Monday, September 29, 2014

YA Literature Conference/Fandom Frenzy

     So this is part one of a two part post about this weekend, which was a huge thing for readers in the Chicago area and beyond! Anderson's-- The best independent bookstore ever-- hosted what is called the YA Literature Conference (#YALitConf), 40+ authors come together and have a day to interact with teachers, librarians, and booksellers via keynote speakings and panels. Signing opportunities were available throughout the day, and you will not believe some of the authors I got to meet! The next day was the YA Fandom Frenzy, where readers got to interact with these authors via Q&A sessions, games, and signings. The following will be an account of Day One!

     As some of you already know, I enjoy having a buddy to go to events with. I don't mind going to an event without someone, but when you get to share the experience with a buddy, you always have a bit more fun. That being said, I met up with my signing buddy at the hotel where the conference was being hosted, and we waited patiently-- Or impatiently... Whichever you choose to believe...-- for the doors to open.

     When the time came for the day to start, we were walked past a table of swag *Grabby hands* and once we'd taken what we wanted, they placed an ARC in our hands. If you can believe it, the ARC was I WAS HERE by Gayle Forman. SCORE! After snatching up nametags, we were provided a continental breakfast, goody bags with a few more ARCs, and mini candy bars were on each table, as well as a reserved chair for an author-- An author sat at each of these candy-bar-providing tables throughout the entire day.
     Joan Bauer spoke next, and even though I haven't read any of her books yet *looks towards massive stack* it was amazing to hear her talk. She was so positive and upbeat and so animated. You could tell that she really loves writing. That she's passionate about it, and it's what she's meant to do. She's written 12 books, including the favorites HOPE WAS HERE, SQUASHED, and  ALMOST HOME. You should look into her for heartfelt stories.

     Carl Hiaasen, author of HOOT, SCAT, and new YA debut, SKINK NO SURRENDER, spoke next, and then we went to Break Out Sessions.

     The first session we went to was dubbed "Falling In & Out of Love", and the panel was made up of some pretty fantastic authors. Phillip Siegel, Morgan Matson, Adi Alsaid, Stephanie Perkins, Simone Elkeles, and Jenny Han were all in the room, answering questions and requests from both the audience and the moderator.  For example, how they knew when they were in love for the first time, and also things like how to keep the romance in a book without making the story all about romance. There were definitely some things said during this panel that I wish I hadn't heard, and it was very easy to tell the authors that write clean books from the ones who... don't.

     The second session was Suspense, Mystery, Action, with the authors as T. M. Goeglein, Adele Griffin, Lisi Harrison, James Klise, Holly Goldberg Sloan, and Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. At this panel, the authors talked about their books, took questions from the moderator and audience, and at almost the very end of the panel, the room erupted in a roar when Lexile was brought up. Some were for it, some were opposed, and some weren't familiar with the concept, but my buddy and I sat there looking at each other with wide eyes as these people shouted and had to be called to order by the moderator as if we were in court.

     After the two panels, we met back in the ballroom to hear about upcoming YA Literature (I'd like to say that new releases POSITIVE by Paige Rawl, NO SUMMIT OUT OF SIGHT by Jordan Romero with Linda LeBlanc, and ZAC & MIA by A.J. Betts are sounding phenomenal).

     Following the Upcoming Literature were two other keynote speakings, followed by lunch. During lunch, the bookstore was open, as well as the first round of signings. Towards the end of the second speaking, it was brought to my attention that Cassandra Clare and Holly Black were outside already, signing early. We grabbed our bags and ran outside to stand in line, which was short, by the way Only, like, eight of us knew what was happening! I'd brought every Cassandra Clare book I owned-- Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, Codex, Iron Trial. Um, yeah, with 40+ authors, it will not surprise you that I brought three bags of books, will it?-- and she signed every single one of them. Cassie was super approachable, and I honestly don't know how I managed to have a conversation with her without screaming and fangirling in her face. Major. Self. Control. I asked Clare which series she enjoyed writing most: TMI or TID, and she said that she loved them both for different reasons, but did really enjoy the time period during which TID was based. She then asked me if I had a favorite character (Some of you know my answer) and I said "Of course! Jace!" Cassie then smiled and, still signing my books, by the way, said that she thought it was funny how everyone whose favorite character is Jace says it like "Duh, who else would be my favorite?" which we both laughed at before I added that Magnus would be a close second. The fangirling as I walked away from her table was real.

     Instead of eating first, I decided to get my books signed. Books > food. And just as I got back to the table and got my Shadowhunter books situated back in their bags, the lovely Stephanie Perkins arrived at her signing table and wasn't even seated before a flock of us had materialized in front of her. I had all three of her books, ANNA, LOLA, and ISLA to get signed, so I stood in line and when it was my turn, I got to speak to Stephanie. Earlier in the "Falling In & Out of Love" panel, she said that she would flirt with St. Clair (From ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS), have a huge crush on Cricket Bell (From LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR), and date/marry/everything else Josh (From ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER), so I asked her is Isla was her favorite of the trilogy to write. She said that she answered the question that way because there was so much of herself in Josh, and then we got started talking about the writing process and how ANNA's first draft was nothing like the ANNA we know and love. I'm actually not even sure if we ever got back to the whole "Which book was your favorite" question....

