Two weekends ago, The Los Angeles Times hosted a Book Festival at USC, in Los Angeles, California. As someone who was originally going to go last year, but college got in the way, now that I am out of college I was excited to finally have the opportunity to go!
I only went one day out of the two day festival. I bought the fancy VIP pass thing (I totally forgot the name of the pass… Oops!) so that I would be able to get my talk-tickets in advance before they went out on sale to the general public. I feel like a snob because I was able to do that, but oops, too late. ;-)
Kayla and I went together on Saturday, and boy was it an adventure. I picked her up bright and early around 7:40 so that we could get an early start and avoid some of the LA morning rush (Yes, LA has a rush even on Saturdays). After driving a little under three hours we arrived at USC.
We arrived later than we wanted too, so we made an executive decision and we decided to hit the vendor and exhibitor tables after the Testing The Boundaries in YA Literature panel which featured the moderator and author Aaron Hartzler, and author panelists Rainbow Rowell, E. Lockhart, Adam Smith, and John Corey Whaley.
This panel was fantastic! Each author talked about pushing the boundaries in different ways in literature. Rainbow Rowell with social anxiety issues, E. Lockhart with medical and interracial relationships, Adam Smith with horny giant mantis’ (and that is one book I won’t be reading), and John Corey Whaley with a story about a teen that gets his head frozen and comes back later with a new body. Freaky stuff right? The panelists all seemed to be friends which helped with the atmosphere of the panel and the room. The amount of thought that went into each answer was incredible and Kayla and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
After the panel, Kayla and I headed to the Rainbow Rowell signing. I was so bummed that I forgot to bring my E. Lockhart books, but I’ll get them signed next year. We waited for hours in that line and at the end we have a signature in our book, and a sunburn on our necks to show our perseverance.
After lunch and little bit of wandering around, we split up and I went to the Adrenaline Rush panel at the YA Stage.
The Adrenaline Rush Panel started at 4:30pm. I was blessed with Aaron Hartzler’s presence once again as a moderator (He is a really good moderator and his personality just shines, so I was thrilled!) and the author panelists were Lauren Oliver, Abby McDonald (representing Abigail Hass, one of her pen names), Stephanie Kuehn, and Sarah Skilton. Each author’s book dealt with “adrenaline” one way or another. Panic by Lauren Oliver is about teens entering a life-threatening game, Dangerous Girls by Abigail Hass (Abby McDonald) is about a teenage girl who gets framed for her best friends’ murder, High and Dry by Sarah Skilton is about a boy who gets framed for a near-fatal drug over dose of a peer, and Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn is about a boy who thinks he is a monster.
The panel’s discussion was fantastic that I didn’t even notice I got more sunburned as I sat for another hour in the sun. The authors were so kind and answered all of the questions thrown at them—even questions not about the panel—but about being a author in general and their journeys to where they are today. After the panel was over, it was signing time! I was able to get one of my Abby McDonald books signed. She is such a sweetheart and I absolutely love her. I was also able to get Pandemonium signed by Lauren Oliver. Ms. Oliver is so funny and great. She said she hated worms, but would keep my blog business card anyways. At first I didn’t understand why she was telling me she was afraid of worms, but she would keep my business card anyways, and then it dawned on me my blog name is TALKING BOOKWORM. Talk about a fail moment right there.
Earlier when I was wandering the vendor booths before the panel, I found a signed copy of TFIOS in the Young Readers Penguin Booth Store. I was absolutely thrilled! Veronica 1, John Green Signing line 0.
Overall, it was a great experience and something I would love to do again!