I feel like I will have many thoughts about the panels and 'in conversation' events I saw during my time at YAShot and I may very well blog about more of them soon, but... for now, I just wanted to send out this one particular thought. I was at a panel about Home and Belonging chaired by Cecelia Vinesse with SE Durrant, Will Hill, and Eleanor Wasserberg. Home and belonging is something I feel very strongly about and it was a panel I was very much looking forward to. As I've been fairly out of the loop, book-wise, I'd only read one book by the panelists (Cecelia Vinesse's Seven Days of You) but I was very intrigued by all of the stories and I was excited to hear them talk about what thoughts they all had about both subjects. And it was a really interesting panel. I was engrossed.
But one thing stood out for me more than others. I think the topic was about setting. And how certain places feel like home and how the characters in Will Hill and Eleanor Wasserberg's books (both books set in a cult environment) would still wish to connect with people in their same circumstances even after the disbandment of their cult environments and Cecelia Vinesse (who grew up between the US and Japan) felt the same way about her school in Japan. How she just felt very immediately connected to anyone who attended her same school, because they just knew in a way that nobody else could what it felt like to live somewhere else, to live in Japan, to have these particular experiences that only a small group of people would understand.
And I've never grown up in a cult. I've never attended school in Japan, let alone ever set foot in the country. But there was this sense of ...home being at YAShot. Being surrounded by authors and bookish people, sure. But more so, the book bloggers. Not only is the UKYA community a wonderful, supportive place to be part of, it also just feels like home to me.
Nobody else really gets what it means to be a book blogger except other book bloggers. The time and energy put into it, the pressure we put ourselves under, the juggling act, the towering TBR piles, the unsolicited emails and books, the book events, the struggles only book bloggers face. I could sit in a room for hours with another book blogger and I'm sure we'd never run out of things to say to each other, comparing experiences, talking about schedules or balancing social media, or what we're reading or whatever. I've felt that so often in the past 12 years I've been blogging. Bookish people are my people without a doubt, but fellow book bloggers: you are my home.
Thank you for being amazing.