Second Look: ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS by Maggie Stiefvater

Disclaimer: I received a galley of this book for an honest review at BEA 2017.

allthecrookedsaints_cover

October 10, 2017

Maggie Stiefvater’s ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS
Scholastic Press, 2017

From GoodReads:

Here is a thing everyone wants:
A miracle.

Here is a thing everyone fears:
What it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

I’ll be honest.  I haven’t read a Maggie Stiefvater book since SHIVER first released (way back in 2009.  And it’s not because I don’t like her, it’s just that I got sidetracked, and SHIVER was so…depressing.  And then I wasn’t really interested in any of her other titles.  Until, CROOKED SAINTS.

I loved the premise of this book, and I was super excited to see that she was going to be signing at #BEA2017.  However, Katie & I didn’t get to stand in line for her.  LUCKILY, Scholastic was giving out galleys.  So, of course we waited!  And man, I’m glad I did.  This book was…amazeballs.

Stiefvater is a master storyteller, really.  I mean, that’s what it’s always been.  She doesn’t just tell a story for 300 pages, but she creates the entire WORLD of the story.  Her language is poetic.  She really grabs you and pulls you into the story.  And SAINTS was no exception.

What I Loved:

  • The characters.  They were real and authentic.
  • The plotline.  It was terribly unique (I think) for a YA novel, but also accessible for YAs.
  • The ending.  (Hopefully there won’t be a sequel.  I think she tied things up nicely.)

I loved the relationships between characters and how complicated they were.  I loved how the characters were all so different from each other, but still were connected by family.  And I really loved that the ending is about finding a truth about yourself and being able to “deal” with it.

And honestly?  There’s nothing I didn’t like about this book.

As a librarian, I’d be careful who I’d recommend this to.  Not because of the book, but because of the reader.  This isn’t for reluctant readers, and it’s not for those who prefer realistic fiction.  This book definitely falls in the MAGICAL REALISM realm.

Rating…

8.5/10 Stars

 

Imma let you finish but… BEA2017 was one of the best of all time

*I originally posted a variation of this post on the Easton Area Public Library’s EAPLTeens blog. But I wanted to post it here too, mostly because I can elaborate more and use more colorful language if necessary. :-P

Ok, so I won’t do any hardcore bragging (not a lot, anyway), but there was a TON of fangirling about all the amazing authors and people we met at Book Expo.

On June 1, Ashley and I went to Book Expo America (BEA) in NYC. It’s a huge annual event where librarians, educators, and book bloggers meet up with publishers and authors and basically giggle and flail all day (that might just be the librarians, but whatevs.)

On the bus to NYC at 6:30am. We were excited, but SUPER sleep deprived.

We were prepared to load up on ARCs, publishers’ catalogs, and, of course, tote bags.

Oh, yea. And we also had Bingo cards, just in case we got bored while waiting in the lines.

We got to coss of “Someone is asleep” right away, because I totally passed out on the bus before we even got there.

Our first stop was Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 trilogy and Sweet. In a very exciting moment, we randomly bumped into her before the signing began. It went a little something like this:

Katie: (to seemingly random person) Excuse me, are you in line?
Seemingly Random Person: No, but I’ll be signing here in just a few minutes!
Katie: OMG ARE YOU EMMY LAYBOURNE?!?!
EL: Yes, I am!
Ashley: (wanders over from publisher’s booth) They didn’t have anything I was looking for.
Katie: ASHLEY, MEET EMMY LAYBOURNE!
Ashley: OMG HI, I’M ASHLEY!

(We definitely do not remain cool and collected when meeting our author heroes.)

The oh-so-wonderful Emmy Laybourne

Ashley I didn’t know what was more exciting: meeting her or getting advanced copies of her upcoming book Berserker (which is scheduled for released on October 10). She also gave us signed book plates to put in all her books at our library, which ohmygoodness, how sweet and awesome is she??!

Next was the booth giving away copies of Maggie Stiefvater’s All the Crooked Saints (also due to be released on October 10). We didn’t get to meet Maggie or bask in the presence of her awesomeness, but we got in a massively long line for an ARC drop and Ashley and I each scored a copy.

I stopped by the booth for Image Comics (you may or may not be aware of my undying love for Image) and freaked out over all the free issues they were giving away. Which reminds me, I have a lot of comic reviews to write…

We didn’t have any other signings until the afternoon, so we wandered a bit and hit up random booths.

There’s Dennis Leary sitting in the middle. So that happened.

People’s booth displays were ON POINT.

We got these awesome WOMEN OF ACTION banners to stick on our badges from Chicago Review Press. The rep we talked to was AWESOME.

Ashley and I both decided this was clearly made for us.

We had lunch, tallied up our Bingo cards (Ashley wiped the floor with me like, 3 times over), counted our tote bags (we each had about 10 for the morning), and examined our haul for the first half of the day.

Ashley’s sheet: Two bingos before noon.

My sheet: No bingos until 4:30.

Not a bad haul for the first half of the day.

There was a pigeon wandering around the convention center while we were eating lunch, which I found hilarious.

