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Yay! I have finally found the chance to sit down and write out this post. So Kristen and I

had been anticipating this trip to Massachusetts for the longest time. It was our first time to the festival and we didn’t know what to expect. But we were both excited to take a road trip and have an overnight event. We were both up by 3:30am that Saturday morning. I know, are we insane? Yes, we are. But it was a good drive and Kristen was such a trooper (she hates driving). We bopped to top 40 songs and watched the sun rise in the distance just before getting breakfast.

When we got over to the Cambridge Public Library (which is a beautiful building), we made our way to the Rindge and Latin School that was in the back where other book lovers had made their way to wait. Around 9:30 or so, we were allowed in and they gave us these cute goodie bags that had bookish merch inside! And since I’d donated money to the BTAfest kickstarter campaign, I got to pick up my two prints that were designed by insanely talented @ash-postonfor GEEKERELLA and SIX OF CROWS and I was so pleased that both were framed!

We were guided to the auditorium where the 30+ authors were chatting on stage and I

was awestruck because there were so many. When I was looking at the lineup online, it didn’t feel like it was that many, but when they were all up on that stage together, it was a different story. The moderator had them all talk about their books and asked them hilarious questions – one of which was to describe what superlative they would be under. Let me say, it was probably one of the funniest Q&As and obviously the biggest. I was surprised that they really went through all of them, but I’m so glad I to hear about some of them. They had to describe their books in a single-sentence elevator pitch and I found some books that I was really interested in reading.

After, we were invited to sit in on some panels. There were five panels between the two morning sessions that would be repeated in the afternoon in case we wanted to see more panels.

Kristen and I decided to go to the Out of Character panel that featured Leigh Bardugo

(WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER), Jason Reynolds (MILES MORALES), Kerri Maniscalco (HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA), and Ashley Poston (GEEKERELLA). The subject centered around taking these well-established characters and what they become when they’ve been inserted in these new stories. We were both excited for it and let me tell you guys that the rapport between these four authors was fantastic. There was so much ease and humor that passed between them, but real grit conversation, especially when they addressed the need to write about interesting women in literature. I think my favorite part of the discussion was the face-off between Bardugo and Reynolds when it came to talking about their characters in the DC/Marvel universes.

After that, we stayed in the same room for the next panel, Lens Crafters, which featured Cinda Williams Chima (SHADOWCASTER), @vaveyard (KING’S CAGE), @lisa-maxwell (THE LAST MAGICIAN), and @tarasimauthor (TIMEKEEPER). They talked about writing books with multiple POVs and how their books have evolved from fleshing out the characters this way.

We decided to leave early because we were rather paranoid about getting lunch and having enough time to come back to the signings that afternoon. Plus, there was very limited parking. Being completely foreign to the area, we didn’t want to chance driving anywhere and losing our parking space. And there was a limit on parking at the library of 2 hours, so we had to keep coming back to pay for the space as well. We knew that there was free parking at the high school, but we couldn’t really tell what was what! So we decided to play it safe.

We went back to the car to fix up our books so we had an efficient way of getting our books signed and we were off to lunch. We walked over to the Harvard Science Center where I’d been wanting to try a food truck nearby, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese. And can I say, it was delicious? If I worked or lived nearby, I would go back and get more. if you are ever in that area, please look up their schedule!

Oh, I did forget to mention that the festival was also holding a raffle. Our little welcome backs had a raffle ticket inside and Kristen won herself an arc of ZENITH from Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings. And another arc from Scholastic! WOO!

We went inside the high school and saw that a line had already formed to get into the cafe where all the signings were. We bumped in a few of our blogger friends while in line and chatted until we were let in! And to be honest, it was one of the smoothest

signings I’ve actually been to – especially at that capacity of authors. I think it’s no surprise that Victoria Aveyard and Leigh Bardugo had the largest lines, but Kristen and I knew that we would breeze through those, despite having 4+ books for each of them. We’ve been through enough signings to know how to get through the lines.

And can I say, these two ladies just light up a room with their loveliness!

