It started with me waking up super early to drive to the campus. I had a pretty emotional Saturday which included me doing a lot of emotional eating and drinking, so the wake up call on Sunday was a little rough but totally worth it to get my book nerd on. Thanks to a traveler's mug of green tea and the Glee soundtrack I made it to UCLA feeling happy and pumped (and with a minor sore throat thanks to my most excellent freeway sing-a-long)
First stop of the day was meeting up with Jessica and Amber for a YA panel with David Levithan (squee) and John Green (squee, squee) authors of Will Grayson, Will Grayson and various other books respectively. A panel is basically a moderated discussion about the book which in this case was Will Grayson squared and a tiny Q&A afterward. The guys were SO amazing! We sat right in the front row and I could not believe how funny and charismatic they were. I had to stop myself from fangirling the freak out all over John who basically is the personification of my high school nerdy ideal crush. (Le sigh)
After the panel, we walked around the festival for a bit and then decided to grab a quick snack of hot dogs and chips before heading off to the next signing. I'm only mentioning this because it's the first time in nearly 3 years that I have eaten meat and I was so hungry I would have chewed my own face off so I tried to convince myself that it wasn't real meat, I ate it quickly and barely chewed, and I figured it was a good way to chase away anymore bad juju leftover from Saturday night. Let's just say, not the brightest idea I've ever and my stomach is barely speaking to me right now.
Our next signing was with the fabulous Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries and a slew of other books. Jessica and some of the rest of my friends had already been to a signing of hers that past Thursday which I wanted to attend but was unable to so I was way excited to finally get the chance to meet her. Can I just go on record as saying that I want to be just like her when I grow up? She is gorgeous and SO unbelievably nice! She had on the most beautiful necklace and a very smart black jacket, and did not freak out when I gushed all over her telling her how wonderful I thought she was and what a huge fan I am of her books. She just told me I was awesome for coming and braving the hot sun to see her and smiled pretty for a picture with me. Yay!! I now have 3 books signed by her and of course the world's envy since we are so obviously bff now!
*photo courtesy of Amber and my Blackberry*
We had a bunch of time left over until the scheduled signing with John Green and David Levithan so we walked around looking at all the booths and exhibits and even saw Julius the monkey hanging around. Jess took an actual pic with him, but I chickened out at the last minute worried my hips might have been bigger than his. :-\
One of the cooler things we saw while we were there was a huge wall titled "What Are You Reading?" Everyone wrote down the book they were currently reading on the wall, it was very cool. The book I am reading right now was already on the wall so I just took a picture.
Since Jessica had about 15 books to get signed and she carried them around in a backpack all day long (bless her heart) we went to another signing by Gayle Forman, author of If I Stay. Jessica had just reviewed this book on her blog and both Amber and I were interested in reading it so we purchased it at the booth where the signing was held and got in line too. Gayle was also really nice! She was flattered that we had just went and bought the book to have it signed and I made sure to give credit to Jessica and Gayle gave her a high five, it was too cute! Here's Gayle talking to Jess while signing her book:
Here's what she wrote in my book, how perfect is this?!?
Finally the moment I had been waiting for, face time with John Green and David Levithan. It was in a word...magical. We waited in a LONG line, but luckily we were in the first quarter of it. When we finally got up there, I admittedly spazzed out and babbled like a moron but it was still good because I think John Green may have been slightly captivated by me. Notice him hanging on my every word:
While I know he really wanted to profess his love for me then whisk me away to a tropical island where we could exalt in the delights of our nerd love, instead he just thanked me for coming out, signed my book, and inside of it told me to DFTBA (Don't Forget to Be Awesome). If I were less than a babbling moron, I would have told him that I never leave the house without my awesome, but of course like always, I think of the perfect thing to say after the fact. Chagrin.
David was equally wonderful, we could definitely be besties in real life! He was so sweet when I told him how much I wanted to read his book, Boy Meets Boy which he signed for me, he told me if I loved Tiny Cooper (one of the characters in WG, WG) then I would love this book as well. This is him signing my copy of WG, WG and laughing when I told him I wanted to be Tiny's best friend but we would have to share the spotlight because I love to be the center of attention.
What made our time with John and David the best thing ever, (other than my amazing psychic nerd love connection) was when Jessica was able to give them the copy of the ARC that we all signed from the tour she organized. I wasn't technically a member of the tour, but since I was able to read the book before the festival and certain circumstances meant that she didn't get the book back until a few days before the signing, Jessica was sweet enough to let me sign the book as well. When presented with the book, John pretty much made our life by saying "oh, I read about this on the Internet." Meaning...he totally read her blog! I am pretty sure Jess and I fangirled all over the table at that point, I don't think we're over it yet!
Also, I think John had a fangirl moment of his own when he saw that Jess was wearing this shirt which is a reference to one of my favorite parts of the book (It reads I'm With Phil Wrayson):
I'm sure he completely broke up with me after that and was contemplating taking her to the previously mentioned Nerd Love Island. Both guys seemed really appreciative of the entire ARC tour effort and I made sure to mention that I was the only person who signed in the back and added my contact info. (Yes, I'm shameless) Thanks to the fabulous photography skills of Amber, we have pics of the entire exchange and can relive the moment over and over (and over and over again).
After saying goodbye to Amber (awww), We attended a panel on the YA stage where authors of fantasy novels read aloud from their books and talked a little about their writing process. I didn't know the authors by name, but one of them was Margaret Stohl, the co-author of Beautiful Creatures, a paranormal teen romance which Jessica had a copy of and was able to get it signed by her and the other author, Kami Garcia. I was so happy that her lugging all of those books around all day paid off and she got every one of them signed! A little special shout out for author Michael Reisman who writes the Simon Bloom books, he read his story excerpt in a perfect Irish accent, even though he's from Jersey. Seriously...ftw.
Oh and random celebrity sighting, Tricia Yearwood wrote a cookbook and was in the tent next to the paranormal YA authors doing a signing. I promise the blonde in the purpley-pink blouse on the left hand side of this pic, totally her:
The Festival of Books is most definitely Disneyland for book nerds. I don't remember when I've had so much fun in a day that included walking, hiking up stairs, crowds, and the blazing hot sun. Seriously, getting from one part of UCLA to the other is a Jesus walk in itself. I pity the poor incoming freshmen. Check how many people were there, and this was only one section!
None of that bothered me (much), I was so excited to finally meet three of my favorite authors and discover SO many more. The only bad thing about the day is that I didn't get a pic of Amber, Jess, and I together. Doesn't matter, I'm still going to sing the "We're the three best friends that anybody could have..." song from The Hangover every time I think about our awesome day together.