I went back to BEA for the 3rd year in a row. This is what happened:
When it was announced that BEA would be in Chicago, I wasn't sure I would go. Mostly because of the travel. I live in Pittsburgh and can drive to NYC in about 4-5 hours-- do-able. Chicago is 8-- not so much. I am not a fan of flying, but since it was either that or a 10 hour train ride, I decided if I was going to go, it only made sense to fly (plus the price was not that much different). I haven't flown since before 9/11.... isn't that crazy??? So I was super nervous about just about everything that had to do with the airport and the plane. After some nasty turbulence, I made it okay. I wasn't a fan, but I made it.
When I got to the hotel, I met up with about half my group and we went to Shake Shack for lunch. I am SO obsessed with Shake Shack from last year in Brooklyn and DEMAND that they put one in the 'Burgh :) Later that night we went to Lou Malnati's for deep dish pizza.... because how can you go to Chicago without getting some deep dish?? It was very good.... I'm more of a think pizzeria-style pizza girl, but I enjoyed the deep dish yumminess.
Highlight of the Day: Meeting all my roommates- most of them for the first time IRL- Becca, Octavia & Shelly, Britt, Rachael, Cassi, Christina, Angie, Pili, Nikki, and Katie.
BEA started at 1pm again this year for the first day. Almost all of my roommates were either speaking at BloggerCon, or they wanted to get in line early. But me and Rachael decided to just chill out and pretty much didn't bother going down until an hour before the doors opened. I had to LOL a little at the line disarray. They had people snaked back and forth in a line, but no ropes up.... so when they opened the doors what do you think happened? Well, it was a free-for-all. I went in and had a very chill day. I talked to a few publishers in booth about books I was excited for and I crossed one of my number one priorities off my list: Replica by Lauren Oliver. I have to thank the awesome girls in the HarperCollins booth for giving me this book even though they ran out one person in front of me. Due to line cutters, there was supposed to be enough books, but there weren't. They hooked me up, and I was SO beyond thankful.
That night we went to Shake Shack (AGAIN), but that was fine with me!
Highlight of the Day: Meeting Erica M. Chapman, the author of Teach Me to Forget (a book I'm SUPER excited about) and getting a copy of Dog Man by Dav Pikey-- my kid loves his books!
*Bottom Left: Becca, Me, and Britt on the BEA floor (Photo Cred: Becca) / Top Right: Me and some of the girls getting ready to eat deep dish / Bottom Right: Day 1 Book Haul*
BEA was back to starting at 9. People were lined up early for stuff (mostly Metaltown), but there didn't seem to be any books that had the HYPE like Truthwitch and Passenger did last year. They also figured out that you have to have ropes up if you want to keep that many people in order.... duh!! This day was JAMMED PACKED for me. And it seemed like the exhaustion from traveling and sleeping in a strange place chose to catch up to me at this time as well. Of course. So I felt like a walking zombie, but I wasn't going to let it get me down!! I had a mission to complete! So I went from one signing/book drop to the next and I got some of my most anticipated books-- 738 Days (LOVE STACEY KADE, she's SO sweet), Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics, and Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow. Shoutout to Britt for getting me Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco-- it was also one of my must-haves.
I also have to mention the one cluster-fuck that occurred at the Macmillan. Thursday was THE day for all the top authors and books. For some odd reason Macmillan decided to do a ticket drop at 1pm for all their afternoon signings. We're talking Heartless, Vassa in the Night, 738 Days, and You Know Me Well, and maybe other books that I've now forgotten. Anyway, it was a mess. They were doing the whole "there's no lines" thing and basically when time came for tickets there was a stampede. A friend of mine got pushed into a table, a few people legit felt like they were at trample-risk. This is not okay. People should not act like this, but the publishers should put safety first and have these situations better controlled. People won't stampede if they feel like things are being done fairly. I was just lucky that my girls Cassi & Britt went and got me my Stacey Kade and David Levithan tickets so I didn't have to deal.
That night we were all exhausted and ordered dinner in. Some people in our group went to publisher parties... I went to bed.
Hightlight of the Day: Meeting Adam Silvera!! He's the Bomb Dot Com. Also my roommates are weird and had a Hamilton sing-a-long, which I have video of for future blackmailing purposes :)
*Left: Me & Adam Silvera / Center: Me & David Levithan / Top Right: My Day 2 outfit (darn right I repped the 90's) / Bottom Right: Me & Kristin*
Last day already!!! The only thing I really wanted for this day was to get What Light by Jay Asher. Gemina (the 2nd Illuminae book) was another priority. Fun Fact: waiting in the giant Gemina line was kind of fun???? Yeah, that's what I said. We all lined up super early and basically made a pact that we could all come and go and our spot would be held. It was nice to run and get a book that maybe didn't have a big line and be able to come back and sit in my original spot to wait. Sometimes people work together really well :)
That night we went to the blogger dinner hosted by Whitley and Octavia. It was a blast. Those girls organized such a nice event!! If I was the one in charge it would've been a disorganized hot-mess, so I give major props for the way it all turned out. After that me and Becca went to Howl at the Moon with Wendy, Danielle, and Rebecca. It was a late, late night and a fun time.
