Thursday, July 5, 2012

ALA Annual 2012 Recap + Notable Moments

It's real, I'm a YA Book Blogger!
Over a week after ALA Annual took place, and I finally feel like I'm caught up and recovered! Which is just in time, because Comic-con schedules are finally released and now I get to start planning that fun. (Are you going to SDCC? Tell me if so!)

First, it blows my mind that people actually read this little blog of mine. Obviously it's out there, and I want it to be read; but for people, readers, authors and publishers to remember it, know it, tell me they've checked out my site or read my reviews before in real life?! That's crazy, and I will never stop feeing humbled and grateful. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.

It's hard to recap ALA without being boring - not because the event is boring, but because no one wants to read the number of booths I visited, the discussions I had with reps, how I read the back of a book and found it interesting. I went Friday and was properly overwhelmed, then realized that I was surrounded by books, and books are my home. There's nowhere else you can find accepting people and characters. Saturday was a whirlwind, but I actually didn't do too many signings - so it was a nice, full day of walking the exhibit hall, chatting with representatives, browsing titles, and spending time with my mom. I ran into Jamie from The Lost Lola, who's been a blog friend for awhile and I'm always happy to chat with. Molly Ringwald walked by me too, as did George RR Martin, David Levithan, and Corey Whaley (debates as to which was more exciting!).
The only picture I took on the exhibit floor.
Saturday night was amazing, and it definitely puts a run to ALA as being the best part of the weekend. The Great YA Blogger Meetup hosted by YA Highway and Stacked Books had a fantastic turnout, and it was so much fun to meet people who share what I love. You can see photos from the event at the YA Highway recap posted here. It's indescribable to be in a room with authors, publicists, other YA enthusiasts...I facebooked this statement after, and it still holds true:

It was great to meet new bloggers, see some old friends, and hang out with authors. Some of the wonderful people I met/saw/saw again on Saturday...
Stephanie Keuhn | Cory Jackson | Kirsten Hubbard | Jessi KirbyDebra Driza | Marissa Meyer | Kristen Kittscher | James Raney | Gretchen McNeil | Elana Arnold (whose ARC I'd picked up earlier in the day, so I was excited!) | Ava | Demetra Brodsky | Karen Wadsworth | Jamie of The Lost Lola | Jordyn of Ten Cent Notes (who has the cutest freakin' business card ever) | Lena of Addicted 2 Novels | Magan of Rather Be Reading | HD of Reading Writing Breathing | Mickey of I'm A Book Shark | Jenny of Books to the Sky | Maggie of Young Adult Anonymous | Cameron of What the Cat Read | Jamie of Two Chicks on Books/Entangled Publishing | Alethea of Read Now Sleep Later

Sunday was the last day I got to attend, and it was a great way to end the weekend. I met a few other bloggers (including S from Oh! Paper Pages, whose blog I love and had been chatting with on Twitter for awhile and we'd been trying to meet up all weekend; Cindy from Oodles of Books; and Sash from Sash and Em, who I admit to being a bit starstruck about since I love their blog!) and finally did a few signings. I totally get why bloggers love these events, because as I was walking around I kept running into people I'd met the night before or authors I knew and it was so much fun to chat books and hang out for a few minutes. I also managed to pick up Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, which was unexpected and awesome - plus I got to princess wave with Marissa, absolutely hilarious!
Top L: Marissa Meyer (Cinder, Scarlet)
Top R: Gennifer Albin (Crewel)
Bottom L: Jessica Khoury (Origin)
Bottom R: Michael Grant (Eve & Adam
So, that was ALA for me. A room full of books and strangers I've never felt more at home with.

And how could I not talk about the books? SO MANY BOOKS! I picked up some phenomenal ones - but I'm not going to share them all here just yet. I'll make a larger post so I can link them up to their GR sites, but for now I'm going to highlight a few that ARE special to me. Complete with some fun stories!

Ten by Gretchen McNeil
I ENDURED for this book: I got shoved! I was walking through HarperCollins, saw a stack of Ten sitting on a podium, and went to go get one. I'm amidst a crowd of probably 5 people (and I'd like to point out there were at least 15 copies on the podium) reaching to get one, when suddenly some middle-aged woman comes practically running up, SHOVES MY SHOULDER and makes me stumble to the right while she reached over, snaps up a copy, and rushes off. Completely unnecessary. You have no idea the amount of bad words that whizzed through my head.

The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini
THIS IS THE MOST EXCITING PART OF ALA FOR ME. Seriously. I can't even joke about it. I don't hide that I love Ned Vizzini. Forever and for always. I've had the pleasure of meeting him before, chatting a bit, and interacting on twitter, and he's such a nice, fun guy. Safe to say, wherever he goes, I will surely follow (not in a creepy stalker way of a supportive, i'll-read-anything-you-write-and-give-to-the-public way). So naturally, when I found out that he'd be at the SOHO Press booth signing on Saturday, I was definitely there.

As he's signing copies of Who Done It? (see three books below!), he spots me and recognizes me! We said hi, had an awkward moment of 'do we hug hello or just shake hands?' that made me laugh (for the curious: we shook hands since we were in a professional environment), and talked a bit about the last event he did. I was extremely flattered that he remembered the write-up I did about the event, and it floored me when he thanked me for writing it. It was completely my honor to be able to write about him, and his thanks were unnecessary.

