Teen Book Fest + Everything, Everything Movie + Fangirling = very long post

On May 20th, I had the amazing privilege to volunteer at our annual teen book festival. I had volunteered two previous years, where I was able to spend the day with Jennifer Niven (author of All The Bright Places) and Jesse Andrews (author of Me and Earl and The Dying Girl). This year, two of my sisters and I were assigned author assistants with Nina LaCour (author of We Are Okay) and the audiobook performer, Jorjeana Marie.

Alright, so this was my 3rd year volunteering. *flips hair off shoulder* Yeah, I'm kinda a regular now. ;) You'd think being a regular would mean I'd have a great understanding of how to get around the college campus (where the event is held), but nooo... I had to ask for directions, like, 12984724700209 times. o-o

Let's get to it! We had to wake up really early- *gets cut off by static noises*

*deep News Person voice*

Excuse me, but we interrupt this post with an important message from the writer. Over to you, Kenzie.

Thanks, Tim.

Before I continue, I must tell you that, the day before the festival, I went to see Everything, Everything with my sisters and I DIED. Looking at social media, you probably already guessed that I have been super pumped about this movie... I even read the book again because... why not? <3

Isn't the cover just so... purdy?

I had vowed to get a picture with the poster before the movie, and I did! I had wanted to wear my dress with cute Hawaiian people on it but the temperature was too chilly. Also, I was also just a wee bit short to stand directly next to the poster like I wanted, but oh whale. <3

My sisters and I went the day it came out, but we went to an earlier time and it turned out that we were the only ones in the theater. Save for the older lady who sat way in the back and probably heard all our squealing because we were pretty loud.

*cough* Um, I don't know if you know this but I kinda have a thing for Nick Robinson. <3-<3 I literally screamed when he was casted as Olly because it felt like a dream come true. *long dramatic sigh with hearts floating in eyes* My sisters also think he is super cute, so when the movie was over, my one sister laid on the floor (not kidding) and made weird dying whale noises. I'm pretty sure I made similar sounds whenever he came onto the screen. o-o

I thought the movie was absolutely amazing and super creative and GAHHH. I just want to go see it again and again and again. <3

Okay. Back to you, Tim. 

So this is how the morning of the Teen Book Festival went:

May 20th, 5:30am
Me: *is sleeping*
Sister #4: *is spamming Sister #2's snapchat story with unnecessary dialogues*
Me: *wakes up sometime after to check snapchats and has to pee*
Also Me: *tells Sister #4 to go brush her teeth*
Sister #4: *snapchats me whilst brushing teeth*
Me: *snapchats her back saying I have to pee*
Sister #4: *screenshots my snaps and puts them on story for the whole world to see*
Me: *decides to pee*
Sister #4: *tells everyone on snapchat that I have to pee*
Me: *le sigh* -.-

May 20th, 6:30am
Me: *is getting dressed*
Sister #4: *is not getting dressed*
Sister #2: *still sleeping*

May 20th, 7:00am
Sister #4: *screams and yells because she can't find her socks*
Sister #4: *blames everyone but herself*

May 20th, 7:15am
Everyone: *freaking out because we have to be at the campus by 7:30 and we are just getting in the car*
Sister #4: *has a headache from screaming and yelling*
Me: asdfghjkl-- *gets out of car to run back into house for ibuprofen* 
Me: *runs back outside and hops into car with medicine and glass of water*
Mother: *is finally able to pull out of driveway*
Me: *avoids looking at clock because we ended up being ten minutes late due to le sock fiasco*

To say the least, the morning was a little crazy. But not as crazy as I thought it would have been. We made it to the campus just ten minutes after 7:30. This year we were told that we had to check-in at a different building where we would be eating breakfast with our assigned author.
We got there safely and then met with our group, which consisted of two adults and four other girls besides my sisters and I. We were the biggest group of author assistants.

