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Field Trip Friday: The Big News of 2012

Take a scroll down memory lane and check out some of publishing's biggest stories of the year!


- A Tucson school district shut down the Mexican American Studies program and banned the books used in the program. Debbie Reese at AICL did a stellar job of providing coverage.

- The Today Show decided to run coverage of Snooki's new book instead of interviewing the new Caldecott and Newbery award-winners.

- The "Hierarchy of Book Publishing" got a lot of laughs (and a few other reactions, too).

Alexander Nazaryan at the NY Daily News said the books written by the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Walter Dean Myers, are "insipid" and "painfully mundane, with simple moral lessons built into predictable situations." We gathered a few responses here.

- The internet went on strike in protest over the proposed SOPA legislation.

- January was full of author/reviewer angst. We rounded up some links here and here.


- Everyone loved these free book covers, offers by our girl Sarah Enni, plus friends Erin Bowman and Tracey Neithercott.

- If only all deals were so easy to get: Stephen Colbert signed a children's book deal after making a joke during his interview with Maurice Sendak.

Charm and Strange by Highwayer Stephanie Kuehn sold to St. Martin's!


"Beauty Queens"
by Margot Wood
- Fifty Shades of Grey's 7 figure deal hit the news. We rounded up the coverage here

Publishing was buzzing (pun totally intended) about the news that police had intercepted a massive shipment of marijuana, destined for St. Martin's Press. The #potlit hashtag (also fantastic pun) immediately appeared; SMP good-naturedly played along.

- The Hunger Games was released, and racist fans were shocked to learn that Rue, a character as having "dark brown skin and eyes," was *gasp* played by a black actress.

- Goodreads put together a cool infographic about the rise of dystopian literature.

Jaws dropped as NPR's This American Life retracted their major feature on Apple factories

- I broke down YA deals by genre, size, and more in infographic form.

- We first heard about Margot Wood, The Real Fauxtographer, who shoots awesome YA-inspired photos.

- We celebrated the release of Wanderlove by Highwayer Kirsten Hubbard, and got to announce the sale of Kody Keplinger's Goldfish!


- The Pulitzer Prize Board announced it would not be naming a Fiction Award for 2012.

- The Justice Department officially sued Apple, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster for collusion to fix e-book prices. (Hachette, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins had already agreed to settle.) Jo Volpe explained why the suit was so important.

Fifty Shades of Gray knocked The Hunger Games off the #1 bestselling spot.

- Popular book blogger Kristi at The Story Siren was the center of a plagiarism scandal.

- A Liberty, Missouri library created a "man-cave" type space to attract boys readers, which spurred lots of controversy.

Company president Tom Doherty announced that Tor/Forge e-books would be the first to go DRM free.

- Jim C. Hines won the internet with his re-posings of fantasy covers

- Highwayer Sumayyah Daud announced the sale of her book, Begin Again, to Julie Strauss-Gabel at Dutton!!


ya covers - A researcher at Brigham Young University claimed we need a rating system. We rounded up lots of reactions here.

- I analyzed 2011's YA cover trends, and found minority representation almost non-existent.

- Kristin Cashore and editor Kathy Dawson revealed that Bitterblue took three years to write.

- Alexandria, VA topped Amazon's list of "most well-read cities in America."

Jean Craighead George, author of My Side of the Mountain and Julie of the Wolvespassed away at age 92; Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes died at age 83; musician Chuck Brown succumbed to pneumonia at age 75; disco legend Donna Summers passed from cancer at age 63; Maurice Sendak died at age 83.

- We celebrated the release of Highwayer Veronica Roth's Insurgent with some faction fun!


Ryan Tate, President of Christian vanity press Tate Publishing, laid off employees while comparing himself to Jesus.

- Malinda Lo hosted the "YA Pride" series.

- Oprah's Book Club was revived, with Cheryl Strayed's Wild as its first pick.

- The trailer for The Perks of Being a Wallflower came out; casting for Catching Fire caused, in the words of Jezebel, "another racist sh!tstorm."

- Stacked hosted the "Unconventional Blog Tour," focused on ethics, policies, and best practices.

Ray Bradbury died at the age of 91.

YA Highwayers (and the rest of publishing) descended on the Javitz Center for BEA 2012, and co-hosted the Great YA Blogger Meetup with Stacked at ALA!


Lots of controversy about reviews: Michele Gorman reported on bloggers who charge for good reviews; said bloggers were not happy about it. Daily Dot detailed that issue plus the "Goodreads Bullies" problem.

Kelly Jensen at Stacked was the center of some heated debate with her post "The ARC Stops Here." We rounded up several responses here and here

- Roni Loren warned everyone about the dangers of using photos online without copyright permissions.

- A Twilight fan was killed crossing the street at ComicCon

- KStew kissed someone other than RPattz, revealing that, in the words of Genevieve Valentine, "being a young celebrity doesn’t mean you can live outside the rules! I mean, you CAN, but you’d better be a dude." 

