It was in August last year that I finally decided to hit publish on my first post to my new blog, after attending my first ever PTALive event! For those of you who haven’t yet heard, this year the interest in the event was so much greater than last year, they had to change venue from Penguin Australia Headquarters, to Hoyts Cinemas at Melbourne Central in order to accommodate the approximately 350 attendees! The event didn’t disappoint either! Felicity (Marketing Manager at Penguin Teen Australia (PTA)) was engaging and worked the crowd well, and there was a lot of excitement in the audience due to the amazing Nic Wheeler joining us for the evening. It was bigger and so much more exciting than last year and of course, it was full of all sorts of juicy and exciting news for Young Adult (YA) fiction.
For me personally, the evening got off to a great start when I arrived with Amy and we quickly met up with Erin and Kat. I first met Erin at the Vampire Academy Movie Meet and it was lovely to get to see her again, and to meet Kat! From there, familiar face, after familiar face turned up, and I couldn’t contain my excitement! I also got to catch up again with Liz, Astrid, and Angel, and I finally got to meet the lovely Kimberley and even fellow PTALive 2013 shout-out buddy Emily-Jane! *high fives* YA blogging team, UNITE! … Okay, I’ll stop that now. I’m still riding the PTALive high, but onto the business end of what happened at this year’s PTALive event in Melbourne!
There are a lot of good things to say about PTA, but possibly one of the areas they stand out most, is their engagement with their readers through various social platforms, their PTAChat, and their events like PTALive. It was really exciting to see so many hands rise high when Felicity asked the crowd for a show of hands for who joins in every Wednesday for PTAChat. I personally have alerts that go off on my phone every Wednesday evening half an hour before the chat starts – I hate it if I ever miss a chat. It is seriously the way I have been able to connect with so many other amazing fangirls (and not just locally, but internationally too)! If you don’t already join in, the chats happen on Wednesday nights from 7:30-8:30pm Melbourne time. Yes, Melbourne is so cool it has it’s own timezone.
This years Top 5 favourite PTA books were Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy, On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. Of course they also discussed some of their favourites from other publishers, because YA love needs to be nurtured across the board in order to grow! Some of the titles listed were These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry, The Diviners by Libba Bray, and Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a PTALive event without some swooning over Jane Austen adaptions (thank you Hank Green!) and it served as a reminder that I am grossly behind in my Emma Approved viewing. I can safely say though, that I really am enjoying what I have seen so far, and if you haven’t yet given it a go, you really should watch it. Also make sure to check out it’s predecessor, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (which I also loved). As a side note: this topic of discussion may or may not have seen Felicity start clapping relationships – it was a) adorable, b) a relief to know I’m not the only person who gets excited about such things like this! ♥
On theme with discussion of web-series’, it went without saying that Rachel Caine’s upcoming Morganville Vampires web series adaption was given a mention and met with a lot of excitement from the crowd. I am super excited about this, and if you haven’t already seen it, one of my beautiful friends Jemina Venter has been inundating us all with awesome fanart in anticipation!
Despite discussing the shortcomings (and totally devastating box office failure), the Vampire Academy movie was met with excited screams and I’m pretty sure the eyes of everyone around me lit up. As a group we discussed what we all thought had been some of the issues with the release, and it was quite interesting to hear the different thoughts about it all. I think even though it totally bombed, we’re all desperately hoping for Frostbite, because let’s be honest – the story doesn’t really start until the second book. I think though, that a widely agreed on view from the evening, was that Dom Sherwood now needs to be in all of the YA book-to-film adaptions for everything. Because he is perfect. Your argument is invalid.
Books that the staff at PTA feel are sadly underrated are My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, the Legend series by Marie Lu, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and the Enemy series by Charlie Higson. I’ve been wanting to read The Lunar Chronicles for so long now, but I’ve been so broke lately that feeding my book habit has been impossible. Soon though, as I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about those books and they sound like something I would really enjoy!
There were a lot of mash-ups brought up throughout the night, and I’d just like to say that I only ever like mash-ups for a laugh! I mean, seriously? Titanic-meets-Avatar-meets-Twilight? I don’t want for that world to ever exist! Also discussed (once again), was the fact that YA fiction is not just for teens, and it really doesn’t matter how old you are (I’m 27 years old and still loving YA fiction!) – you should never feel ashamed for loving whatever it is that you love to read! To younger readers: YA is not something you ever have to “grow out of” either. Haters gonna hate, but you just keep on being awesome, okay? I intend on discussing this further in a future post (watch this space) because this is something that really bothers me.
The YA online community was also discussed and it gave me pause to think about how many of the people in that room I had come to know since August last year – it kind of blew my mind. The positive power of the internet, my people! It’s also good, because it makes it so much easier for us (the fangirls!) to give honest and open feedback about the things that we love, and the things that we love to hate! It’s good for the publishers to know what is being well-received amongst the community. As if to prove their point about the online community, they pulled up a page full of the logos for different Aussie book blogs (congrats to my friends Astrid, Angel, and Kimberley for all making that list!)
We were then treated (or tortured, depending on who you ask!) to the trailer of The Fault in Our Stars movie, followed by some behind-the-scenes/interview footage (I swear, the crowds cheers were louder for John Green than they were for Ansel Elgort, which was cool, but I hadn’t been expecting that)! I can’t even finish the book, because after reading 3 paragraphs, I’m already a blubbering mess – it is beautifully heart-breaking, and in the wise words of Felicity, no matter how prepared you are for it, “No. You will not be fine.”