I will say that the one negative is that it was starting to get a little….humid in there. It was a small space for the amount of people there were, but everyone who was there was so courteous and patient. We were all there for the same reasons and I could tell everyone was excited to be there and to bond with other people waiting in line. I’d made acquaintances with a girl in Ashley Poston’s line who was so understanding when I wanted to go join shorter lines to get my books signed before jumping back.

A bit of advice for people who want to go to this sort of event and are looking to get lots of books signed:

  • Always aim to get the most popular authors signed first. Sure, you spend most of your time in that line (I spent a half an hour in Leigh’s line and nearly the same in Victoria’s, but the signing was two hours!).
  • If you have a lot of books to get signed by one person, be considerate to the people behind you. Do you really need all of your books personalized? I mean, what if one day you decide to pass them onto someone else? Otherwise, you don’t REALLY need them signed (although the workers there made it clear about the limits onpersonalization).
  • If you’re in a slow moving line and you see an author of yours has a smaller line, ask one of the other liners to see if you can quickly go get something signed and come back – everyone’s pretty courteous about it.
  • You really need at least one other person with you to come up with a game plan. I know it’s such a joy to meet authors, especially the ones that have written your favorite books. But if you have met the author before or you only have one or two books to sign, then you can divide your books up between the two (or more) of you so that you can get it all done. I’m pretty sure that Kristen and I had 20+ books between the two of us to get signed, but by half hour of, we got ALL of them signed. Sure,  was a little sweaty, but was it worth it? OH YAS.

Thank you so much to @btafest for such a great event. I hope to return in the next onth for the Boston Author Festival! And come back next year.

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I think the biggest thing that I looked forward to after Book Expo and Book Con was the launch party for Sarah Dessen’s ONCE AND FOR ALL at Books of Wonder. I had been on

the fence about being able to go, but things worked out and I was so excited to also see both Jenny Han (ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN) and Jennifer E. Smith (WINDFALL) again. I knew that it was going to packed since it had been one of Sarah’s first appearances in NYC in a while and good gosh, I was right. By the time I arrived at Books of Wonder, it was standing only at that point – luckily, one of my friends had been there to secure me a seat with ideal opportunities for taking photos of the event.

I think that the Penguin staff had gone all out for the launch since the date (6/6) was also Sarah’s birthday. So there was a huge banner where people could write messages and take photos (w/photo-taking opportunities to hashtag them #SayYestotheDess), balloons, flowers, and cake (of which ran out before I could partake L) The energy in the bookshop was really buzzing and I could certainly feel the excitement everyone felt.

Once the three authors came out, the attendees sang a chorus of HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Sarah which really did seem to touch her and it was so nice to see how happy she was to be spending her birthday this way. Jenny sat in the middle of the three because it seemed that she was going to be moderating the panel, which I find so freaking awesome because she’s just so funny and always has a great repartee with whoever she talks to. She went over how Sarah’s book was about weddings, her own book had a wedding, and Jennifer’s book…had a lottery! If you were in that room, you could feel the ease at which these three authors were at while they talked – it was just so funny and easy going.

Jenny kicked off the event with what each of them would do if they won the Powerball lottery:

Jennifer: We’ve actually talked about this. Jenny thinks my ideas are impractical. I would wanna buy a little cottage in Scotland. I would want to give a lot to charity. I’d want to do random acts of kindness. And I would also just want to travel a lot. I travel a lot anyways, but I would wanna do even more and potentially in first class.

Jenny: Just for the record, it is impractical to have a cottage in Scotland when you could just go visit there and stay in a lovely hotel instead of committing yourself. What about you, Sarah?

Sarah: I would travel also. I was asked during one of these five hours’ worth of interviews where I’ve always wanted to go that I’ve never been. I’ve never been to Italy. I haven’t been to Europe since I was twelve. I was really afraid to fly for many years and so now I have a daughter and I don’t really wanna put an ocean between us and I’m just a little nervous about that. But she’s getting old enough for us to go. We’ve been watching MASTER OF NONE and now I’m just like we’ve got to GO. But I think the first trip for us is London – lottery or not. I feel like it’s user friendly for a nine-year-old moreso without the language barriers. I would definitely travel because I haven’t done that. I would just yank my kid out of school and pay for an awesome tutor because then I wouldn’t feel guilty about dragging her around the world with me.

