Out of all the tours out there, the Storycrush tour is a tour after my own heart — all about contemporary YA. I love me other genres of course but you know this is my one true love. So when I heard that Storycrush was coming to the Philly burbs I wrangled book club and we made a date of it. And I mean…the author lineup was fantastic with a mix of newer debut authors and established authors.
Who was there you may ask? Lauren Oliver, Courtney C. Stevens, Melissa Kantor, Katie Cotugno and Robyn Schneider.
If you don’t know who they are/what their books are about, I got the chance to hang out with them for a while (wasn’t able to get there in time to do an interview with them!) and asked them to give you a synopsis of their book in 6 words or less.
Storycrush Books in 6 Words Or Less (Aren’t They All Adorable?)
The event took place at a Barnes and Noble that I’ve been to quite a lot because I used to live in that area during college and they host some great events there. When book club and I arrived it was already busy busy busy! I had the honor of being the official Storycrush live blogger — basically I live tweet the event until my fingers fall off. Very frantically because they have so much good stuff to say. I got to meet them before the event and I seriously loved every single one of them — so sweet and charming and fun! I knew it was going to be an energetic panel.
And an energetic panel it was — lots of laughs, really genuine conversations about their writing process and certain aspects of their books, great advice and wonderful questions from the audience. It was the kind of panel where I was DYING to get to the books I hadn’t read yet based on their answers and the non-spoilery discussion of their books and it gave new life and dimensions to the books I had read already. It was so apparent even from just talking to book club that we were all excited about various books now because of the panel. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, tour! It was one of my favorite panels of authors ever!
Most LOL-worthy Moment
Either when Alison (publicist & moderator) called Ezra an “old grumpy man” when asking Robyn Schneider a question and Robyn said, “ummm well he’s kind of autobiographical.” (Seriously we were all dying). Or when an audience member started having a coughing/choking fit and got up (she took it all in stride!) and Lauren Oliver had just started speaking and she’s like, “Did I scare you off already??”
Best Writing Advice Given:
They all had a lot of great things to say — know there are ups and downs, don’t try to write how everyone else does/how you think you should, don’t take rejection letters as an “I hate this” but know it could mean many more things, etc. But my favorite piece of advice was from Courtney C. Stevens when she said, “Wear a cone of shame (you know those things dogs wear) — don’t look to the left or to the right trying to see what everyone else has.” I think that’s a good life lesson to in comparison and trying to make your own path. Your path is your own and isn’t the same as others.
Most Interesting Fact I Learned:
I totally didn’t know that Lauren Oliver started out for many years, before she wrote Before I Fall, writing a lot of adult books that she described as books talking about nothing for a zillion pages and pretty boring. The panel members all joked, “Pretty much what adult fiction IS!” Got a good laugh out of that!
Also, Courtney C. Stevens accent is adorable.
Most Exciting Moment:
Well besides meeting them I would say getting a postcard for Lauren Oliver’s new book (an adult fiction book!):
Question I Loved The Most:
What Was Your Favorite Scene to Write?
Lauren Oliver (Panic): A tiger scene!
Robyn Schneider (The Beginning Of Everything): A silent disco flashmob scene. (Also, a sex scene with an interrupting poodle? hahah)
Katie Cotugno (How To Love): A kissing scene that happens because it was a very high, wonderful moment for the character and then it is followed by a low low. (OMG I started How To Love after the tour and THAT SCENE. Devastating.)
Melissa Kantor (Maybe One Day): A scene where Zoe and Olivia talk about what happens when you die. (That scene!!)
Courtney C. Stevens (Faking Normal): A tent scene where Alexi really lets go and opens up.
Something I Learned About Each Book/Author That Made Me Want To Read It/Gave New Depth To What I Read:
1. Panic: I loved learning about Panic and I was interested to hear that Lauren Oliver thought as a high schooler she would have totally have played the game of Panic because was reckless and didn’t care about life back then. It sounds exciting and crazy and I can’t wait to read it!
2. Faking Normal: I think Courtney C. Stevens is one of the most wonderful and inspiring human beings ever. A lot of what she talked about added more to my reading experience but her and I had an interesting chat about how so often discussions of faith and God happen in YA in a way that isn’t preaching. I really appreciated that about her book because as a YA I felt like I was constantly questioning life and if God existed and why God lets bad things happen, etc. It was a wonderful side convo with her and I really enjoyed getting to know her!
3. Maybe One Day: I loved hearing how Melissa came to all of her ballet details in the book. Melissa had a friend’s daughter who had been in that competitive world and had the same kind of thing happen to her with getting cut from the program and so she talked to her a lot and drew upon her research! Love well researched details like that!
4. The Beginning Of Everything: It was so nice to see Robyn again. She is so delightful. I totally didn’t even KNOW that there was a huge Gatsby thread in her book and I’m so intrigued now. She was talking about how in high school people said they hated reading but suddenly everyone’s favorite book was the Great Gatsby on Facebook. She also said it’s a book that she thinks gets so misread in ways but a lot of people connect with and she wanted to explore that. I am intrigued about Ezra and his connection to Great Gatsby.
5. How To Love: I had to read this book immediately after this tour and finished it in a day and a half. I loved that Katie was inspired by the fact that she went to Catholic school growing up and every year there would always be a couple girls who would just disappear from school and then be back like 9 months later. She wanted to explore their story because she was always so curious.
Thanks to HarperTeen 1 very lucky winner will get a copy of the following:
– Panic by Lauren Oliver
– How To Love by Katie Cotugno
– Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stephens
– Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
– The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
– US Only.
– You must be 13 years or older to enter. Please have a parent or someone older do it for you if you are not.
– Giveaway winner will be contacted via email. You have 72 hours to respond or a new winner will be picked.