Pasadena Loves YA: Spotlight on Morgan Matson + Giveaway!

Hello everyone! And welcome to my spotlight in the Pasadena Loves YA blog tour on the wonderful and amazing Morgan Matson!

I am INCREDIBLY excited about this event and am honored to be hosting such a fantastic author today.

But before we get into that, help let’s find out more about this event!

plya_21_revised(1)

plya_square_2015(1)

When: 

May 23rd 2015 from 12pm to 4 pm

Where: 

Pasadena Public Library
285 East Walnut Street
Pasadena, click CA 91101

FREE EVENT! Giveaways and Refreshments! Free TOTE BAG to first 150 Guests! Make sure to share on Twitter, about it Facebook, Instagram using the hashtag #PLYA2015!

For most info, visit their website here.

Authors!

Keynote speaker Mary McCoy (author of Dead to Me) with Katie Alender, Victoria Aveyard, Alexis Bass, Julie Berry, Livia Blackburne, Virginia Boecker, Jessica Brody, Stephen Chbosky, Brandy Colbert, Ava Dellaira, Kody Keplinger, Liz Maccie, Morgan Matson, Lauren Miller, Alexandra Monir, Jennifer Niven, Romina Russell, Sarah Tomp, & Kiersten White

Book Sales

Provided by Vroman’s Bookstore, starting at 11 am! The event is also co-sponsored by Bridge to Books.

About Morgan Matson

d05a97b37bba3d40e3db934126215c15

Morgan fell in love with YA literature while working in Vroman’s Bookstore! Her first book, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, was inspired by her own road trips (and have inspired my friends and I to road trip as well!). She has written three novels with another on the way, and also writes under the pseudonym, Katie Finn. She lives in Los Angeles. All of her books take place during summer, which makes her perfect for this event!

Find Her At:

Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / GoodReads

About Since You’ve Been Gone

Since You’ve Been Gone is Morgan’s most recent novel but make sure to check her debut novel, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, and her sophomore novel, Second Chance Summer. 

18189606

GoodReads Synopsis: The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.

But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.

Apple Picking at Night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a Stranger? Um…

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Wait … what?

The Interview: 

Nerd Girl: All of your books center on summer. What is it about summer that makes you want to set them during this time, both as Morgan and Katie? 

Morgan: I don’t know what it is exactly, but I certainly seem to keep returning to that time period, don’t I? I guess I like that there’s less structure during the summer — you don’t have the same school schedule, so you’re able to maybe have different experiences, maybe meet new friends, than you would during the school year. It also always seemed like there was the potential change in the summer in a way there isn’t in the school year.

Nerd Girl: What is your favorite part about summer? 

Morgan: I love it all! How long the days are, the weather, the feeling of possibility that seems to permeate every single summer.

Nerd Girl: Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on for the future? 

Morgan: I’m writing a book, as yet untitled, that’s coming out in 2016! I can’t say much about it yet. But rest assured, it’s also set in the summer! And then the conclusion of the Broken Hearts and Revenge trilogy, Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross, written as Katie Finn, comes out in summer 2016, as well.

Nerd Girl: What are three essential things you need for a good road trip? 

Morgan: Snacks, tunes, good road trip buddy

Nerd Girl: What are you currently binging on Netflix? 

Morgan: Just finished the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Loved it!

Nerd Girl: What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received? 

Morgan: “You can’t fix a blank page”. Meaning, better to write something bad and make it better than to not write anything at all, trying to make it perfect.”

Thank you SO much Morgan for being a part of this spotlight and interview!

The Giveaway!

Any 3 Books from the Pasadena Loves YA authors!

The giveaway ends May 20th and is US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*****

Tune in next week for a spotlight on the super fabulous Lauren Miller!

Tuesday Top Ten-Top Authors that Deserve More Recognition

One thing that I’ve really appreciated about being a book blogger is coming to expand my bookshelf immensely. In the last year, ask I have discovered so many new authors, I can’t even begin to think of all the authors I’ve discovered. I’ve immersed myself so deeply into the world of books that those authors that you may not notice right off the bat are coming out of the woodwork for me, and I’m discovering authors that are truly truly wonderful.

And I feel like, as a book blogger, it is one of my jobs to tell you all about these! One of the questions that I probably get more than anything is, “what do you recommend?”

Now you guys know some of my favorite books are Harry Potter and The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices and Percy Jackson and Divergent and Hunger Games…but these authors, they don’t need more help really in finding readers. Most of those have movies and they’re bestsellers and they just don’t really need me talking about them all the time.

So I spend most of my time recommending the authors that I believe are absolutely brilliant and just don’t get enough attention or readers, and so that was the inspiration for this week’s Top Ten.

Each and every single one of these authors are absolutely brilliant, and I find most people that I meet do NOT know who they are, and I find that to be very disappointing. I’m hoping this week’s Top Ten encourages you try some of these authors out and to explore new authors when you go to the book store.

So here we go.

11. Neal Shusterman

NealShustermanresized

Yes I realize this is a top eleven and not a top 12. You can just deal with it haha.

I first discovered Neal Shusterman a couple months ago, and I recognize that he isn’t an unknown author. However, now that I’ve discovered his Unwind series, I want to share it with everyone and it doesn’t seem to be a ton of people out there who know him and this series. So that is why he makes it on to this list. I absolutely love this series and I think it is due to the fact that it makes me think. The Unwind trilogy takes an issue that is very highly debated right now (pro-life vs pro-choice) and he makes it so real, and he makes us really take the time to look at it. In the book, a second civil war has occurred between the pro-life and the pro-choice, and a compromise is reached: abortion in the womb is illegal, but a parent can have the option to have their child between the ages of 12 and 18 “unwound”, and all of their parts harvested to be donated to other bodies. In this compromise, it is said that there is no death, because the child continues to live, in a “divided state”. It is heartbreaking and raw and beautiful and its an addicting book series that makes me laugh and cry and it makes me think more than a lot of other books have. I think there would be a ton of people that would avoid this book because its not like other YA books, but that is EXACTLY the reason that you should read it. Do it.

You can read my review of Unwind here.

10. Jennifer Bosworth

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I had no idea who Jennifer Bosworth was until I attended the Ontario Teen Book Fest back in May (which you can read about here). She was part of the panel with authors like Jessica Brody, Morgan Matson, Marie Lu and Leigh Bardugo, which ended up being one of the best panels I’ve ever been to. This is where I really discovered Jennifer. One, she is SO pretty, and two, she really caught my interest with her book, and sort of the back story behind it. Struck is about a girl named Mia who lives in Los Angeles after it was hit with a huge earthquake disaster, and she has this addiction to lightning. The only problem is, in the wake of this disaster, there have been several religious cults, one in particular, that have sprung up and would do anything to have  Mia on their side. Again, like with Neal, it really causes you to think and to question some of the things you know. I think that Jennifer tends not to get a lot of notice because her books are not your “typical” YA novels. She really makes you think, and her book has an anti-religion message in there and I think most people would avoid that, instead of reading it, and taking it as a book that challenges the way you think. She’s not trying to CHANGE the way you think, but she does want you to question, question, question and I think that’s beautiful. She writes a beautiful book, with a great story but she really makes me think, and I can’t wait for her novel, The Killing Jar, to come out.

