I was lucky enough (and I mean seriously lucky enough) to be invited to the Houston Teen Book Con this past weekend. As in, “Hey Gina, want to attend this unbelievably awesome event featuring a legion of teens who actually enjoy reading and a guest list of authors whom you would happily gouge out your right eye to even be in the same room as?”
And so my answer, as you can imagine, was “OMGBLWFFFFYES.”
The weekend began with a flight to Houston on the Friday before Massachsuetts kids’ spring break, so the airport pretty much looked like a war zone. I waited in line at Dunkin’ for longer than I waited at check-in and security combined. (And then they screwed up my coffee.) I boarded and sat in the very last row, sandwiched between a family of five who, thankfully, were quiet and civilized and didn’t inspire any thoughts of stabbing. (And a special shout-out to the13-year-old boy next to me who, instead of watching The Hangover 2 as the airline offered, watched Uncle Buck and Kindergarten Cop on his dad’s iPad. You’re cool, kid. We like you.)
I landed in Houston, crashed in the hotel room for a few hours, then met up with a few fellow Apocalypsies for drinks – Marissa Meyer (author of Cinder), Jessica Spotswood (author of Born Wicked), and Robin Mellom (author of Ditched) – all of whom I’ve met online but never in person, and I’m happy to report they are even lovelier in 3D than they are in 2D. More authors came and chilled with us, and then it was time to head to the author reception.
This was held at Blue Willow Bookshop, a positively delightful nook for books in Houston where authors are invited to sign their names on the wall – which I did, using a ladder, because I’m two feet tall. I met tons of legendary authors, doing my very best not to faint or explode into a fangirly mess or accidentally kidnap anyone or cut off a lock of anyone’s hair so that I may sniff it creepily later that night. (To reiterate – I didn’t do any of these. This time.)
And then oh holy hell, I got to chat with Maggie Stiefvater, somehow assembling a collection of sentence-like things that resulted in either a muddy declaration of how much I loved Scorpio Races, or a murder confession. I’m not sure; I was barely conscious at the time, due to all of the basking in adoration. I reminded her that I was the freak who sent her the photo of the dismembered kelpie, um, member, and to her credit, she did not pretend to suddenly remember she had a dentist appointment to slip away to. And then this happened, and now I can die happy:
That’s volunteer librarian Karen Paulus with us, and I have to say that ALL of the volunteer librarians were so amazing, I wanted to take every one of them home with me – but sadly, only three fit in my luggage. The bookstore staff was amazing as well – big shoutouts to Cathy and Valerie, who are just badass. And good lord, the authors – Lisa McMann, Holly Black, Holly BLack, Jesse Andrews, Tara Hudson, Megan Crewe, Inara Scott, Ruta Sepetys, and a gagillion more – all of whom only further proved to me that authors are COOL. And NICE. And also, the reception had these chocolate cookies that were TRANSCENDENTAL. And now I’ve gushed about everything for so long, it looks like I’m going to have to split this into two posts. So stay tuned for Part 2 – the actual Houston Teen Book Con!
Also, if you’ve read down this far, I’m doing a talk and signing tonight at 7:00 at the Barnes & Noble in Burlington, MA, which is just north of Boston. Be there or be rhombus!
**All photos courtesy of Lisa Stultz. To see more photos of the reception, click here.