Hello and happy Sunday, readers! I'm excited to present my recap of the Politics & Prose event of the A Reaper at the Gates tour. It was a wonderful event (and my first time attending an event at this particular bookstore!). Check out my recap!
I had actually been on the fence about whether or not I wanted to attend this event, because trips to D.C. are very long and tiring, with the traffic and the sheer distance between Baltimore and D.C. When I saw that Politics & Prose was advertising a pre-event meet & greet (just like the Fairfax B&N did when Renée Ahdieh was in town a few weeks ago), I jumped at the chance. I decided that I hadn't yet preordered the book anyway, so why not preorder the book through P&P and get access to the meet & greet. As it would happen, I was preorder #17 (out of 20), so I was cutting it close!
The meet & greet was lovely! Unfortunately I arrived ten minutes late but it was still great. There were cupcakes, and I got a goodie bag that included my preorder of Reaper, a poster, a button, and the tote bag itself. I got to ask Sabaa a question (what she was working on next, besides this quartet) - she wasn't allowed to say much but what she did hint at is very exciting!
For the main event, Sabaa was in conversation with Everdeen Mason of the Washington Post. Everdeen is very intelligent lady who asked Sabaa some thought-provoking questions, like how the current political atmosphere has influenced her books. You'd be surprised (or maybe not?) to know how much of many current world issues Sabaa wrote into her books. Like refugee crises, refugee camps, cruel dictators, etc. Sabaa is so candid and honest about her political opinions, and I respect that. She isn't afraid to say things out loud.
I wrote this on Instagram: I was humbled by this event. As an Indian-American girl who loves reading, loves dreaming, but never saw herself in YA lit (or any lit) as an adolescent/teen, I am so grateful to Sabaa for writing from the heart and including a South Asian cast. I am so grateful to her for incorporating heartbreaking, real-world events, like the refugee camps.
But most of all, I am so grateful to her for listening to my story. At the signing table, I told her about my own family's immigration story, how I've always been a dreamer but was pushed into the STEM fields because of my parents (#AsianParents) and because I have no one to fall back on and no financial security. How it's isolating to be an immigrant and/or child of immigrants.
Sabaa listened, understood, and then she encouraged me. She told me to keep dreaming, and to pursue whatever my creative passion is. I almost teared up. Sometimes, you need to hear the words out loud.
Thank you, Sabaa. For your stories, for your hard work, for representation, for listening. 16-year-old me wished she saw South Asian heroines in stories written by South Asian authors. 22-year-old me is so happy that authors like Sabaa are brave enough for all of us.
A huge thanks to the amazing staff at Politics & Prose who made this event possible, and special. The event was filled to capacity so there was a long line, but the staff kept things running smoothly and efficiently. I loved the opportunity to attend the meet & greet before the main event, and I really liked being able to get my books signed first because I was a meet & greet attendee!
And thank you, Penguin, for sending Sabaa to D.C.! I'm so glad I didn't miss the event. =)
Stay tuned for a giveaway (hopefully)! The preorder of Reaper that I bought through P&P was actually my second copy - I didn't need to preorder another copy but I did in order to get access to the meet & greet. So I got that copy just signed (not personalized). I will give it away on Twitter!