You can read my review of her book, Struck, here.

9. Jessica Brody

JessicaBrody

Jessica Brody is one of the FUNNEST authors that I’ve had a chance to meet this year, and discover, and I seriously get all fangirlish every time she recognizes me. (She saw me in the Cassandra Clare CBS interview and tweeted me. I nearly died). I saw her book, Unremembered at Barnes and Noble, read the inside cover, and decided to buy it. Then at WonderCon, I wanted to go to the panel “Writing for Teens and Tweens” because, well, that’s what I want to do, and she was there. She made me laugh, and she really impressed me with the things she said. I stopped by her signing booth and talked to her for a bit, and when I told her I was trying to be a writer, she said, “Don’t try to be a writer, just be one.” That really stuck with me, and I raced home to finish this book. I’ve since then met her several more times, and have read more books by her, and I seriously love her. She has a great sense of humor, and her book Unremembered (which is the first in a planned trilogy) is a real action packed book that was so different than anything else I had read in YA so far. Seriously, think The Bourne Identity but with a teenage girl instead of Matt Damon. I really love this book, not only because of the characters and story, but because of the uniqueness of it. I LOVE Jessica, and its hardly ever that I find someone who has read her books, which is why I’m telling you, please please read Unremembered. SO good.

You can read my review of Unremembered here.

8. Marie Lu

Marie-lus-legend-mysterious-galaxy-bookstore.7476602.87

Marie Lu is NOT an unknown author. Her book series has already exploded onto the scene, and the first book of her Legend trilogy, Legend, was optioned as a movie before it was even published. It is a brilliant series. The reason that I have her on here as an author that deserves more recognition is because I think she gets shuffled under the rug because of series like The Hunger Games and Divergent. I am a HUGE fan of both of those series, definitely, but I can say, with confidence, that Legend is, in my personal opinion, better than both of those. The thing about Marie Lu’s dystopian trilogy is that its so believable and its almost scary in that its so believable. I also think its better because its dual point of view, and the two different points of view are SO different. You have someone completely enveloped in this society, and believes it to the very core, and then you have someone who has been fighting against it, to keep himself and his family alive, for so long, and the clash of those two people together really is awesome. In Hunger Games and Divergent, you always know who the “bad guy” is, but in Legend, you’re always questioning because you get these two points of views. I also admire Marie a lot because she’s one of the only series I’ve read, dysptopian wise, who talks of other countries outside of the United States. She recognizes the rest of the world, which causes an even more solid story, in my opinion. Its an amazing series, and I can’t wait for the third and last book in November.

You can read my review of Legend here.

7. Rae Carson

Rae-Carson-Smash

In a little more than a week, I’ll be heading to Las Vegas to meet this author…which is roughly about a four hour drive away from my suburb town in Orange County, California. That is how much I love this author. This will be the farthest I’ve driven to meet an author and I honestly don’t think that I’ll regret it in the slightest. When I first read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I couldn’t get into it; I was really confused at first. But I think it was about 50 or so pages in when it just hit me and it grabbed me and I raced through it, and then immediately bought A Crown of Embers on my Kindle, because I couldn’t wait until the book store opened the next day. I felt VERY lucky to be able to receive an ARC of the last book of the series, The Bitter Kingdom. Its an amazing series. I think that maybe people avoid this series because of the epic fantasy that it is. I think fantasy tends to be really popular…when its recognizable, which is why all the urban, contemporary fantasies seem to do better than epic fantasies. But I’m an epic fantasy lover more than anything and I think Rae Carson is a fantastic story teller and a great world builder. And my absolute favorite part of her novels? Her main character, Elisa? She’s fat. Over the course of the books, she becomes less fat but she’s not a perfect, beautiful, skinny character and I absolutely love that.

You can read my review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns here.

6. Jen Calonita

Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 6.13.38 PM

I absolutely adore Jen Calonita, because she writes very realistically without having to be ridiculously tragic. Not that I don’t like books with tragedies but sometimes I think people forget the trivial problems we had as teenagers that felt like the absolute end of the world. I like Jen Calonita because she’s fun, and because her books are extremely sweet and because they remind me that we don’t always have to be setting the weight of the world on our shoulders and its okay to worry about how we look that day, or whether we’re going to pass our math test. I love that there are books out there that make me think, and that make me more aware of the economy or history, or world affairs but sometimes I just need a break from the world, and Jen’s books are great for that. Her Secrets of My Hollywood Life series is about Kaitlin Burke, a young Hollywood star on a hit TV show, who wishes nothing more than to find a balance between the job she loves doing and her desire to be a normal girl. Her Belles series follows Izzy, a girl who grows up in a small community until her grandmother gets too sick to take care of her anymore, and she goes to live with family she never knew existed in the ridiculously rich town of Emerald Cove. She also has two standalone novels, Reality Check and Sleepaway Girls. I love these books because they are the kind of YA that you don’t have to question, because there’s sort of younger YA and older YA. I think you can enjoy this at any age. They’re funny and cute and I think they’re really enjoyable books to read. I wish more people would notice her, and I think because she tends to have happy endings, without any tragedies, she doesn’t get a lot of notice, and that makes me incredibly sad. Her books are great, and you should definitely check them out. Also, her Secrets of My Hollywood Life series was incredible help for my book, A Little Less than Famous!

I unfortunately have not reviewed any of her books for this site yet!

5. Andrew Smith

andrewsmith_02

I had no idea who Andrew Smith was until the Ontario Teen Book Fest, and even then, I still had no idea who he was or any of that. Carrie Arcos (author of Out of Reach) actually pointed him out to me, and said that his book, Winger, was coming out that Tuesday and that it was already going to be featured in the New York Times. That caught my interest quickly. After talking to him throughout the day, and learning what a really cool guy he was, I added it to my “To-Read” list, and hoped to read it soon. I’ve only read Winger, I haven’t had a chance to read his other books YET, but I already think that he is an absolutely amazing author. I read Winger in the span of a few hours and was immediately sold on the book and on Andrew Smith. There was so many layers to this novel. Part school story, part coming of age, part humor, part tragedy, even part comic book, it tells the story of Ryan Dean and his adventures at boarding school. There is just so much about the book that is great. Like I said, its funny and sad, and its full of adventure and romance and its just a great book, and it keeps popping up everywhere, earning recognition and recommendations, but I don’t know of many people who have actually READ it, in my circle of readers and bloggers. Lately, when people ask for a recommendation, this is one of the ones I say right off the bat. I will push this on anyone and everyone and I think its an essential read. I am happy every time I do see someone reading it. Let’s just say this: CNN made a list of must-read books for the summer, and Winger was the only YA book to make it on the list. That shows you how good it is.