The highlight of my day was seeing ADAM SILVERA, author of More Happy Than Not and History is All You Left Me. I was determined to gush at him and get an advanced copy of They Both Die at the End (scheduled release date September 5). I got in line at noon for a 1:00 signing and the line was already at least 20 people deep.

By the time the signing started, the line had easily over 100 people. IT. WAS. BANANAS. Fortunately, not only did I get my advanced copy, I ALSO GOT A PICTURE WITH ADAM!!!

He was adorable and oh-so-sweet and I adore him and his books more than words can say.

I was really excited to grab SMASH by Sara Latta, too. A graphic novel about the Large Hadron Collider? YES, PLEASE!

From there, we got in line to see E. FREAKING LOCKHART, author of the critically acclaimed We Were Liars (and, of course, many others) and a hero among book heroes.

E. Lockhart in all her beautiful glory

Speaking of crazy lines, we had to get in line just to get a ticket to get in line. Seriously. There were DOZENS AND DOZENS of people waiting to see her and get her upcoming book, Genuine Fraud. We got our copies (and gushed at E. Lockhart, obvs.) so we walked away SUPER happy.

Ashley getting her copy of GENUINE FRAUD signed

We were also exhausted. And kind of in pain.

You’ve heard of Tennis Elbow? We call this “Tote Bag Shoulder”

On the bright side, we got lots of other books we were excited about too…

We had about four hours to kill for our bus (one of our bus-mates had tickets to see HRC’s talk for her new book), so we hunkered down and started reading.

As this picture was taken, Hillary Clinton was behind those very doors…

Overall, we were quite satisfied with the day’s haul.

 

We were so excited that we already got a few ARCs read and reviewed! Read our reviews (there are two because Ashley and I each did one) for Genuine Fraud and The Devils You Know! We’ll be adding more as we keep plowing through our piles!

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BEA Breakdown (or, How I Survived in a Mosh Pit of Book Lovers)

WE HAVE RETURNED FROM BOOK EXPO!

Well, more accurately, we returned on Wednesday night. But it’s taken us this long to take an inventory of all the tote bags, books, buttons, pens, postcards, and other various swag-related goodies we snagged from the exhibitors’ tables. And, of course, we dove into our new collection of books headfirst. But first things first…

Ashley was able to attend BEA on Tuesday AND Wednesday, so she can report on the goings on she experienced on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we arrived in NYC at about 8:15, with what we hoped would be enough time to secure tickets to see John Green. We didn’t (DAMMIT). The exhibits opened at 9:00, so we finalized our game plan while we waited in line to rush the exhibitors’ floor like a sorority house. It should also be noted that anyone who says Mo “Williams” (instead of Willems, which is the correct name), does not deserve a ticket to see the man (yes, man behind me in line, I’m talking to YOU!)

Waiting for the exhibits to open

Once they opened the flood gates, we were in! Our first mission: SECURE A TOTE BAG. Once we grabbed what would be the first of many, we set out for the Little, Brown Books for Young Readers booth. If you can manage to get there early, they usually have piles of ARCs to give away, along with great swag. Once we got there and casually started to grab some freebies, it was as if someone teleported us back to the 1960’s and someone announced the Beatles were coming. Wall to wall people suddenly filled the booth. There were mano y mano match-ups across the exhibitor floor as people started violently wrestling each other for books, their free tote bags swinging every which way.

Ok. That is not even close to true. But the “wall to wall people” part is pretty accurate. As we tried to make our way out of the hordes of people, more and more people kept pushing in to grab books. It truly was the book lovers version of a mosh pit. I don’t have a picture of this madness, however, mostly because I was afraid I was going to die.

Courtney Allison Moulton

Once we escaped that bit of insanity, we made our way to the Autographing Area (also known as “the cattle chutes”). The Cattle Chutes are nothing more than long, cordoned off aisles meant to accommodate up to 25 authors and lines of fans waiting to get books signed.  Ashley made her way to Linda Fairstein while I went to see Courtney Allison Moulton, who is AWESOME and I want to be my new BFF (but not in a creepy, stalker way). One of the best parts of BEA is being able to talk one-on-one with authors and find out what they’re like in real life. Some authors are there just to make an appearance and sign books, and others are there to get in touch with their fans. C.A.M is definitely in the latter category. I only talked to her for about 30 seconds, but she is the most down to earth person I have ever met. She loves her readers, and loves opportunities to give something back to them. Her exact words to me were, “I love books and you love books and I love that you all love books!” I won’t lie… I haven’t read her books (yet!), but I was so impressed with her attitude towards her readers and I am definitely a huge fan. The world needs more authors like Courtney Allison Moulton!

THE CATTLE CHUTES!

After the signings, we browsed around for a little while and bounced to a couple different booths, picking up more books and swag (including tote bags) as we went. We grabbed an early lunch and then made a plan for the afternoon. Our goals were to hit Veronica Roth (not literally) and the Pitch Dark: Dark Days of Supernatural signing by HarperCollins at 1:00 and Libba Bray at 3:00, with a pit stop or two in between if time allowed.

