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June 1, 2016

What Could Be Better Than BookCon?

Last weekend 10,000 book fans of all ages made their way to the first-ever BookCon, which took place during BookExpo America (an event that is usually exclusive to booksellers, librarians, and those in the publishing industry). This year, the publishing world shared its excitement about upcoming book releases with everyone, authors mingled with readers, and readers had the chance to spend the day with fellow book lovers.

Thrilled BookCon attendee Cassie Valencia described how she “saw Daenerys Targaryen [from the Game of Thrones series] strolling amongst a group of teenage girls who were decked out in shirts that said ‘Okay? Okay’ [from John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars].” Cassie went on to say that one of her friends “swears she saw Katniss Everdeen taking selfies with Hazel Grace Lancaster.”

”The line for John Green was unreal. In no way does this picture do the line justice,” said Deanna Brown.

The sheer number of readers attending BookCon did lead to some difficult questions. Was it worth waiting more than an hour to meet Libba Bray? How many people would fit in the hall where Divergent author Veronica Roth was interviewed by fellow author C. Alexander London? And just how many miles long was that John Green line? Sadly, some hopeful individuals had to be turned away from jam-packed events, including a session about diversity in children’s books. (Search #WeNeedDiverseBooks on Twitter for more information about that discussion.)

Despite the obvious challenges, those who braved the masses enjoyed many of the day’s interactive events, such as the Hunger Games trivia quiz, where participants flaunted their in-depth understanding of Katniss’s world. There was even a competition for the best ten-word love story!

Jeff Kinney signed copies of the Wimpy Kid books for fans.

Popular authors made a few unexpected announcements at their panels. For example, Jeff Kinney, author of the bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, revealed that he will open a bookstore in his hometown of Plainville, Massachusetts.

Running into James Patterson, author of the bestselling Maximum Ride series.

Even if you didn’t wait in line there was still a chance you could see your favorite author. After missing James Patterson’s panel, Deanna Brown was shocked when Patterson himself walked right by her in Starbucks. “It was a surreal experience to catch even a glimpse of him,” Deanna said, and she even managed to have a brief conversation with the famous writer.

Cassie Valencia reflected on the day’s ups and downs, stating that “BookCon was probably one of the best experiences of my life, despite the fact that I spent a good portion of my time waiting on line.” And even though her experience wasn’t perfect, fellow attendee Lisa said she “would definitely go again.”

About the Author: Mackenzie Morton is an intern at Scholastic this summer, and she is completely thrilled to be working at a place that was such a big part of her childhood! 

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