Of course it was a thing. We know this. Also, I might hate this graphic. Actually, I definitely do, but I spent too long on it to start over. But let’s get down to business! Because….

Oh look, it’s ME! Granted, I did a post the other day, but that was because sometimes you need to be responsible and review a book that you requested/begged for because you loved the first book so much. I digress.

Things were different this year, for a lot of reasons. Let’s talk about those, shall we?

  • I had a handy dandy Press Pass, which made me feel special, if we’re being honest.
  • It was in Chicago, which is (obviously) not New York. This also means that it was not a quick bus ride from home for me. We’ll get into that later. Word of caution? The Chicago airport sucks hard. Not that the Philly one is any better, I assure you it is not.
  • We had a hotel nightmare situation that seemed cursed from Day One, but did work out in the end for the most part (whew!)
  • I met a lot more fabulous people this year, so that is a huge win.

Clearly, I will be comparing the two cities, because why not? But let’s start at the beginning!

First, a tip: If BEA is within any reasonable driving distance, drive. Flying, especially with heavy items, such as books, kind of sucks. If I were going to the beach for a week, fine, plane sounds great! But when part of your trip requires middle school level math skills to figure out if they’ll let you and your books on board? Just say no.

I was going to drive, but then I realized that my car is ancient and probably wouldn’t have made the 719 miles there (and then another 719 back..) so I booked a flight. In hindsight, my parents were in Greece, I should have taken their car.

Another tip: When looking for your nice Sri Lankan friend, who happens to be a minor (and you are kind of in charge of retrieving her from the airport), don’t get on the shuttle to the International terminal at the same exact time as she is coming to look for you. Because O’Hare sucks and her wi-fi wouldn’t work. And if you do make these mistakes, please make sure you have a Britt in tow, because you’ll need her.

Tip #3: Don’t get so lost that you end up having to eat Dominos. In Chicago. It seems like a crime, no? On the plus side, I did have some chocolate lava cake at 4am, so that was nice?

Day One

The best part about Day One of BEA is that you don’t have to wake up early. The worst part is that your legs aren’t used to this madness, and also, since it was in Chicago, it seemed like very few authors felt like traipsing out to the midwest in the middle of the week. So there were drops of books, and I like those, so yay! I didn’t do much in the way of picture taking, but I did stare at a guy and his dog for an inordinate amount of time, and I also welled up when I had to leave the dog, because the dog was everything.

20160511_135636 20160511_135810

Seriously, don’t tell me you aren’t in love.

Anyway, after the afternoon at BEA, we went to dinner at a sushi place! I love sushi, so this made me happy. Some of my cohorts were less pleased, but they tried, and good for them! Then, because Val and Rashika hate feet, we walked around a lot. But I will admit that it was quite fun, and I got to see some parts of Chicago that I hadn’t seen before, namely, the bean!


TBH, I still think this thing is weird and borderline pointless, but meh, it was fun anyway.

Then we got back to the hotel and took a picture with our favorite honorary BEA attendee, Larissa!


WE LOVE YOU!!! ♥♥♥

Day 2 (or “The Day I Slept Through My Alarm” or “The Day With all the Pictures”)

Le sigh, yes, I am “that guy”. I slept through my stupid alarm because I am dumb. Actually, I slept through it because I took Tylenol PM way too late. Either way, I missed Metaltown and Kristen Simmons (but at least Val got it signed for me because she is the actual best), and Ann M. Martin, which was only a childhood dream, no biggie ? Anyway, here’s what happened on this day: I met lots of authors, and went to a very fun party. So… pictures are worth a thousand words or whatever…


I met four of these authors today. Clearly, the one where I am wearing a different shirt is a different day.

Anyway- Adam Silvera and History Is All You Left Me; Amy Lukavics and The Women in the Walls; Sarah Porter and Vassa in the Night; Maggie Stiefvater and The Raven King(!!); and Jennifer Niven and Holding Up the Universe. These were definitely must see authors for me, so it was so, so exciting! And they were so incredibly nice!