On the way, we caught the tail end of the Harlequin Teen signing. We got in line, but just missed the cutoff, so we didn’t get to meet the authors or get books. But that was ok. We still grabbed a quick (read: blurry and horribly framed) shot of all the authors wrapping up the signing! Featured authors included (in no particular order) Julie Kagawa, Kady Cross, Katie McGarry, Cayla Kluver, and Cara Lynn Shultz.

The girls from Harlequin Teen finishing up their book signing

We knew the line for VRoth and her fellow Supernatural authors would be insanely long, so we headed to their line around noon for the 1:00 signing. And we were numbers 98 and 99 in line. Yup. That’s right. An hour early and we could potentially have missed the 150 person cutoff. So we sat and waited. And waited. And waited.

The 97 people in front of us for the Dark Days signing.

See those blue numbers hanging from the ceiling? We needed to get to 3300. Yea. It was a long wait. But totes worth it.

While we were waiting, Ashley was able to run down and see Diana Peterfreund and got an ARC of For Darkness Shows the Stars (which she is positively raving about! You can read her review here.) And then we FINALLY reached the front of the line! We were able to see and get signed books from (from left to right): Elizabeth Norris (Unraveling), VRoth (Insurgent), Bethany Griffin (Masque of the Red Death), and Aprilynne Pike (Destined).

I hate them all for being so beautiful and wonderful.

Then we headed to Libba Bray’s signing of The Diviners! The line was just as long, if not longer than the Dark Days girls. Luckily, we got our spots and special burlap pouches with a Diviners necklace to mark our places in line. Libba is amazingly awesome and is an absolute riot. We all got signed ARCs, and by the time the bus had us back home, I was already 3 chapters in and it is fabulous, not to mention completely addicting and creepy as all get out.

Promo poster for The Diviners

Libba Bray being generally awesome.

All in all, it was quite a successful day. I got about 7 or 8 tote bags, a Beautiful Creatures pen, abundant catalogs from several publishers (so now I can check out the hot new up and coming titles!) and a glorious stack of brand new, shiny books!

My haul for the day

If you are a true lover of books and find yourself near NYC next June, I highly recommend you find a way to go!

My words of advice to first timers? The first thing to do is GRAB A TOTE BAG.

Book Expo America = FANGIRL CRAZINESS!

There are officially 37 days until Book Expo America takes over the Javits Convention Center in New York City! *SQUEAL!*

Ashley and Batman, BEA 2011

“What is Book Expo America?” you may be asking. For those of you who don’t know, BEA is an annual event held by the publishing world in which they herd hundreds of authors in a convention center-sized space, and attendees are expected not to go apeshit when the aforementioned authors start giving away free signed books. Or maybe that’s just my interpretation of it…

Ok, only part of that was an exaggeration. BEA really is an annual convention, and hosts hundreds of authors, publishers, exhibits, and conferences. It’s a huge opportunity for authors and publishers to get their books into the hands of librarians, teachers/educators, and bloggers.

Ice-T and Coco, BEA 2011

And have I mentioned the books are free? They do ask for a small donation of $1 per autographed book, which I feel is totally reasonable considering I’m getting the opportunity to meet some of my favorite people on the planet. I’ve been known to come home with multiple tote bags (which are also given away for free) stuffed to the brim with autographed books, bookmarks, postcards, pens, catalogs, and even a t-shirt or two.

So now you may be asking why I’m talking about this now when Ashley and I have a whole 37 days yet to go. The answer? The list of attending authors has been (FINALLY!) listed on BEA’s website, and that list includes a fabulous roster of YA authors.

Here’s who Ash and I are aiming to see when we take on NYC in June (in no particular order):

Maureen Johnson
(signing The Name of the Star)

John Green
(signing An Abundance of Katherines and The Fault in our Stars)

Gretchen McNeil
(signing Ten)

Lauren Oliver
(signing The Spindlers)

Courtney Allison Moulton
(signing Wings of the Wicked)

Kady Cross
(signing Girl in the Clockwork Collar)

Julie Kagawa
(signing The Iron King &The Immortal Rules)

Kristin Cashore
(signing Bitterblue)

Walter Dean Myers
(signing All the Right Stuff)

Patricia McCormick
(signing Never Fall Down)

Diana Peterfreund
(signing For Darkness Shows the Stars)

Bethany Griffin
(signing Masque of the Red Death)

Veronica Roth
(signing Insurgent)

Libba Bray
(signing The Diviners)

Susane Colasanti
(signing Keep Holding On)

 Rachel Cohn
(signing Beta)

So what are MY goals for this particular trip?
1) To not take so much that I can’t fit in the bus seat for the return trip (this happened the first year we went)
2) To not to get so flustered about being in the presence of heroic greatness that I just start spewing fangirl nonsense (this happened with Melissa de la Cruz, Year 3) or completely freeze up as a result of being surrounded by too much awesomeness (this happened when Ally Carter high-fived me, Year 2).
3)  The hell with it… my goal is to pile as much swag and autographed books as I can into whatever free tote bags I can find while managing not to come across as a creeper.