Hey guys! Before I get into my BEA/BookCon recap, I wanted to say sorry that I’ve been a little MIA lately. The couple of weeks since coming home from Chicago have been kind of rough for me – emotionally but also at work – and I just haven’t felt like blogging. So I took a little hiatus. I’m ready to get back to it, and I hope you’re ready too. 🙂
A couple of weeks ago I went to my first-ever BEA (Book Expo America) and BookCon in Chicago. I drove 10.5 hours by myself on the Tuesday before BEA started, and it was wonderful and terrible all at the same time. 10.5 hours in a car with nothing to look at (seriously, there is nothing on the way up) and only yourself for company can get a bit monotonous. Thankfully I had the audiobook for Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (review soon) and I LOVED it. It helped pass the time quickly. But just so you know, here are a couple of pictures I took on the way up. I told you: NOTHING.
Wednesday was absolutely amazing. I FINALLY got to meet Brittany (Brittany’s Book Rambles) – one of my best blogger friends – in person, and she is just as wonderful as I thought. I also got to meet Annalisse (Hopeful Reads), Michelle (Dreaming of Alba), and Melanie (One Less Lonely Blog), and we all ended up being a BEA-crew of helping each other out and hanging out. I had so much freaking fun with these people, and I can’t wait to see them all again. I MISS YOUUUUU!
I also met Sarah K (The YA Book Traveler), Ava (Bookishness and Tea), Andye (Reading Teen) – who is just the absolute best, Mishma (Chasing Faerytales), Shannon (It Starts at Midnight), Hannah (Irish Banana), Jamie (Fiction Fare), Fallon (Seeing Double in Neverland), Morgan (Take Me Away to a Great Read), Anna, and so many more. If I forgot you, yell at me in the comments. I am so sorry!
The conference itself was amazing. Like I said, it was my first time, so I was expecting to be a bit overwhelmed, but overall, I wasn’t. Everything was so well laid out and organized, and I really enjoyed just walking around and seeing what was there. I talked to a bunch of publishers, which was really cool. I went to several booths and just asked them to tell me some of the books they were excited about, and it was fun seeing which books they picked out. I found several books I hadn’t heard of this way. Check out last week’s TTT to see some of the books I picked up on a whim.
It’s not all about the books, of course. There were a bunch of panels happening at the same time, and I’m glad I made time to attend a few of them. I think my two favorites were the ALA @ BEA one on Reader’s Advisory; I learned a bunch of cool techniques to use that I can bring back to my library. I also enjoyed the panel called “Reality Bites”, which featured John Corey Whaley, David Levithan, David Arnold, Jennifer Niven, and Nicola Yoon. Oh, and on Saturday (BookCon), I won a ticket to a meet and greet with Jazz Jennings, which was fun. She’s super adorable.
Another favorite part of the week was Friday morning. David Arnold was live tweeting from the Penguin Teen Twitter account and asked if I wanted to walk around with him while I did. Who would say no? I mean, seriously. So I met up with him and Adam Silvera and got to meet in person Eric Smith (super awesome literary agent), Mary (librarian and blogger), Katie (bookseller and blogger), Gaby (bookseller and blogger), and, for the first time, Dave Connis (author of The Temptation of Adam, which comes out next year). We hung out for a while and each got a Kids of Appetite armband (GAAAHHH I CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU GUYS TO READ THIS BOOK GEEZ). It was an absolute blast, and I was really glad I got to see David again.
I met so many amazing authors, you guys! Some of them I’d already met and it was wonderful to see them again. But I met some of my favorites, including:
Oliver Jeffers (he knew who I was!!!!), Tahereh Mafi (who recognized me from Twitter!), Laini Taylor, Jay Kristoff, Justin Cronin, Mia Siegert, Siobhan Vivian, John Corey Whaley, Sam Maggs, William Ritter, Ruta Sepetys, Kerri Maniscalco, Kendare Blake, Kristen Simmons, and Hannah Hart (I randomly ran into her at the Image Comics booth – so cool!). I, unfortunately, didn’t get pictures with all of these wonderful authors, but some of my pics are below.
Mia Siegert actually joined my family and I at Giordano’s for dinner on Thursday night, which was a TON of fun! My family loved her because her book features hockey, and they are a bunch of hockey fans.
And, of course, I got a LOT of books. I tried to limit myself to books I knew I really wanted to read, and I think I did a pretty good job. The books on the left are my signed books and the ones on the right are not. Either way, I’m super excited to read ALL of these. In fact, I’ve already read two (GEMINA and THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR, and I’ve started WONDER WOMEN). I’m trying really hard to read these books in publication order – so I don’t read a book that doesn’t get published until January before a book that gets published next month, but it’s taking ALL of my strength to not start HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME. Honestly, I’m pretty sure I’m starting that one next. Publication dates be damned.
The hardest part of the whole trip was the drive home. It was really hard to leave these amazing friends I made behind. Plus, I was SO EXHAUSTED and driving 10.5 hours home with no one to talk to was blaaaaah. And, of course, the audiobook I wanted to listen to downloaded wrong and the first hour of the book was missing.
I had such a great time though. I would HIGHLY recommend going to BEA if you ever have the chance!