Summer Bird Blue: A Review

Hello Readers & Writers,

I was beyond fortunate to receive an ARC of Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman due to publish September 2018 from Simon Pulse in exchange for an honest review. As always, there will be no spoilers, but there may be a lot of screaming!

Content Warning: This book is entirely about death and how to process the loss of a loved one. Please take caution while reading. 

Summer Bird Blue follows Rumi after the tragic death of her sister Lea and a move to Hawaii to live with her aunt at the request of her mother. Having been intertwined with Lea, the loss is too much to bear for Rumi. She feels abandoned by her mother. She’s angry at the world. She can no longer play or write music without thinking she’s betraying her sister. Music to Rumi means moving on and that’s something she doesn’t want to happen. She doesn’t want to forget Lea. At the same time, Rumi also has a compulsion within her to finish the song they had started before her death. This book centers around grief, misunderstanding, and not always being a good person. It is however brutally raw and attempts to give Rumi the tools she needs to heal herself and the remainder of her family.

1
I want to start off by saying this book wrecked me because I saw so many parts of myself in Rumi. I think I cried a total of eight or nine times, all at different parts because Akemi’s writing was so strong and Rumi as a narrator was incredible. Rumi is not a typical main character. She’s made mistakes that get unraveled as she remembers Lea. She blames herself for not being a better sister and comes to terms with why she did certain things – whether they be out of jealousy, a self-serving purpose, or more. She lashes out against her mother who has her own issues dealing with the death of a daughter and her aunt who is trying to both give Rumi space and push her to leave the house.

On top of this, Rumi is coming to terms with her identity as asexual. Though she hasn’t quite settled on the label yet, it is the one that best fits. Her conflict lies in feeling she has to make a decision immediately and know herself because everyone else seems to already. Akemi’s portrayal of this is spot on and offer this message to teens: it’s okay to take time to figure out who you are and who you want to be.

Rumi’s journey through death is dark and messy. It doesn’t get wrapped up in a neat package. What stood out to me about Summer Bird Blue was who Rumi finds help in – a teenage boy next door Kai and an old man George Watanabe. Akemi presents a contrast between the two and what Rumi needs from both of them: Kai is a friend who stands by her and gives her a reason to laugh; Mr. Watanabe gives her tough love and a person to see herself in. In YA, there’s rarely an elderly figure that isn’t family involved in a main character’s life so to read this was a refreshing and welcome change. Together, Kai and Mr. Watanabe give Rumi invaluable friendships and push her to find her old self and the music she’s too long been apart from.

We also get an incredible look into a complex relationship between mother and daughter. For Rumi, this is a picture of always feeling more like a parent to Lea than a sibling and having to deal with thinking that her mother had a favorite child. For Rumi’s mother, it’s about doing what needed to be done for her family. Summer Bird Blue explores what it means to be family and what’s worth fighting for.

I can go on about this book forever. Akemi packs a powerful punch that will take readers on a painful, but unflinching journey about grief, identity, and healing from trauma you never expected to have. It’s the type of book that feels like the author put a piece of their soul into. Please put it on your TBRs immediately.

This gets 5/5 songs from me.

Xx
Megan

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Flipping Tropes on Their Head: Q&A with Erin Hahn

Hello Readers & Writers,

We have another debut on the blog today and that is Erin Hahn, author of You’d Be Mine which comes out April 2nd, 2019 from Wednesday Books. This book is perfect for lovers of complicated romance and country music.

Before I kick off the interview, here is a synopsis:

36146624Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

Erin Hahn’s thrilling debut, You’d Be Mine, asks: can the right song and the perfect summer on the road make two broken hearts whole?

To preorder, click here!! 

1. I want to start off by saying thank you so much for joining me on my blog, Erin. I am so excited to have you and talk about your debut! From what I’ve seen, You’d Be Mine is quite influenced by country music. Has your own life been as well?

Erin: Definitely! I was raised on a steady diet of strong female country musicians. My parents married young and divorced young and I’m pretty sure my mom’s survival plan was Reba McIntire, Winona Judd, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Martina McBride. Those women taught me what being a fearless female was about.

When I got to high school, I was really embracing my grunge phase hardcore, but I vividly remember painting my bedroom and daydreaming to Trisha Yearwood and kissing a boy while listening to the Dixie Chicks.

Those ladies taught my cold heart to feel and feel hard! I’m so grateful for all of them. It was an honor to write Annie Mathers in their image.

