I had an absolute BLAST at Teen Author Carnival and Book Expo America this week. This is my recap of the wonderful experience.
After an entire night of sleeping awkwardly in the car as my dad drove to NYC, we got out of the car to explore the city since we couldn't check into the hotel until 3 o clock. We strolled through Central Park and Time Square as I complained about how gross I felt until we got into the hotel, where I showered and prettied myself up for going to the Strand and dinner with Genevieve, Kori, Devyn and Rebecca. My dad passed out as I watched some TV and changed the dinner time about three times with Kori and Genevieve. After that ordeal dad and I were late and rode in one of those bicycle carriages to the Strand. There, I met Genevieve, Kori, Devyn and Michael, who was a pleasant surprise. The Strand was HUGE. It was absolutely gorgeous, with its tall shelves and pretty ARCs. I salivated as I attempted to not look like a complete idiot around the people I'd talked to for years online. We headed over to Max Brenner where we met Rebecca and had a yummy dinner. I had a bit of a stomach cramp so I didn't eat too much, but the conversation was fun!
I woke up and got ready to help Korianne, Devyn and Mitali and Teen Author Carnival at Jefferson Market Library. When I got there, I was put to work immediately. Then again, I'm not one to call organizing books work, but if I can get away with it, sure. The library was magnificent and the librarians reminded me of why I want to become a YA librarian. We were quite busy the entire day, and when the event started, I began to moderate with Genevieve. The first panel was Teen Real Life, and I was very nervous. But the authors were amazing and Genevieve totally saved it. It was my favourite panel of the night, because of the answers the authors gave were so insightful and lovely. Afterwards, we did the Romance panel, which was a lot of good, silly fun. We had three big giveaway piles for the question askers on that panel, so it was enjoyable to see the look on the winners' faces. Then we had the Mystery and Fantasy panel, which unfortunately went over time with the intros, so we had to call that one to a close early. Then we had autographing time, where all the authors signed books and swag. I met Maria D'Isodoro at this period of time, and I spent the time talking to her while looking around for authors with swag after I had gotten all my books signed. Things cleared pretty quickly and I met Dominique while clearing all my stuff out of the way. She was really delightful! Then a few of us went to Chipotle, which was my first experience with the restaurant. I enjoyed it immensely. Overall, it was a fantastic and exhausting day.
Oh, the start of BEA! I had been relatively sure that I wasn't going to be there for very long, since there were only one or two panels I wanted to go to and nothing else, but I ended up staying for the entire day. I blame this entirely on Maria and Cassandra Yorgey, who I had only talked briefly on twitter with until BEA. I spent the morning with Maria organizing our schedules and wandering blissfully around taking it all in so we didn't screw up completely on Wednesday. When Maureen Johnson tweeted about her panel Maria and I knew that we had to go. Kori and Devyn had said that they weren't going to BEA that day, but when we went to the panel, they were there with Cassandra and Rebecca. It was a lovely surprise and we ended up spending the rest of the day together. The panel was on social networking, and it was very fascinating. I disagreed completely with one of the women in the group, but MJ made some wonderful points and was hilarious. I kept on fangirling in my head as she talked. Afterwards, we met her outside and she taught us psychological warfare tactics. Admittedly the second best moment of my entire life. Then we wandered and chatted as I kept track of the BEA mobile app to see if there were any interesting panels. Everyone was so much fun to hang out with. Then we went to the Editors' Panel (because I was declared Official Event Planner), and while very fascinating got somewhat tedious about halfway through. I organized my schedule when I got bored and then we left early, luckily able to grab the books that we'd already heard about. Although I had told my dad to pick me up at 2:30 I ended up leaving at 6 with Maria because neither one of us was interesting in hearing Barbra Streisand's keynote speech. We had a lovely dinner at an Italian place and then went to a Steampunk event at a bar that completely failed. Then we both went back to our hotels. I slept pretty soundly that night.
The first REAL day of BEA began with going to Beth Fantaskey's signing for Jekyl Loves Hyde before going to the event I had been waiting for for MONTHS. Libba Bray's panel, You're Reading That?! Young Adult Fiction Crossing Over. Everyone on the panel was brilliant, and while I am very biased, I will still say that Libba's speech was the most beautiful and badass. Genevieve and I went up to her afterwards and she gave me a hug. I might've turned into a puddle right then and there but I had some form of restraint. She signed my cootie catcher and then we got a picture of her trying to eat my head, which IS and might always be the best moment of my entire life. I walked on cloud nine for the rest of the duration of BEA as I went from signing to signing with Cassandra, Maria and occasionally Genevieve and Kori. I met a few bloggers that I'd been very excited to see and almost died after having no lunch because I am an idiot. After seeing Libba (squee) and going to a whole bunch of signings, I went with Cassandra, Genevieve, Maria, Robyn Schneider (!) to see Young Adult Editors' Buzz, where they talked about a lot of really awesome looking books. My two favourites being Infinite Days and Matched. Then we ran off to get Zombies vs. Unicorns, which I have been waiting for for literally YEARS and met Justine Larbalestier, who called me intelligent to try and get me to go finally go Team Zombie. Saying that it didn't work would be a LIE. She also called Korianne dumb so that was helpful to her cause ALSO. We did a few more signings and checked out the publisher area. Maria had to leave earlier than she anticipated, so we said goodbye and I ended up missing her for the rest of the day. Then I drowned myself in books and ran off to go see WICKED with my dad which was absolutely amazing. Then I went home and attempted to get a decent amount of sleep.
I started feeling sad at this point, because it was my last day in NYC! I ended up meeting Devyn, Ashley, Annie and Lauren at the line for the BEA publisher area which was HUGE. They were getting ready to RUN, and I mean RUN for Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel and when the line started moving, WE DID. I think I nudged some people in the ribs with my infamous bony elbows. But we did end up getting it! I then got to the Rules of Attraction line, where I talked to Annie and Lauren as my feet fell off. I will never understand the appeal of that guy from the book trailer, but it was a fun experience! After that I found Cassandra after MINUTES of directional issues and we spent the majority of the day together, which was so much fun. We had lunch with Kori and Rebecca and went off by ourselves, then went back to hanging out with Kori for a while. That time with Kori consisted of me stroking her hair. At about four, all of us, Ashley, Michael, Devyn, Kori, Annie, Cassandra and myself hung by the Starbucks for an hour before my dad picked me up. I spent the majority of that recording everyone on my Iphone and making bad your mom jokes. Dad called me after that and I hugged and said goodbye to everyone. Then Kori walked me to the car. I said goodbye and got in the car, where I had the worst car ride home of my entire life, but it was so worth it. It was SUCH a memorable and amazing and life changing experience. I will have to use all of the positive adjectives in the entire world to describe BEA. I met all but one of my favourite people ever, got 35 books and stroked Korianne's hair. My life is complete. I recommend the experience to anyone and everyone. I hope to see you next year!