Anyway. We're holding up the line a bit, still talking as he's signing a book for me, and I tell him "by the way, I have been pestering Harper for the last two days about getting a copy of The Other Normals and they keep telling me no or that they're all out...if they get mad at you about some girl harassing them for your book, that's me and I'm sorry." He laughed and says, "You're dying to get my book and you still don't have a copy?" When I shook my head, he goes, "Well hold on, wait..." and pulls out his bag, proceeds to open it and pull out his ARC of The Other Normals and tells me, "you should have it, here...this is for you," then he signs and GIVES IT TO ME. I cannot tell you how hard I was holding in freaking out, squealing, generally unappealing fingerling behaviour - my mom, who had had been waiting for me behind the crowds, said my smile was off the charts when I turned around and that I practically skipped going back to her. It was such a jumble of me freaking out in my head and thanking him profusely that I have no idea what I actually said to him after (dear God I hope nothing horrible!), but I know I was smiling like a fool. It means a lot to me as a fan of his work and him in general, and I really hope he understands how much he made my day.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Given to me by my friend Natasha! We ran into each other in line for the Sarah J. Maas signing for Throne of Glass, and she'd just come from the Laini Taylor signing. I told her I'd shamefully never read Daughter of Smoke and Bone yet, and she proceeds to give me the copy she'd just picked up! Since she already owned copies of the book but had to get the paperback in order to get the sneak peak of Book 2 in the series, she had the extra. Thank you so much Natasha, you're amazing! I can't wait to read this!

The Diviners by Libba Bray
There were only 3 books I went to ALA hoping for: The Diviners, The Other Normals, and Prodigy. I know it's about meeting with publishers and chatting with other book lovers, but it'd be a lie if you said you weren't hoping to pick up some anticipated books. I had no idea if I would and I wasn't planning to push, shove, or bite anyone to get them -- but a girl can hope, right? So imagine my delight when I walked into ALA for the first time and the Little, Brown and Company booth right in front of me! I went to browse the titles and saw them setting up for Libba Bray's signing that was taking place the next morning. There was a line of The Diviners on the table, but I wasn't sure if I could have one since all the other books on the table had a Display Copy sticker on it and The Diviners didn't. I'd seen a woman take one, but she'd waited until the rep had his back turned before snatching it (literally) and rushing off. Terrible, I know. So I approached the rep and asked him if we were allowed to take a copy of The Diviners, and he said, "No, these are just display for her signing tomorrow, and I don't think we're giving them out yet...but hold on." and he went under the table and got me a copy. I. WAS. DYING. I could have not gone to the rest of ALA and been perfectly happy.

Who Done It? Anthology
Notable because I think this is the coolest book I picked up at ALA. I'd never heard of it before, but this is the book that Ned Vizzini was signing. I walked by SOHO Press earlier in the day and stopped to chat with some of the reps (they were fantastic! so much fun!), and read the synopsis of the Who Done It? anthology. Not only does it have some fantastic writers contributing (John Green! Maureen Johnson! Ned! David Levithan! Libba Bray! Lauren Myracle! Kiersten White! Click the images to go to the larger version and see the rest!), but it sounds like an AWESOME concept - very reminiscent of Clue! I can't wait to dive in and read this.

The books my mom picked up!
(She has much more restraint than I do...)
Penguin Summer, Winter, and YA samplers (thank you Penguin!)
Exile by Rebecca Lim (thank you Disney-Hyperion!)
Flock by Wendy Delsol (thank you Candlewick!)
And though I'm excited to read every title I picked up, these are the ones I'm absolutely dying to read:
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (my mom has already usurped this from me haha)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini
Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Prodigy by Marie Lu
The Diviners by Libba Bray
If I can swing the money, I'll definitely be at ALA Midwinter in Seattle; I have friends and family up there and in Portland, so it'd be a great little excuse to go see them. Otherwise, I'll just have to hope I can get to one of these again soon or have it come near wherever I am; it was a blast to be around all these bookish people!


  1. DUDE!! You rocked this, lemme tell you! :D Ok, so, if by October I haven't received an ARC, can we meet up and can I borrow Scarlet? hahahaha ;) I'm so stoked for it! And look at how long it is! Whooohoo!!

    You got a TON of wonderful books this year at ALA - CONGRATS! :D
    Sounds like a fantastic time and now I'm really looking forward to BEA next year, the mother of all book conferences. ;) (I know you went to ALA, which I should probably do, cuz it's cheaper, but still...NY? Can't pass it up! haha!)

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

  2. Haha, I'm glad that I got a shout out! I really hope that you love DoSB. It is seriously one of my favorite books! I'll be at SDCC. I'm hoping to hit a few author panels (and the booths). Right now I know I'll be in Ballroom 20 most of Friday if I can help it for Firefly and Korra. Glad you had such a great time at ALA. I wonder who will be the weirdest celeb sighting that we'll have to SDCC?

  3. Aaahhh! You must have had an amazing time! I'm so jealous that you got Scarlet, and also that you saw Marissa Meyer and David Levithan and all those great authors, plus met all those awesome bloggers! I know that at BEA they had a Book Blogger Convention one day, but I think we need to have a week where we just all get together and meet each other! And we could have it move to different locations each year so different people can go... I wish I had the money to fund something like that because I'd totally get it started!

  4. LOVED that we finally met! I really hope that we can hang out soon. You wrote the best ALA recap, by the way. Let me know when you finish Daughter of Smoke and Bone! I want to discuss.

  5. I, for one, do want to know every little thing about the booths you visited, the discussions with reps, and interesting books!!! LOL. I'm going to ALA Midwinter (first time going!!!) and am super, super, SUPER excited!!! Hope to see you there, if you go.

  6. I'm officially jealous of your signed Scarlet. Like SO FREAKING jealous! But yes, books are home! I love the way you said that! And I'm glad you had such an amazing time!

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