No matter what fan convention I attend, walking into The Javits Center in NYC always feels like home! The most recent convention Nerds and Beyond attended there was BookCon, the annual celebration of storytelling and pop culture, on June 1 – 2. With hundreds of unique panels, guests, and exhibitors, there was so much to experience! Below you can read about Day 1 of this book lovers’ heaven known as BookCon.
‘Read With Pride’ Panel
The first panel I attended was ‘Read With Pride,’ featuring author panelists Kacen Callender, Mason Deaver, and Bill Konigsberg, with moderator David Levithan. The authors discussed their books, why they wrote it, and the realness of the love stories (even with happy endings!) within their books. To quote Mason, “Queer joy is a revolution right now.” The authors also talked about where Queer YA books have been and where they are now, Bill explained that though there is still a lack of diversity, “make no mistake about it, we are in an LGBTQIA+ YA Renaissance…what’s happening is a change and it’s a beautiful thing and it’s just been a pleasure to be watching it.” Kacen also teased about their new book called King and the Dragonflies coming out in February 2020, which will discuss the “intersection of race and sexuality.” After the panel ended, we were given some awesome swag to take home: a tote bag from I Read YA (a division of Scholastic), a poster for Callender’s Hurricane Child, an advanced reader’s copy of Deaver’s I Wish You All the Best, and a four-sample book that included a preview of Konigsberg’s The Music of What Happens.
Though you have to go online to get a ticket for BookCon signings, they are free for all attendees! I had autographs with two of the authors from the ‘Read With Pride’ panel. Mason Deaver signed my copy of I Wish You All the Best and Kacen Callender signed my copy of This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story, while we chatted for a moment. It was such a wonderful experience to meet the authors, tell them how much their books mean to me, and thank them. For those who had autograph tickets but did not bring or own a copy of the authors’ books, they were able to purchase them right at the table. Besides these types of autograph sessions, BookCon also had a variety of in-booth signings throughout the day. For these sessions, free tickets were available at the booths during the convention and the free item, usually a book, was provided. I was able to get a ticket for Tom Ryan and his new thrilling book, Keep This To Yourself.
‘Hulu Presents John Green’s Looking for Alaska’ Panel
I ended Day 1 with the ‘Hulu presents John Green’s Looking for Alaska’ Panel featuring author and executive producer John Green, cast members Kristine Froseth and Charlie Plummer, executive producers Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz, and moderator Akilah Hughes. The panel started with an exclusive first-look at the upcoming Hulu adaptation of John Green’s book, Looking for Alaska. The few clips look great and I am so excited to watch it when it comes out! The panelists talked about how they were first introduced to the book, how they connect to the story and characters, and how the story is still relevant fourteen years later. The executive producers also discussed how they were blown away by both Froseth’s and Plummer’s auditions for Alaska and Miles, respectively. Schwartz also described how great it is to have eight episodes to tell this story rather than one movie because they’re “able to take scenes that are only alluded to in the book or happen off-screen in the book and put them on-screen or imagine other scenes with these characters…everything you love in the book is on-screen.” The panelist even joked how the story can be considered historical fiction and how different it would have been if the characters had cell phones! That panel also discussed the music that will be heard in Looking for Alaska and that many songs are from 2005 and were even written into the original script from that time. Some of those songs will also be covered by contemporary artists. Schwartz ended the panel with announcing that we can look forward to all eight episodes of the Hulu adaptation of Looking for Alaska being released on October 18, 2019!
This concludes some of my favorite highlights from BookCon Day 1! Stay tuned for coverage of Day 2 coming soon!