Book Expo America, my version of book heaven. Tuesday morning saw the five of us plus Alita (who didn’t want to take the sketchy bus again so she met us at the hotel to take the shuttle) waiting for the shuttle bright and early (7am!) to take us to the Javits for the opening of the show floor and all the publishers, authors, bloggers, industry professionals, librarians, teachers, books and swag that came with it. Having picked up our passes on Monday before the blogger con, we were able to just check our suitcases and proceed up the amazing staircase to wait in line for the floor to open at 9am.
Once on the floor, it was completely overwhelming for the first little bit. Myself and a few of my group beelined for the Penguin booth since we knew a few of the arcs we were most interested in were going to be on the floor right at 9 that first morning. We stopped by Sourcebooks to say hi (and me to say thank you for all the wonderful books they’ve sent my way!) and I made my way through Scholastic, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster on my way to the autographing area. For me, the autograph opportunities were the siren call. The chance to meet all these authors that I love, but by living where I do, never get a chance to meet? Mind blowing. Let’s just say that my three days at BEA were spent in a lot of lines, and it was the most amazing experience. Tuesday started out great, with getting to meet Nils Johnson-Shelton author of The Invisible Tower and Shannon Messenger author of Keeper of the Lost Cities. It was while in one of these lines that I met Austin of Reading Teen who helped entertain me during the wait by showing me card tricks and magic. It was pretty sweet! I also met the lovely Heather aka Pushy from Bewitched Bookworms. We ended up standing in a lot of the same lines together over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday.
During Tuesday, I managed to also get through autograph lines for Tom Pollock (The City’s Son), Robison Wells & Dan Wells (Feedback & Partials), Gordon Korman (Ungifted), Aimee Carter (Goddess Interrupted) and Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys). While waiting in Maggie Stiefvater’s line I was right behind the mother and sister of Rachel of Rachel’s Book Reviews. We waited in line together for almost an hour, and they were extremely kind and lovely. While we were waiting, Aimee Carter was signing at the table where Maggie Stiefvater was going to be signing after her, so Rachel’s mom held our spots (first/second in line) while her sister (I am so bad with names, I apologize) and I went to Aimee’s signing. After Maggie’s signing, I headed down to the Apocalypsies event for a bit where I was able to finally meet Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit, who then introduced me to Michelle from Galleysmith.
That night was Teen Author Carnival! Only Alita and I went, and I missed the whole first panel as I took two cabs to try and get from my hotel on Seventh and 53rd, to the Jefferson Market Library on Sixth and 8th. What an adventure. It was absolutely ridiculous, but worth it in the end to meet Scott Tracey (Witch Eyes) and Hannah Moskowitz (Gone, Gone, Gone). I also ran into Terri from Read and Riot after missing her all day at the Javits. After the event, Alita, her husband and I headed back uptown to meet Jenn and Jen for cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery and see Rockefeller Center.
Wednesday saw us up again bright and early headed to the Children’s and Young Adult Author breakfast where we listened to Chris Colfer (Glee and author of The Land of Stories), John Green (The Fault in Our Stars, Lois Lowry (The Giver) and Kadir Nelson (illustrator) speak about their work and journeys in writing. Lois Lowry received a standing ovation and had me pretty much in tears. The Giver is one of my favourite books and it was beyond words to listen to her speak. John Green and Chris Colfer were hilarious, with Chris calling John “the Justin Bieber of the literary world.” John Green made the statement that “Story trumps everything” to which I wholeheartedly agree.
After breakfast, I headed up to the floor where I stood in lines for Lois Lowry, Emily White (Elemental), Jonathan Maberry (Rot & Ruin), Chris Colfer, Diana Peterfreund (For Darkness Shows the Stars), Mike Mullin (Ashen Winter), Tiffany Truitt (Chosen Ones), Jus Accardo (Touch) and Julie Kagawa (The Immortal Rules). Meeting Jonathan Maberry and Mike Mullin were definitely highlights of my day. Mike Mullin even made me break a yellow belt board with my fist before signing my book! I wish I’d had someone take a picture of it, it was hilarious. Another highlight? Running into Shannon Delany (13 to Life) in the food court! I had known from tweets that she was there, but was stuck in the Chris Colfer line. Thankfully, Nicole is wicked awesome at choosing tables and picked the table right next to Shannon’s. I am so glad Shannon talked to us, it was great to meet her. I also met up with Amy from Amy Reads, whom I have met before at Word on the Street in Halifax. We had talked briefly at the Blogger Con on Monday, so it was nice to run into her again today where we were able to chat for a bit longer. That night Nicole, Gwen and I went to the opening night of Cirque du Soleil, Zarkana, at Radio City Music Hall. A great show and a great night.
Thursday, it was only Gwen and I who made our way to the Javits, and I was done by noon. I went immediately to Alexandra Bracken’s line (The Darkest Minds) and then right to Jackson Pearce (Fathomless). I then had almost an hour wait to get in line for Sarah Crossan (Breathe). I spent the time with Terri and her mom, and met Jenny from Supernatural Snark and Mel of I Swim for Oceans.
After leaving the Javits I met up with Jen, Jenn, Sarah and Nicole for some sightseeing and shopping. We took a pedicab tour through central park and had some sinfully good truffles at Le Maison du Chocolat. That night we flew back to Toronto, where my luggage with all the books never showed up but thankfully arrived in Halifax even before I did. I had an amazing trip and experience at Book Expo. I will never forget the week, and I miss the girls already!