Last week was a fun time for those of us who have discovered (and it’s a pretty big group) the YA series Divergent . The second novel in the the trilogy, Insurgent was released on Tuesday, May 1. I was excited about the release, and my reasons are three-fold. One: I follow Veronica Roth’s blog (check it here) and think of her as a huge inspiration. There will be more on number one later, and I will probably say too much. Two: Insurgent features Tobias — or Four, as he is known through most of the first book — and I want to eat him up. Three: There was a book signing/reading in Tribeca. I was going.
Tuesday morning, Samuel and I took the train to Barnes and Noble. We could have walked, but it was one of those days that the sky was spitting rain at us as if it had a bad taste in it’s mouth. That is fairly annoying weather for walking with a two-year-old. Sam got an Iron Man toy, sock puppet kit, and a new book. I picked up Insurgent. The signing was that evening and I wanted t be prepared.
I started reading it on the train as I rode into Manhattan. It wasn’t a long ride, so I didn’t get far. When I arrived — at one of the nicest Barnes and Noble’s I’ve ever been to (Tribeca is the most expensive neighborhood in NYC. The B & N was glossy, shiny, perfection) — I made my way to the children’s/YA section where the reading was. I was not admitted. The man at the entrance informed me my book should have been bought here, and he wasn’t sure I would be allowed to come in. You can imagine…that was not going to fly. He called his supervisor over, and I smiled, explaining very genteelly that I had bought my book in Brooklyn. He chuckled and waved me inside. The man at the entrance wouldn’t look me in the eyes.
I sat a couple rows back. I went to the signing as much— ehh, who am I kidding, I was geeking out about the signature — to observe the event for my own education as a hopeful author, as to meet her. There was one particular girl there that I honed in on. She was this incredibly awkward, ugly duckling who came with her very proud and excited father. This girl confirmed why being a YA writer is so utterly rewarding. THAT girl is who we write for, (or that girl inside each of us) because that girl needs a heroine to find strength in, or beauty in, or to recognize her potential alongside. I tried not to stare at her too much, and found gratitude in knowing I am writing someone she will find all those things in.
Overall, the reading, and Q & A was a blast to be a part of. Veronica Roth was as doll — a little self-deprecating, and admittedly trying to overcome her anxiety of crowds and public speaking — and someone I think we would all love to have coffee with. She was also a very kind and mature twenty-three-year-old who probably feels like this is a lot to handle for anyone, let alone someone her age. For me, Veronica Roth was a major kick in the pants about a year ago when I read Divergent. When I saw how old she was, I felt like throwing-up a little. I also felt like I needed to get my not twenty-three-year-old ass in gear. In a lot of ways, she is why I have pushed so hard to finish my novel. Not out of competitiveness or jealousy, but out of the realization that it is very possible to succeed at creating something meaningful that young. And that I had something meaningful in me to create.
I left the signing with a wonderful sense of hope, and also a book signed by the author. Then I got a stomach bug and I was able to lay in bed for a day and a half reading. This was a huge blessing, once I was done wishing I were dead. Next post, my Insurgent book review. For now, some pics from the signing.