I had the amazing opportunity to road trip down to Anaheim with my two friends, Lindsi and Kelsey (who also blog, whee!). The purpose? ALA 2012.
Until last weekend, I had never been to any ALA event before. I figured it would be a good networking opportunity and give me the chance to meet some crazy awesome people. And oh, I did.
I attended the author/blogger meet up hosted by YA Highway, attended ALA Saturday and Sunday, met one of my agent sister's, Leigh Bardugo (who is SO, SO lovely), and ended up showing Lindsi and Kelsey around CA since they'd never been before.
It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but I had tons of fun. Here's some pictures and captions of the shenanigans that ensued:
In traffic on our way to day 1 of ALA
Kelsey, Lindsi, and me at the Anaheim Convention Center.
While at BEA, I had the amazing opportunity to meet Claire Legrand, who I know through Britney since they used to work together. Anyway, I spotted Claire's book (there were only 2 left on the table when I walked up!) and took one! I'm really excited to read this MG. :)
I saw Sash (from Sash and Em) again at ALA! She's so sweet, guys.
I had the opportunity to meet John Corey Whaley and get a signed copy of his book. I've heard amazing things about it. Also he's also super nice.
I ended up taking Lindsi and Kelsey to Seal Beach in CA. This is basically the beach I spent my summers at growing up, and since Lindsi and Kelsey had never seen a beach on the west coast I figured it was a perfect opportunity to take them. :)
Lindsi thought it would be funny to not warn us a huge wave was rushing in behind us. Needless to say, we got wet.
Photo opp on the beach :)
At the YA Highway meetup, I got to meet and see a few people from the YA world! This is the darling Ava, who was super nice and lovely!
YAY! I got to see the lovely Melanie Goodman again! She's always super fun to be around. I was glad she made it out to the event. (The lighting outside was weird, so the coloring in these pictures are sort of bleh.)
Kelsey, Lindsi, and me.
Excited that we could wear pretty dresses again.
The walk to the Anaheim Convention Center was SO GORGEOUS. Loved the palm trees and weather so much!
ALA day 2. I finally got to meet the lovely Lena (you guys, she's SO adorable) and see Lauren again! They are both absolute sweethearts. We took this picture because we all happened to be wearing stripes, ha!
Me, Kelsey, and Lindsi before the Dia Frampton concert at House of Blue's for Kelsey's 21st!
Dia performing. It was such a great show!
At the bar afterwards having a 1st midnight birthday drink with Kelsey!
So, ALA may have presented us with an opportunity to see an advanced screening of PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. And I may have seen it. AND I MAY HAVE MET STEPHEN CHBOSKY.
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER has been one of my favorite books for a long time. A very long time. It's one I'm always hesitant to recommend it to people because I don't know if my heart can handle it if they don't love it as much as I do. It's a powerful story that leaves you feeling impacted and heartbroken and emotional and amazing and many, many other feelings.
So yeah. Seeing an advanced screening and meeting Chbosky pretty much made my life. If you want to read my (no spoiler) review of the movie, click here.
But basically Chbosky did a Q&A after the movie and the autographed books for us. Why? Because of the Freedom to Read Foundation. This *is* the reason why we were able to see Chbosky and an advanced screening of PERKS.
Taken from the website, this is basically what FTRF is:
Founded in 1969, the Freedom to Read Foundation was the American Library Association's response to its members' interest in having adequate means to support and defend librarians whose positions are jeopardized because of their resistance to abridgments of the First Amendment; and to set legal precedent for the freedom to read on behalf of all the people."
If you've read the book, you know there's so material inside that is mature. This book *has* been challenged before, but we do have the freedom to have access to books of our choice. This is why Chbosky respects FTRF and why he was helping host this event. I thought it was absolutely phenomenal.
So, yeah! That just about wraps it up. I'm so glad I have the opportunity to attend ALA for the first time. It's definitely a great experience.
Oh! And I did get books. 15 of the ones I REALLY wanted to read. Also, 15 is a realistic number. JUST SAYIN'.
(I also review books for those of you who don't know. I wanted ones I'd be able to review realistically in this last part of the year. So, yeah! Woot.)