NTTBF ’18 Recap

Welcome to my North Texas Teen Book Festival 2018 Recap! It was April 21, 2018 in Irving, TX. It is the fourth year for this festival. It was surprising to see so many publisher tables with really good ARC drops and social media interactive ways to get free stuff. I could tell that a lot of extra steps were put in place to ensure everyone’s safety.

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Location

The festival was at the Irving Convention Center again. It is a very nice place for an event like this as last year there were between 9,000 and 12,000 attendees. Four floors were utilized but I personally felt some of those vendors on the fourth floor were a bit neglected. That meant there was a LOT of walking and carrying of books up & down escalators.  People seemed a little calmer this year, as if they were confident they had their day planned out and knew where to go. Even more of the convention center was utilized this year but the weather just was not playing nice (think cold and rainy).2950337_orig.png

Book Sales

What booknerd doesn’t love book sales??? Barnes and Noble was in charge of sales again. My plan was to get books first because almost every single book available was presigned. Not too shabby. I spent about 15-20 minutes wandering the tables to make sure I bought the books I wanted. This was the line to check out after only being opened 20 minutes:

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It was kind of scary to see how many people were lined up to either look at books (which was not a calm and peaceful process this year) or buy books (which the volunteers were rather rude – I’ll get into that in a bit).

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Publisher Additions

There were several Publisher tables again this year, which was awesome to see. They were spread out this year, two or three were on the first floor while the others were on the fourth floor. When I mentioned vendors feeling neglected on the fourth floor, this is what I meant:

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Sure, there were panels taking place on the fourth floor but from first blush, you have no idea there are two publisher tables around that corner.  And there were some characters from the Captain Underpants book:

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Overall that floor was relatively quiet, if you can believe that.

I will say that there was one publisher table – I will not name names – that was overly rude to anyone over the age of 15. They were snapping, standoffish, and used non-verbal means of communication (facial expressions) to let me know they were not too happy that I was at their table. They loudly pointed out, “WE SENT THAT EMAIL OUT FOR TEENS ONLY” or “WE DO HAVE BAGS, BUT YOU ARE CLEARLY NOT A TEEN SO THIS IS NOT FOR YOU”. I’m not really the right person you want to go up against so it took everything I had to bite my tongue. I did glare at them and said, “There is no need to be so rude about it. Everyone can see and hear you being a jerk. Is this where you want to be when Jesus comes back? Think about it next time.” I do know I was not the only one they did this too because everyone I talked to about this particular table told me they had the same experience. It makes me question doing anything with the publisher, to be honest.2950337_orig.png

Lines

This may be the shortest part of my post because changes were made to Publisher Events this year. They clearly stated TEENS ONLY on the events that were, in fact, targeted at/for/to teens. Maybe that was because of the outcry from last year, or perhaps it was a choice made by higher ups. Either way, it made my day a hell of a lot easier because it meant I didn’t have to made a decision on if I wanted to stand in line for XYZ event or not.  I am disappointed but there isn’t anything I can or could do about it.

There was only ONE ARC drop I stood in line for (The new V.E. Schwab MG ARC) and that was on the fourth floor. Since there was hardly anyone up there, I found myself first in line for that precious. Penguin Teen, Epic Reads, and Underlined were on first floor doing ARC drops all day. While I wish I could have gotten my hands on most of the beauties they were passing out, I was not going to risk a repeat of last year. I think Penguin had the right idea – they used Social Media to their advantage. If you did *insert task here* and proved to them you did it, you were given your choice of ARC and a shirt. Talk about AWESOME! Not to mention they had coupons handed out that could be cashed in for another ARC. These guys had their stuff down to a science. Well done, Penguin Teen. 🙂

The one main line I stood in was for a wristband for one of four authors. I arrived at 7am (thinking I would be early) only to find the lines started LONG before I showed up. I was informed that the girl at the head of the Cassandra Clare line arrived at midnight to hold her place in line. Girl. I arrived at 7am and still got a wristband for Cassandra. That seemed a little extreme to me but who am I to judge. I had been told that I could only get ONE wristband so that’s what I did. LITTLE DID I KNOW THAT WAS NOT TRUE. *grumble* *grumble*

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This made my time in the chilly April morning worth it:

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The other line that is the real focus is the signing lines… but that will come later. I promise, my darlings, I will give you the skinny on those lines.

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Friends

I try to express how important it is to make friends at these festivals. I made more friends this year and was over the moon excited about that!

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Who doesn’t know Xander! For me it isn’t a book event until I get to chat with him for a few moments. 🙂 Plus, it never ceases to amaze me how authors will stop him in the hallway to talk to him.

 

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#mysquad

I still stress the importance of making friends at these events. One can never have enough friends no matter what.

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Manners

I am still keeping this as a talking point for this event. I will humbly say that I had a better experience this year but I also stayed far away from publisher sponsored events and most ARC drops. It hurt me to stay away from those things because I REALLY wanted to partake but unable to. Either I was not able to attend or I chose to remove myself from the area for fear of a repeat from last year.