You can read my review of Winger here.

4. Tammara Webber

tammara-webber

I discovered Tammara Webber when I first purchased a Kindle a few years ago. I was looking for something new to read, and Amazon suggested the book, Between the Lines, which was fairly inexpensive, maybe only 5 dollars. I decided to give it a try, and I was hooked so fast. I was blazing through the next two books in the series, eating it up. Then I decided I needed them in actual hard copy. That’s when I really discovered the awesomeness that is Tammara Webber. Because most people tend to consider her books “new adult”, which is kind of a wacky age group/classification that is still not quite found its place, she was having a really hard time selling her novel. So she has worked her butt off, self-publishing her novels in ebook format, and her Between the Lines series has garnered her a bunch of attention. Then Tammara wrote her standalone novel, Easy, which highlights the dangers of rape, especially acquaintance rape, and that too has garnered a lot of attention and a lot of high praise for it. Her series and her standalone novel are both fantastic, and I admire her immensely because of her drive, her determination and her ability to make herself successful because of those.

You can read an interview between me and Tammara here.

3. Morgan Matson

Morgan-Matson-and-Magan-at-TLA-Author-Signing

Morgan Matson is one of the more brilliant authors in contemporary young adult fiction and the fact that I have gotten to meet her three times this year has made me incredibly happy. She has written two novels: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer. And while I’ve noticed a TON of Morgan Matson love on the interwebs and on most blogs about books (because we knows whats up!), I don’t see a lot of book readers outside of blogs that really know who she is. That makes me incredibly sad. Her two novels that have been published so far easily would make my top list of books, especially Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. As a debut novel, it just shines. Its a beautiful work of contemporary YA lit; it recalls Sarah Dessen, for sure, but Morgan Matson has a voice on her own and it seeps into her characters, Amy and Taylor. Plus her novels are SO summer, and I just love summer. Okay, maybe not the ridiculous temperatures that we can get here in Southern California but I adore everything else about summer, especially that I get to curl up and read, read, read, and I always make sure to read Amy and Roger’s, because its so worth a summer read and more. I’ve been able to meet her a bunch this year, and I *think* she recognizes me now and I seriously get SUCH a kick out of that. She is such a sweetheart and she helps me to believe that I can be a writer too. Seriously, read her books.

You can read a review of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour here.

2. Tamora Pierce

tammy signing books a_small

Tamora Pierce has been writing books since the 1980s, the EARLY 1980s, and she hardly needs help getting recognition. So why do I have her on here? Because its all fine and dandy that she has a strong fan base and that she’s been recognized in several different countries, and a TON of different associations and had honors bestowed upon and she CONTINUES to write magnificent books, BUT, I think its time to introduce her to the new generation: you guys. I have found that most of my followers tend to be younger than me, and have absolutely no idea who she is and that saddens me! In this world where young adult literature is at the highest I’ve ever seen it, and where fantasy is HUGE, and young, strong, smart, amazing female characters are incredibly popular, why isn’t she? Because her books are older, shorter, what? I can’t understand it so I continue to talk about her all the time, to rebuild her and her absolutely wonderful books. Her first series? About a girl who hides her gender in order to become a knight, as good as the boys. Her second series? A girl who discovers she has the rare power of wild (animal) magic and she can use it for so much, and to help the kingdom. Her third series? About a girl who tries for her knighthood after its legalized that a girl CAN do so, but is it any easier? Her fourth series? About a girl kidnapped to a foreign country who finds her niche, and helps a group of oppressed people take back their country. I mean, I could go on and on. She’s a brilliant writer, a brilliant storyteller and her world building is flawless. Please, read her; you won’t be disappointed in the SLIGHTEST.

You can read my review for her very first book, Alanna: The First Adventure here. You can also check out my Fandom Friday about Tamora Pierce, as well, here.

1. Cinda Williams Chima

IMG_1935

This is one of my more recent discoveries and it is a discovery that I made so gladly. I somehow randomly came across Cinda’s book, The Demon King, last fall and immediately went sprinting through the rest of the series. Its absolutely brilliant, an epic fantasy that has great characters, from the main characters of Han and Raisa, to the smaller characters as well, and a great world that you find yourself immersed in. Raisa is a princess struggling to become a better ruler, for the day that she takes over as queen, and Han is a former criminal, who discovers a secret about himself, and its a secret that is going to change his life forever. The two of them are so far apart, and yet their lives start to intersect and they both become so instrumental to the well-being of the queendom. Her Heir Chronicles series is a contemporary urban fantasy, following different people but the first book follows Jack, who discovers he has special powers after he stops taking his medicine one day, and he finds out he is a warrior in a society full of enchanters and sorcerers, wizards and more. Wizards are in control and they need a warrior for their tournament, a tournament that includes a fight to the death. She creates beautiful fantasy worlds, with great characters, a ton of action with a nice balance of the romantic and steamy and her books are written SO well. I’m meeting her in a couple weeks and I have to make sure that I don’t faint in excitement!

You can check out a review of The Demon King here, my exclusive interview with Cinda here, and also a full post on my urging you to read her books here.

*       *       *       *       *

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Tuesday Top Ten!

Don’t forget that you can always check out previous lists here.

And definitely don’t forget to check out these ELEVEN amazing authors! You won’t regret reading any of them.

Who are some authors that you love to read that you wish more people would read? Is there a particular book that you’re always recommending to people? As always, share in the comments!

Book of the Week-The Moon and More

Hello everyone! Welcome to the Book of the Week :)

So, buy I had planned on doing the Book of the Week post on Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, website and then do the third episode of Sara’s Quick Picks on The Moon and More but I finished The Moon and More and I’ve barely started Siege and Storm soooooo there goes that idea.

But I’ll have a review for Siege and Storm VERY soon, I promise!

For now, let’s talk about one of my absolute favorite authors in the world, Sarah Dessen and her brand new book, which I finished in about a day.

Enjoy this week’s Book of the Week!

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen 

The Moon and More

Genre:
young adult, contemporary, romance, summer book

Part of a Series:
No, all of Sarah Dessen’s books are standalone novels. However, you will see references to other characters and things from her other books if you look closely enough :)

You May Like if You Liked:
Morgan Matson’s Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer, The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han or Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Plot Summary: 

Set in the iconic Sarah Dessen beach town of Colby, Emaline works for her family’s rental house business, doing everything they can to make vacationing families happy. She’s lived there her entire life, and she’s based her life on this place. She works there, she’ll be going to college only a few hours away and she’s been dating her boyfriend, Luke, for three years. But sometimes Emaline wishes for more than just the small town life of Colby, and she finds that appeal in her father.

