So, I've been running around like a maniac doing summer reading visits to all the schools in the city where I work and I just have not had the time to put together a complicated post. So...that means that this should have gone up ages ago, but instead I'm just getting to it now...
Anyway, on Thursday, June 9th, I was lucky enough to go to the YA Spectacular event hosted by RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison, CT. It was AWESOME. Though I had to brave a horrific lightning storm, downed trees, and a GPS that just refused to accept the fact that, no, I could not go through that giant roadblock and I MUST turn around, getting to see the awesome and lovely Sara Shepard, Sarah Mlynowski, and Maureen Johnson (OMG...I just met one of my heroes!!!) was beyond worth the near death travel experience.
Upon arriving, I was stoked to find out first of all that the authors had not yet made it (Phew! I was so worried I'd have to sneak in the back like a creepy stalker...) and that a bunch of my librarian pals were there, too!! My librarian/blogger online BFF, Jen from Yabooknerd was saving me a seat (*Thank you, thank you, thank you!), my friends from the Windsor library system, Amy and Andrea, both made it, Bailey from the Newington Library and Mary Kate from the Scotland Library also made it! We are a brave, brave crew of YA Librarians, I tell you! No one was keeping us from these lovely ladies.
After buying a copy of Maureen's new book, The Last Little Blue Envelope, and gossiping like crazy about books and BEA with the other librarians and RJ Julia's ya even coordinator, Jen elbowed me... I looked up to see Maureen Johnson peeking out from behind the curtains onstage like a little kid at their first school play performance. *insert giggles here*
As the ladies were introduced, Maureen continued to peek out and then caused the entire crowd to start giggling as she darted across the stage so that she could peek out from the other side. *more giggles*
After introductions, Sara, Sarah, and Maureen finally came out on stage. They had these tall barstools that the ladies were to sit on and as you can see above, Sara Shepard's dress was just a little short and she was a little cautious at first about getting up on the stool. Maureen kept cracking jokes, though and they quickly settled into their places to read.
To begin with each author read a passage from her newest book. Maureen briefly explained the plot of her book,Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes, and then read a funny passage from the sequel (which I am dying to read!). Sarah Mlynowski read a section from her new YA book, ,Ten Things We Did (...And Probably Shouldn't Have)...which I had to sneak out and buy a copy of to get signed! Finally, Sara Shepard read a section from her new book, The Lying Game.
Next, Maureen played Oprah and did a question and answer session roaming through the crowd. I was tweeting like a maniac during the event...here are some of the tweets I sent out (@jessyabookobssd)
Sara Shepard will be putting out 4 more #PLL books...
Whoops! @maureenjohnson admits to dropping phone in toilet at #BEA11
TEN THINGS WE DID is actually based on Sarah Mlynowski's real life experiences...
Strange abandoned fires...Sara Shepard's hobby growing up...
"I love writing all the secrets people have" -Sara Shepard
@maureenjohnson is lurking in the audience taking questions... #yaauthorcreeping
As you can probably tell, it was kind of a wild and crazy Q&A session! Sara Shepard got asked TONS of questions about both the Pretty Little Liars book series and the TV show. Sarah Mlynowski ended up explaining quite a bit about her somewhat wild teen years, and Maureen Johnson was hilarious...even answering a question about how she keeps her socks organized.
I ended up asking how each author balances their online social networking with their writing time. Sara Shepard says she doesn't do any social networking so it's not an issue. Sarah Mlynowski uses her social networking as a reward for finishing her writing goals. Maureen Johnson, who is famous in YA twitter circles for rivaling Libba Bray as a twitter goddess, admitted that she doesn't really even try to keep the social networking in check. "It just works itself out in the end..."
After the Q&A, the authors were kind enough to sign about a million books apiece! The line was HUGE...no kidding. Having been in this situation before, Jen, Mary Kate and I sat calmly and gossiped until the line went down. Jen and I admired the books we'd bought and exchanged (Yes, we are those book dorks that brought books to lend to each other by other authors to a signing...). Finally, the line went down and we headed up to have our fangirl moments.
It was awesome to meet all three authors, but I was definitely BEYOND over the moon to meet Maureen Johnson in person. I had that moment where I almost couldn't spit out what I wanted to say, but I did finally get to tell her that I recommend her Scarlett Martin series to all my teen readers looking for funny contemporary books. I was somewhat disappointed that they weren't selling Suite Scarlett because I would have LOVED to have a signed copy. Then, Maureen made my night, by not only signing my books, but fulfilling my weird request to have her also add the twitter hashtag, #yasaves, as a homage to her part in the outcry online against censorship based on YA becoming "too dark."
This was an awesome event and I am so grateful that RJ Julia put it together. :)