I will say the one main interaction I had with a RUDE volunteer was during the wait in the wristband author signing line. There was one volunteer that acted like Thanos wielding power. She yelled at nearly every single person and scolded people if they got out of line to use the restroom. At one point I did have to use the restroom (waiting in a 3+ hour line will do that….) and I approached this volunteer for instructions. She became visibly upset that I would dare offend her by admitting I had to use the necessary during her watch! She proceeded to tell me to go through a certain door. I was then informed by security that she was incorrect. Security and Volunteer proceeded to have a loud discussion about what really should be done. The entire time I still needed to use the necessary. Someone finally stepped in, someone on the planning committee maybe? He was a higher ranking person, that is all I know and he helped me. Bottom line – volunteers did NOT know what was going on (especially in the  signing area). They each had their own story of what would happen and spoke it like gospel without bothering to find out the truth. (Edit: turns out none of the stories they told were actually true. Every single person was incorrect.)

I also had a volunteer straight up bite my head off early in the morning while trying to buy books. I asked a simple question about a book and she said, “*SIGH* I don’t have time to deal with you. I have a lot going on.” Uh.. excuse the piss out of me? Was that necessary? The answer (always) is no. Her job was to help direct people and answer questions. Guess what I was doing: asking a question about buying books – which is exactly what she was there to help with. Sorry I disturbed you, your highness. I will know to avoid your grumpy ass next year.

Morale of the story: don’t be rude to people. They are having a hard enough time as it is. Ask someone, it’s okay if you admit you don’t know.

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Panels

I didn’t attend any panels. It seems that was a downfall for me as arcs were handed out at a lot of panels. When this girl has to decide if they want panels or a good spot in line for signing, the signing line will win every time.2950337_orig.png

Author Signings

Now we get to the topic that you really want to know about (unless you have really been curious about the entire day). I am guessing that you are probably like me and want to know about the authors and the rush of meeting these awesome people. If you read my post from the last couple of years, you will remember what a nightmare the authors signing was like. I’m happy to report that it was only somewhat better this year. That was due to the simple fact that I gave up my entire afternoon to stand in line. I did have a wrist band for Cassandra Clare so that was my #1 stop of the day. The line for that was still insane.

This was the start of the non-wrist band line. I want to point out that the line curved to the right (in the photo) and went all the way along that back wall, alllllll the way out into the lobby.

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I want to point out something new that was done this year: the attendees were allowed to line up early in front of the authors they wanted to meet first. It looked like chaos at first but if you think about it, it was kind of smart. It eased the lines a bit so people were not running/pushing/shoving/screaming/being stupid when the lines officially opened.

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I had a game plan this year. I knew who I was going to wait in line for and had a solid plan. This is how I spent my hour and a half signing time:

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First thought: Someone teach me how to pose for a photo/selfie. The struggle is real, y’all. Second: I was able to stop by every author I had hoped for! Sure, there was one that left early and I wasn’t able to get my book signed but that’s the nature of the beast. I am not going to complain.

This is how the lines looked while I waited on authors:

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My Book Haul

Would you believe me if I tell you that I carried about 90lbs worth of books this year? Go big or go home. I go to these festivals with a mission.

All of the books I carried with me all day:

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The swag I walked away with. Swag was not as plentiful this year but that is ok. I’m not a swag collector kinda gal. I am, however, a shirt and bookmark gal. If you are curious, I could tell you the horror I went through to get those enamel pins, deck of playing cards, and the Top Ten notepad. I did think I would make it out alive.

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The books I took from my library to be signed:

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Now what I actually had signed (this includes pre-signed books I bought there):

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Books bought at the event (only 6! That’s good for me!):

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The ARCS I brought home:

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EDIT: Overall Thoughts

I have attended this event every year and I pride myself on that. I have watched this festival grow and evolve. Obviously some years are better than others but that can be chalked up to growing pains and learned lessons, right? As always, please remember that my opinions are all my own and they are meant to be read in a heartfelt tone. I do not mean anything harsh or derogatory tone. I am not bashing this event, nor will I. I simply have thoughts and opinions as an attendee that I feel I need to write down.

I don’t believe this year was as crowded as last year. Maybe the threat of horrible rain kept people away? Maybe it was something else. I’m not a mind reader so I do not know. I do know that there was hella security this year. You could not walk five feet without seeing a cop or security guard. I believe they were there for crowd control but most of the time they simply barked orders about always walking, never stopping. That was not enjoyable, of course, but clearly the committee felt it was necessary.