Her mother and father dated for one summer. Her mother was a small town Colby girl, her dad a college bound hotshot with some rich parents. One summer turned into more when her mom ends up pregnant and Emaline’s dad disappears, until she tries to find him when she’s ten. Their entire relationship is based on their mutual interest in academics and after her father (not to be confused with her dad, who married her mom when she was three years old) promises to pay for her college education, she works her butt off and gets into Colombia. However, when its time to cash in, her father backs out of the deal, disappears from her life again and Emaline takes a full scholarship to East U, a school merely two hours away.

This is the summer right before college and Emaline is spending it like any other summer, working for Colby Realty and spending time with Luke, and her best friends, Daisy and Morris. Things change real fast when a woman named Ivy comes to town to film a documentary bringing her assistant, Theo with her, who immediately attracts Emaline with his big city ways.

But then Emaline’s father reappears in town, along with her half-brother, Benji, and that begins to complicate things as well.

The Bad: 

I love Sarah Dessen. I do, I do, I do. She is one of my absolutely favorite authors of all time. I have been reading her since I was 13 years old, maybe even before that but I think 13 is about right. Anyway, I do think that some of Sarah’s books are starting to become a little more repetitive as she writes more. Its not that the writing is bad, because it definitely isn’t. Sarah Dessen is an amazing writer.

I just felt a lot of repetition in this. Summer novel, meet a new boy, parents having issues, etc. It doesn’t seem that new, you know? Halley’s mom is too controlling, Auden’s dad is a flake and her mom is pretentious. McClean’s mom is an adulterer. Remy’s mom has been married several times. And on and on. Emaline’s mom and stepdad (or dad as she calls him since he’s the one that’s been in her life since she was 3) are good parents, if embarrassing at times. Its her father, her birth father, with his impossible demands of his son, and his inability to be an affectionate, loving, available parent to Emaline that is the parent issue.

Also, I wasn’t in love with Emaline the way I have been with other characters before. I just didn’t think she had as well defined personality as other Dessen characters have had. I think she was supposed to be a girl who helped everyone, who had an attitude, and was whip smart and could dish it out but it just didn’t come across that way unless someone pointed it out. You didn’t just get it. It seemed forced.

Also, I didn’t really feel a connection to either Luke or Theo. There wasn’t really a love triangle, THANK GOODNESS. I was like, Sarah, don’t you bring in a love triangle, don’t you do it. But there wasn’t. But either way, I didn’t have preference either way, for Luke or Theo.

The Good: 

Look, that being said, I still enjoyed the book immensely. It was still such a great Sarah Dessen book. It still had that great, curl up on the beach, sunglasses on, some good music playing on the radio kind of feel.

Because if there’s one thing (and there’s definitely more than one) that Sarah Dessen is SO good at, its capturing the teen essence, the teen experience. For someone who claims to have hated high school, and wanted to just get away as soon as possible, she definitely remembers what its like to be a teenager. I think some adults don’t like to think about teens doing the things they’re actually doing but Dessen tackles it straight on. Teens drink, they party, they have sex. But Dessen also does it in very tasteful ways and she addresses the issues in mature ways but she doesn’t gloss over the fact that an eighteen year old girl in her summer before college is going to have sex with her long term boyfriend, and enjoy a beer here and there.

I also like the family dynamic in this book. A lot of Sarah’s books addresses the relationship between the main character and their parents and there is sometimes sibling relationship but I really really enjoyed the family relationships in this book. I loved how Emaline loved her parents, even though they drove her crazy, and acted like parents tend to do. I loved her relationship with her sisters. I have two sisters as well, and I loved how they all were so different from each other, and both got along super well but also fought like crazy. Its so true to what that sister relationship is like.

Which brings me to the relationship between Emaline and her half brother, Benji. She’s only seen Benji a handful of times in her life and hasn’t really had the chance to build a relationship with him. But since he and her father are in Colby for the summer, and her father is busy, she’s able to spend a lot of time with him and build an actual sibling relationship with him. It was really sweet, as I also have three younger brothers, so trust me, I know what its like :)

Lastly, I like the resolution. I won’t go any farther than that, but its a different resolution than I’ve seen in a lot of her books, it kind of reminded me of the ending in Barbara Starr’s romance novel in This Lullaby. It was an ending I didn’t expect at all, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. It was nice. I like when endings surprise me, in a good way.

Rating: 

3.5 out of 5 stars

Recommended or Not:

I definitely recommend it. I don’t think its one of her best but I definitely enjoyed it :) A very enjoyable, satisfying Sarah Dessen summer novel. I was very pleased by it!

*       *       *      *      *

Hope you enjoyed this week’s Book of the Week!

Come back next week for more!

And check out previous Book of the Week posts HERE

Ontario Teen Book Fest & iFandoms Collide Episode 2!

Today was an absolutely amazing day to be part of this blog, pill WhatANerdGirlSays, and to be part of the creative force of iFandoms Collide. Myself and my fellow bloggers, Sylvia, Tatiana and Megan (plus my sister, Jessica) headed to the Ontario Teen Book Fest today!

First off, I want to say thank you to two people. One is to Allison Tran at the Mission Viejo Library, who seriously is becoming the most amazing person to know. She has helped me so much, in getting my interview with Cassandra Clare, telling me about other events that I’d be interested in and she’s just been amazing. She told me about this awesome event through the Ontario Library and I thank her for that.

I would also like to thank Courtney Saldana from the Ontario Library for two reasons. One, is putting on such an amazing event that happened today and for bringing together the group of authors that came together today. Such a great mix of super talented, inspirational and wonderful authors. Two, I’d like to thank her for allowing us the opportunity to attend the Author Breakfast and to have one-on-one personal time with the authors to get to know them. We were able to talk to them about some REALLY cool things, and get to know some AMAZING authors.

We were also able to film episode TWO of the iFandoms Collide vlog, in which we discuss our top ten fictional crushes (you guys know how I love to talk about my fictional crushes!) We also talked to the authors that we were able to meet today and asked them their fictional crushes, authors like Stephen Chbosky, Morgan Matson, Jessica Brody, Lex Thomas, and so many more. Check it out below.

This was super fun to film, especially with getting all the author’s fictional crushes as well. SUPER fun. I loved Marie Lu‘s answer of Sydney from A Tale of Two Cities and Stephen Chbosky‘s Scarlett O’Hara. So great.

But what this particular blog post is about is my personal reaction to today’s events. After all this is WhataNerdGirlSays, and I am the “Nerd Girl” in that title :) As you all know, I am extremely passionate about young adult literature. I am a huge advocate for it, I write constantly about, I preach its use in academics, especially in the middle school and high school curriculums. Young adult literature is the very foundation for this blog!

