If you guessed it was The Princess Diaries by the one, the only, the fabulous Meg Cabot, you'd be right, and today is her birthday.
I didn't know it at the time, but it was one of the first YA books I had ever read. Mia was a character I could grow up with and look up to at the same time. She wasn't perfect, but that only made me like her even more. She was interesting, as was her situation, the people in her life, and her way of looking at the world.
Fast forward ten years to 2011. I'm 22 years old and sitting in a college auditorium in Naperville, Illinois. Anderson's Bookshop is hosting a stop on Scholastic's "This is Teen" tour, featuring Maggie Stiefvater, Libba Bray, and Meg Cabot. Each of these three women were incredibly smart, funny, and completely engaged with the audience which was filled with those who were young and young at heart. When the talk was over, it was time to get in the signing line and have the chance to meet the authors whose books you had purchased. And when it was finally my turn, I geeked out just a little bit.
Okay, a lot.
But can you blame me? And she was so nice about it! I had been trying to keep calm and seem cool and collected, but I was too excited. I told Meg that I grew up reading about Mia and I'd since enjoyed her adult books along with the fact that I was writing a book of my own and her writing advice on her website had been hugely helpful to me. And being the classy lady she is, she smiled and took a picture with me, and even gave me this when I mentioned that I go to library school:
It was the first time I had ever met someone outside of my family who I had looked up to growing up, and it was a wonderful experience. It only took her a few minutes, but it meant the world to me. I have since been to numerous Anderson's events and met several authors whose works I enjoy, and every time I've been fortunate enough that they are as enthusiastic about their readers as we are about them. Those are memories I'll cherish for years to come.
Meg is certainly not the only one who likes to give back to readers. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, author Lauren Oliver is doing a giveaway in the spirit of love over on her blog. Entrants have the chance to win a copy of Delirium (which is an incredible dystopian novel all about love - it's amazing), a box of chocolates, and an ARC of her upcoming novel Pandemonium, the second book in the Delirium trilogy. It's a great opportunity and you never know if luck will be on your side, so why not put your name in?
So Happy Birthday again Meg, comments welcome, and as always, happy reading.