If people know me, they know that I will always bring two massive canvas bags full of books with me to be signed. I am not ever ashamed nor will I apologize. I am not the only one to do so. However, I am an avid YA reader that is always looking to expand my library. That being said, I know the publishers and committee kept a lot of the interactive sessions to teens only. Yes, that does and did hurt because the age demographic for YA readers is technically 18-64. That means I fall into that age range. Yes, more teens need to read and/or get into reading and I completely support that. But it takes me back to the question I asked last year when I was discriminated against because of my age: why do I keep going? Why do I keep my love for this genre, authors, and stories going strong? Small answer is: it makes me happy. Bigger answer: dunno. I often wonder why I keep doing what I’m doing if only to be shunned at festivals FOR YA.

I still urge everyone to try to be considerate and be nice. YES, VOLUNTEERS, I’M STILL TALKING TO YOU. I signed up to be a volunteer this year and sadly it felt unfulfilling. I was not utilized and found myself keeping the wall up at the back of the room. There were four of us volunteering in the same room and it felt like too many. Regardless, none of us yelled at attendees or tried to assert power. That means there are still good people who want to help others – hooray! It seems to be the line volunteers that need to be reminded of basic manners and how social interaction should work.

If you attended, I would love to hear your thoughts on how the day went. Did you go to panels? Did you get all of your books signed at the end of the day? Were you able to attend a TEEN ONLY event? Let me know! I really would love to hear your thoughts.

 

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Texas Teen Book Festival ’17 Recap

Welcome to my Texas Teen Book Festival 2017 Recap! It was October 7, 2017 in Austin, TX. Sit back and get cozy because this may be a long post.. full of pictures and great stories! (HA! See what I did there?)

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Location

This festival was at St. Edwards University again. I had only been to this festival two years before and it was a disaster. I could regale you with horror stories or share pictures but just trust me when I say it was a cluster. It made me not want to go back, especially after the horrific stories I heard from last year. Leigh Bardugo anyone? I took a chance and packed up my books. I am overjoyed to say that, as an attendee, I feel this year’s festival was wonderfully done! Other than the Texas heat and humidity, which nothing can ever be done about that, I believe this festival was really well done. It did not feel like the same festival I went to years before.

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This was taken early in the morning but it was still a beautiful day.

 

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Book Sales

What booknerd doesn’t love book sales??? Book People in Austin was in charge of the sales and I feel it went off without a hitch. All of the books were neatly laid out and you could easily tell what was signed and what wasn’t. I’m surprised that a good majority of the books were already signed by the authors but you certainly had the opportunity to get them personalized later if you wanted.

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Publisher Additions

 

It was so great to see publisher tables at this event! Macmillan and Penguin were the two tables I saw but I know more publishers sent items to be given away. Festival attendees (like me!) always enjoy any presence from a big publisher.

I believe there were some Fierce Reads events during the day but I wasn’t able to attend. Unfortunately, it clashed with a signing time so I couldn’t go.

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Lines

It may have been me but it felt like the attendance was not as high this year. Maybe it was because Austin City Limits was going on at the same time and people didn’t want to risk the traffic? Whatever the case, I took advantage of it. The lines were almost non-existent. The longest line I stood in was at the end of the day to see Mackenzi Lee and that was because she is a sweetheart and wanted to chat with every single person who was in her line. I can’t be mad at an author who wants to be so engaging with her readers and fans.

 

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Friends

I try to express how important it is to make friends at these festivals. I made more friends this year and was over the moon excited about that! It also blew my mind how many people actually knew me. I have moments where I still feel like a newbie when it comes to blogging but then I remember I have been posting on my blog for two years now. Where has the time gone? I was even more floored when people asked where I blogged and I was able to hand them my card! Little moments like that is why I love blogging so much.

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It is not a true Texas book festival until I see Xander!

 

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Everyone, @heartbrekkerr! This girl was my lifeline all day! I am not sure I could have made it through the festival without her. ❤

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Manners

I may jinx myself here but I don’t feel like I have to cover this topic when it comes to experience I had at this festival! Everyone was nice! Everyone was friendly! Everyone was helpful! From the volunteers (SHOUT OUT TO THE VOLUNTEERS!) to the publishers to the venders to the attendees. Everyone had manners and was respectful! I still feel like I was in a dream when it comes to not be shoved around or treated like a faker because I’m an older YA reader. Just know it was a breath of fresh air.

 

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Panels

I did not attend any panels this year. There wasn’t time! Again, you had to make a decision – attend panels or go to a signing. (I’ll get into that in a moment.) Maybe next year I’ll go to one.

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Author Signings

Now we get to the topic that you really want to know about (unless you have really been curious about the entire day). I am guessing that you are probably like me and want to know about the authors and the rush of meeting these awesome people. I am happy to report that this went super smooth. Both Book People employees and volunteers were on point and had everything under control – and they were nice about it. There were four different signing times throughout the day and I think that helped a lot with crowd control.

The early bird signing included E. Lockhart, Stephanie Perkins, Jason Reynolds, and Marie Lu but Marie was unable to attend this signing. I volunteered at this time so I didn’t get photos. But never fear, I still took plenty of pictures of the rest of the day!

