THE RUMORS ARE TRUE, YOU GUYS. Book Expo of America is just as insane and amazing as you've heard, and quadruple-y so when you're spending it with the likes of Posh, Mandy C., and Mandy W.! When your sole problems are the weather and that you have too many books yet not enough suitcase space, you know life is good.
As an added bonus, this was not only my first time at BEA, but my first time in New York City, period -- so this trip felt extra special.
On Monday, I arrived in NYC and Mandy W. arrived via bus (straight from Washington, DC, where she hung out with FYA pals Megan, Lee, and Alexis!). First impression: dear god, this weather is hot. But the sight of the Empire State Building lit up for Memorial Day, and hanging out with Heather Demetrios (author of I'll Meet You There, November's sob-and-swoonworthy book club pick!) in Brooklyn more than made up for that.
SIGHTSEEING DAY. Mandy W. and I braved rush hour traffic to see the 9/11 memorial (beautiful, huge, and haunting), Wall St., the NY Stock Exchange, and the charging bull, the Statue of Liberty via the (free!) Staten Island Ferry, Chinatown, and Little Italy.
We went back to our AirBNB to meet up with Mandy C., and then went to the Met -- where my inner art-history-nerd was appropriately amazed -- and you know we took photos on the Met steps that would make Serena and Blair proud. Then we went to a Dean & Deluca (Felicity!) before Mandy C. headed off to Brooklyn for the Jenny Han P.S. I Still Love You launch.
After the Met, it was time for Book of Mormon on Broadway!
You know what there's nothing like? Starting the day off with tasty bagels (the rumors are true! NYC bagels are so much better than any that I've ever had), mimosas, and books at the NOVL brunch. The Hachette HQ were insanely gorgeous, and we had two surprise guests: authors Jennifer E. Smith and Virginia Boecker!
Jennifer E. Smith signed copies of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between -- which has a blurb from our very own Posh on the back! NOVL also showed us the NOVL box, which are boxes curated by authors (this time, A.S. King) that include bookish swag. Here's an example of the box readers can win. The titles we saw at brunch were awesome -- Truly, Madly, Famously? Drift & Dagger? I Crawl Through It? YES PLEASE.
NOVL HQ and Jennifer E. Smith also described the genesis of the cover for Hello, Goodbye, which came from real engagement photos. So cool!
Posh and Mandy W. headed over to the HarperCollins Blogger Preview Event, which featured grownup books with much better cover art than what YA books get. TOO MANY TITLES TO LIST, Y'ALL. But among the ones they're most excited for are The Race for Paris, Paulina & Fran, Notorious RBG, and OBVIOUSLY Go Set a Watchman. For the cocktail reception afterwards, they also got to check out the Fox Sports Lounge (HOLLA!)
After that, Mandy C., Mandy W., Posh, and I all met up at the Epic Reads party, which was INSANE. You know that dream you have, where you get to drink copious amounts of champagne with your favorite authors? THIS WAS THAT DREAM.
Left: Brian's book was one of the awesome raffle prizes! Right: We're supposed to pick just one literary crush?
Patrick Ness with Mandy W. and Posh; Heather Demetrios with Mandy W.
Left: Mandy W. and Tiff from Mostly YA Lit/leader of the Toronto book club! Right: a zillion points to the house of Epic Reads -- this swag bag included the most useful gift ever, a portable cell phone charger.
We also met Maggie Lehrman, author of The Cost of All Things and cousin of Leah from our Inkcouragement series, who was wearing the most amazing comic book dress ever. Why did we not get photos?! I think it might have been because everyone was sweating their buns off.
Thursday was our first Javits day, and photos simply do not do the scale justice. Finally, a place where books get banners like movies! WHAT IS THIS MAGIC.
Left: The ladies of FYA HQ on the floor at Javitz. Right: Meredith from Soho Teen!
Mandy W. popped in to say hi to A.S. King.
It was also the day that I got to meet Libba Bray, aka the entire reason I read YA as an adult. I told her this, mentioning that the Gemma Doyle books got me through law school (which: TRUTH), and she asked if I could blurb her books with that info. YES. I will blurb ALL of your books and maybe we can also braid each other's hair. (Lair of Dreams is THE BEST and I can't wait for you all to read it.)
Not a puddle of fangirl. Yet.
Did you know Julianne Moore wrote a children's book? She is every bit as stunning in person as you might imagine.
After Javitz, it was time for drinks with our friend Chelsea from Kirkus, who is in charge of wrangling our posts. She's not only super nice, but we shared the best cheese plate ever.
Macmillian invited the four of us to an awesome Fierce Reads party, with special guests Leila Sales, Leigh Bardugo, Marissa Meyer, and Sandy Hall. Best part: it was in The Strand bookstore's rare books room. Way too much book beauty!
Mandy C. gets a copy of Black Widow: Forever Red signed by Margaret Stohl. She inscribes her books with the awesome message, "Girls are heroes, not sidekicks!"
Friday brought us a signing for Rainbow Rowell -- if you don't have the collector's edition of Fangirl, get thee to a bookstore! Simon & Schuster treated us to lunch, with conversation from YA authors Erin Bow (Plain Kate, The Scorpion Rules) and Abbi Glines (Until Friday Night, which will appeal to any fans of Friday Night Lights).
Proving that it's a small, bookish world after all, I ran into Angela from Kepler's Books (friends of the San Francisco and Palo Alto FYA book clubs) -- we fangirled over Ernest Cline and their upcoming Megan Whalen Turner event.
Mindy Kaling was there, and as you can tell from this photo, she and Mandy W. are clearly BFFs now.
Felicia Day totally touched Mandy C's hair!
Left: Working at the Simon & Schuster booth: Mandy C.'s hair twin, Rachel. Right: We ran into FYA reader and librarian Nic in the Felicia Day line! It was the best line of the entire week. So much geek chic and awesome conversation.
The most important panel of all: COCKTAIL PANEL, with Audrey and Faye from Simon & Schuster.
Posh + Jamie are super excited for mac-and-cheese dinner!
Saturday was Posh's big moment -- moderating a dream panel with Gayle Forman, Sarah Dessen, and Jenny Han! She NAILED IT, you guys -- and you can watch the entire thing. You have to love watching these three YA superstars talk about female friendship.
After the panel, we got to meet up with Kae from PGHFYA!
Next up: brunch with FYA pals Leila Sales, Rebecca Serle, Jocelyn Davis, Katie Hanson, and Emily Heddleson. Leila wisely chose a place that had a brunch which included Bloody Marys and mimosas.
The ladies of NYCFYA met up with us for cocktails at a gorgeous outdoor patio!
The very last event was definitely the most memorable -- the annual FYA BEA karaoke night. Bennett Madison, Rebecca Serle, Leila Sales, Jenny Han, Leigh Bardugo, the ladies of NYC FYA, Posh's karaoke superstar husband, and many more friends joined us for celebrating that we survived another BEA.
And then it was time to go home, despite wanting to live in the land of books forever. FYA is so grateful to everyone who made this trip so much fun: our friends and partners at the publishing houses, fellow book bloggers, authors, book clubs, and our readers! We've got just one thing to say: