Highlights from the PTA Showcase!

A couple of nights ago, we were lucky enough to attend the much-anticipated PTA Showcase! There were only 100 tickets available and they sold out exceptionally fast, so we’re very pleased to have snagged a couple before they were all snatched up by other book lovers! It was such a fun, enjoyable evening and we wouldn’t have missed it for the world. We got to hear all about upcoming releases, talk to some authors, and see all of our bookish friends!

We started off the evening by making our way down to the Penguin offices in Melbourne, which is situated at the end of Collins Street and apparently uses an old brick railway station. From what we saw of the offices when we went down the lift and into the lobby before moving to a big room for the presentations, the offices looked very fancy! And we may have casually dropped our manuscripts on all the desks… Shh… Don’t tell anyone.

Upon arrival, we received a mysterious black box and a mini figure of Harry Potter. While we had all been stalking the tweets from the night before from the PTA Showcase in Sydney and so we knew what to expect, there’s nothing like being able to hold a copy of the PTA Superproof for yourself and flick through snippets of the most-anticipated releases. We could hardly contain our excitement!

Before the presentations begun, we had the opportunity to buy books and get them signed by the lovely author guests – Fleur Ferris, Shivaun Plozza and Jodi McAlister! They were all such awesome people (besides the fact that Shivaun hasn’t listened to Hamilton yet – but we might have to let that slide), and it was fantastic to get to chat to them briefly and have our books defaced – I mean, signed.

Once everyone had picked up some snacks from the back of the room, which consisted of ice cream, lollies, and everything delicious, we settled into our seats and prepared to take notes about all the upcoming releases we were excited to get our hands on. The ones we would trade our souls to get copies of now are Wreck by Fleur Ferris, GeekerellaThe Upside of UnrequitedOne of Us is Lying, and Spellbook of the Lost and Found. We’ve added all the books mentioned down below for your reference and to maybe get some preorders happening. Get excited!

Geekerella

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Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

Optimists Die First

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Petula has avoided friendship and happiness ever since tragedy struck her family and took her beloved younger sister Maxine. Worse, Petula blames herself. If only she’d kept an eye on her sister, if only she’d sewn the button Maxine choked on better, if only…

Now her anxiety is getting out of control, she is forced to attend the world’s most hopeless art therapy class. But one day, in walks the Bionic Man: a charming, amazingly tall newcomer called Jacob, who is also an amputee. Petula’s ready to freeze him out, just like she did with her former best friend, but when she’s paired with Jacob for a class project, there’s no denying they have brilliant ideas together – ideas like remaking Wuthering Heights with cats.

But Petula and Jacob each have desperately painful secrets in their pasts – and when the truth comes out, there’s no way Petula is ready for it.

The Upside of Unrequited

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Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index

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Sixty-five days after the death of her beloved older sister, sixteen-year-old Juniper discovers an unsent letter that Camie wrote on the day she died, addressed only to “You.” Juniper is determined to honor her sister’s memory and deliver the letter, except she has no idea who “you” is. The shock of her sister’s secret relationship causes her to lose track of the sixty-fifth card in her Happiness Index a ritual started by sunny Camie in which Juniper is supposed to log something positive each day. It’s the ritual that’s been holding Juniper together since Camie’s death, and without that card, there’s a hole. Plus, this particular card contains Juniper’s biggest secret.

Juniper’s search ends up taking her on a heart-opening journey that changes not just her life, but the lives of several classmates who are struggling too the anonymous author of a suicide note, a vandalising guitar player with a troubled home life, and a boy with a secret even bigger than Juniper’s.

How to be a Bawse

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From actress, comedian, and YouTube sensation Lilly Singh (aka ||Superwoman||) comes the definitive guide to being a bawse—a person who exudes confidence, reaches goals, gets hurt efficiently, and smiles genuinely because they’ve fought through it all and made it out the other side. Told in her hilarious, bold voice that’s inspired over nine million fans, and using stories from her own life to illustrate her message, Lilly proves that there are no shortcuts to success. WARNING: This book does not include hopeful thoughts, lucky charms, and cute quotes. That’s because success, happiness, and everything else you want in life needs to be fought for—not wished for.

One of Us is Lying

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One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Troublemakers by Catherine Barter

Fifteen-year-old Alena never really knew her political activist mother, who died when she was a baby. She has grown up with her older half-brother Danny and his boyfriend Nick in the east end of London. Now the area is threatened by a bomber who has been leaving explosive devices in supermarkets. It is only a matter of time before a bomb goes off.

Against this increasingly fearful backdrop, Alena seeks to discover more about her past, while Danny takes a job working for a controversial politician. As her family life implodes, and the threat to Londoners mounts, Alena starts getting into trouble. Then she does something truly rebellious.

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

This Mortal Coil is the first in a series, in which the daughter of the world’s leading geneticist must use her own biohacking skills to unravel the mystery he left behind to save the world from a lethal plague that has devastated humanity.

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Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.

A Shadow Bright and Burning

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Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city–and the one she loves?

Cradle and All

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In Boston, a young woman finds herself pregnant – even though she is still a virgin.

In Ireland, another young woman discovers she is in the same impossible condition.

And in cities all around the world, medical authorities are overwhelmed by epidemics, droughts, famines, floods, and worse. It all feels like a sign that something awful is coming.

Anne Fitzgerald, a former nun turned private investigator, is hired by the Archdiocese of Boston to investigate the immaculate conceptions. Even as she comes to care about and trust the young women, she realises that both are in great danger. Terrifying forces of light and darkness are gathering. Stepping into uncharted territory where the unknown is just the beginning, Anne must discover the truth–to save the young women, to save herself, and to protect the future of all mankind.

Agent Nomad: The Eleventh Hour

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Natalie Palladino was a normal fifteen-year-old, at a normal school, about to face a normal maths test.

Now her codename is Nomad, and she’s training to become a secret agent for HELIX.

No one can know that sorcery exists. No one can know that HELIX protects humanity from the Inductors.

And no one can know that Nomad is a Witness, with a dangerous magical gift. The Inductors are hunting her. If they find her, they will kill her.

But there’s a traitor inside HELIX, and only a Witness can identify them. The problem is, Nomad hasn’t mastered her powers. She can’t levitate, fight or wield magic like her fellow recruits.

If she’s the only hope to stop a sorcerous bomb being detonated, the world is in trouble.

The eleventh hour is coming . . .

Hunted

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Bea Azaeli and the other survivors of the resistance have escaped the human prison that was their city, but how will they survive in the wild?

Those infected with Elder ink are now cursed with a terrible sickness, and the lack of supplies are a threat to them all. Still mourning the loss of Red, Bea vows to keep her family safe. But she has made dangerous enemies.

They are ruthless. They are watching. And they will seek revenge.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found

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One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she won’t talk about.

Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses – and holding tight to secrets.

When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found . . .

*

Besides hearing about all the books that were going to be released this year, we also played a quiz with Shivaun Plozza (where both of us won a prize!) and listened to Shivaun ask both Fleur and Jodi questions about their writing habits and their new books. We’ve never been so eager to get our hands on these new masterpieces! And to celebrate the launch of Jodi McAlister’s YA novel, Valentine, there was a gorgeous cake with the cover of her book on it! We could imagine that stabbing your own book cover would be oddly therapeutic…

Alex can vouch for the fact that it was delicious.

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Overall, we had such a spectacular night and we want to thank Penguin Teen Australia, all the authors who came to this event, and the people who worked behind the scenes to make this lovely night possible! We’re already looking forward to the next one!

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