So that being said, today was an amazing experience. I really got to have an up close and personal experience with all the authors today. They all took the time to really talk to all the fans, and every single author took the time to talk to me as a writer, and to give me advice and encouragement as an author. Here’s a picture of us with all the authors today:

IMG_5264

Authors at this event were (from left to right): Jessica Brody, Lex Thomas (duo), Gretchen McNeil, Carrie Arcos, Andrew Smith, Sara Wilson Etienne, Suzanne Lazear, Morgan Matson, Marie Lu, Leigh Bardugo, Ann Stampler and Jennifer Bosworth.

I wish honestly that I could have gotten every single one of their books and I could get them all signed. Unfortunately my wallet doesn’t permit for such things. I am a poor college student haha and I just can’t do that. But I came up with this idea: I bought a poster board, wrote “You are a writer” on it, in the middle, and I asked all the authors to write a piece of advice or words of encouragement. Once I fill up this poster board, I can frame it and put it on my wall, and it can be my encouragement when I feel like my writing is going bad (which, sadly, is often).

And the response was AMAZING. Every single author that was at the event signed it with words of wisdom. Here is the poster board below :) If you click on it, you can see it bigger, in order to read the advice given.

photo

Hanging out with the authors during the Author Breakfast was a great opportunity and really gave us the ability to hang out with the authors, get to know them, interview them and really share with them our passion about books and young adult literature. Some highlights include:

DSC_0286

Making funny faces with Jessica Brody

DSC_0322

Chatting about fictional crushes with the iconic Stephen Chbosky (author of Perks of Being a Wallflower). He loves the feisty characters, like Scarlett O’Hara!

DSC_0288

And interviewing Marie Lu, the superb author of the Legend trilogy about her upcoming finale book, Champion, and her fictional crushes.

There were so many more moments and I’ll post a link near the bottom so you can see more pictures.

First we got to see Stephen Chbosky in a Q and A, and he was incredibly inspirational and touching. His book has touched so many people’s lives and it was amazing to hear him speak. We also got the great news that he is working on something new, hopefully coming out in 2014! Awesome!

DSC_0381

I love being short, it causes some hilarity at times :) This is a GREAT picture of me and Stephen Chbosky. I loved being able to talk to him about a particular part in his book that was very resonating to me. I won’t say too much more than that because it is EXTREMELY personal to me but I was glad to talk to him about it, and I nearly cried when talking to him about it. What a great writer and a great person as well.

My favorite panel of the day was the Femme Fatale panel, featuring all female authors talking about female characters that kick butt.

IMG_5230

From left to right: Marie Lu, Leigh Bardugo, Morgan Matson, Jennifer Bosworth and Jessica Brody. Truly great panel, from some talented and inspiring authors. I was able to get books signed by all by Jennifer Bosworth, who I am determined to track down in the future! They were hilarious, inspirational, great at advice and it was a highlight of my day. Especially when Leigh Bardugo said she was a Tamora Pierce fan. I LIVE for that Tortall world.

Then came meeting the authors!

IMG_5248

me and Morgan Matson, author of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer. She is a SERIOUS inspiration of mine and it was amazing being able to talk to her as much as I was able to today :)

IMG_5251

Myself and Ann Stampler, author of Where it Began. She showed us the brand new cover of her new book and hopefully we’ll be able to get our hands on some ARCs!

IMG_5253

myself and Marie Lu, author of the Legend trilogy (I am so anxiously awaiting Champion!). She is so inspirational, as a young author, for aspiring authors like me.

IMG_5254

me with Leigh Bardugo, author of Shadow and Bone. Her humor, charisma, intelligence and inspiration drove me to buy her book. I can’t wait to dive into it. She was a wonderful person to me and gave good advice, and was truly inspiring. I hope to meet her again someday.

IMG_5256

Myself with Carrie Arcos, who was nominated for a National Book Award for her novel Out of Reach, and Jennifer Bosworth, author of Struck. Two books that are now on my t0-read list. Such lovely ladies!

IMG_5259

the always lovely, hilarious and super great Jessica Brody. I finally picked up a copy of The Karma Club today, which I had only read halfway. You can also read Unremembered, My Life Undecided and 52 Reasons to Hate My Father.

Another author that I didn’t manage to get a picture with was Andrew Smith. he recently wrote a book called Winger, which was unofficially released today at the Teen Book Fest but won’t officially release until Tuesday. He is already being featured in the New York Times today (the 12th) and has an immense buzz around his book. He was super fun to talk to, and a true inspiration. He was not encouraged as a writer by his parents and is an encouraging parent to his aspiring writer son. He was a truly wonderful author to meet as well and I’m sad I missed him in my photo taking spree.

******

All in all, it was absolutely wonderful day. I really got to hang out and talk and be inspired by people who are doing the very things that I wish to do with my life. My life’s ambition is to become an author and these authors are doing exactly that and I hope to one day become that. It is always a fun thing to meet these authors as a fan, but it is also fun to meet them as a hopefully one day future colleague in the field of young adult literature.

I left this event today feeling two different ways. In one way, I was extremely happy and fan girling over the amazing authors that I met today. But I also left feeling super inspired and uplifted. All of the authors today gave me great advice and words of encouragement and they all gave me the push, and the words of not giving up. Every single author gave me a stronger belief in myself and they all said that they can’t wait to see what I do. Which really meant a lot, as I’m in some serious writer’s block and I hate my third novel haha. But such wonderful people to meet and a wonderful event to attend.

Thank you so much to the Ontario Library for putting on this event, and to Mrs Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop for sponsoring the event and all the librarians and teen volunteers who helped put this on. You guys are all rock stars.

Thanks to my sister, Jessica, for being my book buddy for life.

Thanks to Sylvia, Megan and Tatiana for being the BEST book friends a girl could have and for being the pieces of the puzzle for iFandoms Collide and for understanding me :) and for always making every event we go to the best time ever.

DSC_0279

(I had to put this picture of us with Thomas and Lex because they totally towered over all of us. And they were SO super cool)

And thanks especially to Courtney Saldana (below) at the Ontario Library. You gave us wonderful opportunities today to make memories that we will never forget. I can’t wait to attend more events that you and your library put on because I know that they will be absolutely wonderful :)

DSC_0566

We all recorded the authors talking about new projects, fan reactions, their new stuff, all kinds of cool stuff. Those videos will hopefully be up soon (we are getting better at editing haha) and I will share them with you as soon as I can!

If you’d like to see more pictures from this event, check them out on the WhataNerdGirlSays facebook page here.

*      *      *      *      *

If you live in the Los Angeles/Southern California area and know of an author event or book fest event that you think myself or my team at iFandoms Collide would be interested, please contact us!

