After 7 years of dreaming I finally obtained the opportunity to attend BookCon! The event was located in New York City and it was quite the adventure. Here is a quick rundown of my days spent in the “Big Apple”!
I flew out with my best friend/parabatai Whitney in the early morning hours before arriving in New York. We then took a bus across the city to our lodgings at the HI New York Hostel before exploring Manhattan. The locations we visited were: The Strand Bookstore, Union Square Park, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Times Square. I highly recommend going to these places! Especially MoMA on Friday since you get in for FREE starting from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. I also got to see all the Hamilton glory! (Sadly I was not able to be in “the room where it happens” since I didn’t have tickets to see the show.)
First day of BookCon has arrived! Here is a brief rundown of how my experience went!
Crystal Palace: It’s not everyday that you line up beside Kaz and Inej to enter the Grishaverse! I had an inkling that this would more than likely be the location to pick up A Language of Thorns ARCS by Leigh Bardugo and luckily it was! There was also a photo booth and buttons at the end of the line to choose from. (I ended up getting the “Queen” and “Witch” buttons with my copy of A Language of Thorns.)
Renée Ahdieh Signing: When I met Renée I had my copies of The Wrath and the Dawn, The Rose and the Dagger and lastly Flame in the Mist autographed. She also included her favorite quotes from each book. Surprisingly I found out that her parents went to college where I live! We talked about that for a while before we parted ways and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to interact with such a wonderful person! I would definitely recommend going to Renée’s tours if possible considering how she interacted with her fans!
Exploring Booths: I wandered around the show floor and ended up picking up some incredible bookish merchandise for free! Owlcrate had a fun booth where you spun a wheel and could win a variety of items. I ended up getting a cute Owlcrate tote bag with pins, stickers, bookish soap AND a The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. I also checked out the Book Beau booth and met with the store owner Benita and also Alexis from Nerdy Post!
Stephanie Garber Signing: The second ticketed signing I went to was extremely fun. In an ironic twist of fate or coincidence I ended up in line beside one girl I knew from Tumblr! When it was my turn to meet Stephanie she signed both my UK and US versions of Caraval. She even wrote a warning that is a teaser for the second book!
Traversing Manhattan: Whitney, Megan and I walked the High Line which is a stunning garden path that used to be a railroad! On the the way we saw the Statue of Liberty and later met up with another group at Chelsea Market to eat dinner.
Justice for DC and YA Heroes Panel: First thing in the morning I immediately went to grab a spot at this panel. The YA authors that spoke were: Marie Lu, Leigh Bardugo, Matt de la Pena and Sarah J. Maas. They spoke about their upcoming superhero inspired books with Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman and Catwoman being main characters. It was a hilarious and informative panel! Their banter and comments made the wait well-worth it! (And who doesn’t love to talk about superheroes???)
Shadowhunter Booth: This booth was so good that I went to it TWICE! I ended up getting a heavenly fire and antidote rune pins with postcards featuring Lord of Shadows characters. And my favorite item? A beautiful Lord of Shadows poster! (Seriously I was in awe when my eyes took in its splendor!) Of course the second time I went was to grab those items for my parabatai Whitney!
Wonder Woman (disaster): *WARNING THIS SECTION IS A RANT BEFITTING OF AN AMAZON WARRIOR* Anyone who went to BookCon surely heard of the mayhem that went down at Penguin’s booth. On the first day of Book Con it was mass chaos during the Warcross ARC release. There was no lines created and at one point the employees threatened to kick attendees out/take away BookCon badges.
One would imagine that by the second day Penguin would actually allow readers to line up for the events early. Most fans were willing to create a line 2 hours in advance, but every time fans tried to make a line or an area to gather calmly the Penguin employees would
demand ask them to leave the area and to come back 30 minutes before Wonder Woman was available and Leigh could sign it. Which of course led to a swarm of people showing up in a disorganized fashion. Chaos occurred. And MANY people were disappointed who waited hours for the book while people who “cut lines” or “jumped in” ended up getting the book.
I wasn’t too upset (other than the fact of how the employees treated the whole situation), but it still seemed extremely unfair to those who had obviously waited for a long time. Hopefully this issue will be resolved in upcoming years to avoid such a massive crowd that was given no direction as to where a line would begin or etc.
Exploring Booths: Bookified is one of the many shops that I had the extreme joy of interacting with! Kelsey, the shop owner, creates letters inspired by book characters so of course I had to get some! I purchased a flirty letter from Rhysand to Feyre, a lovestruck letter from Rowan to Aelin and also a letter from Cassian to Nesta. In an ironic turn of events I also won the giveaway for a Cassian letter! (He is my favorite character from the ACOTAR series so I was ecstatic to say the least!) I also came across Raquel from The Melting Library who was giving away 2 0z Feysand candles. She’s incredibly kind and we talked a about her candle making process.
Jennifer E Smith Signing: My third signing of BookCon included me buying Smith’s latest book Windfall. She then autographed it and honestly I can’t wait to read this book! I’m not usually a big fan of contemporaries compared to fantasy, but the synopsis of Windfall sounds intriguing!
Traversing Manhattan: After the final day of BookCon I went to Central Park with Whitney where we located filming spots for Disney’s Enchanted movie and our final destination was Belvedere Castle. That evening we had pizza at Times Square and saw the street illuminated with all the lights.
As our trip near its end we decided to go out into the city one last time before our flight. We stopped by a large Italian market fondly known as “Eataly” and made our way to Flatiron Building. Afterwards we ate in Madison Square Park and relaxed in the New York Public Library until it was time to take a bus back to the airport.
Overall the experience of traveling to New York is one I will never forget. I highly recommend going to New York for a few extra days so you can check out the sights! Times Square, Central Park, The Strand Bookstore and the High Line were some of my favorite locations visited.
In concern to Book Con I would say that if you are more inclined to meet authors then you should go to this event. If you are interested in obtaining more bookish merchandise I heard from other event guests that BookExpo is the place to be!
On another note it is extremely important to be well-prepared before you attend BookCon. I personally made a list of my top three events I wanted to see each day, because is is impossible to see everything while you are there. Then during the time in between you can explore the booths! Also be open to talking with everyone at BookCon! I met quite a few interesting people there from across the United States and it was fun to talk about books, fandoms and more!
If you have any other specific questions about my trip feel free to contact me either by email or social media!