The drive from New York to Chicago was not an easy one. Both to and from Chicago had me driving in the darkness, and in the pouring rain! Driving through Pennsylvania, the roads were curvy with ditches all along the sides, and Ohio was just miles of cornfields with nothing in-between. It took forever to find a gas station, and I was starting to think I would suffer a death a la Children of the Corn...
Chicago itself was wonderful, despite all of the unpleasantly foggy and rainy weather. Sadly, I didn't get to see much of it, though I did try deep dish pizza! Judging solely by the first place we tried . . . school cafeteria pizza is better; I was so disappointed. However, my friend Michelle directed me and the rest of our friends to Giordano's, and that was much better. Either way, I still stand by the fact that NYC pizza is better XD
(Photo credit: Melanie @ One Less Lonely Blog)
My Favorite Things
My #1 favorite thing about Book Expo American 2016/BookCon was hanging out with Michelle (Dreaming of Alba), Melanie (One Less Lonely Blog) Stefani (Caught Read Handed), and Annalisse (Hopeful Reads). These girls truly made my entire trip so wonderful, I can't remember the last time I laughed so much. Being with them felt like I was with family, and I hope they get their butts to New York City soon for a family reunion...
Also, I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked with these bloggers, but I'm grateful for the time that we did have:
Sarah K (The YA Book Traveler): Our multiple hugs were not enough!
Michella (YA Books Girl): Thankfully we get to hang out in NYC, and I'm so glad you got the books you wanted!
Ava (Bookishness and Tea): I'm so happy that we got to meet and hang out! Hopefully, we get to see each other again soon ^_^
Fallon, Morgan, Hannah, Patricia, Anasheh, Becca, Brittany S., Octavia, Shelly Z., Britt, Andye, Sajda, Stephanie, Mishma, Jen, Shannon, Anna, Nicole, Christina, and Monica!
Unfortunately, not all of the bloggers I met are listed here. In a setting such as BEA and BookCon, it's impossible to list everyone, so I'm sorry if I missed you!
Meeting the Authors
When it comes down to it, BEA and BookCon is all about the books. I got to see and meet some amazing authors in Chicago, and it made me so happy. Here are the authors I was lucky enough to hang out with, and be sure to check out all of their books!
Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy, Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom), Adam Silvera (More Happy Than Not, History Is All You Left Me), Stephanie Garber (Caraval), Kendare Blake (Three Dark Crowns, Anna Series, Goddess War Series), Kristen Simmons (The Glass Arrow & Metaltown), Wendy Spinale (Everland), Kerri Maniscalco (Stalking Jack The Ripper), Amie Kaufman (These Broken Stars trilogy, The Illuminae Files), Jay Kristoff (The Illuminae Files, Nevernight, The Lotus War trilogy, & LIFEL1K3), Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles & Heartless), Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures, Unbreakable, & The Lovely Reckless), Audrey Coulthurst (Of Fire and Stars), Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle, The Scorpio Races, The Anatomy of Curiosity, Sinner, The Shiver Trilogy, and many others)
ALSO, the Fierce Reads Party!
It was SO much fun. Who wouldn't love hanging out with so many awesome and inspirational people? I didn't want it to end! Photos were taken, there were a lot of laughs, and I'm so thrilled to have been invited.
Another wonderfully unexpected thing that happened . . . I won an ARC copy of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff!!! I was going crazy for a couple of days, thinking there was no way I would be able to snag one of the FIVE copies that he had with him, but I got it!
At the end of the Fierce Reads/Macmillian Party, we were given this awesome bag that was full of goodies!
I have to say, I was most surprised to see George Orwell's 1984 in the goodie bag with this ominous message:
I have no idea what this means. I already searched the hashtag on Twitter, and have only found other confused people xD
The books above were the ones I was willing to maime someone for, but luckily, it didn't come down to that haha.
I didn't get a lot of swag this year, which is probably a good thing anyway because I don't really have the space for it. In general, there seemed to be a lot less of it than at past BEAs and BookCons, but either way, I was able to snag these beauties. The only one that confuses me is the sampler of Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth. Despite rumors of it being only 3 pages, it's a bit longer than that, but it's still really small AND it's not even the beginning of the book, it's chapter 7! I only grabbed it in passing, because my morbid curiosity was getting to me. I don't know if or when I'll get around to reading it though.
And here is my final haul picture (minus the samplers I already showed above) It's significantly less than what I've previously gotten at conventions, but I was being very careful to limit myself to only the books I was dying to read. Last year, I was still a newbie blogger when it came to conventions and my eyes were as big as saucers when it came to all of the books. Either way, I'm really happy with my haul, and I can't wait to start reading! ^_^
Things I did not care for:
Avid Reader Pass
I hate the changes made to the Avid Reader Pass. Last year, you would purchase the pass and be able to jump the 8 autograph lines of your choosing while at the convention center. I know that this caused a lot of problems, hence why they changed it, I suppose. However with this pass, you could guarantee yourself 10 tickets to autograph lines with 1 jump pass, though they didn't mention any changes from last year's pass, so I found that to be kind of shady. The problem was that there was a very short list of lines you could choose from, and so I only ended up using 2 of my tickets. Since the tickets weren't transferable, they just went to waste. On top of that, they sold/gave away more tickets than they had books, so I know people who paid for a ticket, and then didn't even get the book!
In an ideal world, people would come to line up when they're told to. But since we do not live in this fantasy world, I wish that there was more planning and organization when it came to the lines for giveaways and autographs. The bottom line is, if people want to a certain book, they will camp out at the booth as early as humanly possible to guarantee getting it.
Why? Because a person's desire to attain said book will directly correlate to how early they are willing to line up, and how long they're willing to wait!
It seemed to me that a lot of publishers were not prepared for this, which lead to complete chaos. The one booth I have to exclude from all of this is Penguin Random House's booth. They were more prepared for people standing in and around their booth all day, and handled it in a professional and organized manner. There were some issues when it came to the line for Gemina, but that was the only time.
This conversation happened at least a dozen times:
Me: We don't want to be in your way.. where should we line up?
Booth Lady: No, no, no. Come 15 minutes before the giveaway starts.
Me: But.. it's a huge book.. there are already like 50 people waiti--
Booth Lady: But we don't want you to line up until 15 minutes before.
Me: But if you don't tell us where to line up, there will just be a mob of peop--
Booth Lady: COME BACK 15 MINUTES BEFORE THE DROP, EVERYONE!
Everyone: *has no plans of leaving*
Me: *sigh* ...
Everyone: *forms confused mob until Booth Lady relents to an "unofficial line"*
The Big One
Yes, there were some unethical people who took like, a bajillion copies of each book. It's already been discussed at length on Twitter, and it's horrible, it really is. However, I feel compelled to add that a couple bad apples do not represent the entirety (or even the majority) of the blogging community, which is mostly composed of wonderful, kind-hearted people who read and promote books because they love it. So let's try to focus on the book love and be kind to one another, shall we? <3
Aaaaand that's a wrap.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post! I'm sorry I wasn't posting much while I was in Chicago, but I promise that I'll be getting back to my normal posting schedule soon ^_^