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July 28, 2017

A Night with YA Authors Mackenzi Lee and Becky Albertalli --- Guest Post by Teen Board Member Grace P.


Getting to book signings in the suburbs of Atlanta where I live is harder than you would think. Let’s just say they typically consist of me annoying my parents to drive me one hour each way into downtown Atlanta for a one-hour signing. Occasionally my city’s independent bookstore, The Foxtale Book Shoppe, hosts events for YA authors that I must attend, and luckily, this store is only ten minutes away from me. I always make sure to take advantage of every convenient signing opportunity that I have. Naturally, I was super excited to find out that they were hosting an event for authors Mackenzi Lee and Becky Albertalli. Read on to learn all about the event.

Mackenzi Lee is the author of the extraordinary new novel THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE. I had the honor of reviewing Mackenzi’s book for Teenreads, which only made the experience that much greater. Becky Albertalli is the author of what I believe is one of the best young adult novels of our time, SIMON VS. THE HOMO-SAPIENS AGENDA, as well as THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED.

This signing was my first time meeting Mackenzi and my third time meeting Becky --- like I mentioned, I am no stranger to book signings. I honestly cannot even remember how many I have dragged my mom to. This signing was so special for a few reasons: it featured authors who I completely admire, I brought my best friend and the crowd was manageable. 

The Foxtale never fails to disappoint me with their signings. This is the first signing that I was able to drive myself to, and it felt great to finally do so. I arrived with my best friend less than 40 minutes before the event began and we still got good seats, which is rare at the signings I attend. When I walked into the Foxtale, I was greeted with a “Hi, Grace,” from the owners of the shop, and that was enough to make my day. I was so happy that I was known, at least in my local bookish community. I then proceeded to buy the finished edition of Mackenzi’s book and sat and talked about how great the books were with some mutual bookish friends.

Once the actual event began, I knew this was not going to be a typical signing. The conversation between Becky and Mackenzi was incredibly honest and raw. Most of the discussion was about the sometimes not-so-glamorous life of an author. I found this to be so interesting and entertaining because authors barely ever address the hard parts of being a writer for a living. Becky and Mackenzi asked trivia questions with paper dolls of the main characters in both of their books as the prizes, and they were adorable. During the Q&A, the authors answered some questions from the audience about things like their writing motivation and embarrassing author experiences.

Next, I ran to the signing line and barely had to wait to get my books signed. I usually clam up when I talk to authors, but this time I made sure to tell them how much their books had impacted me and how great they were. I had amazing conversations with both authors before getting a picture with them. I only made one blunder during the signing; I forgot to get one of the books I had just bought signed. I did not even realize this until I got home but was amazed that I made such an obvious mistake. The goal was to get the books signed, and I only kind of managed to do that. This mistake was surely not enough to ruin the amazing memories I made at this signing, and I will always remember it as one of the best signings I have attended.

If you ever have the chance to attend a book signing for an author whose book you have read, I highly recommend taking the opportunity. Meeting the person behind the novel is an enlightening experience that changes how you think about the book. Realizing that authors are humans makes reading a more exciting experience. Please take the opportunity to meet the creative minds behind the literature you read. It is more impactful than you may think.