What else happened on Thursday? I don’t know, I probably drank seven coffees. A guy definitely refused to give me a glass of wine because I didn’t have my ID with me. And then Holly and I took an Uber to the Fierce Reads party! (The Uber is significant because if you recall, Val and Rashika hate feet.)

So this was my first ever publishing party, and I was nervous, as you are, but there were so many amazing people there, and you know, wine helps! I loved getting to chat with everyone, and meet people who I hadn’t seen yet, and basically just have an awesome time. I cannot thank Macmillan enough for this amazing opportunity- I kind of want to gush a lot. But instead, I will show you pictures of fun!


I feel like the hat early on was a poor life choice, because my hair is a hot mess after! ANYWAY, me and Holly, and then me, Holly, and the LOVELY Mary @ Mary Had a Little Book Blog & Danielle @ Love at First Page! I had so much fun with everyone, but these ladies made things extra fun! Also, I got to meet Marissa Meyer, got Heartless signed, and I didn’t make an ass of myself this time, woo hoo! Holly got a picture with Leigh Bardugo, but just as I was about to ask her (she was SO NICE), some girl jumped in front of me and wouldn’t leave. It’s fine though, I will find a time to meet Leigh again when I didn’t wear a tomato hat on my head.

Day 3

I was kind of exhausted at this point, and I was just kind of like… winging it by Day 3. I had wanted to get a ticket to see Maggie Stiefvater, but I knew the chances were slim unless I woke up at like, 5am. So when Holly went to check to see if they had any Alexandra Bracken tickets left, and it was about 10 minutes before the floor opened, I wasn’t counting on getting one, but why not ask, right? And by some magic, they had one ticket left. That’s right, my happy ass got the last ticket to see Maggie!

Maggie told me that I made a good life choice by waiting to binge books 2-4. So my life is now complete, right? I think so. I was giddy-happy, anyway. Other than this epic moment, I think I spent most of Day 3 waiting for things at Penguin. It was A Torch Against the Night day, as well as Kids of Appetite day, and (GAH excitement of all excitement) Gemina day! So since Torch and KOA were at the same time, and I knew Holly really wanted Torch, I gave her my place in line. It was right in the front too, kind of epic. Anyway, I went to the Gemina line after KOA, and hung out with CJ, Val, and Rashika. And then we heard that lo and behold, they somehow weren’t out of Torch yet, and Sabaa still had time! I was so excited!! So I jumped in line, and was talking to a very nice girl, and they made us smoosh together into single file, because they were counting. I told her she could go ahead, because politeness. She thanked me, and then… they cut off the line right behind her. She wanted me to go, since I’d been there first and let her go, but I didn’t want her to do that, but it was so sweet that she offered and then… I burst into tears. Yep, I started crying, right in the middle of BEA, in front of, you know, all the people. So um, this is the new most embarrassing moment of my life. (On the plus side, I did get to meet Sabaa, and so did the nice girl. But I still feel like an ass.)

Then I cried when I realized that no one was going to ship my books for less than like, $200. Basically by this point, I was done with life? But before dinner, we took a lovely group picture of our particular BEA Squad:



So Val and Holly and I went to dinner, because they wanted to try Chicago Deep Dish. I don’t think they liked it, but I did. I took a picture of them, and the “carafe” of  pink lemonade and liquor that Holly and I were going to split until Holly remembered that she didn’t like lemons….


I, on the other hand, have no problems with lemons.

When we got back to the hotel, we found Sabrina @ The Forest of Words and Pages. Her roomies were at “Da Club” (some of them, anyway) and she wanted the wine without the putting on clothes (which I am all about) so we went to Walgreens in a taxi in the rain because the hotel thought we were paying $36 for a small bottle of generic crappy wine. (We got four bottles for $28 at Walgreens. I love Illinois!) So Holly finally found a wine that she liked, and I remembered how much I liked said wine, and it was good times all around!20160514_005742

Classy. 😉

Day 4: BookCon and Home!