*      *      *      *      *

A last few side notes:

All of these authors rock! I tweeted all of them to tell them what a great time that I had meeting them yesterday and pretty much all of them tweeted back :) It takes time out of their day to do this and it means a lot when they reply :)

Also, all the authors are linked on this post, so that you can check them out, and every book that is mentioned is linked to its Amazon page so that you can check it out and maybe purchase it!

Tuesday Top Ten-Contemporary Young Adult Novels

So….you know, information pills I spend most of my blog posts, shop including my Tuesday Top Tens and my Book of the Weeks talking about books that have some sort of fantasy or paranormal or dystopian…some kind of surrealistic feel to them. That’s just the kind of novels that I gravitate to.

But I’m a reader, viagra order first and foremost, and that’s what my blog is mostly about: books. And I’m also just a big fan of young adult novels, period. So I decided to dedicate my entire Tuesday Top Ten to those contemporary, non-fantasy young adult novels and authors that I love so much.

Sure, I could talk about Harry Potter and Mortal Instruments and Divergent and Delirium and Gemma Doyle and all of those over and over and over again, but let’s try something new.

Let’s break out of the box a little.

So here’s this week’s Tuesday Top Ten:

My Favorite Young Adult Contemporary Novels!

10. Between the Lines  by Tammara Webber

btl

Between the Lines is the first novel in the Between the Lines series, an ebook series by Tammara Webber, author of the novel, Easy. Between the Lines follows two different people: Emma, who is an aspiring actress who lands a major role as Lizbeth in a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejuidce, and Reid, an extremely famous actor, playing the part of Will Darcy, and is known for his partying and his different girls in his bed every night. Reid immediately feels an attraction to Emma and is determined to have her in his bed, but Emma is less sure. She likes Reid but she also likes another handsome actor as well. What I like about this novel is that it surprised me. Its in ebook format and I bought it because it was fairly cheap…and I consumed the novel incredibly fast and LOVED it. This novel had the potential to be cheesy and cliche but it wasn’t. Tammara creates wonderful, believable characters and she creates such depth to them. There is so much more to both Emma and Reid and their stories are so addicting. Plus I like that Tammara’s books are more “new adult” or “mature young adult”, so I get my love of YA but with a little smut on the side.

9. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

11071466

Taylor and her family pack up their bags and head to their lake house for the summer, even though Taylor would like nothing more to avoid that place. First off, her dad just found out he has cancer and has not much time to live and he would like to spend one last summer with his family before he goes. Secondly, the last time she was at the lake, she ran away, from her best friend and from her first love and she’s afraid to face them both. However, she does return and she realizes that she begins to have second chances: a second chance to have her best friend, a second chance to find love and a second chance to have a relationship with her dad. Morgan Matson is an amazing author, who I was privileged to meet recently and this book is another example of her talent (see below for her prime example). She is able to capture the teenage consciousness: the awkwardness, the first loves, the fights with friends, friends in general, pimples, the confusion and the emotions. But she also captures the realness of the teen years too, and the feeling of first loves, having a parent with cancer, growing up. You really see Taylor go through a lot and you are happy to hold her hand through it.

8. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Along4theRide-paperback-cover-960x1472

Auden has spent her entire life being an adult. She is raised by her mother, a pretenious English professor, and her father, an award winning author, and they’ve expected a lot out of her. When they divorce, and her father marries a young woman, and quickly has another child, Auden suddenly finds herself with incurable insomnia. When she reluctantly agrees to spend the summer with her father and his new wife, she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac, who shows her the many things that she can accomplish in the night, and shows her what it really means to be young. I LOVE this book. I absolutely, totally adore this book. Look at how beat up my copy is (which Sarah Dessen LOVED by the way).

IMG_4912

I love that you really get to see Auden grow up, but not in the way you expect. Auden feels like she needs to act like an adult all the time, with no fun, because this is what is expected of her. But she meets Eli, and a bunch of other new friends, and they teach her not only to have fun and be young, but not to judge people based on first impressions, like her mother does. We usually see novels about coming-of-age stories and growing up, and I think this novel has a similar concept but in the opposite direction. In order for Auden to grow up, she has to learn how to be young, and she has her new friends, especially Eli, to teach her.

7. Airhead Trilogy by Meg Cabot

Airheadcover

The Airhead Trilogy follows Emerson Watts, a girl who only has one best friend and abhors anything that is “popular”. She’s forced to take her sister to the grand opening of a brand new Stark Megastore, where the famous model, Nikki Howard, will be making an appearance. When a large television screen falls right above her sister, Em pushes her out of the way, and everything goes dark. When she wakes, she is suddenly looking a little different than before…in fact, she’s now Nikki Howard. After she was crushed by the flat screen, her body is declared dead…and Nikki Howard, victim of a brain anuerysm, is now brain dead. Solution: transplant Em’s brain into Nikki’s body, to fulfill the duties of the model for the huge Stark company. But of course, not all is as it seems and there is more to her transplant than she’s been told. I LOVE Meg Cabot, I love her. Her stories are so out of this world, but she also makes them so damn believable. Her characters are all so real, inside these surreal situations. I like it because its so….science fiction, but in this contemporary YA novel. It could be included in my “fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi” series countdown (which will be coming soon) but I put it here because it doesn’t feel that way. Em is just a normal teenage girl, with normal teenage problems, but with the slight problem of now being in a famous model’s body. Haha.

6. The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti

1416959416.01.LZZZZZZZ

This is the first book I ever read by Deb Caletti and I fell in love. Some may not consider it her best but I love it. The main character is Queenie, who is surrounded by women who have been burned by men, especially her mother by her father. But Queenie worships her father, until she finds out a secret about him. Queenie goes on a road trip to meet all the women in her dad’s past and learns a little about what prince charming actually means. What I really love about Deb Caletti’s books is that they are young adult but with some depth, and some serious balls in them. She attacks issues, and has been attacking issues, in very real ways. Nothing about her books isn’t real. Queenie’s father has some serious issues; narcissism as a major one, and Queenie has spent her entire life worshiping the ground that he walks on. This book tackles that idea that your parents, well, they aren’t always right and they aren’t always going to do the right thing. And I love the male lead character too. I can’t help it; I love a good fictional crush. But I love the issues that Deb Caletti writes about: teenage parents, murder, money, real stuff in very relatable situations. And she’s an absolutely brilliant author, very very talented.

5. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

0525476881_zoom

Everyone always talks The Fault in Our Stars or Looking for Alaska when it comes to John Green. And while I love both of those books SO much, the first one I ever read from John Green was Paper Towns…and I wasn’t the biggest fan of it. But then I read An Abundance of Katherines and I absolutely love it. The book follows Colin, a kid prodigy, who is obsessed with making his mark on the world, capable of having “famous last words”, of having his “Eureka!” moment. After being dumped by his 19th Katherine (how does this even happen?), he is dragged on a road trip with his best friend, Hassan. They don’t get too far, when they land in the town of Gutshot, Tennessee, where they continue to spend the rest of the summer, hanging out with Lindsay and her mother, and trying to devise a formula that will help Colin figure out what went wrong with each and every Katherine. I love this book, because god, one its not seriously sad and heartbreaking like The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, and even Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Its more of a fun novel for John Green and its fun to watch Colin grow up, and become more…HIM. Its fun to watch him fall in love with someone who isn’t a Lindsay, its fun to see him be a normal teenager, its fun to see him get his moment, just not in the way he expected it. Its a fantastic novel, and I love that the formula created in the book is real, or real enough for the book’s purpose :)

4. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

AmyRogerCover_HIRES

Morgan Matson, you are just too brilliant for words. I first read this book because I saw it on the ALA Top Ten list for Young Readers. It was a cool title so I went to check it out at the bookstore and decided to buy it. And LOVED it. The story is of Amy, a girl who was driving the vehicle when someone crashed into her, and her dad died. Not long after, her brother is sent to rehab for drugs. Her mom decides to pack them up and move them from California to Connecticut and she needs the car driven over. Of course, Amy doesn’t drive anymore, so her mom arranges for her friend’s son Roger, to drive them both over. What starts as a simple direct drive across the country becomes an adventure as Amy and Roger throw the itinerary created by her mom out the window and start choosing where they want to go. I can’t stress enough the brilliance of this book. I love it. I fell in love with Morgan Matson and when I met her last weekend, I couldn’t even form into words, because I was just so excited to read such a talented and inspirational writer. Its a fun, road trip novel with Amy and Roger hitting different places across the country, which is fun, because who doesn’t want to go on a road trip at least once in their life? But its also so good because of Amy’s battle to trust herself and to trust her feelings and Roger’s inability to move on from something that’s holding them back. They both learn so much on their road trip and its fun to be along with them. Also, its awesome that the book is almost laid out with a scrapbook kind of feel and she includes playlists at the beginning of each chapter :)

3. All American Girl by Meg Cabot

all-american-girl

Meg Cabot keeps appearing on this list haha. All American Girl is the story of Samantha Madison, an artsy girl living in the shadow of her popular cheerleader older sister, Lucy, and her genuis little sister, Rebecca. She’s in love with her sister’s boyfriend, Jack, and after she gets caught selling celebrity drawings at school, she’s forced to take art lessons from a hobbit looking woman who is “holding her back”. One day, she ditches art class, and when she is waiting for her housekeeper to come pick her, she stops a random gunmen from shooting the president of the United States. Suddenly, Samantha is the most famous girl in the world, as the presents and the fame come pouring in and she becomes the first teen ambassador to the UN…and her problems only get worse; the president’s son just may be in love with her. Again, with the crazy and ridiculous Meg Cabot. I read this book when it came out when I was about 13 or 14 years old and it absolutely never ceases to get old to me. Meg Cabot is one of my top inspirations besides Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson, in my young adult contemporary novel writing, and its because she’s a great writer that takes these ridiculous situations in OUR world and makes you absolutely believe them. Its one thing to write an urban fantasy or a contemporary science or a dystopian but Meg Cabot makes us believe that a fifteen year old girl saved the life of the president and is suddenly super famous. Its fantastic and addicting and just plain fun to read.

2. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

THIS-LULLABY-u6d7rb

Oh Sarah Dessen. Oh, oh Sarah Dessen. I love each and every one of your books but this by far is my favorite of yours. I love the main character, Remy Starr, and I love the male character, Dexter, EVEN MORE. Sarah said at the Festival of Books that Dexter has his own fan club basically and that sounds about right. Remy Starr is used to being in control, and this started with the fact that she has been in control of her mother and her many marriages her entire life. Its no surprise when that control flows over to her relationship. She doesn’t believe in the forever, she doesn’t believe in love. She believes in having fun for the moment but that every relationship has its expiration date. That is, until she meets Dexter, who comes to town with his band, Truth Squad. Dexter is out of control; his curly hair is all over the place, his shoes are always on time, he’s always tripping on things, everything that disrupts her perfect world. But after too many chance encounters, she agrees to date him, and all her rules go out the window. I liked this book because I really like Remy. Remy is the exact opposite of me. She’s such a dynamic character, such a strong one. I have never been a dynamic character; I’ve always had dynamic best friends. I think I envied Remy and her ability to be confident and aloof and perfect. Of course, she isn’t perfect but I liked watching her journey to realizing that she isn’t perfect and nothing can be controlled like she wants it to be.

1. The Mediator series by Meg Cabot 

mediator

Okay, maybe this isn’t the most contemporary of young adult novels and doesn’t fit on the list, because its more like a paranormal novel series but I put it on here because its barely paranormal when compared to the tons and tons of paranormal romances that have been hitting the shelves in the last few years. The story follows Suzannah Simon as she moves from New York City to Carmel, California to live with her mom, her new stepdad and her three new stepbrothers. Everything is okay, until Suze sees her new house, and its old…and that’s never a good thing for her. An old building means there’s more likely going to be some ghosts hanging about…and unsurprisingly, there’s a 150 year old ghost hanging out in her bedroom, and an extremely hot one, at that. Like I said, not the most contemporary, but I consider it because the supernatural aspect of the novel isn’t overwhelming, not like with the novels we get nowadays. Suze just wants to be a normal teenager, going to dances and dates, and all that, without having to worry about ghosts all the time. This was the first series besides the Princess Diaries that I read of Meg Cabot, and as you’ve noticed from how many times she appears on this list…I really love her so much. She tells great stories, and again with the phenomenonal but in a very funny and contemporary way. She’s brilliant.

*      *      *      *      *

So there you are guys, my top ten contemporary young adult novels. See, I can read books that don’t always have a fantasy or supernatural or science fiction-y feel to them, though I guess I couldn’t get through the entire list without including some haha.

What are some of your favorite young adult books?

As always, let me know in the comments :)

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books 2013! Featuring Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Veronica Roth, Morgan Matson, Sarah Dessen and more!

I had to come back up to this paragraph to reintroduce this post…because I didn’t realize how long it was going to be! I maybe should have seen the signs from the really super long title…but rest assured, viagra buy this post is mostly pictures, view less words so you don’t have to worry too much! Just enjoy my awesome post, there and stop complaining already!

I’m still kind of recovering from the event. It was an absolute blast but I got sunburnt, and really worn out, and I’m all sore from all the walking and lugging the heavy books around and I got a heat rash and all of that. It was a fun weekend that beat me up haha. I’m still totally recovering.

So, this past weekend was the annual event, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. For those of you who don’t know, it is an event held every year, two days, with tons of authors and poets and book-related things at the University of Southern California (USC). I have been to this event several times in my past, when it was at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). It has always been a super fun event, and I’ve met authors like Meg Cabot and Eoin Colfer there.

