A couple of months ago, I saw a tweet from National Book Store officially announcing the upcoming book signing event of Stephanie Perkins to be held on July 5 (in Cebu) and July 6 (in Manila). I didn’t hesitate to immediately reserve that day for the event. I got so excited that I also asked my sister to accompany me, knowing that she’d read and loved Stephanie Perkins’ books. After checking the mechanics and rules of the event, the only thing left for me to do was to buy her books form National Book Store in order to be eligible to have Stephanie Perkins sign them.
Since the books of Stephanie Perkins I owned were not brought from National Book Store, I was kind of forced to buy her books again. On the one hand, I have to spend, again. But on the other hand, at least I got to own two copies of each of her books with different editions.
There was not a day when I didn’t mark off the days of my calendar and count how many more were left until the most-awaited event. Months turned to weeks; then weeks turned to days, and days turned to hours. This event may not be a big deal to some, if not most, but to book bloggers and avid readers, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity they wouldn’t want to miss, including myself.
As the event was nearing, I had to physically and mentally prepare myself for what’s to come. Having been to Nicholas Sparks’ book signing event in 2011, I can imagine what the crowd would be like. However, this is far from what I expected.
The night before the event, I found out that people had already begun lining up. There were seven at first, but around midnight, it became thirteen! I feared the worst. At the day of the event, my sister and I left our house around 7:30am. Upon reaching Glorietta 1 at 8am, the line was longer than what I expected. I started to dread what my signing pass number would be. Since the registration starts at 10am, we patiently waited.
Time seemed to be longer when you have nothing to do. So while waiting, I opted to continue writing my review of a book on my small notebook. More than an hour later, another unexpected thing happened! Minutes before 10am, we heard people screaming and the screams gradually grew louder and nearer towards our location. At first we thought National Book Store started the registration early or people were just too excited, but no. Apparently, a car drove past the vicinity and Stephanie Perkins was in it! To make things more exciting, she waved at all of us! And then the registration began.
Want to guess what my signing pass number was? It was 240! And there were more people lined up behind me. For such a big crowd, I feel that the venue of the event wasn’t enough to accommodate that large number of people. Moreover, seats were also limited, so people resorted to sit on the floor.
Since the event was scheduled for 2pm, we decided to roam around the mall first and eat lunch. Minutes before it began, we returned to the store and saw fans gathered and waited. The stage wasn’t that big and the viewing angle was also quite limited. I tried going to the second floor and checked if the stage was viewable. It was, only if you sat down.
Finally, it was the moment we’d all been waiting for. Before Stephanie Perkins came out, National Book Store did a short introduction while the fans stood up and gathered near the stage. I wasn’t able to take a picture because it was already crowded and the air conditioning seemed to be not functioning well. So we just stood at the back and listened to the speaker.
Then Stephanie Perkins appeared! Alongside her was her husband, Jarrod Perkins. Fans grew more excited and the screams grew louder. I was happy to hear Stephanie Perkins enjoying her stay here in the Philippines. During the interview, Stephanie Perkins answered each question enthusiastically. Questions ranged from her previous books, her upcoming book, and the concept of the new book she’s currently writing, to her experiences as a writer, her inspirations, and insightful advices to aspiring writers. After the interview, she gave ARCs of Isla and the Happily Ever After to the first seven people who lined up since the night before. And apparently, the first person in line started lining up since 1pm! Unbelievable, but true.
After that, it was followed by book signing! It was by batch of 20s and since my sister and I were still in the 200s, we just stayed in a coffee shop first. An hour or so later, when we returned, we saw a long line allotted for Jarrod Perkins. I didn’t have time to have him sign the books we brought and my patience was growing short, so I just took pictures of him interacting with the fans and signing their books. When my batch was called, nervousness and excitement filled me. But everything was forgotten once I was faced with Stephanie Perkins. She’s pretty and kind and sweet. She made sure she interacted with her fans and took time to take pictures with them.
And here it is – my signed copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door! Apart from getting a signed book, I was also able to take a picture with her. I went home with a smile plastered on my face. The waiting and standing for hours surely drained my energy, but it was all worth it.