Monday, June 25, 2012

The Geek Girls Guide to ALA

ALA Anaheim continues, but I am back because I have to work and feed small children. But it was an AMAZING experience . . .

First, I met the lovely Miss Stephanie in the flesh.  We hung out a lot and had a great time. We made a race car. We fangirled over books. We made witty commentary about stuffs. You'll just have to trust me on that one.

Stephanie Wilkes of TLT, making a car in Downtown Disney

After hanging out with Stephanie, I went to the Simon and Schuster dinner with Kenneth Oppel and Neal Shusterman, where I got copies of Such Wicked Intent and Unwholly, and completely convinced Kenneth that I was probably not winning any mother of the year awards.  Apparently, it is not considered normal to stay up watching Jaws with your 3 year old on Christmas Eve.  I didn't get to talk a lot to Shusterman, although I did get to tell him how much I love the book Bruiser (really, go check it out) and how I thought it didn't get the book love it deserved.  Oppel was just a delight to talk to, even if he did mock me.

My next stop was the Little, Brown party at the House of Blues - which I may not have technically been invited to.  It turns out when you say I am supposed to go to a dance party that sometimes there is more than one.  BUT, I got to see Libba Bray seriously get down to Word Up and feel like perhaps I could die a happy person.  Later, at the Random House party, I actually got to talk to her and thanked her not only for writing good books that get my teens reading, but for speaking out boldly about women's health issues.

Saturday was the day of the Exhibit Hall.  Here is where the madness truly begins.  Before I talk about the ARCs, and I know that is what a lot of you want to hear about, I want to talk about Graphic Novel Alley.  This was so truly amazing!  There were row upon rows of graphic novel publishers, artists and more.  They even had a stage set up where you could sit and hear some cool talk.  My first geek out moment of ALA came not from meeting an author, but from meeting Robin Brenner of No Flying, No Tights fame.

Kill Shakespeare and Robin Brenner

She rode in my car after the S&S party and I was stoked to meet her.  We met up again at GN alley and she introduced me to one of the artists of Kill Shakespeare as "her friend."  Yes, yes I am THAT girl.

As you know, I printed a list of around 15 ARCs that were my MUST HAVES, and I managed to get 9 of them.

ARCs I got:
Unwholly by Neal Shusterman
Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater
Shadows by Ilsa J Bick
The Futre We Left Behind by Mike A. Lancaster
Flesh and Bone by Jonathan Maberry
Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Ask the Passengers by A. S. King (Stephanie got me a signed copy)
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

I also got a copy of Entice by Jessica Shirvington.  It was fun to stop by the Sourcebooks booth and talk about the fact that when I came home from ALA, Embrace was the first book out of all of my ARCs that The Mr. choose to read.

While visiting the Running Press booth I stubmled across the coolest thing.  Please, check out this promotional display for The Downside of Being Charlie by Jenny Torres Sanchez.

You see what's cool about this, right?  Look! They quoted me.

At the Exhibit Hall I also met the 2012 Printz Award Winner John Corey Whaley.

Karen Jensen of TLT and 2012 Printz Award Winner John Corey Whaley

Later that evening Stephanie and I went to the Random House party.  This is where my first HUGE geek moment occurred: I MET DANIEL KRAUS. I didn't even know he would be there. I just looked up, there he was - and I may have squeed just a little bit.  He was standing next to David Levithan and Libba Bray.  I only moderately embarrassed myself and despite what Stephanie says, I left without any restraining orders - that I know of.

Karen Jensen of TLT and Daniel Kraus

Then Stephanie and I were off to the EgmontUSA party where I spent a lot of time talking to the one and only Michael Grant.  It was hands down one of the coolest moments of my life.  Not like giving birth to my children cool, but having a great discussion about books and teens and libraries with one of your favorite authors.  We even talked a little bit about my review of BZRK. I also got a chance to tell Michael about how the tween and I had just finished reading his wife's fabulous book The One and Only Ivan out loud together, and I hope he passed along the information.

Karen Jensen of TLT and Michael Grant

At the dinner we also met and had some good discussion with Lex Thomas, the author of Quarantine: the Losers, who are in fact two people.  It was interesting to talk with them about their experience writing as a team.

I met a lot of the librarians, bloggers and authors that I talk to online, which was an amazing experience.  It is always nice to talk to other teen librarians and talk about what you are doing that works, what your system is struggling with (usually time and money) and more. I love ALA!


  1. I love how all book lovers are so open about how nerdy and stalkerish they get when they meet authors. Luckily the authors don't seem to care :) -Marissa

  2. Your ALA experience sounds TOTALLY amazing! I'm seriously jealous that you got to meet all those fantabulous authors. I'm hopefully going to go to ALA Annual next year, crossing my fingers for that. It looks like you had a total blast, Karen! AND you got Unwholly! Sounds like a pretty fantastic experience to me. ;)

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

    1. Aneeqah, it truly was a great, informative and inspiring time.

  3. Karen,

    Sounds like an amazing time! And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your quote on the promo display!

    1. I am a huge fan of Charlie and love telling everyone to read it! You all made it easier by quoting me :D

  4. Im just so jealous you got a copy of Unwholly as Shusterman is seriously my fave!!