Thursday, April 24, 2014

I MET JENNY HAN! / YA Reading Bingo

As I may have mentioned before, I love to read. I work at a bookstore, and my discount is very often applied towards books for myself that I am eager to dive into. Even though I'm not a teenager anymore, one of my favorite genres is still Young Adult fiction, and I wear this badge proudly :) I'm young at heart after all, and nobody should be ashamed of the things they like to read! Jenny Han is a YA author. She's the author of the Summer series - consisting of The Summer I Turned Pretty, It's Not Summer Without You, and We'll Always Have Summer - as well as the co-author of the Burn for Burn series along with Sibohan Vivian - Burn for Burn and Fire with Fire are out now, Ashes to Ashes will be released in September.

I've read both of these series, although I only have the audio books for the Burn for Burn series (which are extremely good by the way, for anybody who likes audio books as much as I do). Recently she just published another book, To All The Boys I've Loved Before, and I finished it Tuesday night. I was in a slight hurry to have it read because . . . I was planning on meeting her the next day! And I DID!

The event was held at the Chapters bookstore in Brampton, ON. For those who don't know Ontario geography at all (and I'd be shocked if I had readers that knew the area, to be honest), the city where I live, Welland, is about an hour and a half away from Brampton. I also live about 2 hours away from Toronto, just to give you an idea of what surrounds my city. When I read about the event on Facebook, I was dying to figure out a way to go, but I knew that trying to wrangle a bus there would be a LOT of trouble. I happened to mention it offhand to my boyfriend, just as mindless conversation, and without hesitating he actually offered to drive me to Brampton so I could meet one of my favorite authors. I was shocked - you've got to understand, I've never dated a guy that would willing do something like that for me before. Maybe it doesn't seem like a whole lot, but for those girls who have dealt with boyfriends who aren't willing to go out of their way the slightest bit for you, maybe you'll understand why I was so moved by my boyfriend's offer. I thanked him profusely - after he offered, before we left, during the drive, while we were at the store, and on the way home XDD

It was thrilling to be standing there (all the chairs were taken when we arrived) and see an author I have long admired step out and take a seat on the mini-stage the good people at Chapters had set up for her. Things started off with her explaining the premise of her new book, and she also did a reading, one from the first chapter and she also read one of the first love letters that are a big component of the story, the letter the main character Laura-Jean wrote to Peter Kavinsky, a boy she fell in love with in middle school. It was really funny to hear the letter read in the author's voice. Afterwards there was a Q&A where people got to ask Jenny Han questions about her writing process, her books, etc. I had a question that I wanted to ask, but she ended up indirectly answering what I wanted to ask when giving the answer to another person's question, and I couldn't think of another one that I wanted to ask. A couple of t-shirts were given away that had the title of the new book decorating the front, but in order to win a shirt you had to answer a trivia question about her Summer series, and there I was out of luck. I've read all 3 books, and I own them, but that was quite a few years ago now, so I couldn't get the answers XP

After that came the signing, and I eagerly waited in line for my chance to meet Jenny Han face-to-face. There was a bit of a wait in the line, but luckily I'd brought another book with me to read while I waited, that being The Geography of You And Me by Jennifer E. Smith, which I'd recently gotten as a book loan from work (one of the many benefits of being a bookstore employee). And finally came my turn :) Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to really chat with her too much. When she expressed her hope that I'd enjoy the book, I told her that I'd just finished the book last night, and she looked to be pleased. Best of all, I got a picture taken with her! :) After I thanked Jenny and then the nice Chapters employee that took the photo for me, I headed off to find my wonderful boyfriend, who was reading through a book in the fantasy section. I then ran off quickly to browse in the YA and manga sections, then we were on our way home. Well, first we hit up the Wendy's drive-thru, and THEN we headed home XD

All in all it was a very enjoyable evening! I got to meet a very talented author, I learned a bit about her writing process during the Q&A, and I now have a signed keepsake which is sitting safely in a glass cabinet downstairs along with other signed books in my possession. I'm very glad that I got to go, and I definitely enjoyed reading Jenny Han's new book. I also learned that she is currently writing the sequel, which will be titled P.S. I Still Love You, so make sure to look out for that in the future!
While we're on the topic of YA books, I'd like to talk about a series of posts I will be writing in the future. My fellow vlogiggles made me aware of a small challenge hosted by Random House titled "YA Reading Bingo". Now that I'm not in classes as often and I have more time on my hands, I'd like to try filling out the entire YA Reading Bingo card, either over the summer of throughout the rest of the year. In the past bit I've already read a few titles that will belong on here, such as Jenny Han's new book. I will dedicate a post to each square, where I'll talk about the book along with the category on the Bingo card that it fits into. I'll also be encouraging other YA-enthusiasts to participate with me by telling me in the comments to these posts what books they've read and what squares they'd fit into, along with any questions/comments people might have about the books I'll have read for this challenge. Look forward to those posts very soon :) 

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