Jenny: I have to say that these are very modest wishes.

I think one of the things I really love and admire about Jenny is that she can be soextravagant and have these beautiful and expensive things, but at the same time – she’s just so down-to-earth and relatable. If she had won the lottery, she would have wanted to start her own production company focused on stories about people of color and women (to which Sarah emphasized that Jenny would always best them). It’s an answer like this that just enforces why she became a NYT Bestseller and became so widely appreciated for both her thoughts and stories. They enforce the idea of #WeNeedDiverseBooks.They went back to talking about Jennifer’s book and we heard a little more about what it was about. It’s pretty much about a girl who gets a lottery ticket for her best friend (who she’s obviously in love with) as a joke but he really ends up winning. If you have not read this yet or have yet to put it on your TBR pile, then do it now! It’s very much in the same essence as her bother novels and it just grounds you into realizing that things are more than romance (but romance doesn’t hurt). It was then that the news was dropped that WINDFALL as optioned for a movie which earned plenty of collective gasping and applause. I am very excited to see how it comes across film. Both Jenny and Sarahexpressed their excitement for the news. Sarah, in particular, thought Jennifer had done a good job of showing what effect the lottery can have on someone and what dreams could really come from winning so much money. Jennifer talked a little more about what she had done as prepwork for WINDFALL (in terms of research). She spoke about the more research she had done, the more happy she was that she hadn’t won. When you get past the idea that there’s just so much money won, there’s also a grim side to it too. There are winners that have lost the money and gone broke and winners that were taken advantage of as well. However, she’d apparently done a questionnaire and asked multiple people what they would do if they won the lottery. She had been surprised by the responses, most of them being very big-hearted and generous. I imagine that if I won $140 million, I would definitely spend a million of it first and give half of it to my parents so they could live happily and without worry. What would you do if you won the lottery?

I think the conversation grew much more lighter when Jenny asked her second question: In a few words, describe your ideal bachelorette night.

Sarah: My wedding anniversary is actually June 10th. So my birthday is today and my wedding anniversary is 4 days later. We don’t ever celebrate our anniversary because it’s right after my birthday. But gosh, I had a really good bachelorette party for my actual wedding back in 2000. My friends from high school and some girls I’d made friends with since high school – we just went out and had a big dinner and went to a bar and danced. And we had this big joke that I had all these leis around my neck, or maybe they were bracelets. So at the bar, the deal was that I had to give these bracelets away to different boys…or men.

Jenny: Did you kiss them or no?

Sarah: No, it was a kiss on the cheek!

I couldn’t help but laugh as she talked about how there was a box of Polaroids (hidden away from her daughter ;)) of her kissing various people on the cheek that were not her husband. I do think that Sarah hit the nail on the head about the essence of bachelorette parties – that beyond the risqué plans that it’s a night about a woman and her friends having her last hurrah as an unmarried woman.

Jennifer: I’d go to the cottage in Scotland.

Jenny: That’s not a bachelorette party – that’s a writer’s weekend away in the woods…Mine would be like…Paris. We’d get a suite at the new Ritz and they would be photoshoots and cake.

Sarah: I want to be invited to this bachelorette party by the way.

And how do you follow up a question about your bachelorette party? Well, who would be your bridesmaids? I’d taken this to mean a whole, OH, WE WOULD BE YOUR BRIDESMAIDS! Like each other. Of course, Jennifer answered Jenny and Sarah automatically. Jenny was a little more extravagant with her picks, (Oprah, her sister, a few of her friends like Morgan Matson and Siobhan Vivian). I laughed when Jennifer countered this by saying she would have family and friends, but not Oprah because she probably wouldn’t be invited.

