Everything I Wish I Knew Before My First BookCon

BookCon is quickly approaching and I’m so incredibly excited. This will be my third BookCon and I’m so ready to meet authors, get free books, and see all the panels. Although I feel confident about attending the con this year, my first year I didn’t really know what to expect. So if this is your first BookCon here’s some things I wish I’d known before my first BookCon.

1. Wear Comfortable Shoes

While I didn’t wear heels to BookCon, I also didn’t wear the most comfortable shoes and my feet hated me by the end of the day. My recommendation is to wearing running/athletic shoes. I’ll be wearing my Nikes.

2. Bring Snacks

Most likely you’ll be running from one panel to the next and stopping for food will seem like a detour you don’t have time for. Plus, the food at BookCon is typically expensive. So make sure to pack up snacks. I’m talking dry cereal, granola bars, a sandwich, and make sure you have a water bottle. You’ll want to stay hydrated.

3. You Don’t Have To Accept Everything

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One of the best things about BookCon is all the free things you get. People will be shoving swag and books into your face at all times. Last year, I somehow ended up with two copies of the same book. Thus, you will feel like you should take everything that’s being given to you. It’s free, right? Except then you’ll find your bag filled with things you’ll have to figure out how to get home and when you get home you’ll realize you don’t even want half that stuff. So don’t be afraid to say no or walk away from something. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you have to take it.

4. Plan Out Your Schedule Ahead of Time

BookCon has an app that you absolutely should use. On the app you can go through the schedule for the entire weekend and add the panels and autographings you want to attend to your own personal schedule. It’s easy way to see what things you want to go to and make sure you don’t have anything overlapping. You should also get a good look at the map. If you have an autographing in the Autographing Area at 12 p.m. but you want to make a panel that’s happening on the lower level at 1 p.m. you should know that in advance (although I’ll tell you right now, you’re not going to make it).

It’s much easier to actually get to everything you want to go to if you already have a game plan in mind. Additionally, by planning out your schedule you’ll be able to prioritize what you really want to go to so if you do have to choose between two things, you’ll already know which one is most important.

5. Get Your Autographing Tickets Ahead of Time

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If an author is doing a signing “In Booth,” this means the publisher is hosting it at their booth and you don’t need an advance ticket for that. However, if the signing is happening in the Autographing Area you will need a ticket. Thankfully, the set up is much better than it was at my first BookCon and now you can get your tickets for the autographing ahead of time online.

The way it works is on Saturday, May 19 at 10 a.m. EDT you will be able to use your badge number or confirmation number to get tickets to two author signings per day. These tickets go extremely fast so this is another instance where it’s best to know ahead of time who you want to see and have your badge/confirmation number ready to just copy and paste into the site. Additionally, it’s also good to check and see if the author your going to see requires a book purchase for the signing. Though you’ll most likely be able to pay with credit card, it’s always good to have cash just in case.

6. Find a Line Buddy

The lines at BookCon are LONG! They just are. There’s really no good way to get around it, except to have a line buddy. I’ve found that standing in line goes way faster if you have someone to stand with you. Additionally, if you’ve got a panel that doesn’t end until 1 p.m. and the in booth signing that you want to go to begins at 1 p.m. that’s when a line buddy can be a life saver because they can save your spot in line while you run to meet them. The only possible problem with this is many lines will give out tickets in the line before the signing begins and if you’re not there to get the ticket it doesn’t matter when you join the line, you’re not going into the signing.

7. Bring a Phone Charger

If you stick around for BookCon all day your phone will probably die. Between texting your friends about your location and taking pics with your favorite authors, your phone battery will get a lot of good use. That’s why you need to have a phone charger, preferably a portable one so you’re not tied to a wall outlet wasting time charging instead of having fun around the Con. If you’re like me and are attached to your phone on a regular day, I’d even recommend bringing two chargers.

8. Use a Backpack

You’re not allowed to bring a bag with wheels to BookCon for security reasons but you can bring a backpack. And you should. Unless you actually turn down every single thing that’s offered to you, you will leave BookCon with a ton of stuff. You will get tote bags, posters, ARCs, bookmarks, pens, notebooks, pouches, and who knows what else. You won’t only want some place to put all this stuff, you’ll need it. Trust me, it’s way easier to carry stuff in a backpack then in a tote bag or your pockets. And I’m not talking about those cute little tiny backpacks you’d see at Coachella, I’m talking about a Jansport, like you’d use for school.

