Hi bookish peeps! It’s a special time of the month again where a certain author visits the Philippines to conduct a book signing event! And this time, it was Jennifer Niven! The lovely author of “All The Bright Places”– the winner of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Young Adult Fiction. The event is made possible again by none other than, National Bookstore.
I will also cover here some of the interview portion of Jennifer Niven and question and answer portion from the fans. So stay tuned 🙂
ABOUT THE BOOK:
All The Bright Places is indeed a beautiful book with a heart. It tackles different aspects of a person’s personality and how teenagers struggles to find where they fit in this world. It introduces us to broken but genuine individuals who seek peace and self discovery in either death or future. The main characters of the story are Finch and Violet and up to now, I still sob every time I think about how their journey inspired many of us to live life to the fullest. Jennifer Niven wrote characters that truly understood what some of us face; being unloved or sad but still clinging unto a small thread of hope that there would be a better tomorrow. It was indeed a beautiful book and I am really honored to meet such a wonderful and down to earth author that gave us a bright place.
If you’re interested, you can read the synopsis in goodreads
THE BOOK SIGNING EXPERIENCE :
The Waiting Game pt. 1
The previous book signings I’ve attended to were all held at National Bookstore in Glorietta. But this time, this event was held at SM Megamall Atrium, Sunday, May 29, 2016. The signing starts at 2:00 pm but the registration is at 10:00 am. I wasn’t familiar with how the events are handled in Megamall so I decided to go early since I live a bit far from the venue.
I arrived at exactly 6:30 am and I could see that there was already a long line of people waiting. I estimated that maybe I was already no. 150 + in the line.
The event organizers were giving cards saying “I’m the last person in the line.” This is to avoid line breaking and people sneaking in the line. They also advised people not to let anyone sneak in the line because it was quite unfair for those who came early and really did fall in line. Few minutes later, they did an initial head count of how many people are there. My friend, Kath and I were numbers 164 & 165.
Obligatory Selfie While Waiting
I was quite happy that there were event securities now on each book signing and I could say that they way events are being handled is really improving. The previous book signings I’ve attended to, probably 2 years / a year ago, there wasn’t much of strict rules or to say the event securities weren’t much visible. That’s why it wasn’t that organized and really in order.
To cut the long story short, around 9:30 am, despite the mall being closed yet, we were ushered inside the mall to fall in line for the registration.
Long Line for NFA Rice. (lol kidding)
As you can see above, the rules of the book signing is simple; all books bought from National Bookstore / Powerbooks would be accommodated only if the book still has a price tag or if you don’t have a tag, you can present them the receipt as a proof of purchase.
You will present the people from the registration area your book and they will check it if it’s really bought from National Bookstore/ Powerbooks while you sign the registration log book. After that, they will give you your signing pass and they will stamp your hand with a small “N” as your passes inside the venue and to indicate that you’re registered (but it looks like harry potter’s scar tbh) .
Our Signing Pass ( you can’t see my “HARRY POTTER SCAR” because it’s on my right hand)
My friend and I finally got our signing pass and as you can see we were numbers 164 & 165 from the initial headcount but now 179 & 180. Well that’s fine though 🙂 The next waiting game starts now!
Inside the Venue a.k.a The Waiting Game pt. 2
So for this part, we didn’t do much, basically it’s just us waiting but I’ll show you what it looks like inside the venue.
Inside you could also see ATBP books for sale available for those who haven’t purchased yet and man…!
All The Bright Places Copies for Sale
I don’t know if it’s just me but to my surprise, Jennifer’s other novels were available too on the counter! I guess I wasn’t researching enough but she had written books that are nonfiction and fiction, both historical and contemporary, adult. Not everything was available on the counter, I think there were three other novels of her there. I didn’t have a picture though.
I only took a picture of one which is this Valva Jean Learns to Drive. (Driving? wow sounds interesting because I just had my driving lessons 4 days prior to this book signing event. lol)
Valva Jean Learns to Drive
I didn’t have enough money to buy her other books because I’m currently #TeamUnemployed for I just graduated college a month ago. The books were pretty pricey for a paperback copy. If my memory serves me right, I think it’s around 625 php.
I have no budget to buy books so I decided to pass and maybe purchase next time. If you wanted to know more about Jennifer’s other novels aside from All The Bright Places, you can click HERE
So when I entered inside, I immediately saw the stage yay! This venue was much more spacious compared to the venue in Ayala because it’s not inside the bookstore but on the activity center of the mall I guess
There were seats inside but it’s limited, so most of the people including me were seated on the floor and spend the rest of the time waiting for the arrival of Jennifer at 2:00 pm. Some grabbed their lunch and came back before 2 pm.
top view from the second floor
And obviously we weren’t in a hunger strike so we grabbed our lunch too and ate.
Jennifer Niven’s Arrival and Interview
The MC Introducing Jennifer Niven
Around 2:15 pm, the event host arrived and introduced Jennifer Niven to the crowd. Everyone was trying their best to keep calm and hide their excitement and when the MC called Jennifer’s name, the crowd cheered or I should say, “fangirled/fanboyed” together.
Jennifer is so pretty and she got a cool phone case of All The Bright Place which I’ve heard a gift from her fiancé.
Before the interview started, Jennifer greeted the crowd and decided to took a picture using her own phone!
“I just want to say that, you all are the best readers in the world.” ~ Jennifer Niven told her Filipino Readers
Jennifer also mentioned how much she enjoyed interacting with her fans through social media specially on Twitter and Instagram. She expressed her appreciation toward all the fan arts , posts and messages from the Filipino fans.
