Monday, April 2, 2012

Christi's Adventures: The No-Foolin' Mega Signing at Books of Wonder!

Apologies in advance: this is a very lengthy post. I don't feel too bad about that because 1. it was a very long and busy day, and 2. I'm posting! 

This past week was the NYC Teen Author Carnival in, duh, NYC. I was unable to get up there for any of the panels or events during the week, but I was definitely in for the mega signing at Books of Wonder on April Fools' Day! My friend and colleague Courtney was in for a day of fun, so we took the bus into the city nice and early. First we stopped at Schnipper's for a quick bite to eat--I've walked past here a million times but never stopped. I thought it was a decent meal for a quick, reasonable inexpensive price (I had a grilled cheese and Courtney had a burger). Then we hopped in a cab (we were too dumb chicken to figure out the subway) and headed over to Books of Wonder.

As I'm walking towards the door, who do I see? David Levithan, of course. You might recall that our paths have crossed more than once before. And of course I knew he was going to be at the signing (he's pretty instrumental in the whole week), and of course I was planning on getting books signed by him. But I wasn't expecting his face to be the first one I saw at BoW, so I immediately veered away from the door to get my bearings. And run into another librarian from NJ! I only know Carolyn from association meetings, but we have talked a few times, and we've unknowingly been at several of the same author events. Introductions were made, my resolve was set, and we entered the store.

It was crowded already, but not overly so (I'm always amazed at how well Books of Wonder manages to contain such large groups of people). Of course I had the entire schedule printed out, with books I needed to buy highlighted, so I was literally on a shopping spree. No joke, I bought NINE books--and brought five from home! Courtney was so much better about staying on her budget, and only bought 3. Carolyn bought a bunch for the summer reading program at her library. Um, I spent enough money that I qualified for a free coffee mug. :)

Once we were all purchased, we joined the line to get into the gallery section of the store, where all the signings would take place. I really appreciate how well Books of Wonder organized this humongous event. There were 15 or so authors for each 45 minute time frame, with five or so authors at one of three tables. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to see all the authors I wanted to (the 1:45 slot had me visiting six authors), but I shouldn't have. 45 minutes was plenty of time to have seen every author, had I been able to afford that many books. 

For the first section I headed right over to Daisy Whitney, author of The Mockingbirds and The Rivals. She's been really sweet about sending swag and books to share with my teens, and she's always so pleasant to talk to on Facebook, so it was really nice to introduce myself in person. Then I met Gayle Forman (Where She Went). OMG. She's amazing, and I was so happy to tell her how much my teens enjoyed reading If I Stay for book club last year.

I thought I was done for that time frame, but they had changed things slightly, and Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door) was signing now, instead of later, so I got on that line. And waited. And waited. It was worth it, though, because Stephanie was so sweet to talk to and made everyone feel comfortable. Apparently she doesn't do a lot of signings, and that's why the crowd was so eager to see her. The staff actually had to move her to her own table to wrap up her signing, in order to get the next group of authors ready! 

I actually had enough time to say hello to Susane Colasanti (who also happens to be at a lot of the same events as I am) and congratulate her on her new apartment. She was really touched that I said something to her, and she was so very excited about it. She said the online community has been instrumental in keeping her spirits up during the whole stress of home buying. I wish her all the best with her new place, and hope that it's everything she dreamed it would be!

Did I mention that David Levithan was talking to someone in front of me while I was waiting for Stephanie Perkins, and that he actually bumped into me once or twice? I'm such a fangirl.

David Levithan. He may be smiling, but inside he's making a note to get a restraining order against me. LOL
The second group was the one I was worried about, wanting to see so many authors, but it really wasn't bad at all. I got in line for David Levithan right away, and after just a couple of people, was finally able to meet the Prince of YA (as dubbed by me). I stammered just a little, but told him I was a huge fan, and gave him my copies of Every You, Every Me and Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He opened WG up and was going to sign on the page prior to the title page, but then turn the page. I said something stupid like, "Yeah, could you sign on that page, please?" He commented on John Green's signature, because they didn't tour for the paperback, so having a copy signed by both authors is really rare! Woot!

Don't be jealous. Well, be jealous a little.
At the same table was Margie Gelbwasser, who is a favorite on this blog. I'm so excited to have a signed copy of Pieces of Us to go with my signed copy of her debut, Inconvenient. We chatted for a little bit about our kids (she mentioned an upcoming Disney trip and I was totally able to prevent my Disney geek from showing), and then I moved on to the second table, where I chatted with Kody Keplinger. She was promoting Shut Out but I had a copy of The DUFF for her to sign. I explained that I loved both but was partial to this one, and she talked a little about her newest novel and her fans (I said that she had a huge fan base, she argued that it wasn't huge, but they were very loyal). 

Kody Keplinger
Stewart Lewis (You Have Seven Messages, on the summer reading list this year at the high school in the town I work in!) and Sarah Darer Littman (Want To Go Private?) were also at this table. Sarah and I talked for quite a while about WTGP?--I'd said that her book made me terrified to let my 9-year-old have any Internet access at all. She also talked a little about her newest book, which she'd just sent to her agent. She didn't give too many details, but did say it was about parents and moral obligations--like, what does a teen do when they're told to obey their parents, but their parents don't have the best morals? She said the idea came from carpooling her teens. She also offered to Skype with my teens at the library! (I expressed nervousness at that, because my teens are not their behavior. This is how we got on the whole carpooling-teens thing.)

Stewart Lewis, Sarah Darer Littman
Finally, at Table 3 I had Jeff Hirsch sign my copy of The Eleventh Plague. Here is the ONE book I got for my end-of-summer-giveaway at the library!

As worried as I was about getting everything done in this time frame, I was able to get everything done! And for the third session, I was only getting Trapped signed by Michael Northrop. He was promoting his new middle grade novel Plunked, but I really, really liked Trapped and was so happy Books of Wonder had a copy in stock! I think Michael appreciated that I loved this book so much, and that I was still book talking it at the library. Yay! I also took a minute to say hello to Kieran Scott, who's been so good to me and my teens at the library. And I didn't even realize this until Carolyn pointed it out today, but I'm mentioned in He's So Not Worth It! Check out the acknowledgements--I'm in the same sentence as David Levithan! Swoon! And This is So Not Happening is coming out in ONE MONTH!

Courtney, Carolyn and I headed outside for a few minutes to get some air and chat. As much as I love doing stuff with Best Girl, I know she would not have been happy had I'd come with her today. Sometimes it's just so nice to do book things with other book nerds!

So, the last session. I was ready fort, let me tell you. I met Arlaina Tibensky (And Then Things Fall Apart), Siobhan Vivian (The List), and K.M. Walton (Cracked), and was ready to go. Courtney and I walked with Carolyn a bit, then parted ways and caught a cab back to Port Authority. We had some time before the bus, so headed to the Shake Shack for some yummy Concretes (blended custard and toppings) before getting on the bus back to NJ. I started And Then Things Fall Apart on the way home.

So, that was our day. If you're keeping track, I trucked a total of fourteen books through Manhattan and home. Courtney was laughing at my ginormous backpack (actually, it's my husband's), but it really saved my back.

The five books I brought from home.
The nine books I bought at Books of Wonder.
It wasn't until we got home that I realized I didn't even see Micol Ostow (and she even had her adorable baby with her!), and although Courtney met Sarah Mlynowski, I didn't get a chance to say hi. I also wanted to say hi to Jess Rothenberg and Carolyn Macker, but didn't get the chance. Oh, well, there's always next year!!

Enjoy your reading!

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