I cannot remember the exact authors at every signing as there were so many. Instead of trying to rack my brain and possibly missing someone, I’ll share with you the photos I took:

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I bought Aditi’s book signed later in the day and am kicking myself for not having her personalize it.

 

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Lisa Maxwell was just so nice!

 

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ERIN BOWMAN!! I simply love her books. ❤ (Notice Cindy Pon on the left!)

 

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ONE OF MY FAVORITES!! Stephanie Perkins is just too sweet for words. This was the sixth time (I believe) that I’ve met her and it still blows me away that she knows who I am. We chatted like old friends and it warmed my heart.

 

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Me after the first signing event I went to. Notice how organized things are behind me as that’s the signing tent. So awesome.

 

Third signing of the day!

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Notice Jason Reynolds on the left… he was so engaging with his readers.

 

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Jessica Taylor and Peter Bognanni

 

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Amy Tintera

 

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Jason Reynolds’ line never stopped! He was very popular. 🙂

 

The fourth signing of the day was a BIG ONE for me. MARIE LU was going to be in this signing and I was bursting with excitement! Somehow I was able to be the first person in line to meet her!

 

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Because her line was so intense, wrist bands were handed out to the first 35 people to guarantee them a spot to meet Marie.

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While waiting for the signing to start, I stopped Jason Reynolds for a photo. I’m not intimidated by a lot of authors but he kind of intimidated me.

 

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Can you tell how excited and over the moon I was to meet Marie again?! AAAHHH!

 

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Next on my stop was Mackenzi Lee but I was able to snap photos of other authors while waiting. Here we have Jennifer Mathieu, Julie Murphy, and Sandhya Menon

 

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Better shot of Sandhya and Julie

 

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Kathryn Ormsbee

 

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AAHH!! Mackenzi Lee!! She has been one of my most favorite authors! Notice me holding an ARC of her debut, This Monstrous Thing. She was floored to see it in the wild again!

 

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Anna-Marie McLemore was so sweet and super friendly. I have heard nothing but great things about her book.

 

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I was in line for Ashley Poston (!!!) when the signings were cut off so the workers could prepare for the final signing of the day –every author would be available to sign books. I was just a few people away from meeting Ashley but was able to capture a photo of Ryan Graudin… 🙂

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After the signings, I spotted Adi Alsaid and grabbed him for a photo!

 

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You are seeing that photo correctly! I met Ashley at the last and biggest signing of the day and I had TWO copies of Heart of Iron for her to sign! When I told her I had these babies, she legit teared up. It pulled on my heart strings. This story is six years of her blood, sweat, and tears. She hadn’t seen but one other reader with the ARC so seeing them in the wild brought tears to her eyes. She was gracious enough to sign one to me and even wrote some spoilers somewhere in the book. She’s so evil that way and I love her for it.

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My Book Haul

Would you believe me if I tell you that I carried about 90lbs worth of books all day? I even went light this year! I took one small bag of books with me to start the day

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I am rather proud of myself because I only bought five books this year. All were already signed and three I had personalized by the author.

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These are the books I was given throughout the day… I’m still in shock over them!

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These are the books I had signed and/or personalized

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All in all, this is what I carried around (proudly) all day!

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Swag is not something I’m big into but I did collect some throughout the day

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Overall Thoughts

I am blown away by how much improvement there was with this festival. The first year I attended was the first year it was at St. Edwards University. It was a horrific nightmare. I Nobody working the festival had any idea what was going on, the signing events were screwed up, and so were the lines. Oh goodness the lines! They were stuff nightmares were made of. I am now going to be a forever fan of this festival and attend every year I can if it continues to run the way it did this year. This felt easy. Maybe the Texas heat kept people away or the ACL event, but either way it was really enjoyable and I still feel like I’m floating from the amazing interaction with everyone.

 

So tell me, did you attend this event? Or would you attend this event? What are you thoughts on everything I laid out about the day? I want to hear from you.sara-signature1

 

 

Once Upon A Mattress: My Guide To The Perfect Day In

It is that in between time of year in Texas when everyone is over the chilly winter months and ready for warmer Spring days, but Mother Nature hasn’t quite gotten that memo yet. That means the nights are still chilly and most days are as well. As an avid book lover, it makes me want to snuggle up with a good book and read the day away, especially a Saturday after a long work week. I was asked by Leesa, an online mattress company, to describe my perfect day in,. Here are a few things that would make a book girl like me happy.

 

A warm (possibly heated?) blanket to snuggle under. I know this is usually a given but something about a warm blanket makes the experience that much better.

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Possibly a cozy couch to snuggle on?

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Or the bed?

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Perhaps a chair?

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I normally won’t know exactly where I want to read until I’m ready to settle down.

 

My drink and snack next to me on the table. That way I won’t have to get up as often. 😉

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The book I am ready to spend my day reading. It could be my Harry Potter books or the latest book that I cannot stop thinking about.

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Not to mention my headphones for an audiobook in case I need something different.

