YA or Bust came to gloomy little San Diego last night, and I was lucky enough to go. And seriously you guys...BEST NIGHT EVER.
I'm just going to get this out of the way: each of the authors who were there hold very special places in my heart, for specific reasons. In summary:
- Stephanie Perkins: Lola was the first review I EVER wrote, before I even had a book blog (the one in my archives was "imported"). Because I loved it so much I had to write about it.
- Gayle Forman: If I Stay & Where She Went are the reason I read mainly YA. Because her books are what made me realize the beauty and tragedy and pure emotion you can find.
- Nina LaCour: As I tweeted yesterday, The Disenchantments makes me want to write again. The review will be up Friday, but trust me when I say it is everything I hope to be.
- Kirsten Hubbard (moderator): If you can't see from my review of Wanderlove, her book made me have PANIC ATTACKS because I felt so many things. TFiOS notwithstanding, Wanderlove has held fast as my Favourite 2012 read. It is my first recommendation to everyone.
|Me, Kirsten Hubbard, Nina LaCour, Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins
I'm barely holding it together, you guys. SO MUCH AWESOME.
I had a minor freakout when I saw Kirsten Hubbard walk in. I did my best to reign it in (the two lovely ladies I met and was sitting with, Kami and Meredith, got to hear me have a whispered squeal), but I pretty much DIED when Kirsten saw me and goes, "Hey! I recognize you from Twitter! You're Ashley, right?" SHE KNEW WHO I WAS, GUYS.
It kicked off with summaries of their books, BUT they each described another person's books! Stephanie introduced Nina's books (called Hold Still "hopeful"), Gayle introduced Stephanie's books (called Anna the "most swoony, romantic book"), and Nina introduced Gayle's (said she got goosebumps just talking about them because they're so beautiful). It was tons of fun to hear how and what the others thought of their books.
From there on, it was just laughter and awesomeness. The things I remember:
- Nina is very quiet, and has a lovely melodic voice.
- Gayle is absolutely HILARIOUS.
- Stephanie is sarcastic in a perfect way.
- Gayle is apparently the most disciplined of the three.
- Stephanie took french lessons as research for Anna.
- Nina went on road trips for her research (I think she mentioned 2, though I can't quite remember)
- Kirsten and Stephanie jokingly called themselves Sloth "Hipsters" because they loved baby sloths before it was cool to.
- Gayle's upcoming books are another duet (pair).
- Stephanie guards her books very closely, but says her next book (Isla and the Happily Ever After) is the last companion to Anna & Lola...and that it will probably piss off a lot of people.
- Nina considered Wilson Phillips to be the final girl band in her book, but settled on Heart.
- Gayle listened to Falling Slowly from the Once soundtrack often while she wrote If I Stay.
- Stephanie's favourite scene in If I Stay is "play me like a cello." (SWOON, RIGHT?!)
- Gayle's favourite scene in The Disenchantments is the beer scene.
- Stephanie had on black and yellow striped socks. It was adorable.
|Click for the full version|
So, is this not the best night ever?
IT GOT BETTER FOR ME.
Shannon Messenger was there too, who has two upcoming books: Keeper of the Lost Cities (Oct 2, 2012) and Let The Sky Fall (March 2013) - and I was creepy and hovering for a few minutes as she chatted with other fellow authors. But when I finally plucked up enough courage to introduce myself, she was so sweet and awesome and we talked about her books and she even gave me signed bookmarks. Keeper of the Lost Cities is almost 500 pages, guys! Andrea Ortega (of YA know) has a picture of us together, I'll add it as soon as it's tagged on Facebook! And if you're going to BEA, be on the lookout for ARCs! They'll be there - and the cover for Let The Sky Fall will be revealed just before.
STILL GETS BETTER.
After the event finished, I realized I hadn't eaten since lunch and decided to swing by Tea Station (a local boba/tea shop) a few blocks down. I was about to order a drink to go when I realized I also had to use the bathroom - so I went. And when I finished and swung open the door...who's standing there waiting to use the bathroom? KIRSTEN HUBBARD. So not only does she still recognize me and say hello (I don't know how I didn't scare her off), but she offers to introduce me to all her friends. And when she did, they invited me to stay and hang out with them!! YOU GUYS. I held it together, but I was FREAKING OUT. I mean, I just had boba with Kirsten FREAKIN' Hubbard. Who I gushed about and absolutely HARASSED on Twitter when I was reading Wanderlove because I couldn't stop tweeting her about how much I loved it. I would not be surprised to receive a restraining order tomorrow.
Who were her friends? Maybe you'll recognize a few of them...as mentioned, Andrea Ortega of YA Know; Nikki Katz of YA Know, is a Bookanista, has a few nonfiction books out, and is a freelance & social media extraordinaire; Cindy Pon, author of Silver Phoenix and Fury of the Phoenix; and Debra Driza, whose very anticipated YA Sci-Fi novel Mila 2.0 will be out next year.
Yeah. Best choice ever to go to the bathroom. Kirsten is sweet, kind, fun, down-to-earth, totally someone I would hang out with on any regular day. And yeah, she's gorgeous in real life, too. Her friends were also phenomenal, so much fun to hang out. It blew my mind to be sitting with these people who are actually a part of the book world and hear names tossed about, only to realize they're talking about authors who I love, admire, put on pedestals, generally think the sun shines out their asses. Surreal.
I really don't think anything can top this night. To be around all bookish people, authors who I love and adore and admire, learn of new ones, to just chat with people who love what I love...it was AMAZING. I just want to do this all day, every day. I was so honored and lucky to meet these people, to get to hang out with them, and I hope they know and understand just how deep my gratitude goes.
The last stop of the YA or Bust tour is tomorrow in Seattle - if you can, GO GO GO. Absolutely 100% go.
PS. I'm a selfish blogger and did not get anything at the signing to give away, but you can still win a signed copy of In Honor by Jessi Kirby! Enter here, US only. Ends 5/1, because I'm hoping to get the book to the winner before or in time for its official release!