An Author's Assistant For A Day

On May 16th, 2015, my sister and I had to privilege to join our Teen Book Festival as volunteers. This was our first time volunteering at the event, and our second time attending it, so I was pretty new to how things went down at this book lover extravaganza.
Anywho, each volunteer (and there were a lot) was assigned a certain shift. My sister and I luckily got the same shift as an author’s assistant. Can you guess which author we got? If you haven’t seen my Instagram post, I was the author of All The Bright Places, Jennifer Niven’s assistant!
Now, if you haven’t read All The Bright Places this post may or may not be as meaningful to those who have read it- it’s a really sad book. That’s all I’m gonna say. So, I might be suggesting that you go read the book even after you’ve read this post, to know why I mention the words “hugging” and “crying”. Mkay?
I’m going to be going through the whole day with you, from start to finish, to show you exactly what it was like to be around authors, young writers, and crazy book fans. A few days before the event, my sister and I attended a mandatory meeting to go over what we would be doing at the event. I got really nervous because I was afraid I was going to forget where to go because I’m not very good at directions. o.O So, here is the day of the event:
( but first, my name tag I got to wear all day. *sighs* I've always wanted one of those. )

I wake up but laid in my bed for about fifteen more minutes to try and soak up as much sleep as possible. However, that was not possible so instead I decide to get up and get ready.
I was supposed to be at the college where the festival was held at around 8, but there were still people showing up at 8:30.

We wait outside for the authors to arrive in a bus or on an old firetruck (at least, that’s what I think it was). A marching band escorts the authors to the “red carpet” where they enter the building and walk into a room where there is, like, a walk of fame? Basically, it was a walkway made of gold stars with the authors’ names on them. Like this one:

( I stole this from Jennifer. Hehe. )

After that, we met Jennifer Niven for breakfast where we talked about One Direction, Paper Towns, and the movie for All The Bright Places ( *squeals and whispers* we got an exclusive look at who might play Finch! >.< Spoiler Hint: Elle Fanning is playing Violet. ).
( Hehe, here's a super sneaky, extra stalker-ish picture I took of Jennifer before we ate. >:D )

It was so awesome. I kept exchanging looks from the other volunteer we were paired up with, as if to say “is this real?”.
Once breakfast was over with, and all the authors got their goodie bags,  we all gathered in the gym for a “Truth or Talent”- where all the authors either performed a talent (there were some cool/odd ones) or tell a truth (which was quite humorous).

Someone even got their head shaved! They even started throwing the hair around... O.o
There were a lot of authors there, including two or three teen authors. The ones that were there, who I was semi-familiar with were:

  • Sarah Dessen ( I bumped into her while we waiting in line and exchanged a few words, but I wasn’t able to get my book ( The Truth About Forever ) signed. She was wearing a very lovely dress though, I should have asked her where she got it from... Acordding to her ‘truth’, she was actually a pretty bad girl in high school. o.O )

( ^ wasn't her dress super cute?!? )

  • Gayle Forman ( She wrote If I Stay, which I just finished a couple days before the event- I was able to meet her and get it signed after my poor siblings were waiting in line for ages! It was worth it though. However, I wasn’t able to tell her that I liked her book. She did ask if I was the first out of my sisters to read it, and I was. *whispers* She’s super cool guys. )

( ^ so jealous of both of those writers, getting to sit next to each other. -.- (too much awesomeness) )

  • Ally Condie ( she wrote the Matched trilogy, and it turns out she is from close to where I live! I wasn’t able to meet her or get my books signed by her either. Maybe next year! )
( ^ she is the one in the back with the blue shirt on. I apologize for the quality. I took the pictures on my phone and I was further away from the stage. )

  • Jessica Brody ( she wrote 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, which I haven’t read... but she’s a huge One Direction fan guys. Plus, for her talent, she referred to the Spice Girls as One Direction but with yells then continued on with rapping a Spice Girls song. Man, I gotta read her book now. )
  • Ellen Hopkins ( She wrote Rumble - haven’t read that, yet. )
  • A. S. King ( she wrote Ask The Passengers which has been on my tbr list for a while now. >.< I heard she's a really cool person, and seems like it. So, maybe I will work with her next year- if Jennifer isn't there. )
  • Jo Knowles ( she wrote Read Between the Lines - which I keep seeing at Barnes and Noble. So, I'm kinda interested...)
  • Katie McGarry ( she wrote the Pushing the Limits series, which I have not read yet but heard good things about. Her ‘truth’ was really funny. Apparently she fainted while giving speech in class, hit her head, fell to floor, and all right in front of her crush. o.O )
( ^ hehe, here she is giving her 'truth', as you can see by her facial expression. )