9. Don’t Forget to Have Fun

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Honestly, BookCon can be crazy and even a little stressful. You might miss out on getting that ARC you were dying for or find out your favorite author’s signing is already full and you just missed it. But don’t let something small ruin your whole BookCon. Yes, getting free stuff and meeting your fave author is amazing. But you know what’s also amazing? Spending a whole weekend with a bunch of people who love the same things you do. Make friends with the people you’re stuck on line with. Take a break from running from panel to panel and actually just walk around the showroom floor. BookCon only happens once a year and it’s supposed to be fun, so if it’s not feeling fun take a second and figure out what could make your day better. And enjoy it.

Got any questions about BookCon? Leave them in the comments below! Can’t wait to see you all there!

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ARC Book Review: My So-Called Bollywood Life

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Synopsis:

Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soul mate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her eighteenth birthday, and Raj meets all the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked when she returns from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.

Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek and one of the few people Winnie can count on. Dev is smart and charming, and he challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope and find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy and her chance to live happily ever after? To find her perfect ending, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free digital advanced reader’s copy of this book from Crown Books for Young Readers. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on May 15, 2018.*

I didn’t know about this book until I went to the New York City Teen Author Festival and Nisha Sharma was on a debut authors panel and read an excerpt of this novel. I thought it sounded hilarious, so when I saw it was available to request on NetGalley I immediately jumped on it and I’m so glad I did.

Told in a close third person narration, My So-Called Bollywood Life follows Winnie, a senior in high school who’s returned home from film camp to discover her boyfriend, now ex-boyfriend, Raj, is dating someone else. Although, in Raj’s defense, they were on a break. However, if he’d watched Friends he would know that’s not a reasonable excuse, but I digress.

The point is, Raj and Winnie are over, which is especially confusing for Winnie because all her life she’s believed in a prophecy she got from a pandit who said she’d meet the love her life before her 18th birthday and the guy’s name would begin with a ‘R’ and would give her a silver bracelet.

Now Winnie is fighting against believing that prophecy and wants to make her destiny, beginning with getting into NYU. To do that she needs to run the film festival at her school and be co-president of the film club…with Raj. Of course this doesn’t go well and it doesn’t help that another boy at school, Dev, is now showing renewed interest in Winnie and Raj just can’t seem to let go and still believes he and Winnie are meant to be.

With a love triangle, drama, a lot of Bollywood references, and the best parents you’ll ever meet, My So-Called Bollywood Life was a fun read that I just couldn’t put down. It also made me want to watch a Bollywood movie (I’ve never seen one!). My only issue was with the conflict at the end. It’s hard to explain without spoiling so I’ll just say I thought the conflict made it seem like Winnie should give up on something she worked quite hard for just for a guy, and the fact that her best friend, Bridget, seemed to also agree with this sentiment really irked me. If you want a more detailed explanation I’ll put it down below with spoilers.

However, this issue aside, I think the book kind of made up for it in the end, and overall I really did enjoy this book despite that one little thing, so I still highly recommend it. Definitely grab a copy of the book, which is on sale today!

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

4 stars

Other Reviews
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Confessions of a YA Reader

More Detailed Explanation Of My Issue With This Book Below (SPOILERS!)

In short, Dev and Winnie get together, they have a great time at the fundraiser dance for the film festival, but then the next day Dev is accused of stealing the money from the ticket sales and the money is found in his locker.

It obviously wasn’t him, but there’s no concrete proof it wasn’t so the faculty advisor for the club, Mr. Reece, pulled Dev’s movie from the film festival. Winnie was determined to clear Dev’s name, but she didn’t quit the film club, and for some reason both Dev and Bridget got angry with Winnie for not quitting. I thought this was absurd and for them to ask Winnie to quit the club, something that would boost her college application, was ridiculous.

Of course Winnie wasn’t going to quit the club and give up on something she’d been working towards for so long for some guy she just started dating. That’s crazy, and it was so unreasonable to me that everyone just agreed that’s what she should do. Maybe this why I’m still single but I think it’s a bit ridiculous to ask someone to give up on their dream for a guy, much less one she hadn’t even been dating that long.

That being said, I felt the novel sort of corrected the problem by having Winnie still pursue her dream, just in a different way. The epilogue also made it abundantly clear that Winnie could have both the guy and her career as a film critic, which I appreciated. Still, that one part just didn’t sit well with me at all.

The Bronx Book Festival & More Events Happening This Week (YA Book Events NYC 5/14-5/20)

Happy Monday, book nerds! This week there are plenty of great events to check out so make sure to read the full schedule and follow YA Book Events NYC to keep up to date with the latest bookish events happening around the city.

