book Events (Sept/Oct 2017)

Chicago is lucky to be home to many independent bookstores, which host authors for a wide variety of readings, signings, and panels. Check out these upcoming Chicago-area YA events, and let us know about any author events we missed in the comments!

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THE DATE TO SAVE

Stephanie Kate Strohm (in conversation with ChiYA’s own Gloria Chao!)
Friday, September 15 at 7:3o PM
The Book Cellar (Lincoln Square)

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RELEASE
Patrick Ness
Friday, September 22 at 7:00 PM
Center Stage Theater (Naperville)

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SCBWI Presents: How Children’s Books Will Save Us
James Klise
Patricia Hruby Powell
Michelle Falkoff
Natasha Tarpley
Suzanne Slade
Thursday, September 28 at 6:30 PM
57th Street Books (Hyde Park)

OliverSilvera
RINGER and THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END
Lauren Oliver
Adam Silvera
Thursday, October 5 at 7:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

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Fierce Reads Tour
Caleb Roehrig
Jennifer Mathieu
Mitali Perkins
Anna-Marie McLemore
Sunday, October 8 at 2:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

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TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN
John Green
Saturday, October 21 at 7:00 PM
Community Christian Church (Naperville)
Note: As of September 12, this event was sold out.

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PLAYING BY HEART
Carmela A. Martino
Saturday, October 28 at 2:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

Anderson’s Bookshop in Downers Grove hosts a monthly GenYA Book Group, which will be discussing John Corey Whaley’s HIGHLY ILLOGICAL BEHAVIOR in September and Erin Jade Lange’s REBEL, BULLY, GEEK, PARIAH in October.

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This post is brought to you by Lizzie Cooke at ChiYAwriters.com.

ChiYA: Closed for the Summer

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick post to let you know that ChiYA is taking a break for the summer. We’ll be back in the fall with more of our favorite places to write, craft advice, sources of inspiration, and YA happenings!

In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or comments. We plan to make a few changes to the blog when we start up again in the fall, so we’d love to hear your ideas!

Thanks as always for reading,

The ChiYA Team

Chicago YA Writers