Goodness, this is getting really long. I better skip on over to when we start talking about the book, All The Bright Places.
So, each author had three sessions where they talk about their book, writing, and answer questions.
The first session wasn’t as big as the next two, but it was still amazing! There were so many cool fans, and one girl brought artwork with her- which was lovely. We talked about the movie and about Finch- who is actually based off a real person Jennifer Niven knew and loved. Actually- and here’s the best part- the boy’s uncle was there with us that day! He was so nice and talked to my sister and I the whole time. He showed us a picture of the boy who was based off of Finch. Like I said, you’re probably thinking “oh, cool” if you haven’t read the book, but if you had, you’re probably thinking “OHMYGOSHISTHISEVENREAL!?!?” just like I was.
There were some tears that went around, and at the end of the session there was a lot of hugging. It was so nice and comforting, and I think everyone made a couple new friends- all thanks to this book. :)
Jennifer talked about her other books, which were a series and more in the adult genre. She also talked about her love for Supernatural and her cat that has thumbs. Oh, and I almost forgot: she talked about her next book she's writing! All The Bright Places was her first YA book, but she signed a contract with Random House to write another YA book. She told us what the title might be and what it'll be about ( eekkkk ). She said that she's written eight chapters so far and it will be about a boy who can't see faces ( like, he can't recognize anyone. Apparently it's real and Brad Pitt has it. That's all I know. ), and a girl who is very visible but feels invisible. I don't know about you, but I want to be the first person to throw my money at the cashier and run with that book. RUN.
After the seconds session was over, we went for lunch- well, all the authors got to eat lunch in this fancy “authors only” room. So my sister and I decided to go get a smoothie. But... the line was too long, so instead we got gourmet philly cheese steak mac & cheese ( wow, that was a mouthful, but... one word: HEAVEN ). Plus, I didn’t want to go far because the festival was held at a big college campus, and I have this fear of getting lost. >.<
We went back to meet Jennifer for the third session- but gosh, the room (it was a classroom) was so warm. .-. Thankfully it cooled down a bit after we opened the windows. I took a lot of videos, but I don't know how to upload them and I'm too lazy to figure that out, so here are a couple pictures:

( ^ Jennifer hugging a fan who came up to my sister and I and gave us a hug- along with the other girl who brought in her artwork. It was very touching. :) As you can see, there is a box of tissues there on the table, which was very useful.  )

( ick, I apologize for my sleepy face, but here is an author-to-fangirl selfie (whatever you want to call it ) )

( picture of author + volunteers I stole from Jennifer. You have to admit, we have some pretty awesome selfie taking skills. Am I right? ;) Ugh, I'm pretty sure we had the most fun and the coolest group. XD )

Once le third session was over- and by then I had probably taken over fifty photos on Jennifer’s iPhone and fans’ iPhones/iPods/camera (hehe, I loved being in charge of taking pictures)- we went into the gym where most of the authors were signing- except Gayle Forman and Sarah Dessen. They were signing the the chapel and when I walked out of our classroom, I knew why- there were a TON of people already waiting in line. I tried to get in with the line before it got even bigger, because I did actually want to get my book signed by Gayle Forman. BUT... my other sister and brother were suppose to meet me with my book and get it signed for me, however they were not there yet. So, I’m standing in line, trying to figure out how I’m going to save my (well, my siblings’) spot AND get back to the gym where Jennifer needs me! DUM. DUM. DAHHH... What will happen? Well, apparently I got a little too comfortable with all the awesome book lovers there, I didn’t even think about the rude ones. I asked someone if they could save my spot in line really quick (because at this point my siblings had texted me saying that they were waiting for me to get them), but nooooooo... she gave me the dirtiest look possible and told me that it wasn’t legal? Okay, I know that it’s hard to save someone’s spot in line, but at least she could have said it kindly. You see, I’m the type of person to dwell on these kinds of things so I decided to forget about it and focus on the good parts of the day. Because that was all that mattered, right?

( Gayle Forman and my other sister- I don't know if you can tell but she was very impatient that day. My sister not the author. >.< )

By the time I got back to the gym, it was already really crowded. I had to sure that everyone in line had a post-it note with their name on it so everything can move a bit faster. I also too loads of pictures on Jennifer’s phone ( which had an epic All The Bright Places phone case on it. #jealous ), and she posted a lot of them on her website/ social media sites.

( yet another selfie I took in the gym. *apologizes for the bad face day* )

Sadly, I had to leave a bit early. But before we left, we had Jennifer sign our book while we signed her’s. Then we exchanged quick hugs and left. It was such an awesome experience and totally worth it! I hope to go next year and hopefully Jennifer will be able to make it. She was a total fangirl and a very fun person to talk to. It was like you were already friends. She'll definitely be my favorite author forever. <3

( ^ sweet book swag Jennifer was giving out- all except the pin with her face on it. )

Alright, I think that is about it. Thank you all so much for reading. <3 I'm sorry it was so long, I hope you didn't get bored. It's okay if you did, I probably would have too. XD Maybe you can tell me about your author-to-fan experience if you have had one, and if you haven’t, tell me about who you would like to spend the day with.

Again, thanks for reading. <3 I apologize for the low quality photos. >.< 

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4 happy thoughts





    Sarah ||

  2. Jolly GirlMay 31, 2015

    This sounds so fun! You are so lucky!



    xx Mackenzie

  4. It was! Thank you so much. :) <3

    xx Mackenzie


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xx Kenzie