ALA Recap

I think I might be the very last ALA 2009 attendee to post my recap of all the fun, but it’s taken me this long to recover. Seriously. I went straight from a week of summer camp counseling with a bunch of awesome, high-energy, super-inquisitive kids to 2 days of bedrest with a 102-degree fever to a flight for Chicago for book stalking on the expo floor, a whirlwind Twenty Boy Summer signing, lunch with my editor, a quick trip to the Sears tower with Alex, dinner with librarians and Little, Brown publishing friends, the Printz Award reception, and then a few hours of sleep before heading home to finish revisions on my second book, which I did, just in time for a Buffalo area booksigning and a quick overnight to Connecticut for my cousin’s wedding, which was a blast. But now I’m sleepy just thinking about this past July!

Back to ALA. I had no voice pretty much the whole time I was there. But that didn’t stop me from having a wonderful time with all of the book-loving people hanging out in the Windy City… and… okay, I may have enjoyed a few super fangirly fangril moments when I met some of my fave authors and bloggers. Maybe. Possibly.


Oh, all right. If a picture is worth a thousand words, let me just shut up and show you…


Since I had no voice, and since I’m actually kind of shy-ish in real life, Chelsea (aka The Page Flipper) and Kristi (aka The Story Siren) probably had no idea how thrilled I was to spend some time with them in the exhibit hall. I was so excited to meet them in person! And they didn’t even run away when they saw my airplane-hair!

Chelsea & Sarah

Kristi & Sarah

Then I got to meet a new blogger friend, Kristen from Bookworming in the 21st Century, who was one of the top contenders in the 20 Things in 20 Days hunt!

Kristen & Sarah

I also met Andrea (from Book Blather)…

Sarah & Andrea

…and Sarah (GreenBeanTeenQueen). No pictures of Sarah, though – she was in and out in a flash! But I’m glad she stopped by to say hello. 🙂


On my first day, I ran into 2009 Debutantes Darcy Vance, Cynthea Liu, Cindy Pon, and Kristina Springer on the conference floor.

2009 Debs at ALA

Next, I spent an evening with fellow Little, Brown authors Malinda Lo and Justina Chen Headley. We shared an intimate “musical chairs” dinner with some wonderful librarians and our friends and Little, Brown, in which the three authors read aloud (*cough* some louder than others) and rotated tables for each course. I lost my drink a few times, but it was a fun way to meet everyone!

Malinda, Sarah & Justina

After dinner, we headed over to the Printz reception for a HUGE dose of inspiration during the acceptance speeches by 2009 Printz Award winner Melina Marchetta and Printz Honor Award winners M.T. Anderson, E. Lockhart, Terry Pratchett, and Margo Lanagan, each of whom made me proud (and humbled!) to be a young adult author.

And I had no idea that polka dots would be such a big hit, but I’m glad I got the memo in time. Because showing up in almost the same dress as M.T. Anderson’s companion resulted in a totally fangirl photo op when the author waved me over to comment on the matching outfits soon after accepting the Printz Honor Award for his book, THE ASTONISHING LIFE OF OCTAVIAN NOTHING, TRAITOR TO THE NATION, VOLUME II, THE KINGDOM OF THE WAVES.


(OMG… Sarahs in this picture are much less calm than they appear.)

Speaking of fangirling… I was also able to chat with E. Lockhart about my undying love for THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS s and with Malina Marchetta about my undying love JELLICOE ROAD, though I probably sounded less like “I really enjoyed the complex characters and the challenges they faced throughout the story, interwoven with themes of grief, friendship, coming of age, and love. Brava on creating such compelling, thought-provoking work, sure to inspire generations of readers and young adult writers such as myself…” and more like “Um hi. Me write books too. Me love yours. Okay thank you bye bye.” Ehh… what can you do?

*Sigh.* What a wonderful trip.

Sarah & Jen

Thanks again to everyone at Little, Brown for inviting me (and for all of your hard work in ensuring that authors have the most fun! 😉 ), and thanks to librarians, readers, authors, and bloggers for making ALA 2009 such a fun and successful conference!

Next on the agenda?

*Falls over and sleeps for a week straight

2 thoughts on “ALA Recap

  1. I’m sad we didn’t get any photos either, but I had to run to make it to a session 😦 Plus, I felt bad chatting because I was towards the front and a big line had started to form-yay! But I’m glad I stopped by your signing. Funny story-whenever anyone at ALA sees a line for soemthing, they stop and ask what’s for. While I was waiting for your signing, a couple people asked, and I said “oh, it’s Sarah Ockler-she’s really awesome and her book is amazing!” So I spread the Twenty Boy Summer love in line! We’ll have to meet up again when you have a voice and I have more time 🙂

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