Last week, I made my annual pilgrimage to the Book Expo of America (BEA). Or, as I like to think of it, spring break for the publishing industry. Sure, important business deals are made, and influential trends are covered, but the main goal on everyone's agenda is TO PARTY. And when book people team up with open bars, you can expect balls to the wall nerdery. In other words, FYA HEAVEN.
We've always had a blast at BEA, and this year was no exception, although I missed my FYA posse. Fortunately, I found plenty of fabulous people to keep me company, including some of our favorite author pals. I made plans, per tradition, with Natalie Standiford (author of How to Say Goodbye in Robot and the upcoming The Boy on the Bridge) and Bennett Madison (who recently released the amazing September Girls), the two authors who agreed to meet up with Jenny and me at our first BEA back in 2010. I'll always love them for taking the time to hang out with two random bloggers, and I feel honored to count them as friends.
By this point, I'm a total professional when it comes to BEA shenanigans, but I'll admit that Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (authors of the upcoming Fire with Fire, the sequel to Burn for Burn) always give me a run for my money. These gals are OFF DA CHAIN! Siobhan is pregnant (yay!), and much like Beyonce, it's only made her fiercer.
UGH WHY DON'T Y'ALL LIVE IN AUSTIN ALREADY? I want that photo to be my EVERY NIGHT.
Also, gratuitous nail shot, because Jenny's fingers and Bennett's thumb demanded it.
In addition to hanging with old friends, BEA is a prime time to meet new faces, and I totally flipped when I encountered Tara Altebrando! You'll be relieved to know that she's just as cool as her books make her out to be.
Of course, I had to convene several cocktail panels, including one with Faye, my kickass contact at Little, Brown, and April from Good Books Good Wine.
While BEA takes place at Javitz during the day, the real action happens at night at parties thrown by various publishers. I met up with April and Ana from The Book Smugglers at the Harper Collins party, which featured some extremely red lighting. Just looking at this photo makes me want to break out into "Roxanne." YOU DON'T HAVE TO PUT ON THE RED LIGHT.
I'll be honest, the parties this year left something to be desired, particularly the Penguin bash, which was super swank last year. Compared to the top of the Standard Hotel, this just... didn't compare:
Then again, any party with an open bar is a good party in my book, so thanks, Penguin!
This might surprise you, but I did actually make it to Javitz! And it was just as cray cray as usual.
It's easy to discern which books publishers are pushing heavily because they're on GIANT BANNERS.
I only spent a few hours at Javitz (there's no open bar there), but I spotted several familiar faces, including Helen Fielding:
Kareem Abdul Jabbar (I know, I didn't know he wrote a book either):
And, most exciting, Elizabeth Wein! She is literally the only author for whom I braved the autograph lines, and it was lovely to meet her (and get a copy of Rose Under Fire, the companion to Code Name Verity).
I also ran into David Levithan, who was marveling at his place on the Random House schedule, between Helen Fielding and Billy Collins.
(He took this same picture!)
And then there was the time that I saw the advance copy of the Jessica Darling prequel and totally LOST MY SHIZZ.
Then I found my shizz so I could promptly flip it and lose it again when I turned over the book and saw a quote from my review of the Jessica Darling books! QUOI THE QUOI!!!!!
Seriously, y'all, LIFETIME PEAK ACHIEVED.
I wrapped up my BEA time with the highest form of social interaction: a slumber party, natch! Rebecca Serle (author of When You Were Mine and a trilogy in progress that I am DYING TO TELL YOU ABOUT) invited me to her charming abode, along with Leila Sales (Past Perfect and the upcoming This Song Will Save Your Life, which I cannot wait to read) and Emily, who works at Scholastic. Do these ladies look ready to slumber party or WHAT?
We set a preeeeetty high standard with our slumber party two years ago, but Rebecca was up to the challenge! I arrived to find her armed with all of the necessary sleepover ingredients: candy, snacks, vodka lemonade and, of course, a movie!
We watched Pitch Perfect (Leila cried at the end, even though she's seen it a hundred times) and dished about books, boys and growing up. Both my inner YA and my outer A had a positively wonderful time.
(Jocelyn Davies, author of A Beautiful Dark series, also joined us!)
BEA is always a ton of fun, but even more, it's a reminder of the awesomeness of the YA world, and how lucky I am to be a part of it.
So thanks for the memories, BEA, and I'll see you next year! (In the meantime, I want you to give some seroius thought to that open bar at Javitz.)