ALA Midwinter Mayhem

Happy Friday, y’all! Before I’m heading off to Long Island to celebrate the long weekend with family, I thought it would be a great time to write up a post on my whereabouts last weekend: the Midwinter ALA Conference in Boston!

And let me tell you, the whole event was TOTALLY crazy-sauce, as well as crazy-amazing. Huge thanks to Erin for giving me that extra push to go because the bookish chaos that ensued (all three days of it) was completely worth it!


I don’t even know where to start, other than saying how gloriously huge ALA is. I call it the Comic Con of the publishing industry, and that is seriously no exaggeration. In the huge playground that is the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, there were booths set up all over the floor by exhibitors ranging from software companies to publishing houses. The publishers were definitely hard to miss since they were the ones just flooding with eager readers armed with totes and had books practically spilling out of their booths. Heaven, right?

This was just one section of the floor. ONE SECTION.

Having purchased an Exhibits Only pass, I was able to roam around the floor for three days of just nonstop book-grabbing and swag-taking. And because a lot of other people in attendance purchased passes for the exact same privilege, it’s no surprise that grabbing the latest ARCs off publishers’ tables soon became akin to savagely grabbing supplies from the cornucopia in The Hunger Games. Most times, it felt like do or die, and soooo many people who were likely ALA veterans came in more far more prepared than I was. One day, I thought one tote bag would be enough. Ha.

pretty wall of ARCs at the HarperCollins station

Even though I usually arrived at the center in the early afternoon-ish times of the days, I was still able to snag a TON of stuff and see so many things from signings to panels to authors running around the exhibit floor just as crazy-exited as the rest of the attendees were. I was super thrilled to be able to fall into the book signing lines of Adam Silvera, Emily Skrutskie, and Marieke Nijkamp. When I was chilling by the Macmillan booth on Day 1, I was also fortunate enough to bump into Roshani Chokshi, debut author of 2016 buzz book The Star-Touched Queen who is coincidentally also CPs with my favorite Aussie Ella. She’s also overall just a super wonderful human being, and immediately knew right off the bat that I was Filipino (though let’s be real, Filipinos can spot other Filipinos a mile away. It’s a gift.).

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Day 2, I was also able to sit in on her panel that showcased some other pretty awesome 2016 Debut Authors in YA—all of which was wicked hilarious, but also very insightful and inspiring to all of the aspiring writers in the audience. Aside from interesting fun facts about the authors, it was so cool to hear about the stories behind the stories they had written. Attending panels like these really enforces how wonderfully different the storytelling process is for every writer. Some writers will write the stories they feel compelled to write because of questions or curiosities they seek to answer. Some have stories that have been lingering inside them for so long that they are now the backbones of the novels they want to write. Overall, though, writers will champion the stories that need the voice only they feel that they can provide. No trend-chasing or jumping on genre-bandwagons, just good ol’ story-making with the story of your heart <3

The super awesome panel, moderated by MarcyKate Connolly. Panelists included Dana Elmendorf, Emily Martin, Elizabeth Briggs, and Roshani Chokshi!

And then after the panel, like a Christmas miracle, they were giving away swag and ARCs of The Star-Touched Queen followed by a signing with Roshani! Given how disappointed I was in not being able to snag a copy the day before, it’s a bit of an understatement to say how excited I was to finally get my hands on this beauty.

*cue angelic chorus and heavenly rays of light*

In the end, I think one of the most rewarding things about acquiring this ARC was turning to the acknowledgements. When I pick up books, I ALWAYS turn to the dedications and acknowledgements because for me, I just love knowing who the authors have to thank in the creation of their book. Writing can be viewed as such a solitary activity, but these pages really shine light on the huge cavalry of friends, family, agents, publishers, CPs, influences, and other helpful human beings behind the writer. And to find Ella’s name printed here for all the world to see was so freaking EXCITING. Is it weird to say that whenever I see this, I just get overcome with giddiness and hyper-eager “I know her! I know her!” thoughts? I can’t help it. If you’ve made it into the acknowledgements, you are pretty much already a star in my eyes. πŸ˜€

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still freaking out!!

So after days of going into the center, I was able to accumulate QUITE a hefty amount of books (and I still have the sore shoulders to prove it). Not only was I lucky enough to grab some amazing ARCs, but I was also able to grab books already in print either for free or for ridiculously cheap prices. On the last day especially, when all of the booths were packing up and trying to clean out all of their display cases, let’s just say I went a little purchase-crazy with all the wild discounts going on.

Spoils of War: Day 2
Spoils of War: Day 3

My tote bags were ALWAYS filled to the brim by the end of the day, which was the best/most gloriously exhausting feeling in the world. And even though I received some of the most judgmental looks from people on the street as I was walking back to my car, I owned my supremely frazzled appearance and all the bulging totes hanging off me. Nothing was more satisfying than being able to add more and more to the growing tower of books in my room:

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The tower of bookish wonder that I’m pretty sure goes above my waist.

Just looking at this picture makes me feel a bit overwhelmed. My TBR list just got a whole lot bigger, and my bookshelves have become a whole lot more cramped, but those are not terrible problems to have. If you want these sort of problems in your life, then go to ALA. It was AMAZING and I highly urge everyone to attend if it happens to be located in your neck of the woods! Meanwhile, I’ll just be here, waiting in agony until it comes back (if it ever does) to Boston again . . .


13 responses to “ALA Midwinter Mayhem”


    Also I’m DYING to get my hands on The Abyss Surrounds Us! My library isn’t ordering it and I’m so paranoid I won’t find it at a bookstore…

    Also (again) I just got approved for an e-ARC of Tell the Wind and Fire from NetGalley! woohoo!

    Also (again again) I’m so glad you read my book first because it looks like you’re set on TBR until…..September? πŸ™‚

    • Ughhh I HATE when my library doesn’t have the titles I want/will take absolutely forever in ordering it! When I’m done with Abyss, I can definitely mail and lend it to you if you can’t find it elsewhere πŸ˜‰ And yayyyy, we can totally gush about Tell the Wind and Fire together (I’m SO excited to get to it)!!

      And you know I would’ve read your MS before everything because writer buddy business always comes first πŸ˜€

      • Ooooh we shall see! I might pre-order it from Barnes & Noble since I just got a coupon. (I’m relieved they have it, for the longest time I searched it and nothing came up).

        I’m hoping to get to Tell the Wind and Fire in February!

        Writer buddy business – the BEST business there is! <3

      • Yayyyyy for Barnes & Noble coupons—so helpful, yet so dangerous for my get-all-the-books mentality πŸ˜› Oooooh, I’ll possibly push it up my TBR list in February so that we can gush!

  2. OMG JANELLA I AM SO GLAD THAT YOU HAD A GREAT TIME!!! MY GOODNESS ALL THOSE BOOKS ARE MAKING ME GO A;SDFLKJADS;FLKJASDF!!!!! Anyways, I’m so happy that you go went and got all book-happy!!! AND AAAHHHH! OMG ELLA IS IN THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS!!!!!!! But that’s soooooooo cool that you got to meet Roshani!!!! Ugh, Star-Touched Queen looks absolutely amazing and I’ve only heard good things about it!!!! Aaaahhh!!! Have so much fun reading all these amazing books!!!!

    • AHHHH THANK YOU! In honor of you, I went completely book-crazy πŸ˜› And omg, I recently started Star-Touched Queen and it is BEAUTIFUL. Like, The Wrath and the Dawn-level beautiful, so I just KNOW you’ll absolutely love it!!!!

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