I spent most of BookCon trying to get my books to fit in my suitcase and/or crying and/or looking for coffee. Because when Sabrina and I went to the lobby at 3am, people were already lining up. No no no. Shannon doesn’t do 3am. I mean, fine, I do, but that’s because I am going to bed, not waking up. Anyway, I heard it was chaos. So I woke up around 11:30, because check-out was at noon. I feel like I missed nothing, because if you didn’t have a wristband or whatever, you were out of luck.

After Sabrina saved my life by shipping my books for me from her home (I want to thank her a million times more!) I meandered over to BookCon. I was… not enthused? It’s like this: You hoped for a Barbie, but instead you got her Dollar Store knockoff, Barbara, and Barbara’s legs fall off within ten minutes and her hair is sticky. You’re disappointed in Barbara, because damn it, you loved Barbie.

Need another example? It’s like you wandered into The Magic Kingdom after it closed for the night. The rides are closed, there’s no pretty lights, and Mickey is sitting shirtless with his head dragging along the ground smoking a pack of menthols and drinking a 40 of Natty Light from a brown paper bag, while Cinderella calls her boyfriend, using colorful language and chucking her tiara at Goofy for making raunchy gestures. It shatters the illusion, the magic.

Plus, I had enough of a certain person shoveling books into their cart, and I was at my breaking point. Mishma was a celebrity by that point though, and Pierce Brown high fived her as we walked along the floor. I felt like I was her maidservant, a lowly peon not worthy of such a gesture. Ironically, I did not cry (at this time).

Also a bonus: as I was helping Mishma load her stuff into the van to the airport, I saw a Property Brother on his phone! That’s a fun thing. I have no idea which Property Brother, but does it matter?

I got home at 5am, and immediately ate popcorn (Nori and I got the best popcorn at the airport! High point of Saturday, tbh) and watched The 100. As you do.

So. Since my books are not all here yet, and I want to do some kind of giveaway, and I need to talk about all the things that didn’t “fit” into a recap, and fine, because Crystal @ Bookiemoji made my decision to have a two-part recap since I can’t make decisions in general… 

Stay tuned for Part Two! Where I talk about more stuff, compare New York to Chicago, talk about bloggers I met- and who I wish I met/saw more of!- and of course, give you guys something. Idk what yet, so… we’ll all be surprised! 

Posted May 22, 2016 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in BEA / 57 Comments


57 responses to “BEA 2016 Was a Thing: The Recap Part

  1. I love everything about this post. I can never get over the way you tell your stories, they’re so funny. Also, I am in love with that dog.

    • YOUR HAIR! I am in LOOOOOVEEEEE! Where’s that damn emoji with the heart eyes?!?! ???? There he is, that is how I feel about it. WIN.

      And THANK YOU! You are too sweet! I need the blowing kisses emoji now, but I already clicked out of the page, but know that I adore you! Maybe even more than that dog 😉

  2. Your story-telling is so freaking spot on that I felt like I was part of all your adventures. lol I’m sad Book Con was a disappointment – I hate when my expectations fail me. Plus, am I the only one who wants the last day of vacations etc. to be THE BESTEST?? Even though that’s highly unlikely because by that point everyone is too tired to function. Also, the Barbie example? Perfectly expresses disappointment. *nods in approval*
    Ugh, I’m dying to go to BEA… ONE DAY I WILL.

    • AWW thank you!! And YES- you are so right- the last day should be so epic that you cry because you have to leave! But alas… I guess the good part is that I was kind of happy to go home at that point? Don’t get me wrong, the trip in general was great though! And I really do hope you get to come one day!! (It’s in NYC again next year!!)

  3. AHHH THIS WAS WONDERFUL AND HILARIOUS. XD And it sounds like such an awesome time!! But, tbh, your fabulous commentary just makes it.??
    (Also omgggg you met Maggie Stiefvater. CUE FLAIL SCREAMS FROM ME.)