2. From your bio, you mention having written for your campus paper. How was that process different from writing fiction or did it overlap in some way?

Erin: Bahaha! So very different from newspaper writing. I think my editor must have hated me. I couldn’t write an objective article to save my life. She would assign me something like the campus Drag Show and I’d wax poetic, describing the costumes for paragraphs and I’d open the spread on release day and it would be cut in half and so… bland. How you make a drag show sound bland, I don’t know, but she’d dial it back and manage somehow.

In the end, I appreciated the experience. The assignments forced me out of my comfy introvert shell and taught me about deadlines. I also learned nonfiction was NOT for me. I’m far too Anne Shirley.

3. Since I’ve really enjoyed this challenge on twitter, describe the plot of your book badly.

Erin: “Two American kids doing the best that they can.”

4. How was it exploring the complex relationship between Annie and Clay? Was there any part you particularly struggled with?

Erin: Would I sound cruel if I said I loved it? I have to admit their dynamic started off far less complicated, but as I got to know them more, and secrets came out, they got massively tangled. It got to the point that even I wasn’t sure they would pull through!

Personally, I struggled with whether what they had was healthy. There are certainly moments when it’s not. Much like real life, right? We all have garbage to sort out and I think the biggest disservice we can do as YA romance authors is to give the impression that “love can save the day”, or that, in this case, Annie could save Clay or vice versa. I’m reminded of that commercial when the elderly woman says, exasperated, “That’s not how this works! That’s not how any of this works!”

We are the masters of our own universes and Clay and Annie aren’t exempt from that just because they are famous country singers.

5. What are some early forms of media (book, shows, movies etc.) that inspired you?

Erin: Most of my writing stems from documentaries I’ve seen that turn into plot bunnies. Because I am a nerd. YOU’D BE MINE came out of a doc I watched with my husband about the Carter family and their massive influence on country music. At the time, I hadn’t realized that June Carter had come from this legendary family. Towards the end of the doc, Johnny Cash was interviewed about how star struck he had been when he first encountered June. To him, SHE was the famous one. It blew my mind and changed everything I thought I knew about the couple.

It made me want to write a story like that: where the girl was the intimidating legend. I was so tired of the “famous boy falls for the plain Jane nobody girl”. I wanted a girl who not only flipped the trope, but knocked the guy on his ass. Annie does that with a smile.

6. Describe your book in three words.

Erin: What Fitz saw.

7. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

Erin: Perhaps a greater understanding of country music and also giddy little butterflies in their stomach.

8. Is there any genre or experience you’d like to explore in a future book?

Erin: Oh gosh. I don’t think I’ll ever leave music behind. My WIP is inspired by the nineties cult classic EMPIRE RECORDS. And I’d really love to dive back into country music and tell the stories of Annie’s Under the Willows band members Jason and Kacey.

9. What’s been your favorite part of the publishing process?

Erin: Honestly every part has been unreal! Probably the most fun is knowing strangers are reading and connecting with Clay and Annie. I’ve had multiple people reach out at this point about Annie’s songs (which I wrote), wanting to hear them put to music and that…. *phew* I can’t begin to express how that feels. It’s like the ultimate compliment to a girl raised on country lyrics.

10. Tell the audience a fun fact about growing up in a small town.

Erin: Oh gosh. Well. My step dad was a police sergeant while I was in high school and we had open campus which meant all the juniors and seniors could leave during lunch or study hall or whatever. I remember how all the kids would come to me after lunch complaining that my dad gave them speeding tickets. Which… wasn’t great.

Also, my front yard always smelled like cows from the farms down the road. I actually get pretty nostalgic for that smell nowadays.

About the Author

red shirt over shoulder author
Erin started writing her own books when her little sister gave her shade about a country music-themed Twilight fanfic. By day, she gets to share her favorite stories with her elementary students. By night, she writes swoons. Erin married her own YA love interest whom she met on her first day of college and has two kids who are much, much cooler than she ever was at their age. She lives in Michigan, aka the greenest place on earth and has a cat, Gus, who plays fetch.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/erinhahn_author

With all of that in store, I hope you’re ready for a wild ride of a debut. And before we wrap, another huge thank you to Erin for joining me!