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To round out the day, my husband would either be out of the house with his friends or quietly playing video games in his “man cave”. That would leave me in peace to read without as many interruptions. 😉 This sounds like a day of bliss to me.

Now everyone has a different idea of what their perfect day in would be so I challenge every one of you to let me know what your perfect day in (or night!) would be! Either type it in the comments or create your own blog post. I really would love to know everyone’s take on this idea. Many huge thanks to Leesa Mattress for reaching out to me about this wonderful idea! Want to learn more about Leesa? Check out The Sweet Home’s review on on why Leesa is the best foam mattress around!

 

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NTTBF ’17 Recap – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Welcome to my North Texas Teen Book Festival 2017 Recap! It was March 4, 2017 in Irving, TX. It is the third year for this festival but it has grown so much. It was surprising to see so many publisher tables with really good swag and ARC drops. I believe this festival was better than last year in certain aspects and I will do my best to explain.

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Location

The festival was at the Irving Convention Center again. It is a very nice place for an event like this and thankfully more of the center was used as opposed to last year. This festival was on four different floors. Let that sink in. Four. Different. Floors. That meant there was a LOT of walking and carrying of books up & down escalators. I heard a lot of attendees being confused where things were. They were upset about missing panels because they weren’t sure where GB3 was located. That’s fair if you hadn’t been to this center before. This held true during the 2016 and 2017 festivals. Even more of the convention center was utilized this year but the weather just was not playing nice (think cold and rainy).

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This is how crowded the first floor was at 8:30AM. Just let that sink in because it is reported that over 10,000 people attended this year and this was a snapshot of just one portion of the floor.

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Book Sales

What booknerd doesn’t love book sales??? Half Price Books did not provide the book sales this year, Barnes and Noble was in charge of that. I am not always a fan of BN because I never have a good experience when I go into their stores. The BN near me feels like they silently judge me for reading YA books and I don’t appreciate that. This crew was not that way (thankfully) and were on top of their game. The thing that changed this year was you were given a wristband after you bought books. These were supposed to be used and checked when it came time for the signing lines. I’m here to say that didn’t happen.

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Publisher Additions

I’m adding this to the beginning of the post because for me, as a reader and blogger, this made a huge impact on my day. Random House/First In Line hosted a breakfast with some of their authors. You had the chance to quickly chat with them and get your books signed. If you were lucky enough to get your books signed before the signing lines, it made you breathe a little easier knowing you wouldn’t have to fight to get them signed later. I was fortunate to get a seat right before the doors closed. Even though it was rather cold and blustery, it was a really good event. The authors were very welcoming and always had a smile on their face.

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Jeff Zentner, Julie Buxbaum, Jennifer Niven, Nicola Yoon, Kiersten White, and Jennifer E. Smith

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That girl with the bag had Kiersten sign everything she owned so I never got her to sign anything for me at this event. 😦

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I did get to chat to one of my favorite authors who I’ve talked to at other events, Jeff Zentner. (Isn’t he a doll?)

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Nicola Yoon was the only other author I was able to get close to. That place was packed and some of the attendees seemed to cut in line.

There were also afternoon meet & greets put on by Epic Reads. You could choose between the 1PM and 2PM event. Both had different authors so it really was a tough call. I opted for the 2PM and it gave me anxiety because that meant I would be late to the signing lines.  I really was torn between meeting these authors up close and personal or heading down to get a good spot for the signing lines. (NOTE: My anxiety and fears were confirmed. More on that later.) I opted to go and here is the result: face time with some really awesome people.

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Me with Colleen Oakes

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Me with Victoria Aveyard

 

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Me with Margot Wood (EEK! I fangirled so hard)

 

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Me with Heidi Heilig dressed as a pirate

 

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Me with Angie Thomas 

 

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Me with Katie Cotugno

I felt this event was very, very well done but it felt rushed. That was probably because the author signings were directly after this event. I sat a smaller table and we all worked together so well on getting stuff signed, taking photos, and asking questions. I hope the rest of the tables were able to get signatures and photos.

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Lines

The lines this year were slightly better than last year, but only slightly. There were yet again lines for signing passes, special Epic Reads events, and more. The first line of the day (which I did not stand in) was for signing passes to see Veronica Roth and R.L. Stine. I was not going to put myself through that madness so I avoided. Sadly the weather did not play nice so people had to stand outside in the cold wind to get a Roth/Stine wristband. It was all about the wristbands this year.

This was yet another year where as an attendee I had to make the decision: lines or panels? I certainly could not do both. Did I want the chance to meet awesome authors and/or get ARCs or listen to authors talk on a panel? The honest answer is it didn’t matter because both were not going to happen. I clearly chose the lines.

I did stand in line to get a wristband for the Epic Reads meet and greet. That was not a pleasant for several reasons, the weather being most of them. Here is me freezing with my light jacket.