    • Hahhaha thank you!! And YES, I met Maggie, and I won’t lie- I thought of you the whole time, even if that’s creepy. It’s probably creepy, let’s be honest, but that doesn’t make it less true. Because who else is a bigger Maggie fan than you!? AND I had your bag! So she got to like, see you! You can tell people that you’ve met!

    • YESS you must come next year! It is in New York on May 31, so you know, just mark it down on your calendar so you’re all set 😉 And luckily I did NOT cry in front of the Property Brother- though I cried in front of nearly everyone else ?

      I shall try to get Part Two up by the weekend. It’s a toss up between finishing my The 100 recap, and Part Two- even though i know people would enjoy Part Two better… I am kind of having The 100 withdrawals 😉

  4. I’m glad you had fun! You got a press pass?! How cool is that! I went to Chicago once a few years ago. It’s a nice city. I didn’t like the pizza either. I’m sorry you didn’t get to meet Bardugo! That’s cool that they let you in that line though. I’d have cried too! I look forward to part two!

    • AW thank you!! And indeed, the press pass was so exciting! I felt… important. Even though I wasn”t 😉 I like Chicago too, I think that the conference center is just in a tough location! And sorry you didn’t like deep dish! You and Holly and Val can form a group 😉

  5. Ahh, this sounds like so much fun! I have never been to Chicago. I bet the deep dish pizza was amazing. Maybe one day I will get to BEA. It may not be for a few years since I am living in Italy and all, but I’ll get there. Great post. 🙂

      • Oh yes, I will be back in the States for sure! My husband is a civilian employee at the US Navy base here. Because he is a civilian, we can only be overseas for five years at a time (believe me, I wouldn’t mind longer). We have been here two years already and will be here for three more. I am sure I will get to BEA one day. 🙂

        • Oh yay! I hope you do get to BEA one day! It must be so amazing to live in Europe, though I know I’d be terribly homesick after a while. This military stuff is fascinating! I had no idea they had so many different rules and such! Must be very interesting to be a civilian among the military too!

  6. Ahh it sounds like you had an amazing time! I really hope that one day I can go to BEA – I’ve always wanted to attend it! 😀 Glad you had a great time! 😀

  7. Hotel nightmares- I hate those. You go to a convention and are all pumped and the hotel screws something up. Hopefully it wasn’t too bad… but it looks like you guys had a blast! And congrats on seeing Stiefvater! Too bad about Bookcon… although I enjoyed your Magic Kingdom comparison. “pack of menthols and drinking a 40” lol.

    Looks like a fun time. And wine! Boozers. :):)

    • Aw thanks! We had drama since before we even got there, so once I got there it wasn’t actually *too* bad- save a few incidents hahah. And thank you- it is seriously what it felt like, the whole image was totally shattered ?

  8. I have never been to Chicago, nor have I attended any kind of book conference. But I have decided that if I ever do, I want to go with YOU. Sounds like so much fun!

  9. I’m so sorry I missed BEA this year but ALA is closer (and thereby cheaper) this year for me.

    I went to the first BookCon and even though they make improvements each year I will never go again. It’s just a giant cluster f*ck

    • Ahhh yes, that makes sense. Neither was close for me, so I just went with BEA! I would like to try ALA at some point though, if it’s ever reasonably close. BEA in New York makes it a no-brainer for me!

      And YES! I don’t care WHAT they do to BookCon, I don’t think I could be convinced to do it again EVER, under any circumstances.

  10. WHY AM I ON THE PHONE SHANNON! YOU COULDN’T HAVE SAID “Val look up” OH NO HUH? Well then. I am glad I tried deep dish pizza or whatever it is called. AND this BEA trip was so cursed, I am kind of glad it is over? Because holy POOP. Also, DIDN’T I TELL YOU SO ABOUT BOOKCON???!! I told you so.

