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Smart Chicks Kick It In Church Youth Group Centers

Erin recaps her adventures at the Smart Chicks Kick It tour stop in Houston, TX. 

Smart Chicks Kick It In Church Youth Group Centers

Holla, FYAers! What'd you do last night? Actually. . . . maybe don't tell me what you did last night. It's probably personal.

I, however, have no such qualms about recounting my experience last night, because I attended the Smart Chicks Kick It tour! (Though I'm still not entirely sure what it is they're kicking. Ass? Cans? Rocks on the street? Their younger brother when he "borrows" their hair gel and spreads it all over the bathroom andthen theyhave to clean it up cause they're the oldest and they should know better than to leave things where their brother will get them and by the way, when are you going to start living up to your full potential, young lady? Whoa, sorry. PROJECTION.)

The Smart Chicks tour is, as I overheard one young lady inform her classmates from Sacred Heart, "a pretty big deal. I mean, these authors. These are big names."

Which, of course, is true, so thank you, Nameless Girl From Sacred Heart, for impressing upon your friends the gravity of the situation.

First things first. This tour's stop was hosted by Blue Willow Bookshop, who now may be my Very Favoritest Book Store In All Of Houston, Texas. (Unless you can win back my love, Murder by the Book! West Alabama Bookstop, I don't even want to look at you anymore.) These people are awesome! They held the book tour in a building called "The Refuge", which is down the street a few miles from their store. "This should be easy to find," I thought to myself. "I know the street, and I have the address."

Um, yeah. Forty minutes later than expected, I finally arrived at The Refuge. I felt pretty stupid for driving past it 5 times, but, frankly, with a name like "The Refuge" I was sort of expecting some trees and maybe a friendly woodland animal of some kind.

It turns out, though, that the Refuge is the location for Memorial United Methodist Church's youth group. Yeah. THEY GET THEIR OWN ADDRESS. And can I just say? If good ol' St John's UMC had a youth group space like this place, I probably would have stayed in youth group for a lot longer. All we got was Foosball and Jesus. This place has a COFFEE BAR.

Once I got inside, I could see immediately that A) I should probably see if I can work my way back into youth group, and B) that YAngelism is TOTES working! Check out this crowd:

There were so many adults in the room! I felt like we should pretend to trade advice on the stock market for 45 seconds before sneaking looks around us and whispering, "Oh my god, isn't Jonah Griggs THE HOTTEST THING EVER?"

The Blue Willow Bookshop had a table set up with stacks of books to buy. I knew that I wanted to get a book signed so that we could give it away (more on that later), but I was too poor to buy a book from every author. I decided to buy one book, but then I couldn't decide which one to buy! I wanted to buy the first in a series, but almost everyone there had a new series out! Then I thought, "I'll buy The Spiderwick Chronicles! Fun for all ages!" But that was sold out.

In the end, I called an audible, and bought The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. Why? A) because it's a good book, B) because the third book in that series is soon to be released and C) because my name is Erin, and Sarah Rees Brennan is Irish, so basically FATE WANTS US TO BE FRIENDS.

Just so you know, the whole Irish, Fate Wants Us To Be Friends thing is actually a terrible thing to apply to your daily life. One time I had the choice between sleeping with Colin Farrell and sleeping with Colin Firth and I did the whole Irish, Fate Wants Us To Be Friends thing and now I have syphillis.

OKAY, I'm just kidding. I don't have syphillis. Colin Farrell probably doesn't have syphillis either. I've never slept with him. And let's be honest, were I ever given the choice between sleeping with the two Colin Fs, I'd obviously pick Firth.

Moving on! Here is a photo of the book, with my position in the signing line:

YEAH. Number NINETY THREE, okay. So that's how dedicated I am FOR YOU GUYS, as if the Sweet Valley High wasn't enough. NINETY THREE. I plan to remind you all of this when you go out and get tattoos and piercings and sleep with unwashed hippies. "Why are you going to bring shame on me like that?" I'll say. "I waited till number ninety three for you! For you! Don't you roll your eyes at me, young lady!"

The authors came out and the Q&A started soon after. The first note I wrote down as the authors appeared was, "Holly Black looks exactly like you'd think she would." And that's because she looks AWESOMELY like Liza Minelli. (This is not an insult. Liza Minelli is fucking amazing.)

Anyway, I don't remember much of the questions asked, because I've mostly killed my brain cells with alcohol and tv, but when it came to asking questions of the whole group, my keen little hand shot straight up.

Me: "I write for a book blog called Forever Young Adult {in my head, I like to insert that there were fawning screams as I said these words, but in fact, no such thing happened. Let's pretend though . . .}

Me: "I write for a book blog called Forever Young Adult {FAWNING SCREAMS OF JOY}. Our whole purpose is for adults who love YA fiction. What would you say to an adult who scoffed at reading YA books?"

Let's pretend, now, that my question was so deep and insightful that all of the authors sat back, inhaled deeply, and pondered the awesomeness of my question, instead of what really happened, i.e. asking me to speak the hell up.