Sarah explained how she only had one bridesmaid because she had been to so many weddings that it was either pick one or have twenty people in her bridal group. But I couldn’t agree more with her fantasy picks of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. This segued into Jenny asking about Sarah’s research on wedding planning since both she andJennifer were impressed by the amount of detail that went into that side of the story – to which she confessed that she made up a lot of it, haha (especially the acronyms). She did mention that some details were from her own wedding and the planning that went into that for her. I mean, have you seen THE WEDDING PLANNER? Or even 27 DRESSES? But it was kind of fun to listen to her talk about the downsides of her wedding (like how hot it was in the Carolinas and uninvited people that her guests invited). Of course, then there was talk of Instagram and Pinterest and the pressures of having the perfect photo wedding that was not present back when Sarah got married (to which I felt like she was grateful for, XD).

I thought one of the most interesting tidbits was when she brought up how she had gone to her first wedding since writing ONCE AND FOR ALL and how she was very aware of the wedding planning aspect. The wedding had started an hour later since there was an accident on the highway and this would not have been a good thing for Natalie (the wedding planning mom in OAFA). She emphasized that since she knew what it was like to go through a wedding that she was far more sympathetic and enthusiastic about the endeavors of a bride (like how “This is a beautiful napkin.”). She just notices everything now.

AND THEN THEY TALKED ABOUT FOOD. What food they would have at their wedding:

Jenny: What are your visions for the food?

Jennifer: I would have funfetti cake. Just kind of your…standard…

Jenny: Carving station?

Jennifer: I’m just gonna have Jenny plan my wedding.

Sarah: Jenny would be a great wedding planner.

Jenny: I would definitely wanna do Korean food meets Southern. So there would be kalbi with the barbecue. You know…corn on the cob, potato salad, and that kind of thing. And a late night nacho bar.

Can Jenny and I just be friends? I want to go to her wedding and pretend to be Oprah and partake in pink champagne and a nacho bar where I would pile on the sour cream and cheese. Mmmmm. All of the food talk is making me hungry as I write this (even after having a cupcake and a turnover).

I think there was definitely a chorus of AWEs when Jenny asked Sarah about the first song she and her husband had danced to – which was AT LAST. When I think of thatsong, I think of two things entirely – it’s for cheesy moments on television, or it’s definitely for romantic moments like Sarah’s wedding which seemed really low-key despite the trials and tribulations she went through. She talked about their relationship and how they had gotten together in college, broke up a few times, and by 1989 – no one thought they were going to get married because they’d been together for so long. To me, that is a very fitting song.

And of course, she delved into the drama side of weddings – the bridesmaid that has to make it about herself, the crying, when something doesn’t go right – and she told us the most adorable story of when her daughter was four and she had been a flower girl. Sarah had given the people in the procession before her M&Ms to lure her daughter so that she wouldn’t stop or veer off the aisle – which earned a lot of laughs.

I was pretty sad when the discussion was coming to an end – but Jenny definitely ended with a great question:

Jenny: If you could pick your signature cocktail, what would you call it and what would be in it? I’ll start. (which earned a lot of ooh’ing and laughter)

Jenny: Mine would be…True Love Waits. And it would have a delicious raspberry – fresh raspberry with strained, no seeds and a premium vodka and a nice champagne on top and taste really refreshing and delicious.

Sarah: How am I supposed to follow that? I’m a wine drinker. So I would probably have a really nice wine and just call it…At Last. I’m not a signature cocktail drink. I would probably outsource that. My sister does that. She would do it for me. It’s fantastic.

Jennifer: I’m not a cocktail drinker either.

Sarah: She would have a really nice beer.

After that, there were a few questions from the audience that were written on index cards prior to the event starting which I will do a quick recap and talk about the conversations I found really interesting.

1.       Because they had all written a number of books, they were asked if they ever went back and read their old books.

a.        Sarah does not – her philosophy was that once the book is printed, there was nothing that she could go back and change. There’s so much time spent writing, editing, and copyediting that it would only make her wish she could go back and improve upon things she wasn’t 100% about. She told this hilarious story about being on a plane a while ago and her seat mate had asked her what she did for a living (trying to get her to divulge more and more information). When Sarah told him/her that she was a writer, she was asked if the book she was reading was written by her. The answer was no. I am constantly surprised by the way that people go through their thought processes and how they come to ask the questions that they ask.

b.       Jennifer expressed the same sentiment, especially as an editor as another job for her. For her, she spoke about how it’s hard to read anything that’s finished without wanting to do something to it.

c.       Jenny – being the only one that’s written series, she has to go back and read. She made a great point in saying that despite having three different series, she thinks of those separate books equating to one whole story which is definitely a concept that I’ve never realized until now.