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The other reason I did not enjoy this line was… wait. That part of the story should fall under the Manners section. You’ll have to wait just a wee bit for that one. It’s good. You’ll want to stick around for it. The bottom line is I got my wristband and that’s what mattered. (Clearly because the pictures for that are shown above.)

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As I mentioned, publishers really stepped their game up this year and did several ARC drops throughout the day. As a reader, that blew my mind in the best way possible. I am forever grateful when a publisher wants to get an upcoming book into the hands of readers. That being said, it quickly became a nightmarish experience thanks to one group of unchaperoned middle grade students. While waiting patiently next to the Penguin Teen table for the upcoming ARC drop, a group of middle grade students rushed up to the table minutes before the line was to form.

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The girls in the green shirts hovered after being told no less than six times by the Penguin Reads staff to “take a lap” and “keep moving”. Once the line was told to form, those girls shoved their wait in front of every single person who had been doing what they were supposed to do. Not one time was there a parent or someone watching them. They had no respect for authority or adults and clearly did whatever they wanted. I know this because after they grabbed books from Penguin, I witnessed them rushed to the guy manning the First In Line/Random House table and take books from him before he could even get them sat out for his ARC drop. They were also rude during the signing lines. Now yes, I know this should probably fall under the Manners section but it seemed to fit with the Lines section as well. I did end up getting the ARC at this drop and I am grateful, but I felt I had to fight to get that. Nothing about these festivals should feel like a battle.

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I did also stand in line for a Fierce Reads ARC drop and it was so organized and calm. Not a slam against the publishers or the people that manned the tables, only an observation on the people in line. (I told the couple behind me I would put them in my blog so here you are! 🙂 )

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The other line that is the real focus is the signing lines… but that will come later. Let’s just say that it was calmer than last year but my level of disappointment hit a new low.

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Friends

I try to express how important it is to make friends at these festivals. I made more friends this year and was over the moon excited about that!

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#squadgoals – am I right? I know April (@aprillovesbooks) and Ashley (@ashleyoutpaged) from Houston but met Jesse (@JesseTheReader) and Makaelyn (@MakaelynP). They were so much fun to hang around! Never a dull moment with these celebrities. (Photo credit Makaelyn’s mom 🙂 )

I also ran into friends I hadn’t seen in awhile. It made me miss them even more.

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#reunited This is my partner in crime! Putting the two of us together is so much dang fun. ❤ (photo credit: @LaCherenda)

I also ran into Xander (@Foreverbookish – he is a big deal) and Liv (@GrangerLiv – also a big deal!) though I didn’t get photos. 😦 Boo on me for that. I did run into Becky (@Becky_LoveDemi) at the start of the day. That made me happy.

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I still stress the importance of making friends at these events. One can never have enough friends no matter what.

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Manners

Let me take a moment to talk about manners. This is something that should be common sense to everyone but it seems to have skipped some (a lot of?) people. I saw a tremendous lack in manners and common courtesy through the entire day. This was strong at the 2016 event and it held true this year. Yes, everything felt more organized and calm this year but that did not stop the students from slamming into me, cutting me off, stepping on my feet, shoving me out of the way, glaring at me for one reason or another, or telling me to get out of their way. Not at any point in time did one of them say, “Excuse me”, or “I’m sorry”, or “please”, or “thank you”. I know it is too much to ask, shame on me.

I know I am an older YA reader and I will never deny that. I embrace who I am and what genre I prefer to read. Nobody should have the right to judge me on that. That being said, it happened to me a lot at this festival. By volunteers. You read that correctly. The volunteers were rude this year. So very rude. I know it was mainly to older readers/attendees because I traded stories with others who were treated this way. Talk about uncalled for. Here is my story: After I made my way to the table with my friends for the Epic Reads wristbands, the volunteer said loudly in front of everyone, “You do realize this is for teens, right? The publisher wants TEENS to attend.” I. Was. Floored. I felt so many emotions at once: rage, anger, embarrassment, shame, and fury. Just typing this now is making my hands shake with anger. Who are you to judge me like that? I happen to know the publisher wants YA readers to enjoy this event, not just teens. If publishers did not want older YA readers to read their books, why put so many on mailing lists for ARCs? Why include so many on blog tours and ask for their opinion on books or events?

That one situation really ruined my day. I carried it with me for the rest of the day and you can confirm that with anyone that was around me. I was not excited to be at this festival any more. Knowing I was being treated that way by volunteers was shattering to my self esteem, my mental status, and my overall thoughts on the festival. Why in the world would I want to attend a festival where I know I’ll be talked to this way by volunteers. Not to mentioned it made me question what I was doing. Should I really be an older reader at a YA festival? More on that later but it made me question a lot of things.

Remember me mentioning the middle grade schoolers who jumped in line and did whatever they wanted? They were very rude when it came to signing lines. One girl behind me huffed a lot and asked me to “move faster” because she wanted to meet the author. Calm down, sweetheart, we are both in the same line that isn’t moving. Being a jerk to me isn’t going to change that. And no, I am not going to let you cut ahead of me. Stop asking.