The answers ranged from mocking any adult lame enough to disregard YA (too right), to Holly Black's response that books written about teenagers are not meant to be read solely by teenagers, just as books about women are not meant to be read solely by women, but Cassandra Clare put it the most succinctly: "I'd ask them to give back their copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, then."

Then Holly Black moderated the LIGHTNING ROUND. Lightning rounds are so exciting - when they don't involve lining people up and shooting them as quickly as you can, I suppose - and everyone got swept up in the excitement.

One girl asked if the authors were Team Edward or Team Jacob. Everyone instead was Team Whoever Their Male Protagonist Is. Sadly, no one was Team Mike!

Another asked the authors what their favorite movie was. Sarah Rees Brennan confessed her love for Interview with a Vampire - "I wanted to marry Tom Cruise when I grew up, but unlike Katie Holmes, I grew out of it."

After all the questions were exhausted, it was time for giveaways! The authors threw out shirts and USB drives (I think with deleted chapters and other fun stuff) to the crowd.

I was going to insert a joke right here about how this building hasn't seen this many hands raised since last Sunday, but to be honest, we Methodists are not the hand-raising, arm-waving, close-your-eyes-and-sing-along-to-Steven-Curtis-Chapman type. Mostly we just, you know. Play Foosball and talk about Jesus.

And then it was time for the signing! I waited! A long time! Here is some pictoral representation of the folks I annoyed while I was waiting:

This lady's shirt reminded me that I forgot to do the Mississipi thing with the authors. By which I mean, the standard patter one must exchange when the topic of Mississippi arises: "Oh, you're going to Mississippi? Well. Which way are you driving? Oh, no, don't take I-10. Terrible construction. Go on 20. Are you going to stop in Vicksburg? Oh, you have to stop in Vicksburg. I know this little diner where you can get really good pancakes . . . " etc, and so forth.

Some people had lots of books to get signed.

The awesome staff at Blue Willow were very efficient. They had everyone's books flapped and put in the correct order. When they saw I only had one book and a poster, I think the light in their eyes died a little.

This lady won the Grand Prize, which was all the books from ALL the authors on the tour. This was only ONE of her canvas bags of books. You guys, I was REALLY hoping I was going to win this, and be able to use it as a giveaway. Unfortunately, I have the World's Worst Luck, so I've never won anything. You all are suffering from my bad luck! This makes you just like my friends and family! Let's hug!

Okay! Time to get some stuff signed!

Kami Garcia and Margie Stohl, authors of Beautiful Creatures, are totally the Cheech and Chong of this tour. Although probably not quite as high. Probably. I think, if they ever grow bored of writing, they could probably take their comedy act on the road.

Melissa Marr told us all that she'd been out to Hollywood, where they're working on the Wicked Lovely film, and that one of her producers was Vince Vaughn. And that he's very tall. Melissa! You should have been romantical with him! Well, you should have closed your eyes, pretended it was still 1999, and then been romantical with him. Then US Weekly could have another reason to try to force America to feel sad for blonde, beautiful, successful, rich, perfectly happy Jennifer Aniston!

ALSO, when the aforementioned Sacred Heart teenager explained to her friends who Vince Vaughn is, she said, "He's that really tall action star? I think he was in The Pacifier."

Kelley Armstrong moderated the Q&A panel. I sense that the rest of the authors respect her authoritah, but if I were Kelley Armstrong, I'd buy myself a whistle and a stopwatch and a bullwhip. JUST IN CASE.

Here are things I wanted to say to Alyson Noel but was too shy/awkward/tired:

1.  I really like your hair

2.  No, REALLY. I really like your hair.

3.  Why are you so pretty?

4.  Is your hair full of secrets?

Holly Black regaled us with an account of one of the first drafts of, I think, Kith, in which all the elves shrunk down to miniature size and then rode around on mice. This is something I need to exist in the world. (well, not ACTUALLY in the world. I don't like mice that much. But, you know. I need it to exist in typeset on a page in a book that's in the world.)

I apologize for not having a picture of Cassandra Clare! Some lady's arm decided to take up most of the frame, so it was only CC's hair (which, to be fair, is a lovely color) and then a giant blurry peach zigzag.

And, look! There's Sarah Rees Brennan, straight off the plane from Ireland, with an autographed copy of The Demon's Lexicon! WHICH COULD BE YOURS (along with a poster signed by all the authors at the event! And a Forever Young Adult card, featuring Comrade Cullen)! I KNOW. IT'S CRAZY.

So what do you need to do to win?

I'm in the mood for haikus, so the person who writes the best haiku about fantasy YA books wins! What will make it the best? Who's to say, but if you've spent any time around this site, I'm sure you know what we like to see: copious amounts of alcohol, inappropriate references to genitalia, and/or made-up words used to proclaim excitement. I'm totes excited for this shizz!!

Be sure to subscribe to comments so that you'll know when we pick a winner. The winner will be chosen next week. Have fun!

Erin Callahan's photo About the Author: Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink. When she isn't drowning in a sea of engineers for whom Dilbert is still uproariously funny, she's writing about books, tv, the cult of VC Andrews and more.