2.       How do they feel about reviewers tagging them when reviewing their books?

a.       According to Sarah, there seems to be a lot of discourse about this. She said that she doesn’t often click on the links and learned that Googling yourself is like looking for your name on the bathroom wall. She expressed that she’s a curious person and would always have that urge. Because OAFA is her thirteenth book, the idea of negativity is easier to roll of her shoulders, but she still resists.

b.       Jennifer answered that she appreciates when people take the time to review her book, but she tends to not click and if she does, it’s just to read the first few sentences. I felt like a lot of authors would agree with her – that when a review is like…90-99% positive, it’s that fractional remainder that hits the hardest to a writer. I so agree with her because reading that sort of thing can become addicting and unhealthy. She equated that kind of moment to someone walking to her front door and just saying, “You suck.” It came off as great comedic timing, but at the same time – it’s so true.

c.       Jenny believed that reviews are meant for readers and not for authors to look at. She’s looked at reviews for some of her books before but does not make it a habit because of its ability to squander her enthusiasm for the rest of the series. There was a brief moment of laughter when she talked about reviewers who don’t leave the best reviews, but then show up at said author events. I didn’t even know that sort of thing happened!

d.       Sarah’s words of wisdom (borrowed from Meg Cabot) – You’re not a $100 bill, not everyone’s gonna want you. She led with an anecdote about how people had been complaining about how similar her books are to one another and when she wrote THE MOON AND MORE, she had meant it to be different than her other books. When that came out, people were also dissatisfied and frustrated with how different it was from her other works. SPOILER ALERT for THE MOON AND MORE – The girl and guy don’t end up together and Sarah expressed a sense of female of empowerment: the girl doesn’t need to end up with a guy in the end.

3.       What book did they write was their favorite and why?

a.       Sarah – To her, it was hard to pick a favorite since each one was a representation of a different part of her life and where she was at. But she did say that ONCE AND FOR ALL was special to her. After writing SAINT ANYTHING, she hadn’t been sure that she had another book left in her since she’d been writing for 20 years and all good things come in 12, but ONCE AND FOR ALL was just that bonus book that made her happy to be where she was.

b.       Jenny – SHUG was her very first book to be published and that probably had a special place in her heart.

c.       Jennifer – the same sentiment was expressed from her as Jenny – THE STATISTICAL PROBABILTY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT (which is being made into a movie if you hadn’t heard! And it’s starring Hailee Steinfeld whom is an ultimate fav of mine).

4.       This question was to Jenny Han and Asian representation in teen lit (which I have a deep interest in ;)):

a.       She spoke about TATBILB and how it was something that she remained thoughtful about. She had the idea about a girl who wrote love letters to boys and how she wanted to cast the girl as an Asian American because she thought the idea had enough effervescence to it that people would be drawn to the idea. And she asked herself why the main girl couldn’t be Asian? Why did the story need to be relevant to the fact that the girl was Asian? This was a story about an American girl that just so happened to be Asian. She talked about the girls who came up to her and talked about how meaningful it was to them that there was an Asian character, but also girls who were not Asian that came to her and talked about how relatable Lara Jean was to them. Something that hit me really hard was Jenny’s whole goal behind TATBILB was that when someone walked into the bookstore that this Asian character was front and center on the cover. It was something that you couldn’t hide. As an Asian American girl, I found this so freaking important and even when I sit here writing thing and thinking back to that moment, I truly find myself bonding with this idea and just how thoughtful Jenny Han is. I am so happy that she and this series were so warmly and well-received because she has done so much for the diverse reading community as a whole.

After one last question, Jenny presented flowers similar to the ones on the cover of ONCE AND FOR ALL with the intention of having her throw them over her shoulder like a bride with a bouquet. I have to say that I love these sort of spontaneous (but not reallyspontaneous) things that transpire and it was so great to watch her do that to just round out her launch event. I will say that there is nothing to end an event than giving the birthday girl her birthday cake. When her cake was brought out to her and she made her wish, everyone was surprised to see that she had gotten frosting all over the top of her white dress. How can an event end anymore perfectly than this? Of course, Sarah seemed to brush it off and it was in such good humor that people wanted to make sure she was okay.

