As you may or may not know, I like to read. You know... like, books. With young adults. Stuff like that. So, last year (I don't know if you remember this) I volunteered at a teen book festival this college holds every year. It's a huge event that consists of the following: Famous authors. Books. Food. Books. Giggles. And, books.
Last year, I had the privilege to be an 'author's assistant' for the day. Pretty cool, right? That year, I was chosen to follow Jennifer Niven (author of All the Bright Places (totally recommending it to you as we speak)) around for the day. And let's just say it was ah-mazing. And to this day, we're practically best friends. ;) ...Nah, I'm just kidding. But she does reply to my emails and I'm actually in a group dm with her on instagram which is so nice, because she's just so sweet and actually replies back. She also sent my sister and I an advanced reader's copy of her new book (which doesn't come out until October) and let me just say... I FEEL SO SPECIAL. I mean... look.
*breathes heavily* ...isn't it so purdy? It's basically a stack of paper! How awesome is that? And I get to read it before you. ;) ...that was not nice. I'm sorry. I apologize for bragging. But you guys... How cool is that? As you can see, it's called Holding Up the Universe and the real cover was just released which is oh-so-gorgeous. Please, go check it out.
I was thinking of doing a review on it once I've finished. What do you think? It would be spoiler free of course. And Jennifer wants us (me and a few other girls who received this copy-- yes, I'm not that special. But Jennifer may or may not have mentioned naming characters after us for her third book which is like HOLY POOP, WHAT IS AIR?! Okay, back to what I was saying...) to write a little blurp about the book. So, we're basically her little promotion team. ;)
Ugh, this author. She just keeps surprising us and feeding us more. Which, I don't know if that is a good or bad thing for my poor fangirling heart. But, who cares!
Also, did I mentioned that on the same day that I received that package, I also received a book I won from a goodreads giveaway. This is big news, everyone. Do you have any idea how many giveaways I enter on there and I finally won one! I don't know about you... but my luck was extremely high that week.
And here is the lovely book I won (isn't my succulent so cute?). Eep, I can't wait to start it! The movie looks so good. *insert heart eyes emoji*
So, where was I before I went into full blown fangirl mode on you? Oh yes! So, this year I was assigned to be an author's assistant with my sister again. And guess who we got? Come on, take a lucky guess... Oh my gosh, how did you know!? Yes, we were Jesse Andrew (author of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl)'s assistant for the day!
I'm just going to take you through the day really quick. I don't want to make this post too long... I'm sure you have far more important things to do with your time.
Alright, so the week before the festival I came down with this really awful flu. I was laying in bed most of the day, from Tuesday to all day Friday. However, thank goodness, I was starting to feel better Saturday-- the day of the festival. It was as if my immune system just had enough and was like: "Alright Kenzie, I'll let it slide for today... but only if you bring me back a signed copy of the book. Also, can you please get that gourmet mac and cheese again? That was delicious."
Thank you, immune system. I owe you one.
Once we made it to the college campus, a couple minutes after 8am, we (my sister and I) went inside to pick up our special name tags, like the one below.
Name tags make me feel important.
Then we watched the author parade, where one of the featured authors threw starbursts into the air. Ashamed, I did not catch any... I was too busy taking pictures, like this one!
*whispers* I don't even know who she is, but I like her. o-o
After that it was time to meet our author! This part always made me nervous. #introvertlife
But thank goodness there was zero awkward silence. My sister and I, plus two other volunteers, ate breakfast with Jesse where we talked about his books and food, and a lot of stray topics... (he gave us candy). After breakfast, we departed with our author and moved on to the gym for a "Truth or Talent". I was able to talk with our fellow author assistant volunteers, and we all agreed that we were thankful we got a cool author. Hey, don't get me wrong... All authors are amazing. But there's always that very small fear in which you are secretly hoping you don't get an author who you simply cannot relate to, even if you read their book.
So, just allow me to say that Jesse Andrews was awesome and hilarious and just amazing to be around. He had us laughing the entire time.
