Tuesday, September 30, 2014

YA Literature Conference/Fandom Frenzy

*Paul Harvey voice* And now for the rest of the story.

     Just like the day before, we stood in line to get into the ballroom, picking up our name tags as we were handed ARCs of DOVE ARISING by Karen Bao. (My grand ARC total for the weekend was seven. Seven ARCs in two days. I deem this a productive weekend.) Cassandra Clare and Holly Black did a quick Q&A before their signing, during which my buddy and I stayed in the ballroom because we'd gotten our Clare/Black books signed the day before. Our time in the ballroom was spent talking and hanging out and looking for an ARC of COMPULSION, which we never did find.

     At this point, authors started arriving and gathering out in the lobby.We could see them from where we sat, and I still had a book (ALMOST HOME by Joan Bauer) to get signed, so we made our way over when we spotted her. We just passed through the doorway and stepped into the lobby when someone from Anderson's walked up to the group and said "Okay, authors, here's what we're going to do...." We turned around and went back to our table, where a lady was placing a piece of paper with an author name on it. Some tables had one author, and some had two. We were lucky enough to get both Sarah Fine and Phillip Siegel at our table. I was especially excited about Phillip, because I'd read the BREAK UP ARTIST in July and adored it, which is one of the reasons why I attended the Mighty Mississippi Book Blast Tour that same month. So this was my second time meeting Phillip!

     What came next was called "Speed Dating" We had 60 seconds to ask questions to the author and/or listen to the author pitch their book. For the tables that had two authors, we could spend two minutes at the table. It was chaos at first-- everyone was moving from table to table, not quite sure how this was going to work-- but after about three or four tables, everything clicked, and it was smooth sailing from there on out. We made it to all but five tables before we were called to go back to our seats, and the amount of collected swag from the different tables was pretty impressive.

     Next in the day was the Author Chorus line, where all  of the authors stood in a line at the front of the room and answered questions. Becky, the owner of Anderson's Book Shop, dressed as Alex Lipton and asked a question to he first person in line, who answered and passed the mic down the line. Questions like "What was your worst haircut/style?" (Best answer from Lex Hrabe, one of the authors of QUARANTINE, who said "you're looking at it."), and "If you found yourself at the Pearly Gates, what would you hope to hear God say?" (Best answer from Eliot Schrefer, author of ENDANGERED and THREATENED, who said "Psyyyyych!").

     Lunch next! After we ate, we perused the bookshop until it was time to go back inside. When we entered the ballroom, we were greeted by the musical stylings of some of our talented authors, including Len Vlahos (SCAR BOYS), Frank Portman (KING DORK), Adam Selzer (PLAY ME BACKWARDS), and Kevin Emerson (EXILE). We came in a bit late and only caught a couple performances, but I did manage to get the last two on tape. 

     If you've read EXILE, then you know that there's a very intimate song that Caleb writes, and we get the lyrics on paper. Reading the lyrics and seeing it performed are two very different things, and hearing the song come to life was a very surreal experience. Getting to sing along was pretty amazing as well. 

     The last song is one that we all probably know. Or at least, we've all probably heard it. Wanted Dead or Alive. Len, Kevin, and Adam performed this one for us, and though the video had to be 
trimmed to get it to fit on the blog, believe me when I tell you that the applause at the end was HUGE.

      When the music was all over, the authors lined up across the front of the stage once more for "Story on the Fly-- Just Add Water". The authors were given a story starter, and they had to add a sentence or word before passing the mic to the next author. Story building! The first prompt was something to the effect of "A bridesmaid discovers her long lost twin while dog-sitting." SPOILER ALERT: Her twin is actually the dog! The second prompt... I can't even remember what it was. Between the Macaulay Culkin and Jar-Jar Binks references, I totally lost the initial starter sentence by the time they said "The end." 

     If you've seen Jimmy Fallon, then you've most likely watched him write his Thank You Notes. Sometimes sarcastic, sometimes punny, sometimes he can't even finish the note without laughing-- and you can bet that this is exactly what happened when our authors did their Thank You's. With Becky at the piano, Thank You cards were read out from down the line, and I wish I could've seen who said it-- from my table clear on the other end of the room, the last half of the line was hard to see-- but someone said "Thank you, authors in this room, for using pop-culture references on that last story that no kid in here understood." And it was so true! The adults clearly got their references, but most of us teenagers were like, "Wait, what?" But it was still entertaining to see the authors having so much fun.

     Quiz Bowl. Yes. Last thing of the day before we were let loose to get things signed, was the YA Frenzy Quiz Bowl. We had these numbers on our name tags, and we had to match our numbers to a table number, and this was to be our group for the Quiz Bowl. There were four kids, and a librarian at our table (Go 22!), as well as two authors! Len Vlahos and Todd Hasak-Lowy were our authors, and though we were no where near first place, we had a blast with it! Some of the questions for the Quiz Bowl included things like guessing the title and author of the YA cover shown to us on the screen; matching author names with their headshots (Or Mugshots); guessing the title and author of Classic novels; guessing the movie/book, author, character, and actor when shown a still of a YA movie. We had a great time, and it was the perfect way to end the day.

     After the Quiz Bowl ended, I got my copy of ALMOST HOME signed by Joan Bauer, and took a selfie with her. Joan is seriously one of the most inspirational people I've ever met.

    Then my buddy and I went around getting our tote bags signed. I managed to get all but the six busiest authors to sign mine before I had to leave.

     Also, throughout the weekend there had been foam posters up for silent auction in the lobby. They were all signed by the author, and my parents surprised me by being the highest bidder on two posters for me! One of the posters was for SINNER by Maggie Stiefvater, and the other was from WARRIORS: MIDNIGHT by Erin Hunter (Those were the first big-series books that I ever got into). 

     It was an incredible weekend, and I'm so glad that we went. To anyone thinking of going next year: GO. ITS WORTH IT. 

     And to all of the authors who took their entire weekend to come hang out with us: You guys are amazing, and all of us who attended are incredibly appreciative. Keep Writing. Come back again soon!

     Here's that giveaway again! Don't be afraid to enter to win that paperback copy of City of Ashes, signed by Cassandra Clare!

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