In this post, I’m gonna be talking about my whole experience with #JenniferNiveninPH. It’s been past a week since National Book Store has held one of the highlights of my bookish life; it’s been past a week since I’ve met the amazing creator behind one of the most amazing YA Contemporary books these days, Jennifer Niven‘s All the Bright Places!
I read only one book from Jennifer Niven which is her first Young Adult novel. I think almost everyone has heard of it, All the Bright Places it is. I read it just this January. It has been given to me by my brother after months of nagging him about it. Lol! Since then, I can say I’ve grown to have changed my perspective in things. It’s my personal favorite forever. And same goes through to Jennifer Niven. She’s been very lovely since the first time I connected to her through Twitter.
So when I heard last April she’s coming here in the Philippines, I knew I had to go and see her.
I usually don’t bother about book signing tours because they’re usually far from where I live. It’s a four hours worth of travel and as a minor, it wasn’t easy to have my parents’ permission.
But because it’s Jennifer Niven, I did what I have to do to just go. I saved money, I asked my parents to let me go, of course with the supervision of my older brother and sister, I had my brother to give his day off for the day and I had my sister convinced that we have to go there early. Thank god it’s summer.
As it was my first book signing event that I attended, I had no clue on things that I should be expecting. I definitely didn’t expect waiting 10 hours before my book is signed! It was worth it though.
For preparations, I’ve gone through people I follow on Instagram whether they’re going. Luckily, ate Shea (@ bookishwanderlust), who’s been one of my bookstagram friends for a time, messaged me asking if I will be attending. She’s been very friendly and I’m so glad for her. Without her, I wouldn’t have known my book should come with a tag or a receipt from National Book Store, yikes! As my book was just given to me as a gift, it didn’t come with a tag or receipt, duh. So ate Shea came with a solution. She introduced me to her friend, Kian (@ jazper.reads), who can give me the receipt of his book and who I’ve recently just met through Read With Sammy Facebook page where we are both members. What a luck of fate.
MAY 29, 2016
My sister and I left our house at 4 in the morning. On our way to Manila from Pampanga, I was rereading the last thirty pages of my paperback copy of All the Bright Places. I was trying real hard not to cry with my sister seating beside me. It’s around 6 in the morning when we met our brother and gone straight to SM Megamall. As one of the security personnel did a roll call of where we are in the line, I learned that I’m already 191st even though the sun is just about to rise. We waited a couple of hours under the blazing heat of the sun before they let us in to register. I recognized some faces from Bookstagram but I was too shy to approach them.
I immediately spotted ate Shea right after I had registered. It was a real courage to approach her. Thankfully, she and her buddies let me into their group. YAY! Together with ate Shea and Kian, a massive shoutout to ate Rizza (@ rizzathedauntless), ate Rachelle (@ melanchelly), ate Michelle (@ michalvior) and Tin (@ tineillettore).
We didn’t get to have our own seats though since they’re limited and it’s a first-come-first-served basis. So we found our place in the cold tiled floor.
That’s us except it’s crowded there and we’re definitely not dancing. After another couple of hours sitting in the floor, they decided to have lunch and let me have mine with them, YAY again! After having our tummy ready for another couple of hours of waiting, we returned to the venue which is now more crowded and we literally have to squeeze ourselves in to have a place within it.
When it was finally time to have Jennifer on the stage, all the weariness I was feeling lifted up and changed into a grateful feeling. She answered a couple of questions from the host and some fans. I love how she’s NOT taking everything for granted.
Another couple of hours waiting in the cold tiled floor before the set of numbers where I belong in was called. I felt my tears starting to swell up as I climb on the makeshift stage. I held it hard thinking if I cry I will look worse than I already am in my first picture with this lovely author.
When it finally was my turn, I asked if she could maybe give me a hug and she said, “No.” I think she saw the disappointment in my face. But without a pause, she continued, “But I can hug your hands.” That was when she took both of my hands to hers and squeezed it tight for I don’t know how long. Even as she was signing my book and making remarks towards how she loves seeing a well-read book with the little book tabs, she never let go. I recited a line from the book to her, “‘I am forever changed’, thank you.” She replied and kept saying to me about a couple times, “You are bright places.” And I indeed felt I am.
They gave us all a pamphlet of sneak peek from Jennifer’s next Young Adult novel, Holding Up the Universe that will be released on my birth-month this year, OCTOBER!
I just noticed that I was holding my breath when she finally let go of my hands. I walked down from where she was, thinking, this is definitely not a good day to die because that simply just holding my hands, which no one has ever done to me before her, was the greatest and an enough reason to be ALIVE. All was worth it.
I’d like to thank National Book Store for giving us an opportunity to meet the loveliest of all lovely authors, my new-found bookish friends who made the whole experience more memorable and of course, Jennifer, you are all colors in one at full brightness.
Oh and guys, I just wanna say … SHE FOLLOWS ME BACK ON TWITTER AND RECENTLY JUST ACCEPTED MY FRIEND REQUEST ON FACEBOOK ASDFGKDASKELMG
All the Bright Places is Jennifer Niven’s first book for young adult readers, but she has written four novels for adults–American Blonde, Becoming Clementine, Velva Jean Learns to Drive–as well as nonfiction books, The Ice Master, Ada Blackjack, and The Aqua Net Diaries, a memoir about her high school experiences. Although she grew up in Indiana, she now lives with her fiance and literary cats in Los Angeles, which remains her favorite place to wonder.