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Panels

I only went to one panel this year: Penguin Teen panel. The description was a bit misleading in the brochure because it made it seem like a lot of the authors would be there. NOPE. It was someone from Penguin talking about the upcoming books.

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Author Signings

Now we get to the topic that you really want to know about (unless you have really been curious about the entire day). I am guessing that you are probably like me and want to know about the authors and the rush of meeting these awesome people. If you read my post from last year (found here: NTTBF ’16 Recap) you will remember what a nightmare the authors signing was like. I’m happy to report that it was only somewhat better this year. Only. Somewhat. Remember how I said I was afraid of getting to the author signing area late? Well, I did show up “on time” (which meant very late) and I was towards the very end of the line. I was already pissed and didn’t care much about being here due to earlier events of the day, so missing the chance to meet a lot of authors for photos and signatures did not hit me as hard as it should have. It hits me hard now and the overwhelming sense of disappointment hits all over again. But feast your eyes on the line to get to the signing lines:

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Chaos. Madness. Rudeness. Whining. Utter defeat. All of these were felt where I was in line. I know I felt a lot of that myself, mainly utter defeat. I honestly asked myself, “Why even bother?” By the time I made it inside the signing area (which you had to continue following a piece of tape along the right wall and around the other side of the room) I had just over an hour to get my books signed. Do you think that went well? No, of course not.

The signing area was done a little differently and authors were given longer lines for people to stand in. sigh That meant I spent 20 minutes waiting to meet just one author. Go ahead, do the math on that. I ended up meeting a total of FOUR authors. FOUR out of FIFTY. To say I was disappointed and defeated, again, is an understatement.

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I didn’t have anyone to help me get my books signed so I was stuck. Again, what else could I do?

Here are the authors I was able to meet:

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Jennifer E. Smith

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Stephanie Perkins (whom I ❤ so much)

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Adam Silvera

 

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Kiersten White

That is what just over an hour got me. Four authors. Me = let down and defeated (my theme for the day, it seems). I did manage to snag a photo of Veronica Roth on my way out. It was the closest I got to her:

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It isn’t fair that she is that attractive.

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My Book Haul

Would you believe me if I tell you that I carried about 60lbs worth of books all day? I even went in light this year thinking I wouldn’t have to carry as much. Little did I know I would be handed beautiful ARCs by wonderful publishers to take home.

All of the books I carried with me all day:

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The swag I walked away with. Swag was not as plentiful this year.

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The books I took to be signed:

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Now what I actually had signed:

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It looks like a lot, I know, but I had a lot of anthologies that I wanted signed by multiple authors. Should have known that was a pipe dream.

The ARCS I brought home:

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Tote bags for days….

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My prize of the day was finding this oddly cut copy of Kiersten White’s ARC Now I Rise

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Pretty rad, no? I did have Kiersten sign it. 🙂 She even took a picture of it!

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EDIT: Overall Thoughts

I love this event and will go back next year, and the year after that. I will scream it from the rooftops how much I adore and support this event. My opinions here are meant to be heartfelt and with no harsh tones at all.

I have now been on both sides of a book festival – planning and attending. I truly believe the NTTBF planners took the comments from attendees last year that the signings needed to be handled better. I believe the signings were handled better but it still does break my heart to know I was one of those at the back of the lines that was given such a short amount of time to potentially meet the authors I wanted. It really did kick me in the gut and wear me down. I did have thoughts of picking up my book bags and walking to my car to just end the day. Why stand in line for 20 minutes to get no more than three books signed by the author? (I was yelled at by a volunteer for putting four books in front of one author. Thankfully the author came to my rescue but the damage was already done.) I know there were a lot of people at the event and we all had the same goal. It still doesn’t make me feel any better. I know I have a somewhat established library and as a result I have a lot of books. Why would I not take advantage of them being signed? I know I sound super pessimistic and selfish but when I got my hopes up that high to meet authors and have a great time, only to not have all of that happen, I can’t help but feel down.

I urge everyone to try to attend this if you can, but either go with a friend or make friends there. Remember – BE NICE TO PEOPLE. THAT GOES FOR YOU TOO, VOLUNTEERS. Nothing gives you the right to pass judgement on someone because they look over 18 and read YA books. You have no idea how much of an affect your mean words can have one someone’s state of mind, feelings, and emotions.

Keep in mind if you have to sacrifice panels to stand in line, ask yourself if it is really worth it to you. If the answer is yes, there you go. I skipped panels for the chance to see what the publishers brought or what events they were holding. Still not sure if it was the best thing for me due to manners and crowds but at least I tried.