Once the signing line started, I was grateful that my friend and I were in the first ten so that I could leave since my commute is long. I couldn’t help but laugh when one of my friends took out a large pile of books for Sarah to sign. She certainly didn’t mean to take up much time and went without personalization in most of her books for the sake of keeping the line moving (she’s considerate like that). I had a fleeting moment with Sarah since I only had one book to sign and I loved chatting with Jennifer and Jenny because they’re both such personable and down-to-earth. I couldn’t help but mention to Jenny how much when she talks about the spot gloss on the covers of the new editions of THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY just because I’m in production and I totally understand the effect it has on a book’s aesthetic.

I left in such good spirits and it was another great event to remember for me. Were you at the same event? Let us know how your experience went!

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There are very few things that I plan far in advance and look forward to all year long (besides Christmas and Chinese New Year, that is) and one of them is Book Expo/BookCon. A convention completely dedicated to the love and appreciation of books? Surrounded by publishers, authors, and books? I love it. It’s pretty much the place I would want to be 365 days a year. I believe that earlier last year, ReedPop and Book Expo made an announcement that their selection process for bloggers would be narrowed down so that publishers could better concentrate on forging relationships with industry professionals like booksellers and librarians. I know that this announcement put a lot of potential attendees off (that and a huge sum of $300 to attend) which is understandable. I was concerned that because BookCon was being hyped up and beefed up with lots of high-profile guests that BookExpo would be lackluster.

Neither of us decided to attend Wednesday because there was a lot to do before we would go on Thursday. And to be honest, I think we needed to prepare ourselves for what was about to go down go down during Book Expo. For the most part, we wanted to spend our time on the show floor since that’s where a lot of the fun is for the both of us. So in the early morn of June 1st, we got up at 4:30 and were on a train by 5:30AM to make it over so we could pick up our badges since we didn’t do it the night before. It was also our aim to score tickets to Cora Carmack, Leigh Bardugo, and Maggie Stiefvater. While we were waiting in line, we made a few friends and saw some old ones, which I think is what is so great about being in the book world – you can easily align your interests and create friendships around books. It’s something we all have in common. Unfortunately, it seemed that with the Avid Reader Pass Program and others who seemed to be there since 3/4AM, Leigh Bardugo tickets were long gone. I’d been disappointed because I was dying to get my hands on THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS sampler which, yes I know – why am I so fussy over a sampler? Well, even as a sampler, it’s beautiful. Plus, I’d read that she might be giving our her SIX OF CROWS playing cards which is probably one of my biggest searches for.

We obviously navigated our way through the show floor since the layout was different than other years and grabbed all the totes (my one goal was to score the SHE PERSISTED tote from Penguin Random House in support of Chelsea Clinton that weekend) before going over to Maggie’s signing area. I have to say that I haven’t read any of her previous books. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about both her SHIVER and RAVEN CYCLE series and I just don’t like delving into books that are really volatile. But ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS seemed so interesting and we had a ticket for it, so why not? After that, we just roamed the show floor to see what all the booths had to offer and we both had the consensus that Book Expo was very low key and relaxing for the most part. I know that so many were discouraged from coming, but it made the experience for those that did more pleasurable. Yeah, there were a lot of people, but we had no major mishaps.

By the end of the day, the pair of us got most of the books we wanted (with Kristen’s wonderful schedule and timing skills) and we were pretty exhausted by the time we got back home. I was determined to be selective about the books I brought home because when we first attended the convention, I made the mistake of grabbing anything and having no room for most of the things I didn’t care for – so I wasn’t as tired as Kristen was (whom had gotten a lot of books she wanted).