     After that, we placed our lunch order at the hotel restaurant and went back out for signings. Now with a majority of my books signed and placed in the truck (Those Cassie books took up a lot of space, alright?) I had one bag left. As I walked towards the doors, I looked out the window and was pleased to see that most of the people were in line for Cassie and Holly, and all other lines were short. I dashed up to my next author (Who I was pretty excited about) and literally waited like thirty seconds until the person in front of me left. Debut author Adi Alsaid was whose line I was in. My signing buddy and I saw him walk past our table that morning and were fangirling because I love LETS GET LOST and she wants to read it super badly. Have you read LGL? If yes, then wooh! *high fives* If you have not, well, I wouldn't be doing my part as a member of the street team if I didn't give you the Goodreads Link. I recommend you check it out. Anyway. So Adi is super nice and we cheered about the street team-- would you like to be on it? Click this link and scroll down to just under the author picture. You'll see subscription info there! You should join us, I mean, we're a pretty fantastic group of Adi fans. After my book was signed, we talked about LGL for a few minutes before I asked for a picture. Later, my buddy and I bothered him whilst he was on his computer to ask for a picture together. My apologies again for that interruption, Adi!


     The first thing I'd like to say about Sara B. Larson is that she really matched her book. From the shirt to the sharpie to the nail polish! And I just happened to match as well! As she signed, I told her how I honestly wasn't expecting to like DEFY, going into it, because it was castles and princes and war. But my friend went on and on about it so I had to try it and whaddaya know? It was amazingg. So amazing that I'm extremely hopeful that my ARC request will be granted *Bambi Eyes to Sara's publicist*. Was super great to be able to talk to her, and I really hope she comes back for IGNITE!

I didn't even know this picture had been taken until later that night, when I'd looked through the day's photos. I got so excited that I FORGOT TO ASK FOR A PICTURE. What even?!

          EXILE. I wanted to manage a band so badly when I finished that book. In fact, I texted my best friend, who plays drums, and was like "Hey, we should start a band" And we spent a couple hours creating this imaginary band (Which included Luke Hemmings and Brad Simpson). The longing for a band was real, you guys. *Points at author* I blame Kevin Emerson. Being in a band himself, he knows exactly how to write a "band book" and let me tell you, EXILE rocks. *Ba dum tiss* Get it? "Rocks"? Anyone? No? Moving on! I was super impressed with this book, especially since the typical, cliche thing that I expected to happen, did not happen, and it felt like a super fresh story. Also, I'd wanted to meet Kevin so that I could tell him (Which I did, by the way) That I was in the backseat of the truck when I finished this book, and I threw a fit when I read that last page. So many questions were left unanswered! I took to Google straight away, and was so relieved when I saw that there would be more books! Apparently there was a sentence in the back of the book that said so, but I had missed it because after that last page, I don't usually look at the rest of the book (Because of spoilers and ads). Turns out, that sentence wasn't in the ARCs, and was added later after many others had the same reaction as I did. Book two, I neeeeeeeeed you.

     It is to my sadness that I can't say much on THREATENED by Eliot Schrefer. I'm only on chapter five, but I'm working on it! Eliot was super nice, and though I had no idea that this picture was even being taken, he posed perfectly for it! Maybe I need to be more observant.. hah... I will finish THREATENED and I will make a long review of it to make up for this teeny paragraph. Promise!

     The excitement I experienced when I heard that Wendelin Van Draanen was going to be one of the authors at this conference was real. I'd read FLIPPED as a sixth grader (five years ago, wow!) and absolutely loved it. And then the movie came out and basically the only part of the story that was changed was the era in which the story took place. I asked Wedelin if she was pleased with the movie (She was), and I told her that I hadn't read any of her other books, so she gave me this paper-- Can you see the folded sheet of green?-- that listed her books, and she marked a few that she thought I might like. *Adds to TBR list* it was lovely to meet her, as I enjoyed FLIPPED immensely!

     After getting the books signed, we had a late lunch, which ran over into the last Break Out session of the day: Fantastical World Building. We saved this one for last, thinking it would be the busiest and that everyone would go to it first. Well... It was the busiest, and apparently everyone had the same idea as we did, because everyone was in this session. The room was so packed that we had to sit on the window ledge. And we couldn't hear a single thing, nor could we see the lovely ladies that were speaking. Who were they, you ask? Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Kendare Blake, Delilah Dawson, Katherine Howe, and Sara B. Larson.

    When that panel was over, everyone met back in the ballroom for another keynote, which we were late to again because there were so many people. We sat outside the doors for a while, and I happened to look across the street and see Adi Alsaid on his computer (Writing? Revising?). So guys, I'm not at all going to pretend like I didn't freak out and run to set my bags down so we could get a picture. Would I be a fangirl if I didn't take advantage of such opportunities? AN AUTHOR. WHOM I HAPPENED TO BE A BIG FAN OF. WAS RIGHT. THERE. Authors for me are what movie stars are to most people, so... yeah. I carpe'd the diem. Buddy and I interrupted whatever he was doing and got a picture. I apologise for interrupting your quiet time, Adi!

     After perusing the bookstore, we made our way back to the ballroom to hear Cassie and Holly speak during their keynote session. Definitely one of the best parts of the day! Their session closed out the day, and all of the authors signed if you hadn't gotten that done. I did get my copy and a friend's copy of IRON TRIAL signed, though I didn't think to get a picture with both Cassie and Holly. The same occurred when I met Kendare Blake and got my ANTIGODDESS copy signed. That concluded the YA Literature Conference!

     It was a great day, and a very long day, and all of the authors were super amazing! I can't wait to tell you about Sunday, Day Two, aka YA Fandom Frenzy!

     ATTENTION: If any of you reading this were at the Literature Conference on Saturday, and you received an ARC of COMPULSION, please contact me if you'd be willing to give it up. Or trade it! Also, theres a giveaway of it going on over on Martina Boone's website. 4000+ people have entered!

     To celebrate this weekend here's a giveaway for you! US ONLY PLEASE!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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