I think after Brisbane’s PTALive event last week, most of us were already aware that PTA TV was coming soon – which I know that I for one was stupidly excited for! What none of us had anticipated, was that we would have a special guest “joining us” at the event. That special guest, was Richelle Mead in the first episode of PTA TV! Awesome, or what?! (Hint: the answer is awesome.) I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again: I’m convinced that Richelle Mead is some sort of evil genius. Telling us things along the lines of the Bloodlines series maybe getting better after the awful events at the end of The Fiery Heart. MAYBE?!?! You have got to be kidding me. At least though she also discussed things like how she’s come to use terms like “Sydrian” (fandoms name for the relationship between characters Sydney Sage and Adrian Ivashkov, that on a scale of 1 to 10 the cliffhanger at the end of Silver Shadows is going to be a 7, Silver Shadows is going to be both romantic and swoon-worthy, and in one word “intense”, and that she loves Australia – plus much, much more. I can’t wait for PTA TV to properly launch, you guys are all going to love it!
By this point, I’ll be honest, I had been looking over at Nic Wheeler a lot (potentially an understatement) and wondering when he was going to get up and do his thing and talk to us all about my most beloved Adrian Ivashkov. Felicity took a moment to tell us about his audition for the part, and how she wasn’t listening because “OH MY GOD HE’S BEAUTIFUL!!!” (did I detect the hint of a blush there, Nic?) before he got up and took the mic, telling us that “she wasn’t listening, but I thought I did pretty well.” With the fan reaction he got in the room last night, I think there were a lot of people who were glad he got the part! I’ll be honest, when I first saw the trailers, I wasn’t sold because he doesn’t look how I imagine Adrian to look, and because I’m utterly obsessed, this was initially hard to get passed. It took some time, but I eventually conceded that he does a good job of acting as Adrian, and even if he doesn’t look how I imagine Adrian to look, he is still ridiculously beautiful ;) Also, for those of you who haven’t yet had the chance to meet Nic, photos don’t do him justice! He’s even more beautiful in person ♥ Part of that may be because he is just so ridiculously sweet and lovely and I could spend a while sitting here saying all of the nice things about him… so I’ll stop now. Those sort of things can’t easily be captured by a camera though, so I just want you all to know that he is really lovely ♥
Apparently at the end of his audition, when Felicity was seeing him out, he winked at her all Adrian Ivashkov-like! I vaguely recall this being mentioned at last years PTALive, but it still made me laugh again anyway! As a shout-out to Daisy Masterman who was unable to be there, Nic did say that she is good fun to work with and a good kisser! And in case you were all wondering, yes, we’re getting book trailers for Silver Shadows! Nic is hoping he’ll get to do some pretty heroic things in those trailers – I can’t wait to see them!
We then had an intermission where Nic had the patience of a saint and spent ages having photos taken with his adoring fangirls. Having met him at the Vampire Academy Movie Meet, I decided to instead go and have my photo taken with the gorgeous Felicity, and then hang out with my awesome fangirl posse and not bombard Nic with my shameless fangirling just yet.
When we reconvened, Felicity told us about her job with PTA and how she got to be in the position she is now in. People ask her often “can I have your job” to which she made some comment about also paying her rent and bills. Amy put her hand up and said to me that she would pay those things for Felicity if it meant that she could have her job! I’m inclined to agree, to be honest… She also announced that after listening to all the things we wanted to hear more about from PTA, they’re now going to start hosting PTALive events for specific topics. Whether it’s writing, publishing or blogging – which I may have started bouncing up and down in my seat when she said this. I can’t wait to see this all happen (and attend these events)!
Upcoming Penguin Releases:
May 7th | Breakable by Tammara Webber
May 20th | Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
May 28th | The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead
July 23rd | Masquerade by Kylie Fornasier
July 29th | Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead
August 27th | The Rapunzel Dilemma by Jennifer Kloester
August 28th | The Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore
September | Shatter by Erin McCarthy
September 14th | The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
September 24th | Unwanted by Amanda Holohan
September 24th | Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
October 7th | The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
December | Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes
Of the above, the releases I am most excited about are Silver Shadows and The Rapunzel Dilemma. I quite desperately need my next Sydrian fix, and Jennifer Kloester’s writing is simply exquisite! I grew ridiculously excited though when we were told that we’d be getting non-spoiler Silver Shadows reaction tweets, and soon! To be honest, Amy and I were planning on just rocking up at Penguin Australia HQ today and making ourselves at home (jokes! ♥)
I’m so glad that this year I was actually prepared! Last year, I went without a camera, or anything to take notes on! I highly recommend if you go to one of these events in the future, that you make sure you have a camera with you, and something to take notes on! I think you’ll seriously regret it if you don’t (or at least it makes life a lot easier if you do!) – especially if you’re a blogger! ♥
Also, Felicity, I too am a binge reader!!
Once again, I would like to say a huge thank you to the staff at Penguin Teen Australia for making this event possible. It really is an awesome thing being able to come together with so many other book nerds and fangirls, and overall it was a great and informative night! (Thanks for the copy of Popular – A Memoir by Maya Van Wagenen too – I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing it!) Also, thank you to Nic, for coming and hanging out with us again (and for hanging back afterward with the Movie Meet ladies for a lot of really bad photos (because the lighting was really not ideal))! You’re an awesome guy and I can’t wait to catch up with you again one day!
You can find PTA on Facebook, Twitter, and their blog, and you can also find Nic Wheeler on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! You can read my recap of PTALive 2013 here and see tweets of the event by following #PTALive!