The dude working the front desk was seriously creepy in the way that, well, the villains of Harry Potter are. Complete with two wandering eyes, he proceeded to tell me that my room was flooded because, you know, the D.C. weather has been terrible, and it was moldy. Riiight (it's been very hot in DC but I've heard nothing of this "flooding" he mentioned). He then sent me trekking up the street to their sister inn, let's just say it rhymes with Shmembassy. When I saw the room they had for me there, well, it was all over. Literally, it was like 150 square feet, with two queen beds shoved in there. I could barely get my suitcase in the door. Besides the two beds, there was no other furniture outside of a coat rack and a bedside table. No closet. No place to put the suitcase. Absolutely no place to set up an ironing board (sort of essential for, you know, living out of a hotel for 5 days). Half an hour later, I was checking into a legitimate hotel, super thankful for last minute cheap rates, and trying to forget the whole episode. Unlike in Harry Potter, double-wandering-eye-French-fellow did not reappear later. THANK GOD!
Okay, so, the highlights!
1. My favorite part had to be getting to know my fellow committee members and the BFYA meetings. Talking about 93 books sounds completely exhausting and grueling, but it really wasn't. I loved hearing their observations about the books. It's so amazing how we can all have such different reactions to the same book.
2. I met the author Jennifer Lynn Barnes! She is the only other Jennifer Lynn Barnes I know... so far! So that was kind of amazing. We are going to start a club of Jennifer Lynns. Now I know there are a lot more of these. Off the top of my head, I can think of some. My guesses are, if you were born female in the 80s and named Jennifer, you very likely have Lynn as a middle name. True?
3. Watching David Levithan sing! David Levithan, along with John Green and debut author Andrea Cremer, were our awesome special guests for the BFYA Teen Pizza Party. I've never seen David Levithan before, or Andrea Cremer, (I've seen John Green a couple times), but they were super entertaining. The singing and a couple other moments were probably the highlights of that day. Also, I'm fairly certain I that I'm going to be in an upcoming vlog video as John panned his camera across the front row of the crowd, where several of us BFYA-ers were sitting. Will definitely post the link to the video if/when this turns out to be true.
4. Seeing Toni Morrison as keynote speaker. I have to commend the ALA for their selection of speakers. This was the only speech I could attend because of my meetings, but it was again such a special experience. I had to run out and buy one of her books the next day because I was so blown away by her insight and genius gift with words. Let's just say I am currently reading 5 books right now -- and I'm not one to read multiple books at once -- because I am just that excited about all these books and authors!
5. Meeting Jacqueline Kelly, author of Newbery Honor book The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. I told her how happy I was for her when it won, since it was my personal favorite of last year, and she said I wasn't as happy as she was. I truly think that book will be for many girls what Anne of Green Gables was for me growing up. When I read it, I could hardly believe it was a debut novel, it was that perfect.
6. The Michael L. Printz reception. Every ALA I attend, and every year I am not disappointed, and beyond that, always surprised by one of the authors. I'll admit that due to BFYA reading, I still haven't read Rick Yancey's The Monstrumologist, Adam Rapp's Punkzilla, or John Barnes' Tales from the Madmen Underground, but I'm working to remedy that. Each speech was moving in its own way, and several had me welling up in tears a little bit, but then Libba Bray busted it all open with her speech. For the first five or so minutes, I was seriously wondering if I was going to wet myself. She is soooo hilarious, and I've seen her before, but this was new heights of hilarity. And then the speech took its turn. It was so emotional and honest, and from a very different place than usual. It was definitely my favorite moment of the night. Also, I'm pretty convinced that if she wanted to, Libba Bray could be the next Oprah Winfrey. She has so much charisma, oh my god. And yeah, it's kind of cool that we were sitting right behind M.T. Anderson.
7. Books, books, books! I know I get books in the mail almost every day. And I have a huge library system at my disposal. But I cannot help myself when it comes to ARCs. And for the past few days, I didn't. I won't list everything I got, but here are my top acquisitions. Matched by Ally Condie (the first in a new dystopian series); Jane -- because when an author decides to pose the question, what if Jane Eyre dated a rock star, well, it turns out I want to know the answer; Raised by Wolves; Diary of a Wimpy Kid 5 water bottle! (!!!); Scumble, the companion to Ingrid Law's Savvy; Dirt Road Home, Watt Key's follow-up to the brilliant Alabama Moon (which evidently is being made into a movie starring John Goodman!); Prisoners in the Palace, which has maybe the coolest cover ever; The Kneebone Boy, which had a pretty amazing cover itself; Sarah Ockler's latest Fixing Delilah Hannaford and the new Jennifer Donnelly. Gaaaahhh!
And if that's not enough, I am also reading these:
Actually, I am not reading The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate or my foot, but you understand, right?