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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Event: Jenny Han In the Philippines

photo from NBS
I've mentioned in my book review of "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" that the author, Jenny Han, will be coming in the Philippines this June. I was really halfhearted about it. Take for example when Kim Hyun Joong and Lee Min Ho came into our country. I could buy the tickets or make extra effort to attend the free meet and greet but I didn't. F4 and Jerry Yan went several times in our country and yep still no show for me. This time I decided to go since I won museum tickets which is near the event location and it's about to expire on the 29th. So it was hitting two birds in one stone.

I was with my youngest son and when we got to the mall during opening time. I noticed the activity area was suspiciously empty. Then we spent the morning in the nearby museum. Before we took our lunch I found out that the event will actually happen inside the bookstore. I checked the place and there were already people seated on the chairs and on the floor. Majority of the crowd were teenage girls. So we ate out and got back an hour before the event. 

I remembered on the FAQS that you can bring your copy or buy the book on the event itself. I was planning on buying the book on the day itself as I don't have a physical copy yet. But as I scanned the displays all the books are there except for that book I specifically came for. I asked for help from the customer service and it was indeed already out of stock. I was panicking. So we walked passed through two malls to get into another bookstore and found out it's also out of stock. I even asked the girl to call the other nearby bookstore if they still have a copy and still a negative. My last hope was the non-affiliated bookstore and it was still a fail. 

We got back in the event and the small space was already packed. There goes my hopes of rubbing shoulders with the author. I didn't bought the other titles as I'm not about to make an emotional purchase. I'm just not ready to commit myself to read another trilogy with my current reverse harem backlog.

So I stood there for like almost an hour and waited for it to start. My son was busily playing the ipad on the floor. I enviously eyed the girls in their TATBILB paperbacks. It was like highschool all over again.  Girls were squealing when they see their girlfriends. Amidst all the group of girls, there was this one girl giving her cute boyfriend a smack on the lips. Then a group of tough looking girls in TATBILB  shirts came in. Yes with the same cursive font of the book. (I want the shirt!) Then a nerdy girl was passing flyers and she's with little Miss Perfect in her flower crowns. Oh yeah, they're both wearing customized Jenny Han shirts. There was also this girl who came in late and casually squeezes in the middle of the the crowd while the smaller girl at the back shoots daggers from her eyes. Everyone was cool except for me whose as busy as a wallflower with the rest of the adults.

It started 30 minutes late. When Jenny Han arrived the girls pushed to the front and I got myself  in the sidelines. There was an interview first and the audio was pretty bad in my place and I couldn't hear half of it. But the most important part was that she had officially closed the reverse harem deal. There's going to be the third guy on the sequel, "P.S. I Still love You". She also mentioned that this was based on her real life experience of writing letters to her crushes and Kitty was also based on her sister. That's what I can remember for now. The rest of the interview was about the other books. Sorry I'm the worst person to blog an event ever! But some interesting things that were unforgettable:

1. She worked on a bookstore before that was used in the movie, "You've Got Mail". I loved that movie. I can still remember the kid spelling out, F-O-X. I also have this dream of either a. working on a bookstore and b. opening a small, quaint bookstore/cafe.
2. During the Q & A , one the fans asked about her first love since she's fond of writing about first loves. There was a shy, awkward expression from Jenny. She still thinks about him...in his highschool form but no she left out the name.
3. There was also a game where Jenny asked for the names of the five guys from TATBILB and my mind went blank! Shame on me!

Jenny (yes we're on first name basis ya know) seems very intimidating in her pictures but in real life she's so sweet and very warm. I feel like she's an older sister to her fans. I laughed on how she tweeted earlier that day that she giving out virtual hot cocoa to all the fans lined up outside. And her sister asked her why are you giving out hot cocoa in this weather which is true since we're a tropical country. Then Jenny retorted that it was like thematic cocoa just like in TATBILB. Please correct me if there's some special significance about cocoa in her other books. These friendly banters are as real as the Song sisters. So cute!

She also gave out advanced copies of her "Ashes to Ashes" book and TATBILB notebooks as prizes. She also gave copies to the early birds who came a day before at 11 pm! As I was situated near the entrance, a lot of adults were asking the security guard on how long does the book signing usually takes and the guard answers them helpfully as if it's always the first time. He had this spiel going on that it may take to a maximum of four hours and it depends on how slow or how fast the writer signs the books. I also realized that a lot of the adult came to chaperone their kids. Me on the other hand, I was the adult who came with her kid who's acting as her chaperone. Lol. Also another realization, even if I have miraculously purchased a book from a different bookstore, I didn't register to get my number for the book signing. /Facepalm.

Even though my plans were a total disaster. It was a  whole new experience for me that I got to enjoy. I t makes me wish to be young again. I want to be like this young girls who read books, blogs about books, attend book signing, blogs about book signings...Well my time has passed but I'll always have a memory of me of as a young girl who dreams of first love while reading Sweet Valley High and Sweet Dream and rolling in her bed. And several years later I got to marry my first love. :)

If an opportunity presents itself again in the future I'd love to take it.  Here are some pointers of things to remember when attending a book event. Well this is more for my personal reference if in case I get amnesia and forget this ordeal.

1. Re-read the details before leaving your house. It said inside the bookstore and not in the activity center. Registration started at 10 am and I was already there but prancing around somewhere else.
2. Do not buy the book on the event itself. I repeat do not buy the book on the event itself.
3. Come early to get a lead in the queue and a good spot for taking pictures and enjoying the event. 
4. Have a very patient companion who can take your spot while you take your turns in the comfort room or in buying food.
5. It's going to be a long and tiring day. It will take the whole day if you're that dedicated. So dress comfortably, carb up and get caffeinated! Bring books or cards or what-have-you to pass the time. 
6. Take notes or better yet record the whole event. Make sure you got your cameras, powerbank, batteries, memory card, back up cameras etc. 

This happened last June 21 at Makati City. Jenny Han had another tour in Cebu City a day after. I don't have decent pictures but you can check the official pictures from National Bookstore. But if you really insist here's a picture of me outside the bookstore and my ambush shot of Jenny Han after the jump. Hurray for my first ever reverse harem-related event!!!

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