As you can tell, that one comment from early in the day really did stay with me. Heck, it is still with me. No matter how much I interacted with fellow readers or was recognized by authors (still blows my mind…), that one comment shadowed everything else. I could not move past it. I don’t like holding on to things like this but I don’t ever want anyone to have this happen to them. It did raise a question in my mind that I may create into a discussion post: Should your age determine if you attend a YA festival? Obviously my answer is no because a majority of the demographics of YA readers/book buyers is 18-64. What I do strongly believe is that nobody has the right to judge me or anyone else on what books they read. I know, I know, it shouldn’t matter right? I was only 1 of over 10,000 and I should move on. Answer me this: How would you feel if something like this was said to you? end soap box rant.

 

So tell me, did you attend this event? Or would you attend this event? What are you thoughts on everything I laid out about the day? I want to hear from you.sara-signature1

 

 

Books Left Unread #35

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Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

 

This week’s post is dedicated to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

 

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)

 

I have heard mixed reviews on this book but I do know a majority of readers have at least finished the book. Have you read it? If so, what did you think of it? Should I read this soon?

 

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Books Left Unread #34

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Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

 

This week’s post is dedicated to The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

 

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

 

You read that correctly! I have yet to read the ever famous Percy Jackson book series. I tried to start the audio at one point but the narrator ruined it for me and I quit after just a chapter. And I feel as if I start Percy I will be cheating on Harry. 😦

So tell me, have you read it? Why should I read it?

 

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June Monthly Wrap Up

books

Hello everyone! Welcome to my June Monthly Wrap Up.

Books I Read

I felt I didn’t get to finish as many books in June but I really did try. I did not read as many physical books but of the ones I did read, I liked most of them. Here are my stats: 31 books completed – including two rereads (Harry Potter) and 1 DNF (How To Hang A Witch). This brings the number of books in 2016 to 147.

23 – Audio

8 – Physical

 

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I don’t remember the rating for all of the books but most were good, but not as many as I had hoped. I am not sad I read these books as most were already on my shelf/TBR so they are now marked off.

The best books I read were The Way I Used To Be, Faking Normal, Learning To Swear In America, Their Fractured Light, The Rose Society, and Wolf By Wolf.

It makes me sad when I DNF a book but I did stop reading How To Hang A Witch after 47 pages. Review coming soon but this book has a lot of problems that need to be fixed.

Bookish Events

I had the pleasure of attending the My Lady Jane event in Houston and it was a blast!

July Bookish Plans

I don’t have any bookish events on my radar but I do plan on finishing my 4th reread of Harry Potter.

How did you do in June? How was your reading? What events did you attend and what would you like to attend in July?

 

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Books Left Unread #31

Wallpaper-Books

Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

 

This week’s post is dedicated to Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman.

 

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)

 

Let’s start by saying how gorgeous that cover is! Just wow. Now, the reason I haven’t read this book yet. I DNF’d Anne’s Traiter Angels book and now I fear this book will be the same way. I don’t like DNFing book and I really don’t want to be disappointed by another book. So tell me, have you read this one?

 

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Books Left Unread #29

Wallpaper-Books

Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

 

This week’s post is dedicated to Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

 

 

 

Open Road Summer

 

I have only read one Emery Lord book and I was not a fan of it. That has caused me to put this book on hold even more. Should I give it a chance? What do you think?

 

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Top Ten Reasons I Love Dystopians

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week I’m listing my…

Top Ten Reasons I Love Dystopians

The Psychology behind Dystopian Books
10) The setting. I love reading a dystopian novel that takes place in an incredibly well described world that was caused by something we in the current world did. Maybe we used too much oil and a chain effect caused the rest of the world to collapse. Or a killer virus was created and it outgrew its host, causing the population to slowly thin itself until only the fittest and smartest survived.
9) If told correctly, the characters in a dystopian are given those up-living moments that just make the reader feel better about what the character is going through.
8) I am fascinated by the terrible things these characters face, and by how some react bravely and some react cowardly or with resignation. It makes me believe for even a short amount of time that I can make it in these horrible future.
7) I’m compelled to turn the pages as we wonder if rebels and other members of the populace can somehow remake a wretched society into something more positive.
6) Sometimes, just sometimes, the seriousness of the possible future is defused with humor.
5) Death is very compelling. We are a society of rubberneckers and the thought of death in front of us is a little too strong to ignore sometimes. We are also very, very curious and usually want to know as much as possible, even if that includes death.
4) Dystopians provide escapism. This genre takes me to another place and time, helping me put aside the issues I am battling in my real world, even if it is just for a little while. Who doesn’t want to put their problems aside for just a few to think about something else?
3) Intimacy in a dystopian feels so much more intense. Maybe it comes from the fear of being caught or the knowledge that there are so few people left in these worlds, but they feel like they are more raw and powerful.
2) Rebellions! There is almost always, always a rebellion in a dystopian. The population finally gets tired of being oppressed and chooses to rise against the new government and fight for their rights.
1) There is a small, tiny light amidst all the darkness in YA dystopian fiction, and do you know what it is? You got it. Hope. Hope is such a powerful emotion that it drives stories and people to keep going no matter what the cost.
Do you love dystopians? Or even just like them? If so, why?
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