    • You were right Val. About BookCon. Because I envied you every minute of the day. I kept thinking “aw, lucky Val, her plane has probably taken off”, “aw, I bet Val’s plane landed”, or “Val is probably eating. Or COULD eat, if she wanted. Or sleep. I miss and envy Val.”

      This trip WAS cursed. Our only hope is that BEA in general is not cursed and that next year won’t be the same. But there’s only one way to find out 😉

  11. I’m so bummed I couldn’t meet you, but I’m glad you had such a fun time (overall) and got to meet some great bloggers. I actually got to meet people this year too, so it was awesome! haha I live way closer to Chicago than NYC so I was able to drive (well, my sister drove) and that was seriously amazing because it does suck trying to mail books and I hear Chicago was more expensive – in the convention center at least.


    • I am so sad we didn’t get to meet too! That’s the hardest part- making sure you get to meet ALL the people you want to, and I dare say it is impossible, sadly. Hopefully there will be another time though! Definitely jealous of the driving! I seriously wish I had, even though it’s so far! And yes, it was MUCH more expensive, which surprised me a lot! The convention center knew that it was the only thing (literally) within miles, so people were probably just going to pay whatever they charged. We were a captive audience hahah. I am SO glad that you got to meet a lot of people though, that is wonderful!!

  12. Very cool on the press pass, lady! he hotel issues sucked but I hope it didn’t put a damper on anything. (Hard when your trip starts with a bump like that?) Um, you couldn’t get wine without ID? LOL Well I’d be pissed at the no wine thing but still… you gotta be a little jazzed at that one. 🙂 Love the pic with Marissa Meyer. You’re both so adorable! And I love the trip to Walgreens in the rain for cheap wine. Bahaha! I am howling over your BookCon examples. I will now and forevermore envision Mickey smoking menthols and drinking a fo’ty. LMAO Sadly, I’ve heard a lot of similar opinions of BookCon this year. What a letdown.

    • Aww thank you!! And the hotel stuff was a stress beforehand, but luckily not much when we actually got there! OH! And I was also told to “get in the back, kids!” by someone a year younger than me so… maybe the dude was right to card me? ?

      And thank you, thank you, pleased to entertain and/or ruin the joy of Disney 😉 Seriously though, such a mess. I mean, I am glad I went, so that when I do NOT go in the future I won’t feel like I am missing out. Because now I know I won’t be. I kind of wish we’d gone sightseeing or something! Next year, for sure!

  13. So I may be crying over the dog alone. The world may never know??? (literally just said this in Val’s post, but the Bean was in the vow! yessss! :D)

    The Fierce Reads party looked like such fun! Omg. Chocolate lava cake actually sounds delish, but Dominos is okay-ish. I had it recently and it was kinda blah, so I feel ya. haha. Aim for the deep dish! Whoa. Bookcon sounded a LITTLE messy. 😉
    AND AHH YOU MET MARISSA. Kinda slightly actually jealous. hahah.

    • Right!?! The dog is so SWEET! And his eyes, OMG. Like I wanted to snuggle him forever!

      And yes, the Fierce Reads party was absolutely one of the best parts of the whole trip! I was so, so lucky to have had the chance to go, they were so kind! And chocolate lava cake is never a bad choice 😉 Dominos in general, maybe, but never the cake ?

      I met Marissa briefly last year and pretty much made an ass out of myself, so I was glad to have the chance to redeem myself bwhahah

  14. Mishma was totally a celebrity. Authors kept coming up to her and saying, “Oh, you’re the girl from Sri Lanka! I need to give you a hug!” It was all sorts of adorable and she totally deserved the attention after traveling all that way by herself. I can’t imagine doing that when I was 17!!

    • BWAHAH she WAS! And why I tried to tell her this, she was like “no, no, I am not!” hahhaa but she SO was! They loved her! And seriously, she is so amazing for being able to do that- I would have been crying in the corner, probably never even would have boarded the first flight ?

  15. Guuurrrlllll! Let me tell you something about Britts. I heard they are really scattered brain, travel with copious amounts of snacks, and fly their luggage on separate flight. Honestly though what the actually fuckity fuck. I feel like after our initial adventure I didn’t see you much. It is so hard thought cause everyone is kinda doing different stuff. BUT WAIT WE DIDNT GET A PICTURE!!!! WHY GOD WHY!!??! I think is might be our thing each year. Well progressively spend more and more time together and still not take and pics. I’m glad things….calmed…down….yea no that hotel was bullshit. Kinda excited for nyc again next year. Feel like road tripping with me literally we live so close might as well. You are twelve times more hilarious that I had hoped/expected! ???

    • DUDE I am so mad that we did not get a picture! This is unacceptable! We WILL get one next year. I mean- last year we forgot to meet. This year we forgot the picture. Next year… maybe third time’s the charm? 😉

      And I am SO EXCITED to be back in NYC! Are you really going to drive? I would definitely drive with you. How far is it from you? It’s less than 2 hours for me, and that is on a slow shitty bus.

      And THANK YOU!! I love youuuuuu!!! ♥♥♥

  16. Judy Cox

    I would love to be able to go to this one year. It sounds like so much fun!! I was able to go about 5 years ago to the RT convention that was real close to my home and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am sure everyone had a great time!!

  17. Woah Shannon I just feel exhausted just reading this post! All of that walking and socialising and lugging books and trying to fit it in would definitely be difficult. But OMG Ann M Martin, can you say childhood hero?! And also Marissa Meyer and that blogging event sounds great! Thanks so much for recapping your time at BEA Shannon, it feels like I was right there with you! Some day!

    • Bwahahah right!? It is a LOT. I knowwww I am still sad about missing out on Ann! ::SOBS:: Hopefully she’ll come around again, or maybe I’ll happen to be vacationing in her hometown, and spot her at her favorite restaurant that I totally will have not stalked from the internet.

      I wish you could have been there! Or can be, at some point! I still say all the Australians should charter a plane ?

  18. ‘this thing is weird and borderline pointless’ YOU JUST DON’T APPRECIATE IT

    I love, love, love those Happy Hour pictures. <333 going to save them forever.

    You're the best for giving me your spot in the Torch line <3 I'm so glad you got the book later, too! (Who cares about the tears, anyway? :D)

    BEST BEA SQUAD EVER, TBH. That picture is my fave (also has the "real" squad……)

    That aftertaste was def because of the lemons. And probably like 50% of the alcohol too. I WAS NOT EXPECTING SO MUCH LEMON TASTE.

  19. Ali

    Ooh my goodness this sounds like SO MUCH FUN. I think I am going to have to try to go next year, because otherwise I’ll have major FOMO. Your narrative was hilarious. Thanks for the recap! 😀

  20. Reasons I am jealous of you: 1. You went to BEA. 2. Books. 3. Sushi (just in general). 4. BOOOOOKs. 5. Maggie Stiefvater 6. Books. 7. Literally everything. Haha.

    Okay, your description of how BookCon was disappointing is literally the greatest thing ever, that’s all I’m saying. I might have literally burst out laughing reading that (and this might have been when I first read your post a few days ago and i was somewhere public…)

    Anyway, besides being uber jealous, I’m glad you had such a good time Shannon! If it makes you feel better about crying, I went to Comic-Con once and cried over something stupid (it’s embarrassing, I refuse to tell the story) in the middle of everything. You aren’t the only one that cries at embarrassing times! Anyway, I’m going to go comment on your recap part 2 and continue to be a jealous monster. =)

    • Hahahhaha I get jealous every time someone else has sushi! Like, irrationally, inordinately jealous. I think it’s sushi’s fault, not ours.

      And thank youuuuu! Sorry to have made you laugh in public though- hopefully snorting wasn’t involved? ?

      I am glad that I am not the only dork who cries in public! That DOES make me feel better, and also, definitely curious about the story hahahah.

  21. Dee

    You have a wonderful way of dragging us behind you. LOL I wonder if I will love the second half as much as the first…

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