Xx
Megan

How to Juggle a Debut & Writing Multiple POVS: Q&A with Lillian Clark

Hello Readers & Writers,

Joining me on the blog today is Lillian Clark, author of Immoral Code which comes out February 19th, 2019 from Knopf BFYR. If you’re interested in hacking, a huge cast of characters, and complex morality, you need to pick up this book.

Before I kick off the interview, here is a synopsis:

35717195Ocean’s 8 meets The Breakfast Club in this fast-paced, multi-perspective story about five teens determined to hack into one billionaire absentee father’s company to steal tuition money.

For Nari, aka Narioka Diane, aka hacker digital alter ego “d0l0s,” it’s college and then a career at “one of the big ones,” like Google or Apple. Keagan, her sweet, sensitive boyfriend, is happy to follow her wherever she may lead. Reese is an ace/aro visual artist with plans to travel the world. Santiago is off to Stanford on a diving scholarship, with very real Olympic hopes. And Bellamy? Physics genius Bellamy is admitted to MIT—but the funding she’d been counting on is denied when it turns out her estranged father—one Robert Foster—is loaded.

Nari isn’t about to let her friend’s dreams be squashed by a deadbeat billionaire, so she hatches a plan to steal just enough from Foster to allow Bellamy to achieve her goals. Fast-paced and banter-filled, Lillian Clark’s debut is a hilarious and thought-provoking Robin Hood story for the 21st century.

How To Preorder / Visit on Goodreads 

1. Before we begin, I want to say thank you so much for joining me on the blog, Lillian. I am so excited for your book especially after seeing the cover! What were your thoughts upon seeing the final draft of the cover for the first time?

Lillian: Thank you so much for having me, Megan! I’m so excited for Immoral Code to be out in the world! The first time I saw the cover, my jaw dropped. I even had a bit of an adrenaline rush! Seeing my cover was one of the things I was most looking forward to, and the team at Knopf BFYR, especially Angela Carlino and freelance designer Emily Osborne, did an incredible job. I love the colors! And the models fit the five main characters so well. I truly couldn’t be happier.

2. How was it writing five different perspectives? Did you find one POV that you were drawn to more or was one easier to writer than others?

Lillian: Writing the five POVs was definitely a challenge, but one I really enjoyed! Telling a single story with five voices meant I did a lot of outlining, structural planning, and working to strike a balance between each character, both with their personalities and how much space each one takes up in the narrative. But I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write an ensemble cast, and I am so delighted with how it turned out!

As far as being drawn to one POV over another, I think Nari was one of the easier voices to write? Or, if not ‘easier,’ she was definitely fun. Nari is so vibrant, and writing that was energizing! I also fell in love with Reese’s voice almost right away. One of my favorite things about writing five POVs was identifying with and enjoying different aspects of each of them at different points in my writing process. They’re my babies! Haha. I love them all!

3. What did you know about hacking prior to writing Immoral Code? How did you go about your research?

Lillian: Fun fact? I am not a computer whiz. Ha! I manage, but I had to do a lot of research for Nari’s character. I started by reading a fabulous book called Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous by Gabriella Coleman, and used that as a springboard for my research, especially about modes and terminology. I also have to credit the team at Knopf BFYR for helping me fact check! In the end, it’s fiction. But hopefully believable fiction.

4. Since I loved this trend on twitter, describe the plot of your book badly.

 Lillian: While trying to solve a problem, five best friends make it way worse.

5. Were there any scenes that were cut from Immoral Code that you really enjoyed?

Lillian: Let’s see… I’ve lucked out and didn’t have to cut anything I was absolutely in love with. A previous draft did have a scene where the characters went to a concert that didn’t make the cut, and I enjoyed writing that one because I love live music! But, in the end, the book is better without it.

6. What do you want readers to take away from your story?

Lillian: I love books that wrap big questions in entertaining packages, so that was my main goal when I started writing Immoral Code. I want readers to laugh and maybe cry and definitely swoon! I also want them to think about this messy moral question, about doing the wrong thing for the right reason. But ultimately, I want readers to leave this book feeling good. This group of friends…they are so loyal to each other, so supportive. The mistakes they make, the risks they take, through their arguments and challenges, they remain each others’ biggest fans. They love each other! And I hope readers come away feeling that love too.

7. Describe Immoral Code in three words.

Lillian: Friends and felonies.

8. Pick any one of your characters and have them tell the audience a joke.

Keagan: *taps mic, clears throat* “What do you call an inconsequential elephant? Irrelephant! Haha! Get it? Yeah, I’ll see myself out.”

