As I watched the video, I was flabbergasted that I had never heard of this before. Looking back on that moment, I've realized there was basically no way I would have ever heard of it if I hadn't watched booktube videos. I don't remember when I started doing that, but I'm pretty sure it was that year, so prior to that, I was in my own little world. I didn't follow publishing house news, up-coming books, authors, or even consider that people had blogs where they reviewed books. It just never even crossed my mind. So, when I finished the video, I basically had a full two hours of manic BEA searching. I learned everything I could on it, then started plotting ridiculous reasons for my mom and I to be in New York during that time. Naturally, I came up with nothing, since we have no family or friends out there, so I gave up hope.
Funny how the year I leave Chicago, BEA breaks the news that they're hosting it there. I thought, not only was that ironic and a little unfair, but it was TOTALLY sign that I should go because I could make it an all-out vacation and visit my friends and family, too. It wasn't hard to convince my mom to go, since I was paying for her ticket and she was dying to see her friends, as well. There we are, to the right, my gorgeous mama and I, on the first day.
This was a half day, which was a blessing since my mom and I didn't get to her friends apartment until 10PM the night before and we were pooped. So we got ready, printed out our itineraries, and set off. The only that I had planned that day was meeting Lauren Oliver, so I designated day 1 to just getting our bearings. Neither of us had obviously been to BEA before, or even the McCormick Place, so we just walked around and mentally mapped everything out. We checked out where all the major publishing booths were, where the autograph area was, the bathrooms, and the food court. Lauren Oliver's signing was moved to later that day, but she was signing the next day, so I wasn't upset over it. Plus my mom had a bad stomach ache, so we were only there for about an hour. I got 10 books that day.
This was the big day for us, and where I got the majority of my books. I highly, highly suggest bringing someone with you, especially if this is your first time. You're gonna get starstruck by all the free books and you're going to be unwittingly grabbing a bunch of them. You don't even think about it; you just do it. So, not only is it great to have someone to help you carry your books around all day (you're not allowed to bring suitcases onto the floor), but also in case you have overlapping signings, it's great to have someone stand in one line while you go to another. Especially if it's a major author. You have to get to those at least an hour early to be the first 50 in line. Us bookworms are dedicated AF, but it can definitely be a little annoying if you're on a time crunch.
We were on the go from 10 AM to 5 PM, and boy were we exhausted by the end of it. One of us would be in line waiting for a galley drop or an author signing, while the other was out wandering for books. I gave my mom a list of books for her to keep an eye out, and whenever she would come up to me with one I would feel such a huge swell of affection for her. Reading isn't really her thing, so she was bored and probably a little annoyed with this whole thing, but she never once complained. What a damn trooper. I also met two wonderful ladies while waiting for a galley drop, Tamara from Shelf Addiction, and Stephanie from Ohana Reads.
Day 3This was where the bulk of my top author signings where, so a lot of this day was spent waiting. We were done by 1, which was a relief, because I had to catch a 4 PM train to Winfield and needed to pack my overnight bag. The highlight of this day was meeting Jesse, who's a booktuber (jessethereader). I met him at Yallwest in 2015, and shortly after that he found me on Instagram and followed me. I fangirled hard. It was unbelievable. And then he commented saying he loved my pictures and I just about died. But nothing compared to seeing him at BEA and having him recognize me. It was pure coincidence that the ends of my hair were dyed pink both times, so that probably helped him. But seriously, I couldn't stop talking about our encounter for a good ten minutes afterwards. We also kind of matched, which was awesome. He's so, so kind and down-to-earth, and if you ever have the chance to meet him, DO IT. It may be nerve-wracking, but it's so worth it. We talked for a couple minutes and then I told him I had to go to a signing, which was a total lie. I was just at my limit and my brain was kind of short-circuiting, so I had to get out of there before I ran out of words and just stared at him in silence.
So, like I said earlier, this was the bulk of my top author signings, so I only got.. maybe 10 books? I don't remember, but they were major ones, like Heartless, Stealing Snow, and The City of Mirrors. It was glorious, and again, wouldn't have been possible without my mom there.
I got a looooooot of books. I was expecting the total to be around 40, since the list I had given my mom had something around there, but I didn't account for the random books that were kind of shoved into my hands. Granted, most of them sound good and I definitely want to read them, but there are definitely a couple I regret grabbing. I'm not sure yet if I'll include those in the giveaway, since they don't really follow the YA theme, so we'll see.
The pile on the left were my top books. I told my mom if she somehow saw those lying around, she was instructed to do anything she could to get them. And by anything, I meant anything, but as nicely as possible.
A 4 chapter sampler of Crooked Kingdom // Leigh Bardugo
Stealing Snow // Danielle Paige
Three Dark Crowns // Kendare Blake
The Problem with Forever // Jennifer L. Armentrout
Aerie // Maria Dahvana Headley
And The Tree's Crept In // Dawn Kurtagich
Empire of Dust // Eleanor Herman
The City of Mirrors // Justin Cronin
Heartless // Marissa Meyer
Caraval // Stephanie Garber
The Loose Ends List // Carrie Firestone
The Light Fantastic // Sarah Combs
Our Chemical Hearts // Krystal Sutherland
Stalking Jack the Ripper // Kerri Maniscalco
The Memory Book // Lara Avery
Love Warrior // Glennon Doyle Melton
Seven Days of You // Cecilia Vinesse
Frostblood // Elly Blake
The Forgetting // Sharon Cameron
The Women in the Walls // Amy Lukavics
The Changelings // Christina Soontornvat
Going Wild // Lisa McMann
Cloud and Wallfish // Anne Nesbet
The Most Dangerous Place on Earth // Lindsey Lee Johnson
The Female of the Species // Mindy McGinnis
The Female of the Species // Mindy McGinnis
Maresi // Maria Turtschaninoff
Phantom Limbs // Paula Garner
The Guineveres // Sarah Domet
The Secret Keeper // Trenton Lee Stewart
The Continent // Keira Drake
The King Slayer // Victoria Boecker
Labyrinth Lost // Zoraida Cordova
Behind Closed Doors // B.A. Paris
No Stone Unturned // James W. Ziskin
The Graces // Laure Eve
The Scourge // Jennifer A. Nielsen
How To Hang a Witch // Adriana Mather
Kingdom of Ash and Briar // Hannah West
The Lie Tree // Frances Hardinge
Invincible Summer // Alice Adams
Truly Madly Guilty // Liane Moriarty
The Thousandth Floor // Katharine McGee
The Catalyst // Helen Coggan
I managed to snag some extra copies of books when I was at BEA. Three of them are signed (The Women in the Walls, The Forgetting, and Phantom Limbs), while the other two are not. This is my first self-hosted Rafflecopter giveaway, so sorry if anything is a little funky. It shouldn't be, but technically hates me, so I never know. This isn't an international giveaway (this girl is broke AF), so sorry to all my international friends out there. US/Canada only! Enjoy :)