YOU GUYS!!!!! Are you ready for a post in which I tell you all about the awesome adventure I went on? You better be because there is a ton of WIN in the following novel-ish re-cap of Teen Day (beware: lots of !!!!!!! and ALL CAPS ahead)!
Teen Day was quite possibly the most fun I have ever had! I got to meet so many bloggers, authors, other random bookish people; it was just pure brilliance! Here’s how the trip went down:
Kati and I left Michigan early Friday morning. After getting lost only about 3 times (all my fault), we arrived in Chicago at around 1:30, checked in at the hotel, then proceeded to get lost in the city (also my fault). We got to see a whole lot of the city but what we really wanted was The Cheesecake Factory. It was hours later when we finally realized that the book signing we were going to that night was in fact an hour away (again, my fault). We somehow found The Cheesecake Factory, Cookie Dough for me and Lemon Raspberry for Kati, and then we were off.
We got lost on our way to the book store (you guessed it, my fault) but we managed to get there with a few minutes to spare. Kati and I took our places managing to cause a little bit of a scene which may or may not have included me tripping over my purse (don’t ask) and then making friends with a guy behind us who I have seen at a previous book signing. Some of my very favorite bloggers were at this event, and since my navigation skills suck hard-core, I was not able to see them before hand. Lynn (Bringing the Epic) and Laci (Blog-O-Rama) were some of the few lovely ladies wondering where the heck I was (never fear, I was only sitting in the back…behind very tall people *insert sad face*). The authors, Veronica Rossi (Under The Never Sky), Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me), Anna Carey (Eve), and Cynthia Hand (Unearthly, Hallowed ) talked about their books, they were insanely funny and super sweet, then we got in line for the signing. Kati and I made lame jokes to one another the whole time and probably drove everyone else in line completely crazy.
After getting everything signed, I was FINALLY able to talk with everyone! The bloggers that were at this event were: Laci (Blog-O-Rama), Jamie (The Broke and the Bookish/The Perpetual Page-Turner), Heidi (YA Bibliophile), Kristi (The Story Siren), Anna (Anna Reads), Lynn (Bringing The Epic), Jasmine (The Reading Housewives of Indiana), Jacinda (The Reading Housewives of Indiana), Jen (Makeshift Bookmark), Tara (Fiction Folio). I will be honest, I was totally freaking the eff out! They might not have known who I was at the time but I knew of them (not literally of course, but from their SUPER AWESOME blogs) and I was finally seeing them in person! It is so crazy to finally meet someone you talk to on a regular basis, or see someone who writes a blog you read all the time, in actual person! Seriously you guys, I was basically in awe by how lovely, funny, and sweet these bloggers all were. (I’ll stop sounding creepy right about…now)
After we took a group shot, Laci, Jacinda, Jasmine, Kati, and I all went out to eat. I am pretty sure that at this point we were all so hungry we may have considered gnawing on the super cool recycled straws at the table. During dinner we talked about Jasmine’s SUPER tiny town (seriously, one cop!?!? And come on, how does this ONE COP manage to get his squad car stolen?),Jacinda’s (and my grandma’s) inability to pay attention when being talked to, Salt ‘n’ Pepa, and probably a whole lot more randomness. They were so funny and we all had a genuinely brilliant time, but mostly I was still super excited that I finally got to meet them. And then, what’s dinner without the desert (so what if I had cheesecake just hours before!)? We went to this tiny gelato place and it was so good! After that we went back to our hotels to get some rest before our next crazy day!
Saturday was the actual event. Kati and I got up and ready, I decided to rebel against dry floors by soaking our bathroom while showering (this made Kati…upset), we ate delicious waffles made by yours truly, and then we were off again. We got lost again (yes, my fault but I also blame the city’s super sucky “Parking Ramp This Way” signs). We managed to find a parking spot a whole half mile from the event, got my bags of books and headed in. So of course we arrived pretty early but an hour late in bookish people timing. We got redirected a million and one times, Kati asked Kimberly Derting if we were in the right line to check in (we were not, it was the Starbucks line), but we finally made it. And after waiting for forever, they finally let us in.
Holy AMAZEBALLS! I have never seen so many people in love with books in one place before. It was amazing for lack of a better term. We got to the Teen Author section and this is where everything is a bit of a blur. I met SO MANY people that I could hardly keep my head on straight. Stacey Kade, Kimberly Derting, Kristi Cook, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Nancy Holder, Charlotte Bennardo, Natalie Zaman, Jennifer Armentrout, Ally Carter, Kiera Cass, Elizabeth Cheryl, Tera Lynn Childs, Sophie Jordan, Stephanie Kuehnert, Alyson Noel, Erica O’Rourke, Jeri Smith-Ready, Stephanie Perkins, just to name a few (yes I do consider that list a “few”). The list goes on and on and on… I wish I could tell you all about every super awesome person I got to meet but we’d be here for forever, seriously! But I will say this, I got to meet nearly every YA author there, and I was truly blown away by how generous, sweet, and all-around awesome they were. Every time Kati and I went up to a table, the author was so quick to start a conversation with us regardless of how socially awkward we both are. I still can’t get over how great this part of the day was.
After checking out of the book signing and paying for the crap-load of books I bought, we finally took the stuff back to the car (which, if you remembered, was a half-mile away. FUN!). I regained some feeling in my arms at this point and we headed back into the convention. There were then three sessions of panels and author events you could choose to go to. We first went to the Author Speed Dating session. This was so much fun! There were about 20 tables set up and you sat at one of them for the whole time. The authors rotated between all the tables every three minutes. Many of the authors remembered Kati and I from the book signing (what can I say, we are incredibly lame and hard to forget) and then we were able to make friends with the new ones we hadn’t met yet. After this we attended two sessions of Author Speed Reading. Each author had a short amount of time to read a section from one of their books. It was great to hear a little bit of each of their stories but the authors teased us so much!
Finally it was time for the Teen Party!!! We got in line again (they really liked lines at this place!) but it wasn’t for too long. Teens at this event got an awesome bag filled with books (heck yes for being a teenager!!!). There was food set up, a psychic in one corner, a face painter in another, and then there were authors crawling all over the place! It was the perfect time to chow down on cupcakes and take pictures with some of your favorite authors. Kati and I got to take pictures with Stacey Kade, Stephanie Perkins, Franny Billingsley, and Kimberly Derting, and then we even got a few more of our new books signed! After making our rounds around the room 20+ times and stalking just about every author there was to stalk, it was time to head out. *sad face*
The whole day, as you can clearly see was SO FANTASTIC! It was the first big bookish thing I have ever been to and it honestly couldn’t have been a better first experience. I will definitely be going to it again in the future.
After the event, we had food (…again! Obviously we like to eat.) and went back to the hotel to pass the out. We woke up, packed up, and then headed into the city for our very last time. We got to spend a few hours exploring Chicago and seeing all sorts of cool things. This was Kati’s first “real” time in the city so I just HAD to show her all the great things in Millennium Park. All too soon, we had to head home. It was a long drive but we finally made it. Visiting Chicago and attending the RT Convention was one of the greatest trips I have ever been on. I was so excited to go to a fun place with Kati, I learned that I was one crap-tastic navigator, I was able to meet so many AMAZING bloggers and authors, and I got a whole slew of new books and swag; what could be better?
And now, a slideshow of the whole thing!!!!
p.s. This song’s for you Ginger! (I sooo wish you could have been there! One day, we’ll meet and it’ll be epic)