9. How does it feel knowing your book will be out in the world next year?

Lillian: I’ve talked with some of my fellow debuts about this, and I can sum it up with a made-up word: Hurrayifying. Ha! It’s incredible. Publishing a book is my dream come true. But it’s also terrifying in a lot of ways! So much is out of your control as a writer, not in the least whether or not people will like this little nugget of my soul. Which is nerve-wracking! But the good definitely outweighs the scary, and in the end, I am so excited for people to meet Nari, Reese, Santiago, Keagan and Bellamy!

10. Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

Lillian: Hmm… So, I grew up in a small town in Wyoming, and though I haven’t gotten to in years, I love riding horses! I was taught to ride by a neighbor, an old school cowboy who grew up in a sod house and bred beautiful Arabian-Morgan mixes, and I even owned an elderly, retired barrel-racing horse named Dexter. I am a western kid at heart!

About the Author

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Lillian Clark, a graduate of the University of Wyoming, grew up riding horses, climbing trees, and going on grand imaginary adventures in the small-town West. She’s worked as a lifeguard, a camp counselor, and a Zamboni driver, but found her eternal love working as a bookseller at an independent bookstore. She lives in Teton Valley, Idaho with her husband, son, and two giant dogs, where she spends her time reading almost anything and writing books for teens.

Well, there you have it. A book with a lot of characters to choose from and a complex journey from all of them along the way. Support a debut author by preordering or picking up Immoral Code.

And once again, a huge thank you to Lillian for joining me.

Until next time,

Megan

Blanca & Roja: A Review

Hello Readers & Writers,

I was beyond fortunate to receive an ARC of Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore due to publish October 9th, 2018 from Feiwel & Friends in exchange for an honest review. As always, there will be no spoilers!

36952596Blanca & Roja is a retelling of Snow White and Rose Red steeped in magical realism. It follows the del Cisne girls who have been cursed: every time their family has children, swans will always take a daughter. No matter how you try to avoid the curse, fate has a way of intervening. Blanca & Roja have for years been thinking of ways to break the curse, their main goal that by being similar enough, the swans will never be able to decide who to take. They think their plan is working until two boys who are involved with the magic of the woods come to their door and the del Cisne family curse grows bigger than anyone could have ever planned for.

As always, I feel like Anna-Marie’s writing takes the reader in and never lets you go. Her words become tangible and bring the story to life in a new way. If you’ve never read books by Anna-Marie, you need to in order to understand how she crafts her stories like poetry.

What I particularly enjoyed about Blanca & Roja is the complexity between the sisters. From the beginning they are pitted against each other. Their family expects one sister to make it over the other. Roja is closer to her father while Blanca is closer to her mother. Blanca is the more visually stunning sister, the one that everyone can see is as delicate as swan feathers. Roja is the more abrasive sister with stark red hair and a cut throat personality. As children, they are close, with a goal to prevent either one of them from being taken. Their love is something that grows as the curse draws nearer and fate throws a handful of challenges in their path.

I loved how honest their relationship felt – that when their lives are on the line, their childhood promises don’t hold the same weight. They both fight for life, but at the same time, they’re fighting for each other, their family, and the people they grow to love throughout the story even if they don’t always go about it the right way.  I enjoyed that there was no sugar coating or patching up Blanca and Roja’s relationship in an easy manner. They make mistakes. They deal with the consequences. Anna-Marie shows how they grow, how complex their feelings are, and ultimately, that their bond is so hard to break.

Another element I enjoy about any of Anna-Marie’s book is the sexuality component, particularly that who you love and who you are is okay. For teens, who this book is aimed at, you sometimes need to hear this and Blanca & Roja is interwoven with this message. Not only do you walk away from the book with revelations about identity, but you walk away seeing the bond between sisters, and magic that refreshes a well known fairytale.

This gets 5/5 wings from me.

Till next time,

Megan

Books for Every Color of the Rainbow

Hello Readers & Writers,

In honor of Pride Month, I’ll be giving you LGBTQ+ reads for every color of the rainbow! If you’re looking to find a new read, this is the place to stumble upon one.

