Contrary to what you might think, ALA was our first bookish convention of any kind.  We spent the first hour looking around like this:

Awe

Thankfully, we acclimated and were able calmly, coolly enjoy ourselves.  A booth by booth recap after the jump.

We hit the road at an ungodly hour on Saturday to drive the 1+ hour to Orlando (reminder: driving and snapping photos is NOT recommended. EVER).

We finally arrived and with check-in complete, we were able to settle in and review our trusty (and infinitely corrected) Excel spreadsheet.

Now we were ready to experience the Exhibit Hall.  Please note that this is not indicative of all booths visited.  Instead, this is where we actually took a moment for pictures AND the pictures didn’t come our blurry or we didn’t look terrible. There were approximately 1,000 more booths than pictured in this post.

Simon & Schuster

Our very first stop?  Tim Federle.  If by design or  not, he was the perfect introduction into an author signing at a convention.  Author of our May Book Club Book selection THE GREAT AMERICAN WHATEVER, he was as charming and handsome and personable as you would expect him to be. He is also the author of Better Nate Than Ever MG series and Gone with the Gin cocktail books.  Did we mention he’s a Broadway dancer?  What can’t he do?

We also visited with the great Shaun David Hutchinson, who is our Florida neighbor and the author of the absolutely stunning We Are The Ants.  We can’t say enough good things about this powerful contemporary novel dealing with loss, mental illness, bullying and aliens.  Read this book right now!!

We met Siobhan Vivian!!  She was as gracious and adorable as any author with a mile-long line could be.  Plus, we were a pattern EXPLOSION when standing.  We can’t wait to dig into The Last Boy and Girl in the World.

OMG!  Jenny Han!!!  She definitely won for fiercest manicure and calmest under pressure of the LONGEST line we stood in at ALA.  We are so excited to read P.S. I Still Love You!

No booth experience would be complete without my terrible booth photos.  Do you SEE Ryan Graundin’s Blood for Blood and Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer posters?  AHHHHHH!

Penguin

If you don’t know David Levithan, the first thing you should learn about him is that he’s more than likely touched or edited your favorite YA novel.  The second thing you should know is that he has probably written or co-written one of your other favorite YA novels.  With a listing of novels published too long to count, Every Day, Two Boys Kissing, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, just know this:  you won’t go wrong with any of his books and he’s one of the best in the business.

It seems apropos that the anniversary of our first book club at Inkwood Books is coming up just as we FINALLY met David Arnold in person.  His Mosquitoland was one of our favorites of 2015 and we think Kids of Appetite will be in the same category.

Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap was one of the most award-winning 2015 YA novels.  She was one of the most charming and friendly authors we encountered at the conference.  We can’t wait to read more from her.

Again, more of Carmen’s terrible booth pictures that don’t do the actual booth any justice (She promises to correct this in the future).

Penguin actually thought they needed ice cream to lure us to Sabaa Tahir’s much antcipated A Torch Against The Night and A. S. King’s Still Life with Tornado afternoon giveaway.  We actually skipped the ice cream and just asked for ARC’s to tide us over.

Can you believe they just left ARC’s of Tahereh Mafi’s upcoming MG novel Furthermore just laying around with no bodyguards?  Pro Tip:  Be on the lookout for a #giveaway of an ARC of Furthermore coming later this week!!

And, not too far from Tahereh, we discovered chapter samplers of her beloved Ransom Riggs’ upcoming Tales of the Peculiar.

Abrams Booth

Let’s just take a moment to love how adorable and sweet Jesse Andrews (The Haters, Me and Earl and The Dying Girl) was to us.  We’re huggers and I think we hugged him approximately 500 times during a 5 minutes together.  He seemingly took it well.

Bow before the Queen of YA turn-of-the-20th-century historical fiction!  We FINALLY met one of our favorite authors, Cat Winters (The Steep and Thorny Way, In the Shadow of Blackbirds AND The Cure for Dreaming).  We also really loved her adult fiction novel, The Uninvited, which we reviewed on the blog last year and her short story in the Slasher Girls and Monster Boys  compilation.

Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury hosted new author Brian Conaghan (The Bombs that Brought Us Together) and Emery Lord (When We Collided) in a joint signing.  It took everything in our powers not to lure them both away for cocktails directly after the signing.

Harper Collins

We got our SECOND visit with Lorie Langdon this year.  She was promoting her upcoming novel Gilt Hollow, but we first met on her Doon tour with Carey Corp this past January. Don’t miss her, Carrie Corp AND Melissa Landers on their Best Friends Tour coming later this summer!

HMH Kids

Let’s be real, EVERYONE is trying to get their grubby little hands on Erin Summerill’s Ever the Hunted.  Luckily for us, we got an ARC, plus, we got it signed by the lovely author herself.  We absolutely adored Erin.  Let’s just say that the next time we meet, it’ll be at a mall, with cocktails.

Pop Top Stage

We were thrilled to sit through a lunch-time session about love and kissing in YA.  Noted speakers included:  Dana Elmendorf, Brooks Benjamin, Erin Summeril, Tara Sim, Erin L. Schneider, Elizabeth Briggs, Melissa Gorzelanczyk moderated by .

Magical Unicorn Moment

What happens when you run into 3 of the most anticipated YA authors come walking down aisle 14 at you?  You attack them for a group shot!  So lovely to meet Keira Drake (The Continent), Chelsea Sedoti (The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett) AND Stephanie Garber (Caraval).  This also explains why we don’t have photos with any of them at their individual signings.

  Seen Around ALA

 Below are various shots from around the convention that caught our eye.

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Open Letter Books had some of the most original covers we saw the whole convention.  They put out some major eye candy.

All-in-all, the ALA Annual Conference was 199/10 experience.  We had a great time, met so many amazing bloggers and librarians and are SO excited to do it all over again in Atlanta!  Until then…

~Carmen

Update #1:  Added bio information and corrected Shaun David Hutchinson bio information.


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