Tuesday, May 15

My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma Event at Barnes & Noble Tribeca (6 p.m.)

Join debut author Nisha Sharma as she discusses her novel, My So-Called Bollywood Life, with Trisha Sakhua-Walia, CEO of Brown Girl magazine. Free event.

Wednesday, May 16

Writing Young Adult Fantasy & Women in Publishing at Astoria Bookshop (7-8 p.m.)

Join Sara Holland (Everless), Laura Sebastian (Ash Princess), and Lexa Hillyer (Winter Glass) for a fun panel about YA fantasy. Moderated by Patrice Caldwell. Free event.

Friday, May 18

Launch Event for The Accidental Bad Girl by Maxine Kaplan at Books of Wonder (6-8 p.m.)

Join Maxine Kaplan for the release of her novel, The Accidental Bad Girl. She’ll be joined by Peabody Award-winning journalist Brooke Gladstone. Free event.

Saturday, May 19

Bronx Book Festival at Fordham Plaza (9 a.m.-6 p.m.)

Join authors Elizabeth Acevedo, Daniel José Older, Lilliam Rivera, Adam Silvera, and more for the first ever Bronx Book Festival. Free event, but you must RSVP.

Great Middle Grade Adventures at Books of Wonder Uptown (3-5 p.m.)

Join authors Camille DeAngelis (The Boy From Tomorrow), Lauren Magaziner (Wizardmatch), Rebecca Behrens (The Last Grand Adventure), and Sarah Beth Durst (The Stone Girl’s Story) for a fun panel. Free event.

Launch Event for All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor at Bank Street Bookstore (4-5:30 p.m.)

Join Lygia Day Peñaflor for the launch of her thrilling new novel, All of This Is True. Free event.

Sunday, May 20

Launch Party for Claire Legrand at Books of Wonder (2-4 p.m.)

Join NYT bestselling author Claire Legrand for the launch of her new book Furyborn. She’ll be joined by NYT bestselling author Melissa Albert (The Hazel Wood). Free event.

ARC Book Review: Save the Date

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Synopsis:

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book while interning at Simon & Schuster Children’s. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on June 5, 2018.*

I haven’t read all of Morgan Matson’s books yet, but I’ve read enough to feel confident saying this is her best novel to date. I couldn’t put this book down no matter how hard I tried (and I had a 17 page paper to write so I definitely tried).

The novel follows Charlie Grant during the weekend of her sister, Linnie’s, wedding. Although Charlie wants this to be the perfect weekend with her family, especially now that her parents are selling their house and her mother’s popular comic strip, Grant Family Station, is coming to an end, everything that could go wrong does.

First, Charlie’s estranged brother, Mike, actually accepts his invitation to Linnie’s wedding and his plus one is his best friend, Jesse, who Charlie has a huge crush on and kissed, though she doesn’t want Mike to know about that. From there, everything begins to fall apart from the wedding planner being AWOL to a missing wedding suit. As hard as Charlie tries, her hopes for a perfect weekend slip further and further away and it becomes clear that her life isn’t exactly like the life her mother depicts in her comics.

Charlie quickly realizes that her family is more flawed than she thought and she’ll have to figure out how to deal with the truth that sometimes things change and the only thing you can do is continue to move forward. Unlike Matson’s other novels, I’d say this one is really more about family than romance, though the romance is certainly there. That being said, it was the family that really hooked me.

I loved all the Grant siblings, though J.J. was certainly my favorite. Additionally, Matson did a great job of showing just how close this family was with all their quirks, shared secrets, and games. I also really liked the character of Brooke, the girlfriend of Charlie’s oldest and favorite sibling, Danny, and Charlie’s best friend, Siobhan. As always, there are also cameos from characters in Matson’s previous novels, which I absolutely loved, and honestly they may have made this book even more special to me.

So if you couldn’t already tell, I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it. I can honestly see myself reading it again when it comes out. It’s just that good.

Borrow or Buy: Buy it!

Stars:

5 stars

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Mackenzie Ziegler & More Are In The City This Week (YA Book Events NYC 5/7-5/13)

There aren’t too many events happening this week, but they’re all great so make sure to check out the full schedule below and make sure to follow YA Book Events NYC on Twitter to stay up to date with all the bookish events happening around the city.

Tuesday, May 8

Launch for A Lite Too Bright by Samuel Miller at Books of Wonder (6-8 p.m.)