Odd One Out by Nic Stone

Why Read?: Amazing representation of sexuality and race, extremely gripping, and strong reliability to teens everywhere. 
Rep: Queer Love Triangle

Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst

Why Read?: Amazing discussion of grief and the differences between love/lust, discovery of sexuality, wonderful prose.
Rep: F/F, Bisexuality

Proxy by Alex London

Why Read?: An incredibly in depth world, compelling main characters, and an ending that will have you screaming at the top of your lungs (also weeping).
Rep: M/M

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

Why Read?: Explores bipolar disorder in fantasy setting, creates a world based off of Asian culture, and deals with a main character having a power much bigger than them.
Rep: Pansexuality

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

Why Read?: Deals with mental illness, promotes acceptance for what make you happy, dives into the life of fandom.
Rep: Transgender relationship, bisexuality, gay

Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

Why Read?: Dives into what being good or evil means with a diverse cast, healthy portrayal of relationships, and a well paced narrative.
Rep: Bisexuality, F/F

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzie Lee

Why Read?: It’s the second book following A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and if you’ve read that, you know you need more of Felicity in your life. It deals with a badass woman MC breaking into science.
Rep: Mackenzie Lee has confirmed Felicity being aroace.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Why Read?: Gut-wrenching in a way only Silvera can do, an incredible twist you won’t see coming, and brilliant writing.
Rep: M/M

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Blake

Why Read?: Some of the most spot on descriptions of bisexuality I’ve ever seen, complicated family relationships, a best friend to die for
Rep: Bisexuality

Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski

Why Read?: Involves a competition to go to space, incredible character dynamics, and a twist ending that will make you want book two asap.
Rep: Asexuality and Bisexuality

All Out edited by Sandra Mitchell

Why Read?: An incredible collection of stories by talented queer authors, stories that encompass a variety of genres/time periods, and so much queer rep I can cry.
Rep: It covers a lot: bisexuality, trans, ace. There’s something for everyone.

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Why Read?: A capella group, exploration of intersectional issues, and the balance between discussing serious issues and humor.
Rep: Bisexuality

Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert

Why Read?: Absolutely stunning prose, a strong and complex main character that will break your heart, honest writing
Rep: M/M

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Why Read?: Akemi knows how to tug on your heart strings, ties together music and hope, and an incredibly unique writing style
Rep: Asexuality

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Why Read?: Talks about how to survive grief, explores the human spirit, a guarantee to make your soul ache
Rep: F/F

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Why Read?: Main characters that you’ll fall in love with instantly, a portrayal of strong friendship, centers around a podcast and fan art
Rep: Demi and Ace

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Why Read?: Incredibly developed world, a forbidden romance, and characters that are not afraid to fight for what they love
Rep: F/F

When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Why Read?: Prose that you can taste, characters with so much feeling it hurts, well done magical realism
Rep: Transgender

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Why Read?: A diverse cast of characters, an exploration of identity and sexuality, a strong sense of humor
Rep: Asexuality

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Why Read?: A world that comes to life with a very different cast of characters, an ending that you won’t be able to see coming, a dark and gritty atmosphere.
Rep: Asexuality

The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde

Why Read?: Brings in pop culture, strong and supporting friendships, an in depth look on what it takes to be a celebrity
Rep: Bisexuality

This is only a small list of queer books so please leave a queer book you’ve read recently that you loved below! Or if you’ve read any of these, let me know what you thought.

Xx

Megan

Black Wings Beating: A Review

Hello Readers & Writers,

I was beyond fortunate to receive an ARC of Black Wings Beating by Alex London due to publish in September 2018 from Farrar Straus Giroux in exchange for an honest review. If you’ve never read anything by Alex London, I say finish this review and immediately pick up his stellar young adult sci-fi duology titles, Proxy and Guardian. I read them a few years ago and I still think about those books/offer them as recommendations.

When I found out Alex London was publishing another YA book, I squealed, and after having finished it, I can say it’s SO, SO, SOO, good. Before we dive into the review, which will be spoiler free, here’s a brief summary of the book.

BlackWingsBeatingFalconers are a group of people who call, train, and raise birds – a highly praised talent in Uztar. Brysen and Kylee are twins, Brysen who has trained for years to be a Falconer and Kylee who has a gift she doesn’t want and is ashamed of using. The book starts after the loss of their father, who was a terrible person, and a lot of the twin’s behaviors ties into their relationship with their parents.

A war, unknown but whispered about between the Uztar people, is on the rise and it’s in that environment the twins set out to capture a Ghost Eagle. For Brysen, he goes to save the boy he loves. For Kylee, she goes to protect her brother and come face to face with the mistakes of her past.