Once Truth or Talent was over (that's where authors either perform a talent or tell a truth-- it's fun to watch), we headed to the first panel session. Last year, Jennifer Niven's panels were a good size for attendance. Her book had just come out and she was new to the YA genre, so her crowd was a good size. However, for Jesse, when we entered the room, it was already filled with eager teens and parents. I had a slight culture shock for a moment (I don't know if you've ever heard of that reference but I'm just going to leave it). There was about 40 to 50 people, plus people waiting outside. As volunteers, it was our job to make sure that the maximum audience was at ease and that every teen had a seat, even if that meant kicking out the adults. Thank goodness we had some help from an adult volunteer to be the "bad guy" and do the dirty work for us.
There were a total of three sessions, each lasting about 45 minutes. So, we had to keep track of time, and made sure we weren't late for lunch.
Here is a lovely photo of my sister and I enjoying free pizza and soda on the floor of a hallway. It was yummy. Although, my stomach was still feeling a bit woozy from being sick, so I didn't dare to eat too much... I, however, am regretting that at the moment because there is nothing better than free pizza. 'Nuff said.
Each of Jesse's sessions were very similar to each other. He would introduce himself, talk about his new book, The Haters , and occasionally the movie to Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Which was really sad, you guys. Actually, it was funny but the ending was sad.
He talked about when he went to Harvard, how he had a band (which, according to him, was not as good as 5SOS), and his love for origami. He talked about how he tried to write two books but they were rejected because they had no plots. Literally. He said "that was the point, though! NO plots, isn't that great?!" I think he has a thing against plots, given that Me and Earl and the Dying Girl didn't have much of a plot, more like character growth, which is different but still good.
He also talked about how he disposed of garbage illegally... o.O Like, I had no idea there was such a profession that could be illegal. Anyways, he talked about these topics all while throwing himself onto the floor, waving his arms wildly in the air, and shouting so loud the entire campus could probably hear him.
So, that was Jesse.
He also gave me a high five after I introduced him in the beginning of his last session, where I totally made a fool of myself and mentioned something we talked about over breakfast that was funny, but the 50,000 teens in the room that day did not find it humorous. It was embarrassing to say the least, but I'll let it go.
Once the sessions were all over, it was time to head to the gym for autograph signing. And may I just say, it was crowded. Jesse probably had the longest line because it was split into two. He still managed to smile at every fan, even though his hand must have been killing him.
I managed to slip away towards the end to get Suzanne Young (author of The Program) to sign my books. She was so cute!
Sorry the picture is so fuzzy, my hand was shaking. o-o But I got my books signed and she drew cute little hearts around "For James's Ladies", which I had her write on there. I wanted something creative and different, but at first she thought my name was James. o.O
Not her fault though, I'm just a given when it comes to awkwardness.
Then, at the way end of the autographing session, I slipped away again to get my book signed by A.S King. I was waiting what seemed like ages (even though the line was short?) and I was not able to say bye to our fellow author assistants, which made me feel bad because I didn't want them to think I was rude or anything. I made my sister save my spot in line so I could say bye to Jesse because he was finally done autographing. I made him sign my shirt. I feel bad about that too, but hey... What's one more signature? ;)
Here I am with A.S King. I always heard really good things about her and how funny she is, but I had never officially met her before. But now I have! Even though it was for, like, a minute, and she wasn't even sure if I read her book (Ask the Passengers) or not (I DID, I DID! AND I LOVED IT!), but I was being awkward again and didn't say anything besides "Can I have a picture?". She was great though, just like everyone said. When I held up my phone she was squealing "Ohh! A selfie!"
Anywho, that was pretty much my day on May 14th.
My sister and I were able to walk around the campus a little while we waited for our mom to pick us up. Actually, we got lost trying to find the building she was picking us up at. But I was able to capture this picture! It was super windy out, and my balloon Jesse gave us kept flopping all about.
Well, you made it to the end! I hope you enjoyed that post/story about my day. ;)
Look at dem lovely books with lovely signatures on the inside.
Oh! Oh! I almost forgot...
My sister and I found out that JENNY HAN was at one of the festivals a few years ago. Ugh, if only she wrote To All The Boys I've Loved Before sooner and I was into reading at the time, then maybe I could have told her how much I love Peter Kavinsky. o-o
That's all for now, lovely humanoids. I'm sorry for such a long post, but I hope it was worth it.
Don't forget to feed and water yourself.