Everyone in our group was just amazing. All the girls were super sweet, and I guess you can say we left with a few new friends that day. ;)

We ended up having to wait about a half hour for all the authors to arrive. Once they arrived and we all introduced ourselves, it was time to eat breakfast! 
First, allow me to say that Nina LaCour was the cutest thing EVER. She was so sweet, and quiet, but not in a bad way. She was always smiling and eager to answer any questions anyone had for her. Honestly? She looked like a contemporary writer. 
And second; my sister, Lila, and I were very anxious when it came time to getting our breakfast because just a few tables away, sat the one... the only... Sarah J. Maas.  

A few days before, Lila and I came up with a plan to shout "Team Captain of The Guard" at her while getting our food. I was too nervous to do it, but Lila was all in.

(here she is eating breakfast with Renee Ahdieh. haha, i'm such a creeper. o-o)

Here's how the breakfast scene went down:
*cue intense action music*

Lila: asdfghjklohmygoshtheresheis
Me: Iknowiknowiknowiknow
Lila: whatdowedowhatdowedo
Me: Idontknowidontknowidontknow
Lila: I'm going in.

Then, whilst grabbing our plate of fruit, and me trying to hide behind myself, my sister shouted "Yo! Team Captain of The Guard!" And guess what?

She. Didn't. Hear. Her.

Which was so awkward, and even more awkward because one of her assistants turned around and gave Lila the nastiest looks ever and said: "Um, Team Dorian!"

My sister responded by saying: "Who's Dorian?" Then ran away as fast as she possibly could, with me running just as fast. 

Yeah... It wasn't our proudest moment. After we were done eating, Lila wanted to try doing it again since all the assistants were gone and Sarah J. Maas was just sitting there... But I chickened out and told Lila not to. She was a little disappointed because she really wanted to meet Sarah J. Maas, and she wouldn't be able to later on when I will. They need to have a certain amount of volunteers with their assigned authors as all times, so Lila (the kindest person ever) said she would stay so our lil sis and I could cut out early and go to Sarah J. Maas's signing.

We we told to go with the other assistants to meet in the gym for a game of "Fact or Fiction" with the others. 

(here's Nina LaCour on the far left and Sarah J. Maas on the far right)

The gym was crazy and loud and super fun. They gave us all pom poms this year, and I think my lil sis had a blast.

After Fact or Fiction, we all headed out of the gym to the buildings where our authors will have their panels. BUT BEFORE THAT...

As we, and the authors, were walking towards the exit... I turned around and realized that Sarah J. Maas was right behind me. And because I felt guilty about shutting Lila down earlier, I told my sister that now was her chance! So, with that said, Lila shouted "Team Captain of The Guard" once again! This time, practically in her face. o-o I stood off to the side and watched the whole thing happen very quickly. She seemed confused at first, and Lila tried to explain what she meant by that phrase and what happened over breakfast, but I'm pretty certain she was still confused by the whole thing. Plus, it was super crowded and really loud, so I don't blame her. But hey, Lila got to talk to her within the course of ten, glorious, seconds so yay! 

Nina and Jorjeana shared a panel together, so whoever joined the panel was able to ask them both questions. The first two panels were back-to-back. It wasn't too crowded, which was nice, and Jorjeana read everyone a scene from Nina's book, We Are Okay. I had asked Nina about the anthology she was going to be part of called Meet Cute with other authors like Nicola Yoon (EEEP). She told us about her short story in there and I am so excited to read it. 

(there was even an audiobook publisher who joined our group)
(don't mind my bangs- they didn't feel like working for me)

After the second panel, it was lunch time! This is when all the volunteers walk their authors to where they eat lunch with the other authors and we say our goodbyes so we can go eat lunch on our own. My sisters and I ate (free!) pizza with one of the girls from our volunteer group. During lunch, my lil sis and I got a gameplan together because once we were finished eating, we were going to go to Sarah J. Maas's last panel. Before we left, we said our goodbyes to Lila and then made our way to the chapel, where Sarah J. Maas and Renee Ahdieh would be presenting together! We had decided to go to their last panel because autograph signings were being held right afterward. 

The line for the chapel was looooooong. But we had made it there in perfect timing. While waiting, we ran into a friend of mine who we actually met at our first Teen Book Festival event! She ended up staying with us to meet Sarah J. Maas and we fangirled the whole time. 
The line was still building when it was okay for us to enter the chapel. Some people weren't able to go inside because they had reached the max amount of fans in one room. I felt so bad because some people had driven five hours to come and get their books signed and weren't able to... Thus, we were very lucky to have gotten into the chapel when we did. 