Join Samuel Miller for the NYC debut of his thrilling, thought-provoking mystery, A Lite Too Bright. Free event.

Wednesday, May 9

Mackenzie Ziegler at Barnes & Noble Fifth Ave (6 p.m.)

Pre-signed copies of Kenzie’s Rules for Life will be available for purchase at 9 a.m. the day of the signing. This event will be a photo opportunity only with the purchase of a book. Wristbands will be provided at the time of purchase.

Thursday, May 10

Launch Event for All Summer Long by Hope Larson at Books of Wonder (6-8 p.m.)

Join Hope Larson as she introduces her new graphic novel, All Summer Long, answers questions from the audience, and signs copies of all her works. Free event.

Saturday, May 12

Back 2 Back: Floyd Cooper & Jackie Azua Kramer at Books Are Magic (11 a.m. – 12 p.m.)

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators presents Back 2 Back, a series celebrating veterans and newcomers in the industry. This month features Floyd Cooper and Jackie Azua Kramer. Free event.

ARC Book Review: The Way You Make Me Feel

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Synopsis:

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? With Maurene Goo’s signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free digital advanced reader’s copy of this book from Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on May 8, 2018.*

I haven’t read any of Goo’s books before, but I’ve heard only good things about her works so I decided to request this one and I was not the least bit disappointed. The novel follows Clara, a teen who loves to pull pranks, especially when it means ruining her enemy, Rose’s, day.

However, when Clara’s prank at prom takes things too far she suddenly finds herself having to work on her father’s food truck, the KoBra, with Rose, ruining her plans for the perfect summer and visiting her mom, Jules, who she doesn’t see often. Miserable and angry, Clara wants nothing to do with this task or with Rose, but the longer she’s forced to work with her the more Clara realizes Rose isn’t all that terrible after all.

I really loved this story because I think Goo did a really good job of showing where Clara’s needs for pranks came from and I really understood her as a character. On the flip side, I also totally got where Rose was coming from and I liked seeing these girls being forced to realize that even though they were different that didn’t mean they had to be enemies. I’m a big fan of girl friendship stories and this was a great one.

Additionally, Clara’s dad, Adrian, is definitely a DILF. I fell in love with him pretty early on and I have no regrets. I also really liked Clara’s romantic interest, Hamlet. He was so quirky and genuine and I thought that was a nice contrast to Clara, who definitely struggled with facing her real feelings about things.

Lastly, Goo did an incredible job of showing the relationships between Clara and her separated parents. I think it would’ve been really easy to make one parent look like the good one and the other look bad, but Goo did a great job of showing why Adrian was so awesome, but also how Jules was flawed but still tried. I thought it was amazing to see Clara learn more about her parents, because I think it’s something a lot of kids with divorced parents go through, where they realize their fun parent isn’t always the best parent.

Thus, overall, I highly recommend this book. I truly loved it and it made me incredibly hungry, but in the best way. Now I want to read all of Goo’s books so I think I’ll go do that. If you’ve read The Way You Make Me Feel, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Borrow or Buy: Definitely, buy it!

Stars:

5 stars

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Brendan Kiely, Christina June, Rachel Hawkins, & More Are In The City This Week (YA Book Events 4/30-5/6)

April is coming to a close but May is here! There are only three events going on this week, but both are worth checking out. Also, don’t forget to follow YA Book Events NYC on Twitter to stay up to date with all the bookish events happening around the city.

Tuesday, May 1

Launch Event for Tradition by Brendan Kiely in conversation with Jenny Han at Books of Wonder (6-8 p.m.)

Join NYT bestselling author Brendan Kiely for the launch of his timely and thought provoking new novel, Tradition. He’ll be in conversation with NYT bestselling author Jenny Han (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before). Free event.

Launch Event for Royals by Rachel Hawkins at Henri Bendel (6 p.m.)

Join Rachel Hawkins as she celebrates the release of her new novel, Royals. There will be sips, sweets, and shopping. Free event.

Wednesday, May 2

May Teen Author Reading Night at Jefferson Market Library (6-7:30 p.m.)

Join authors David Levithan (Sam & Isla’s Last Hurrah), Carolyn Mackler (The Universe is Expanding and So Am I), Lygia Day Peñaflor (All of This is True), and more for a fun panel discussion. Free event.

Sunday, May 6

Launch Event for Everywhere You Want to Be by Christina June at Books of Wonder Uptown (3-5 p.m.)

Join Christina June and fellow author Katherine Locke (The Girl With The Red Balloon) for the launch of June’s Everywhere You Want to Be. Free event.