“I love writing young adult novels more than anything.” ~ Jennifer told the MC when asked about her other novels
(We love it too Jennifer!!) Jennifer told everyone that All the Bright Places was her first young adult novel and writing young adult books is one of the things she wanted to do for a long time. And not only that, she revealed that she has an upcoming young adult novel that’s out on store this coming October 4th! The title is Holding Up The Universe and she’s also currently writing her third young adult novel that is to be announced soon. (what could it be!?)
“I was very sad when I finished my next book Holding Up The Universe because I thought she won’t be able to read it. But then I thought, YOU will be here to read it.” ~ Jennifer Niven
Jennifer also talks about how her mother influenced her not just as a writer, but also as a person, “She always encouraged me at young age to do what I wanted to do, she said whatever it is, follow your heart and do what you’re meant to do.” She made a remark that her mom was not just the one who encouraged her to write, but she was also her best editor and first reader.
The MC asked Jennifer if her mom was able to read All The Bright Places. It was a sad answer we have received because Jennifer said that her mom died unexpectedly 4 months after All The Bright Places was released. This was the last book of her she’ll ever read.
“What really though informed the book and me and Finch the most, is the boy that I knew. Because just seeing how he struggled to be in the world everyday, made such an impact in me and that’s where most of the story came from.” ~ Jennifer talks about the background of her story
The MC asked her how did she come up with the story of Finch ad Violet.
Jennifer responded that Finch was inspired by a boy she had loved years ago who’d unfortunately took his own life because of depression… Violet comes a little bit from her but emphasized that Violet was more popular than her in high school, other than that, they are similar. (So we just don’t know but maybe she used to have purple hair too? )
She mentioned that most of the story came from personal experience and she really wrote the story as honestly as possible. She told everyone that she hopes that All the Bright Places will help people be more open about their condition and make them feel that they are not alone. She also encouraged everyone to seek out and reach out if you need help.
Check the synopsis HERE
Jennifer also discussed her new book, Holding Up The Universe. It has a boy and girl narrator. Boy has a condition called Prosopagnosia which is also known as “face blindness” which means he cannot recognize faces even the faces of people he loves. The girl is known as America’s fattest teen and she hasn;t been back to school in 5 years and this is her first time going back in a while.
Jennifer added, “It’s a story about learning to see the truth inside of other people and figuring out where you belong in the world.”
(I can tell that it’s really going to be an exciting book again. But prepare tissues guys, this might be
After the interview, the readers were given the chance to ask Jennifer questions and she would answer them one by one.
Q & A From the Readers
Jennifer Niven during Question and Answer Portion
(NOTE: I won’t include the name of the people who asked the questions)
- Question no. 1: “I’m dying to know, when do you planning on getting married?”
Jennifer: “I don’t know when we’re getting married but we were just saying, we should just do it while we’re here on the Philippines!”
- Question no. 2: “This is a heavy question, is today a good day to die?” (hah! I saw what you did there gurl 😀 )
Jennifer: “No it is not a good day to die.”
- Question no. 3: “If Violet is in this room, what are you going to tell her?”
Jennifer: “I would remind her of all the things that Finch taught her and all the ways he’d helped her come back up again and start living again. And I would remind her that she is such a great place and there’s so many bright places around her and anywhere.”
- Question no. 4: “If you were given a chance to write a different ending, would you and why?”
Jennifer: “Without spoiling the story to those who hadn’t read yet, I have thought about writing a different ending when I was writing the book and it’s certainly something in my heart that I would love to go back to, however I needed to write an ending that I knew in real life so that’s why, I wrote that ending.”
So that concludes the question and answer portion of Jennifer from the fans. And now we’ll proceed to the book signing proper and I’m really pumped up for this one!
The Book Signing Proper
The people were called by batch, I think a batch of 20 each. Since I’m number 179, I have to wait a little bit more. There were also lucky people who were called because they’ve won in a raffle draw and their price was an Advance Reader’s Copy of Holding Up The Universe. Man! where’s my luck?
After few minutes of waiting, our numbers were called and ba dum tss. I’m so close now to Jennifer and I’m half nervous half excited and half mermaid. And that guy sitting there is her fiance.
Then it’s my turn and everything went black…
Nah I’m kidding, I just can’t believe I’m in front of Jennifer! The author of the book that made me bawled my eyes out because of both sadness and happiness at the same time.
The author who wrote Theodore Finch, the broken but undeniably beautiful boy. She is signing my book!
And she’s looking at me! And I don’t know if I have a morning glory in my eyes, but I told her how much her book mean to me and that I used to deal with self issues. Reading her book made me felt understood and lovely and that she had really given us readers a bright place.
I also thank her for being such a genuine person who writes sincere stories. And it has been an honor to meet her personally. I was supposed to ask her questions but then again, I thought I’ll take this day as a chance to just thank her for everything. She has been constantly asked questions but I want to make her feel that we are also thankful for the stories she makes and how inspiring she is to all of us. Though she won’t remember our swift interaction, this thing is more than I could ask for.
We were all given a sneak peek booklet of Holding Up The Universe! yay! It was really a fun event and kudos to National Bookstore and all its partners for making this event possible and absolutely well organized.
And though I wasn’t able to do it, but if I could ask her one question, I would ask,
“Where do you find hope in the world that seems so hopeless?”
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below your thoughts 😀
Thank you for reading my book signing recap! See you again next time !
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