Walking into the chapel felt very top-secret. We were directed where to sit, and it smelled old inside. Like, a good kind of old. The kind of old that takes you someplace entirely new. Some people were even dressed up as some of the characters, and their costumes were soo creative. 

It was only a few short moments until the panel began. We weren't able to ask questions like at the other panels but the person who asked them had gathered a series of questions from some fans. They mainly talked about fangirling and their pets, and how lazy they get when they go into their writing hibernation. 
Sarah J. Maas told a story of when she had met this famous actor who was staying in the same hotel as her. I believe he was either from True Blood or Game of Thrones? I can't remember. Anyways... She was so awestruck that she tried to play it cool by shaking his hand when they introduced each other. But once she turned around, she licked the hand he shook. She said it didn't taste as good as she thought. She's just like us, you guys. 

Allow me to say that I could listen to Sarah J. Maas and Renee Ahdieh chat all day because they are just so funny and the biggest fangirls. 

Once the panel was over, we were told to stay seated because we now had first dibs on getting Sarah J. Maas's autograph. That's when we were told we could only have one item signed. And there were no pictures allowed- only candid ones. So, my friend and I agreed to use my phone to videotape each of us meeting her. 

They called us up each pew at a time. When it was our pew's time, my nerves when haywire. I still had no idea what I was going to say to her! 

I videotaped as my lil sis went before me and got her nametag signed. You can see her blushy/nervous face- it's hilarious. Then... It was my turn. And you'll never guess what happened. I forgot to give my friend my phone. So, I stepped up there thinking of how nervous I was and how she was already signing my book and looking at my gift (bookmarks) I had wrapped in gold tissue paper. 

This is what happened:

Me: *is so nervous and can't speak*
Sarah J. Maas: *holding my gift* Aww! Is this for me?
Me: *nervous chuckle* Yep! 
Sarah J. Maas: *compliments me on my washi tape*
Dude sitting next to her: *also likes my washi tape*
Me: *can't speak so words jumble out sounding something like this* My sister was the one who shouted at you earlier today.
Sarah J. Maas: Ohh, is that, like, an actual club here?
Me: No. It's, um, you know. Yeah. 
Sarah J. Maas: *laughs and looks like she's waiting for me to have a conversation with her*
Me: *nervous chuckle, thanks her, then gets the heck out of there because THAT WAS TOO MUCH FOR MY FANGIRLING SOUL*

As soon as I turned around, I realized that my phone was still in my hand. However, my friend looked at me and gave me a smile that said: I got you covered. So, thank goodness she had whipped her phone out and caught 0.5 seconds of me meeting an amazing author. ;)

After my friend met her and actually told her that she loved her books (why didn't I think to say that?) we left the chapel with a skip in our step and stupid smiles across our faces. It was rather exciting and comical at the same time. At one moment between parting ways with my friend and heading to the gym where Nina was signing, I thought I lost the book that I had picked to get signed. I just ended up putting it in a different bag- whoops. Silly me.

My lil sis and I then met up with our author and the rest of our group (and Lila). At some point, my lil sis ran off to go get authors to sign her shirt- regardless if she knew them or not.


(that photobomb tho.)

I also made Nina bookmarks which she loved. So did the other girls in our group. Which made me so flattered and blushy and ahhh. <3

Hey, look. You made it to the end of the post! Kudos to you.

It was a little over ten hours of pure greatest, and overall we had a great time. I write these posts out every year because I like looking back at them and reading what was going through my mind that day. Plus, I love to share my book lover's experience with all you other book lovers out there! And it's an amazing event that I wish everyone can experience. :)

I hope you all are enjoying your summer. I am currently sitting on my bed with the window open and there's a heavenly breeze coming through. <3

Talk to me!

Tell me about some of your fangirling experiences. Have you met any of your fav authors? Regardless of how big or small any of your experiences are, I want to hear what makes you giddy. 


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xx Kenzie