This year, though, there was so much excitement and SO much going on.

First off, I’ve had the seriously amazing opportunity to meet Tatiana from City of Shadowhunters, Sylvia from FanGirlFeeels and our partner in crime, Megan (who you can follow on Twitter @yugenbliss) through Twitter, and the love of the Mortal Instruments and other fandoms. We all were at WonderCon (Tatiana and Sylvia were in the special meet and greet for TMI too!) and didn’t even realize it! So we planned a Shadowhunter meet up on Saturday, to meet more fans! Check out our cool photo!

SONY DSC

These girls were all SO awesome, and I had a fantastic time meeting them. You can also check out Paulina’s blog, all about the Divergent fandom.

The first event on the agenda was seeing Cassandra Clare (I know, again, I have an obsession…) and Harald Zwart, the director of City of Bones. I was unable to make the actual panel; Sylvia and I went to wait in line for the autographs. One thing that the Festival of Books didn’t do so well, was schedule all the young adult authors overlapping each other. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl were from 2-4, Cassie was from 3-5 and Veronica Roth was from 4-6. Silly. So Sylvia and I waited in line while Megan, Tatiana and my sister Jessica went to the panel.

SONY DSC

Cassandra Clare and Harald Zwart discussing the City of Bones movie :)

Then possibly the coolest thing in the entire world happened. Jessica and Megan joined Sylvia and me in line for Cassie. Now, Sylvia, Tatiana and I were part of the VIP meet and greet at WonderCon and Megan was at WonderCon as well and we were bummed that Harald wasn’t there! Well, he was walking around so we got to meet him finally! I got to have my City of Bones book signed, which had already previously been signed by Cassandra Clare, Jamie Campbell Bower, Lily Collins, and Kevin Zegers. Harald and his family was super nice.

After Sylvia, Megan and I basically assaulted him, a ton of people started coming up to him and his son was like “Daddy, you’re famous!” It was adorable.

IMG_4841

Then a professional photographer saw me showing Harald my Fearless rune tattoo and asked to take a picture of him pretending to draw the rune on my shoulder…and then for some reason, he signed his name on my arm haha. I had to wash it off but I got a picture of it!

SONY DSC

Then we met Cassie again!

SONY DSC

I gave her a letter that I had written her and she signed the picture of this two of us at the Mission Viejo library event. She totally remembered me and Vivi from Hebel Designs, who designed the Clockwork Angel necklace that I got from Cassie, was there which was suepr cool.

IMG_4861

After we all met Cassie, we busted a move to the other side of campus to meet Lauren Oliver and Veronica Roth. Lauren Oliver, of course, is the author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy, who I met back in March at the Mission Viejo library. Veronica Roth is the author of the Divergent trilogy.

I’ve already met Lauren Oliver so Sylvia, Jessica and Tatiana went to meet her and had a blast with her, as she is an absolutely lovely person :) Then we all met Veronica Roth, which was REALLY exciting, as she is super famous now and she’ll only get bigger now that movie Divergent comes out next year.

IMG_4853

She was SO beautiful and awesome. And I just had to tell her how much I admire her, as she is six months younger than me, and so successful and super talented and I think she’s an absolute inspiration. I also had her sign an extra copy of Divergent and I’m giving it away as a prize, until May 4th. Find out how to win it HERE.

Day TWO!

Day Two was even more fun. We spent the whole day chasing authors around!

First we went to the Penguin booth, put on by Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop to meet Maureen Johnson, the author of 13 Little Blue Envelopes and the Shades of London series (I just reviewed The Name of the Star last week). She was so incredibly sweet, and HILARIOUS. I mean, that girl is SO funny.

SONY DSC

She always makes the most fantastic faces. She’s a character. Her tweets the next day all about being in the airport, were just too funny to handle. You should follow her.

After Maureen Johnson, we headed to the Young Adult Fiction: Call Me Maybe panel to hang out with Gayle Forman, Morgan Matson, Sarah Dessen and Robin Benway. The panel was amazing because that’s EXACTLY the type of literature that I want to write, the literature that they write. I write contemporary YA and they had amazing advice and stories, and they really helped me to believe that even though I’m 25, and feeling super unaccomplished, that there is a chance for me. Robin Benway‘s stories of struggling through writing and Gayle Forman talking about the three years it took her to get back into college, it just makes me feel so much better. They were amazing.

SONY DSC

Gayle Forman, author of If I Stay, and other such novels. I’ve never read her books but they are now on my “to-read” list on GoodReads and I can’t wait to read her books.

SONY DSC

An extremely blurry picture of Robin Benway. I had never heard of her, but after that panel, I NEED to go and read her books. She was exactly me. She was talking about working crappy jobs and wanting to write and feeling like nothing was going to work out but it did work out and it was so incredibly inspirational to someone, like me, who feels like they just aren’t accomplishing anything. I can’t wait to read her books.

SONY DSC

Me telling Morgan Matson that she is absolutely fantastic. I adore her two books “Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour” and “Second Chance Summer“. She is such an inspiration for me as well, and I was sooooooo excited to meet her. I don’t think she expects that or something because she was SO happy. She deserves all the praises and more.

IMG_4886

After Morgan Matson, Gayle Forman and Robin Benway, a couple of us (not me), went to meet Melissa de la Cruz, the author of the Blue Bloods series. Here’s a picture of my sister, Jessica, meeting her :)

SONY DSC

After THAT, we all booked it back to the Penguin Booth to meet the AMAZING, AMAZING Sarah Dessen. I was most excited about meeting her ALL weekend. I have been reading Sarah Dessen since I first read Someone Like You when I was 12 years old. I wrote her a letter to tell her, and I pretty much hyperventilated in her presence.

SONY DSC

She LOVED how beat up my Along for the Ride book was, said it looked super super loved (which it totally is), and was just super sweet. Her name is Sarah Elizabeth and I’m Sara Elizabeth and yeah, I got a total kick out of that :) We also were able to take a nice group picture with her as well!

SONY DSC

Tatiana, me, Sarah Dessen, Meg, Sylvia and Jessica.

*      *       *      *       *

In all honesty, it was an absolutely fantastic weekend. I got to meet some amazing authors, get my books signed and I met some incredibly people while I was out, people that I dont know how I wasn’t friends with before.

IMG_4860

Sylvia, Megan, Tatiana and me. We spent hours at Barnes and Noble shopping for books and talking books :)

If you’d like to see more pictures from Festival Books, you can HERE and HERE.

If you’d like to follow my fellow nerd friends,

Tatiana‘s Blog and Twitter

Sylvia‘s Blog and Twitter

Megan‘s Twitter

Also don’t forget to enter the autographed Divergent contest!

*      *      *      *      *

Were you at the Festival of Books? Who did you meet, what was it like? Or do you have an author event that you attended that you’d like to share? As always, share in the comments!