Hello! Book Expo America (also known as BEA) was last week May 11-13 here in Chicago so it was an easy choice for me to attend! I attended as both a blogger and a bookseller. Usually I base my convention wrap-ups on the photos I took during the duration and I took…3. Also I realized in the middle of writing this that I talk about food A LOT but honestly it’s Chicago and we love food.
Since I don’t live too far from the McCormick Place, I decided to just drive every day and Mary from Mary Had a Little Book Blog stayed with me! She arrived Tuesday and we did some fun stuff around the city (burgers from Kuma’s and new Captain America movie!). Wednesday marked the first official day of BEA! Since I was not participating in Bloggercon and the floor didn’t open until that afternoon, I met up with a group of bloggers for breakfast at Yolk. Getting breakfast with Mary, Danielle from Love at First Page, Wendy from Book Scents and Rebecca from Unbound Pages really set the tone for the whole week and spoiler alert: it was awesome. After breakfast Mary and I did a quick trip to the Bean before heading to McCormick Place to pick up our badges.
I spent most of Wednesday on the floor just getting a lay of the land and picking up schedules from the publishers. I think the only book I grabbed for myself and kept was Stalking Jack the Ripper (which was one of my anticipated books to get so SUCCESS!) I did also get a copy of the new Princess in Black and got to meet Shannon and Dean Hale, who are adorable and my new favorite. Once we realized we were all very hungry, I suggested Portillo’s for dinner because when in Illinois…! The same ladies from breakfast plus Sabrina from Forest of Words and Pages. Since it was too early to call it a day I grabbed drinks with Gillian from Writer of Wrongs, Gaby from Bookish Broads, Jessie from Ageless Pages Reviews, Angie from Lady Knight Reads and Morgan from Gone with the Words! A few others joined us throughout the night but it was just a fun night of everyone spoiling Raven King for me! This really happened but I have only read Raven Boys so none of it made sense to me (plus I said it didn’t matter to me). I am also 100% sure we had a heated debate about Vampire Academy/Bloodlines ships at some point.
So Day 1 of BEA was about seeing everyone! Day 2 we got more serious about the ~books~ Mary and I showed up to the McCormick Place right before the floor opened. We moseyed around the floor because neither of us had anything big that morning. David Levithan was signing Twelve Days of Dash and Lily (sequel to Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares…also I think this happened Thursday but slight chance this was Wednesday). We split ways because I had a bookseller lunch with Macmillan Children’s (which was fantastic and I used this opportunity to talk shop with booksellers but also to find out Macmillan Fall picture books). Thursday afternoon highlights: David Levithan part 2 aka You Know Me Well and History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera. Thursday night both Bloomsbury and Fierce Reads (Macmillan) had blogger parties and I was fortunate enough to attend both. I got to spend the evening with some of my favorite publicists and bloggers plus special appearances from authors. After the parties, Gaby aka mistress of YA at Books of Wonder and blogger at Bookish Broads declared we needed pizza and we ventured to find ourselves at Giordano’s. Onion pizza is my new favorite thing.
Day 3 aka Friday aka the day Mary and I were getting ourselves signing tickets at the Macmillan booth. We both got tickets for Caraval booth signing with Stephanie Garber later that day. The children’s breakfast was that morning and all the featured authors were doing a signing in the ABA lounge for independent booksellers. I was able to see Sabaa Tahir and get a copy of Torch Against the Night (which her line later that day was INSANE but so awesome). Jamie Lee Curtis was also signing her new picture book and Gene Leun Yang was signing his upcoming Secret Coders. After that signing I ran into David Arnold, who is one of my favorite humans! He was live tweeting from Penguin Teen and I was apart of his squad picture. Life goal achieved? I wandered the floor for the rest of the morning before Caraval signing and Stephanie was adorable and I can’t wait to read!! While in line for Caraval signing I did get to hang with my Office babes which included Mary, Morgan, Angie and Lindsey from Bring My Books. We decided we needed a picture together and of course we needed to recreate the jumping Christmas card! I spent the rest of the afternoon waiting for Gemina because..Gemina. There was some confusion with line at Penguin/Random House booth but end of the day they were all fabulous and want to thank them all for putting up with all of the crazy!
Thank you to all the amazing publishers and publicist for making the trip to Chicago for BEA this year! I ended up really enjoying BEA and really look forward to attending again in the future.