The Pasadena Teen Book Festival, Pasadena Loves YA, was hosted on Saturday, May 23 at the Pasadena Public Library.
I arrived at the event at 11:00 a.m. (the event started at 12:00 p.m.) When I entered the auditorium, the volunteer handed me a “Pasadena Loves YA” tote bag. He informed me that I could choose two free ARCs from the carts next to the entrance. Man, only choosing two books was hard because they all looked so interesting! I ended up choosing Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld/Margo Lanagan/Deborah Biancotti and Illuminae by Amie Kaufman/Jay Kristoff. (I will be reviewing them once I read them, so keep an eye out for those reviews!)
Mary McCoy, author of Dead to Me, kicked off the event by giving the keynote speech. Not only is she an author, but she is a librarian as well. Mary shared a touching story of her encounters as a librarian with a shy teenage girl. Her story reminded us of the power of books and the importance of them.
After Mary concluded her speech, I went up to the 4th floor to hear the first panel–Second Chances. This panel featured Brandy Colbert, Morgan Matson, Lauren Miller, and Sarah Tomp. They discussed their day-time jobs, their writing schedule, and the scenes they would’ve changed in their book if given a second chance. Next to the panel were free book swag and food provided by the library. There was actually so much food, including madeleines, fruit, cookies, and water. The book swag was awesome too, especially the Shadowhunter freebies!!
The next panel, The First Time: From Draft to Finish Line, consisted of Victoria Aveyard, Alexis Bass, Virginia Boecker, and Kody Keplinger. Kody was the moderator, and she did such a great job (it was her first time moderating too!) From talking about dating paleontologists to eating avocado sandwiches, the entire panel was extremely interesting and HILARIOUS. Victoria also had to describe the next book of Red Queen in one word, and she said “sacrifice”.
I PRETTY MUCH DIED WHEN SHE SAID THAT BECAUSE I LOVE ALL THE CHARACTERS IN RED QUEEN AND I HOPE NO ONE HAS TO SACRIFICE HIS/HER LIFE. Anyway, they took a few questions from the audience in the end, and I actually worked up my courage to raise my hand and ask a question. I asked them, “What do you guys do when you get writer’s block? What advice would you give to aspiring writers on how to overcome them?” They all gave me long answers but in all honesty, I was too busy fangirling to really absorb what they said. After their panel, I stood in the line for their signing. The line was out the door, and I had to wait 45 minutes to get to the front. I talked to Victoria first and we took a picture. I asked her what ability she would want to have if she could choose. She answered that she would want to be a Whisper in the world of Red Queen, but a space/time traveler in general. Then, I got The Duff signed by Kody Keplinger. She was so friendly and her bubbliness was incredibly contagious.
After that panel/signing, I stayed at the auditorium for the last panel. There was some waiting time, so I chatted with these two girls I met for thirty minutes (shoutout to Melissa and Char). Finally, the last panel began at 3:30–Tough Topics. It featured Stephen Chbosky, Ava Dellaira, Liz Maccie, and Jennifer Niven. They discussed how they dealt with writing about these tough topics, as well as their TV show addictions. When the panel ended, there was a signing. I got All the Bright Places signed by Jennifer. I told her some things, and she was an absolute sweetheart. You can tell that Jennifer is a very genuine person, and it was so nice to see that my words affected her. Last but certainly not least, Stephen Chbosky. Can I just say that when Stephen Chbosky first entered the room, I started freaking out and tearing up? Perks of Being a Wallflower is my favorite book and the reason I went to the Teen Book Festival in the first place. I appreciate Stephen so much and his book has affected me in so many different ways and that’s exactly what I told him when he signed my book. I am honestly so thankful of his book and so thankful that I got to meet him.
Pasadena Loves YA was such a wonderful event. It was my first book signing, and it is definitely something I will remember. Thank you to all those who made it possible!