What I enjoyed about Black Wings Beating the most was the complex duality between Brysen and Kylee. While themes of this novel are power, one’s upbringing, and hard decisions, the plot centers around the relationship between the twins. Brysen and Kylee are constantly on edge with one another because they each have a trait the other is lacking. Kylee is everything Brysen wants to be and Brysen has this vulnerability and simplicity that Kylee wants. These differences have placed them in a relationship that snaps and bends more than it works together, but when it does, it tugs at your heart strings. At the end of the day, Kylee and Brysen do love each other. It merely takes time and a lot of struggle to realize it. These are not your ordinary siblings and their complexity makes them memorable.

Another aspect I loved about this book was the writing. Alex London crafts an extraordinary world that enhances the fantasy genre and brings the reader into the action early on. You get beautiful writing, a great depth of character expression, and small snapshots at the end of each section that set up for what’s to come.

You also get vivid descriptions of birds – so much so they become characters of their own. They’re also epic and monstrous and terrifying. You can see how much effort and research was put into not only building this world, but every other detail to make it as real as possible.

This book is a must read and you should not be sleeping on Alex London’s work.

Black Wings Beating gets a solid 5/5 feathers from me.

Xx

Megan

Book Expo 2018: The Day Megan Told Her Anxiety to Shove It

Hello Readers & Writers,

I had the wonderful opportunity of attending Book Expo 2018 and wanted to share some of the fun with all of you. Upon attending, there were three goals I set for myself:

  1. Meet some bookish people and authors.
  2. Get books and swag.
  3. Network – aka me spending an hour making my business cards as perfect as they can be.

Prior to every convention, I make a schedule of things I want to do. This year, I had written it on post it notes and tucked them into a pouch where I had my Book Expo pass, business cards, a pen, and my phone. Yes, this was a very big pouch that hung from my neck, but it had everything I needed.

2Day one of Book Expo was me dressed in gothic af attire, scoping out where all the publishers were, and meeting so many bloggers. The perk about waiting in lines is talking to people not only helps pass the time, but you get to chat about books, work, favorite reads, and everything in between. You also find yourself running into these people throughout the day and they become your conference buddies. (Shout out to @CarolinaBookB on twitter for being an awesome friend.)

I also got to meet Kelly Barina – someone I had spoken to on twitter many times and just so happened to find on the same line as me for the Wildcard ARC drop. On top of that I chatted with Claribel Ortega – who is beyond approachable and sweet – about her debut (Ghost Squad coming 2019), how she was handling the crowds, and how pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and reaching out really helps you network in publishing. After that, I spoke with Meg LaTorre, another person I frequently interacted with on twitter and she was beyond wonderful in person. Seeing twitter people at events like this really reinforces the book community and those bonds you’ve already formulated online.

3Aside from being the first person on line for Wildcard by Marie Lu (still shocked tbh), going around to every publisher and passing out my business cards was a highlight for me. I’m a pretty shy person and I urged myself to push past my social anxiety to ask questions and make connections. Thankfully, everyone was beyond nice and willing to answer my questions as well as pass on my business cards to the right departments.

In case you didn’t know, I review Young Adult books, provide sensitivity reads, comp research, as well as freelance edit for YA and MG titles. I know – sometimes I wonder how I sleep too.

Bless the people who work for books and love them.

Also, bless the people who were okay with me going “Hi, I’m awkward, but I’m so happy to meet you.”

1Day two of Book Expo was equally as exciting. I was dressed less goth, but donned a gold crown in order to rep King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – the amount of compliments on the crown were beyond entertaining. I also got to meet Joan He whose book, Descendant of the Crane, is coming out in 2019 and Caitlin LaRue – another twitter friend. I spent a lot of time with Amanda Foody (author of Daughter of the Burning City and Ace of Shades) and Christine Herman (author of The Devouring Gray coming out 2019), authors who I beyond admire and am excited for any and all books they write. They’re my selfie buddies in the above photo :D.

Onto the giddy part of me. Here’s a list of amazing books I was able to get:

What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli

City of Ghosts by V.E. Schwab

The Wicked King by Holly Black

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

The Priori of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Overall, Book Expo was a wonderful success and I hope to attend next year and have an even better time. To those considering the convention, I recommend going if you’re able to (note: there are a handful of volunteer opportunities prior to the event that give you free access to the show) and meeting some of your book buddies along the way.

Xx

Megan