Serena Takes Pasadena Loves YA (again!) + Giveaway

12:00 AM Serena 0 Comments

Hi, friends! It me, again. I know what you're thinking: Serena posted twice in a week??? What kind of alternate universe are we in??? I'm feeling very motivated this week, so I'm trying to ease myself back into blogging. So here I am!

*segways* This weekend I had to chance to attend Pasadena Loves YA at the Pasadena Public Library. I met some amazing authors, attended fun panels, and talked to pretty cool people. I also got Porto's first, which is always a win. Speaking of wins, I'll be giving away a swag bag from the event at the bottom of this post, so stay tuned!

Here's how the day went...

I got to the library about a half hour before the event and wandered a bit because it's seriously so beautiful. Then I grabbed a program and a tote and settled down in the auditorium to wait for the keynote. 

Aija Mayrock was the keynote speaker this year. She's a twenty-one year old activist and author of The Survival Guide to Bullying, and her presentation moved me to tears. She performed a "roem" (rap poem) she wrote about her experience with bullying and feeling good in her skin, and it was amazing. She's really committed to trying to end bullying, and it's really admirable. She's also so adorable. I want her to be my friend. 

Me and Aija
My next order of business was the "The World in Black and White" panel with Kerry Kletter, Robin Reul, Robyn Schneider, and Nicola Yoon. 

The World in Black and White
They were a fun group to watch panel because, for the most part, they're all friends, so it was comfortable and nice. They talked about everything from their writing processes to their writing inspiration to their favorite books of the year. Kerry's is The Sun Is Also a Star, Robin's is Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Robyn's is The Sun of Apollo, and Nicola's is Furthermore. GOOD CHOICES. 

After the panel, I got in line to meet the authors and met Desirae, who blogs at Boulevard of Books and Dreams. So nice to meet you, Desirae!

The authors were all very sweet, and the all signed my tote, though I only had a book for Nicola to sign. Sidebar: Robyn is my style icon. 

Me and Nicola, after I spent quite a bit of time gushing to her about how much I loved The Sun Is Also a Star. 
I took a lunch break after this, then found a comfy chair to read Everything, Everything before the next panel. 

The panel was This World of Ours: Alternatives of Our Past, Present, and Future, featuring Frank Beddor, Elizabeth Briggs, Cecil Castellucci, Eric Laster, and Thomas Voorhies. This was really exciting for me because Frank Beddor's The Looking Glass Wars was HUGE to me in middle school. I checked them out from the library tons of times. 

This was another fun one because of the dynamic between the authors. There were lots of laughs and anecdotes about inspiration. My personal favorite is where Frank got his Alice inspiration from. It involved big man with a very high voice and him scaring girls away with talk of ancient playing cards. 

I didn't have books for any of those authors to sign, so I rushed (carefully) down the stairs to the auditorium for the next panel. 

The last panel of the day was the Out of the Comfort Zone panel with Julie Buxbaum, Dana Elmendorf, Charlotte Huang, and Marisa Reichardt. This was the one I was looking forward to the most. 

I tried my hardest to take notes for this one, but I ended up listening too intently to pay close attention. Oops? 

Some highlights from the panel:

Charlotte said that she loves writing stories about people who succeed even though they underestimate themselves and are underestimated by others. Julie said that humor is an essential coping mechanism, so she feels like it's important to have in books that deal with series topics. Dana, Ingrid, and Marisa all talked about the importance of writing what scares you and telling the story that needs to be told. A lot of important things were said about sexuality and mental health and acceptance that I wish I could reiterate because I thought it was very moving. 

I got in line to talk to all of the authors after. They were all very kind and signed my tote and some swag for me. I told Marisa my blog name, and she liked it. *tips hat* Ingrid's hair is this gorgeous purple, so I talked to her about redoing mine. I had the best time talking to Charlotte about concerts and bands. I want to be Charlotte when I grow up. I gushed to Julie about her adorable book. Gah, they were all so lovely. 

I count that as a successful day. I am so glad I went, and I can't wait to (hopefully) attend next year's event as well. Thanks to all involved!

Now for the giveaway! I'm giving away a signed Pasadena Loves YA tote signed by a bunch of awesome authors from the event. Inside the bag are some bookmarks and a set of Tell Me Three Things buttons! All giveaway rules can be found in my policies. Good luck!