Astronaut Sally Ride passed away after a battle with cancer; the brother of Gabriel García Márquez revealed the author is suffering from senile dementia and can no longer write.

- Author Libba Bray wrote these moving words in the hours after the tragic Aurora, CO shooting.

Chick-fil-a Owner Dan Cathy said he was "guilty as charged" in backing anti-gay efforts, setting off protests, boycotts, and Facebook flame wars. 

- We put together the Publishing Road Map, the ultimate guide to writing, publishing, book blogging, and more, AND we had a YA Highway writing retreat in Colorado, AND Tumblr announced a Young Adult Spotlight category-- with our Scenic Route as a featured blog!


- Random House said talk of its merger with Penguin or HarperCollins was just speculation. HA.

Fifty Shades outsold Harry Potter on Amazon UK. Meanwhile, another Twilight fanfic, Gabriel's Inferno (formerly known as The University of Edward Masen, for your Googling fun) sold in a seven figure deal.

- The NYT set off a publishing firestorm with their article about purchased reviews.

- NPR's "Best YA Ever" list also turned out to be "the whitest list ever."

- Victoria Foyt's "Save the Pearls" marketing campaign generated a lot of attention, which many people suspected was exactly the point

Legendary editor Helen Gurley Brown passed away at the age of 90;  Maeve Binchy died at age 72Gore Vidal died at age 86, and a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin claimed six lives.

- Nathan Bransford presented the publishing process in gif form.

- WriteOnCon put together another great online conference.

- Highwayer Lee Bross announced the sale of her book, Tangled Webs, to Disney-Hyperion!


- The Casual Vacancy, J. K. Rowling's first book for adults, came out to mixed reviews. The BBC announced in December that it will be making the book into a series.

- Judy Blume revealed that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

- Penguin sued several authors for failure to fulfill their contracts. For some reason, people were horrified.

- Literary agent Pam van Hylckama was reportedly attacked in her car by a rejected author.

- The Beautiful Creatures trailer made its premiere.


- Hurricane Sandy shut down the northeast and, by extension, all of publishing.

- Random House and Penguin announced a merger, spawning terror, sadness, and Random Penguin jokes.

- The Association of American Publishers announced children's and YA revenues were up 41% for the year.

- Lena Dunham made headlines with a $3.6 million book deal.


- Obama won the election AND beat Justin Bieber for "most retweeted" update ever.

- HarperCollins and Simon and Schuster announced merger talks.

- THE END OF BOYS. Er... or not, said Saundra MitchellPhoebe North, and Kristin Halbrook.

- Bella finally kicked some ass: Breaking Dawn Part 2, the final film installment of the Twilight saga, enjoyed a $141.1 million opening weekend.

- Sean Beaudoin brought us "The Dudes of YA: A 'Lit-Erotic' Photo Spread." Words failed us.

- We sent out a month's worth of NaNoWriMo emails, with tips, tricks, encouragement, and more-- and you can see the archive here! (We also started a playlist page, in case you need a writing soundtrack.)


- The apocalypse didn't happen, but the school shooting in Connecticut made us feel like maybe it should. A.S. King wrote about the "I would have..." reaction and victim blaming; I wrote about respecting the ways people grieve, and Kell Andrews wrote about the ways stories help us understand tragedy.

- "New Adult" finally became a thing, garnering coverage from Publisher's Weekly, The New York Times, and an infographic from Goodreads.

- Random House gave employees $5,000 bonuses for the holiday.

- The NYT changed the way its bestseller lists are compiled for YA and MG books.

year in publishing


My favorite posts from YA Highway members this year*

*The other girls didn't get any say in this list, mostly because I didn't tell them I was doing it.


Gangnam Style became a thing, McKayla was not impressed, and a CrashCourse still became John Grrrreen.

john grrrreen

We had 90s Problems and Texts From Hillary....

90s problems Photobucket

Bad Lip Readings of Twilight and The Hunger Games...

Sh!t Book Reviewers, Agent/Editors, and Authors Say...

Kristin Bell's Sloth Meltdown, and The Joy of Books.

Year-End Lists

Young Adult-Specific:


Author and Blogger Picks:



Other Stuff:

Want to go further back? Check out the round ups from 2011 and 2010!


Kate Hart

Kate is the author of After the Fall, coming January 24, 2017 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. A former teacher and grant writer, she now owns a treehouse-building business in the Ozarks and hosts the Badass Ladies You Should Know interview series.

Posts by Kate

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  1. Happy New Year, YA Highway! Looking forward to all your awesome posts in 2013! :D

  2. The infographic for deals by genre, size and more doesn't link to anything. I really wanted to see it. Anyone know where I can find it?

  3. You are amazing, Kate Hart. Awesome year in review!

  4. Wow, thanks for including my photos!!! This is the best year roundup I have seen so far. Love it!

    1. Thanks Margot! Cannot WAIT to see what you come up with in the coming year!


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Item Reviewed: Field Trip Friday: The Big News of 2012 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kate Hart