I am so glad to be back at Bookworms Unite with my sisters Eliana and Erin. I’d say I’m a Bookworms Unite veteran, but I didn’t make it last year so I won’t claim the title. (And please don’t remind me of the 2016 event because it breaks my heart every time I remember how I missed Miguel Almendras’ first Bookworms Unite live reading. Let’s just focus on the positive, okay?)
THIS YEAR’S BOOKWORMS UNITE ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN A LIBRARY! ❤
And it’s not just a library – it’s the Rizal Library of Ateneo de Manila University. Marvelous, I tell you. Just, beautiful. ❤
We have an actual stage this year! The stage gave an “official” feel to the event, and it was nice to have a larger space with more room for movement.
I took pictures of the prize pile before the event started. Seeing all those books got me really excited about the games because there were so many ARCs from different publishers.
The registration kit came with two books, button pins, a notebook with a pen, a handmade bookmark by Sherrinah, and a special swag pack from Ate Kate which includes super cute stickers and a personalized bookmark with the names of the attendees! #thankyousomuchforspellingmynameright ❤
When the event officially started, we were asked to introduce ourselves and share our current read, and it’s very heartwarming to see some faces light up with recognition upon hearing my name and my book blog.
My sisters and I have a reputation for being competitive, so we joined the first game right away. In Truths and a Lie: YA Edition, participants would have to pick the lie from the four statements a host would read aloud. We have read some of the featured books, but it was hard to determine the lie when very specific details were mentioned.
Luckily, my sisters and I won second place! We were given the chance to pick a book from the prize pile but our choices were limited to a certain stack because the other stacks were reserved for other games.
The next part was a preview of Fall 2018 titles from different publishers. I especially got interested in Sometime After Midnight by L. Philips when I heard that it’s “#AlexFromTarget meets queer Prince Charming” because I think that’s really clever.
After the preview, the Bookworms Unite human bingo commenced! Do It for the ‘Gram required us to take selfies with the people described in the prompts. I didn’t try so hard in this game, because there were too many people going around and it kinda drained my energy. However, I enjoyed taking selfies with my friends whom I haven’t seen in a long time and I also felt honored to be the “#romanceclass representative” in the event. (There was a prompt asking you to take a selfie with someone who can name at least 3 #romanceclass books, and it was actually announced by the hosts that I can be the go-to person for that prompt. *wink*)
We had lunch, then my sister Eliana presented her original piece “Makatang Sundalo” for the poetry slam. (Of course, I had a #proudsister moment!)
Unfortunately, Team FEYrees couldn’t join the YA Trivia Game because it was encouraged to team up with other participants and we weren’t allowed to keep our original team. We’re clingy, so we didn’t want to be apart.
But in the cover guessing game, original teams were allowed again so we joined right away. This year’s cover guessing game was really hard though. Imagine having to visualize the cover based on the description that you will only hear from the hosts. As expected, my sisters and I lost. But that’s okay because now we know how difficult it can get and we can prepare better next time.
I really enjoyed listening to Sharing the Love of YA Since 2015 because it was a very chill discussion of Bookworms Unite through the years. As an attendee of the first (and second!) event, it felt so good to see how much the event has improved. Some of the 2015 attendees were mentioned and nostalgia took over because my friends from the first year didn’t make it to this year’s event.
The hosts also shared future plans for Bookworms Unite and you could just imagine, what started as a simple (supposed-to-be-lowkey) gathering of bookworms might become the ultimate bookish event for book lovers around the country. #nopressure, but how awesome would that be? ❤
The book blind date came after the talk, and it ended pretty quickly because people were so fast in getting books. I even wound up getting one of my sister’s books because I wasn’t able to recognize Erin’s handwriting. (In my defense, I thought she was going to write the keywords in calligraphy. The keywords of the book I got were written in print.)
Towards the end of the event, fellow members of Bookstagramers Philippines gathered for a group photo and Admin Yumi gave out free bookmarks! (The BGPH bookmark is in my swag haul above!)
I thought the book blind date was already chaotic (as it has always been), but something I’m not-so-happy about happened during the raffle.
You see, names were randomly picked in between the parts of the program and each person got the chance to choose from certain stacks. But as our time ran out, all participants whose names weren’t called yet (me included) were given the freedom to take a book (I believe that’s the unspoken rule) from what’s left of the prize piles.
In other words, a mini-Hunger Games happened. But what made me sad was that people whose names were already picked joined the “Hunger Games” and actually took more than one book. That would be okay if everyone already had their chance to win a book from the raffle, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. 😦
C’mon Fay, focus on the positive! Think good things!
THE AUTHOR MESSAGES!
There were surprise videos from Becky Albertalli, Arvin Ahmadi, Sandhya Menon, Randy Ribay, Mark Oshiro, and Kara Thomas!
I personally love video messages and my favorite among the ones at Bookworms Unite was Arvin Ahmadi’s because of how candid it was. (“There’s a car, let’s not get hit” and “JM’s new book meetup” for the win!)
There were two books (Invisible Ghosts and A Reaper at the Gates) that I hoped to take home with me and thanks to my sister Erin (whose name got picked in the raffle), I finally have a print ARC of Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider!
This is obviously my favorite book from my Bookworms Unite haul. ❤
Before leaving the venue, Pandam Designs gave out free magnetic bookmarks and I chose to get the Pandam Designs x The Royal Polar Bear Reads bookmark because Kuya Raf missed the event. (Can you spot the Royal Polar Bear bookmark on my swag haul?)
These are all the books I got:
I just told myself to focus on the happy things and try to forget about the unpleasant ones because I am so thankful to the hosts who did their best to make this event possible. This gathering means so much to me because I don’t get to see my bookish friends a lot. Sending love to you all, Ate Inah, Kuya Miel, Ate Hazel, Kuya JM, Danica, and Bianca. ❤
To the Rizal Library and the Rizal Library Ambassadors, thank you so much for accommodating us! I definitely want to go back!
To my travel buddies – sisters Eliana and Erin plus Ate Shealea, thank you for braving the weather with me! (We came all the way from Pampanga!)
Special thanks to this year’s sponsors:
- Penguin Random House International
- National Book Store
- Hachette Book Group
- Pandam Designs
- Marauder’s Dispatch
Looking forward to next year’s event! #nopressure 😂
ALL UNCREDITED PHOTOS ARE FROM MY PHONE AND/OR CAMERA
Curious about the beginnings of this bookish event? You can read my past recaps here: