OK, so I'd planned to spend most of my day walking around the ALA Exhibit Hall looking at all the books, and especially the children's books, but then my day gets a little crazy and kind of gets away from me and before I know it, it's 2 p.m. and I'm just getting on Metro and I know I have to leave the Expo by 4:30 because I need to get up to Frederick tonight for my nieces' dance recital and so I'm pretty bummed, but then I walk in and my heart can hardly stand it, because there are three huge exhibit halls filled with aisle after aisle after aisle of books!
And wait, cause that's not the best part.
So I go to the Simon and Schuster booth because I want to make sure I know where it is because at 4:00, I want to quick meet Gretchen Moran Laskas so she can sign my copy of The Miner's Daughter before I leave (which she later did, and she was a total sweetheart and it turns out we have something in common because we both hate to have our pictures taken, not that I remembered my camera anyway, dagnabbit), and so I find the Simon and Schuster booth right away, and who should be signing books when I get there but Susan Patron AND Matt Phelan and so even though I already own and have read The Higher Power of Lucky, I buy another copy and hey, it's only $10 and I get it signed by the author and illustrator, so how cool is that.
But wait, cause that part was good but it's not the best part.
So I walk over to the Random House booth and I just happen to get there when Judy Blume is doing her signing and so I get in line and get not one but two books signed by her, because my sister (the mother of the aforementioned nieces) is an elementary school teacher and loves Judy Blume and OMG you can get paperback copies of Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret for just $3 and have her sign them right in front of your face!
And that was really, really, really cool, but even that isn't the best part.
So then I head over to the Penguin Booth and I'm looking for one book in particular, The Qwikpick Adventure Society by Sam Riddleburger, which came out in May and I'd preordered at my local Borders but they still haven't contacted me about it and so it occurs to me that maybe I can get it here for like a buck because they seem to be sellling everything so darn cheap, but I don't see the book at the booth, so then I decide to start at the beginning of the display and look at every single book in case I'm missing it and so I'm walking down the row and all of a sudden I'm staring at the cover of 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher!
Let me repeat that part in case you missed it: All of a sudden it's as if a hole has opened up in the convention center ceiling and a shaft of bright light is shining on this one book and I have to shade my eyes and squint but it turns out I'm staring at the cover of 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher!
And I'm like, OMG, I wasn't even thinking about this book because it's not out yet and here in front of me is an Advance Reading Copy! It says on the cover "Not for Sale" and I see just the one display copy so I'm not really sure what the protocol is, though it occurs to me for a split second that I could walk away with it and no one would notice but I know that would be wrong, so wrong, so I take it up to the counter and ask if there is any way I can buy it, and they tell me they don't sell those, they give them away, and my heart skips like five beats and I ask if I can take it and they ask where I found it, so I admit that it was their display copy and they tell me I can't take it.
So then the nice lady offers to go over and look under the table to see if she has any more and so I'm watching her and she peers up and shakes her head and I mouth "no?" to her and she must see the look of desperation in my eyes because she calls me over and asks in a conspiratorial tone where I picked it up and so for a second I think maybe she's going to let me keep it but then she takes it out of my hands and puts it back on the shelf and I am about to lose all hope when she leans toward me and whispers, "I have a copy in my bag. I'm going to give you my personal copy." And I don't know what I said to her at that point, but it was something along the lines of "I love you," or "You're my hero" or "Tell me your name so I can name my firstborn after you."
And THAT was the best part of my brief but amazing visit to ALA!