The highlights of Thursday were meeting Cora Carmack and Leigh Bardugo (I know! I got to meet her!). I was delighted to see a finished copy of Cora Carmack’s ROAR which I had the opportunity to read as an ARC. It is a beautiful, beautiful book in my opinion and definitely has a unique and fresh take on fantasy stories. I will be posting my review soon for it so be on the lookout! Plus, she was such a delightful person to talk to and just overall lovely (pretty much all the authors we met were lovely).

So by happenstance, I got to meet Leigh in the Autographing Area and my goodness, her hair color was gorgeous. I’ve met very few people who could pull off the dark gray/silver look and my gosh, can that woman pull it off. She was surrounded by her Macmillan team and they were all rather kind. I was not there to get THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS because Fiercereads was promoting Grishaverse in the Crystal Palace for most of the convention so they had copies there for the taking! I had read that her book had won the Teen Choice Book Award and had wanted to congratulate her on that. Leigh Barduo never ceases to impress me with her humility and surprise over these sorts of achievements. I did bring my French SIX OF CROWS in the hopes that she would sign it (which she obviously did because she’s just so dang kind).

Day one of Book Expo was a success to say in the least. We had decided to approach Friday with less of a plan, but we definitely had our list of things we wanted, but didn’t necessarily NEED if we couldn’t get them. Fortunately, the ones we wanted (WARCROSS and BEASTS MADE OF NIGHT), we received previously. In terms of ticketed authors, we wanted to aim for Colleen Hoover and Marissa Meyer. I knew that if we didn’t get Marissa Meyer, it wasn’t a huge ordeal since it was a sampler and RENEGADES will be out within a few months. Nevertheless, I would have loved to say hello to Marissa once more. We managed to snag Colleen Hoover and Neil Patrick Harris (which we later gave away because it was later in the day and we just couldn’t fathom staying much longer after little sleep and 12K steps) so it was another day to the show floor for us! What I really loved was watching the interaction between attendees and the exhibitors – particularly the contrast between the smaller and big five publishers. It’s obviously a stark difference, but at the same time – it’s nice to think about how the big five were small once and look where they are now.

As every book dragon does, we snagged the books that we’d been hoping to get on ourlist (though, not the end of the world if we didn’t) and the biggest (and most competitive) event of the day was Leigh Bardugo’s WARBRINGER from Random House. We were

rather guilty of hovering around the pillars near Penguin Random House, but the one good thing about Book Expo was that the attendees seemed to get along much better and there was very little hostility, if any at all. Somehow, against all odds, those who wanted WARBRINGER banded together to create a pretty calm and collective line. There were people in line, wonderful people, who understood the fairness of who had been there the longest and wanted to keep order. In this line, I saw some really great compassion and organization spring out from nearly everyone. Once the signing started, it went by quickly and everyone seemed relatively happy. We were rather happy to be part of such a collective group that showed that type of maturity. I imagine that if Book Expo hadn’t decided to screen its attendees this year, it would have been a different story.

When Friday and Book Expo came to a close, I was sad, but excited because BookCon would be starting the next day. Out of my bounty from Book Expo, I think I was really looking forward to:

To be honest, there were a lot of books and that meant a lot of blurs, but nevertheless, everyone seemed to find something they really wanted at Book Expo.

One regret I do have is being unable to start relationships with publishers. I love going to these things because it means meeting the writers who have built such wonderful words, but in hindsight, I lose the opportunity to meet with the professional book pushers themselves. I really admire them for all that they do for their authors (include surviving BookCon) and know that I should really set some time aside to talk with them and just stay in touch. I, myself, am somewhat socially awkward at times and never want to bother professionals when they’re actually working, but it’s always nice to see that they’re open to chatting with people if they wish to do so.

Book Expo…to say in the least, was just so…chill? Sure, there were times where anxieties were heightened and patience was on edge, but overall, there’s nothing stopping me from wanting to attend next year. It seemed like there was a lot of more space and walking space which was nice. I do feel like the shift in where the booths usually were threw me off and therefore, I seemed to visit them less than I would have liked (this was more so about HarperCollins…they just seemed so far away from everyone else!). My experience with ReedPop events have always been good and I love that they host them at the Jacob Javits Center (which is a BEAUTIFUL location).

So I’d have to say that Book Expo 2017…you were a success. Let’s make 2018 a good one, too!