Highlight of the Day: Meeting Jenn and Ash from JennReneeReads!! I've been following and talking with them since FOREVER and it was so nice to finally meet them. And their story of how Jenn met Marissa Meyer and got Heartless signed was one that made my heart want to burst. There were a lot of negative stories to come out in the aftermath of BEA, and this was one of the good ones! Also, meeting Sara Shepard was pretty fabulous.
*Nikki, Cassi, & Me (see Cassie really does hug people) / Sara Shepard & Me*
*Top Left: The Night Out Girls (Photo Cred: Becca) / Bottom Left: Me and Becs / Top Right: Me & Lauren (yay for meeting her) / Me & Nicole (her mom was with her and OMG-- LOVE) / Me & the shorties at Jenn Renee Reads*
UGHH Hungover & exhausted :) My plane didn't leave until late, so I got to hang out with a lot of my roomies in the hotel lobby and at the airport. I was sad to leave them, but also I was starting to really miss my little boy (and our 2 puppies).
*Me & Britt & Becca looking rough before we left for the airport / Trying to fit all my books, haha*
Final Book Haul
- I have to admit I went into this BEA thinking it might be my last. A- I'm over 30 and I'm wondering when it's time to hang it up? and B- while I love the experiences I've had and the friends I've made in past BEA's, I never felt very accepted into the overall blogging group. BEA is about books and authors, but it's also nice when you can meet other people who you have SO MUCH IN COMMON WITH. I don't know anyone else in my real life who blogs. And besides book club, I don't know many that like to read either, so it's nice to meet new blog friends. It's harder for me than it seems to be for most of you to make friends over the internet. Maybe it's partly a generational thing?? I don't know... but I see all of you clicking with people just from talking on the computer, and I think HOW?? It's so cool, but I don't exactly know how to do it right. I got off track--- okay what I was saying was, while I've met a lot of cool people in the past at BEA, my overall experience was that I didn't find people (in general) to be overwhelmingly friendly or inclusive. It kind of felt like a party I came to without an invitation. Now, I don't know if it is because this one was in Chicago and it had a more laid-back vibe, or if it was because I went with such a large group, or if I just stopped caring, but I didn't feel ANY of that weird uncomfortableness that I've felt in past BEA's. So basically- YAY, and I'll see you all in NYC in 2017 (unless something life-altering happens).
- BUT I don't want my past BEA-ers to think I don't still love you!!! Because OMG I SO do and wouldn't even have GONE to Chicago if you didn't show me how cool and friendly people could be.
- Chicago-- does the sun ever touch your skies?? Well it didn't while we were there. The weather was miserable- cold & rainy :(
- McCormick Place vs. The Javits Center Whether it was because it was better organized or less crowded (due to people not being able/wanting to come after it was announced it was moved), I felt like the entire atmosphere was less stressful and more enjoyable. When publishers wouldn't let us make a line, we made one anyway and people abided by that (except for the Macmillan debacle). Everyone (for the most part) was super respectful and I thought Chicago rocked that shit. The location was another thing.... the McCormick is near NOTHING. We ended up spending so much money on Uber and Lyftt to go anywhere and it kinda sucked. I missed New York's awesome public transportation for sure. Also, there's just more to do in New York (or maybe there's just more I want to do).
- My drama response- I just want to make one quick comment about this. If you didn't know, there was some talk about a few people who maybe took more than their fair share of the books, and I must say I was super disappointed. I hate that it only takes a few "bad apples" to give all bloggers a bad name. I hate that when something like this happens, people start questioning if bloggers should even be allowed to attend the event. It really sucks. Please-- if you attend this event in the future: don't be greedy. There's no reason on Earth you need 6 copies of a book. If you want to do a giveaway, read the 1 copy you got and give that away. If the publishers want you to do a giveaway, they will ask... and THEY will do the mailing! If you are taking multiple copies of a book, don't delude yourself into thinking you're doing a good deed to those who couldn't attend. You're doing it add followers to your blog, not spread the wealth and help advertise the book. Do you think we're all stupid?? Bottom Line- there are limited copies of books, and let's all be kind and SHARE :)
- Thank you to EVERYONE I interacted with. All the authors, all the publicists, all the bloggers. Especially to my roommates- thank you so much for being YOU and crawling up into my heart. It's because of you that I had the best time :)
- I wish I took more pictures :( I know I say that every year, but this time I really did a shit job :(