Anytime a bookstore closes, it breaks my heart into a million pieces. When I think about all of the amazing experiences I’ve had in bookstores over the years, especially indies where you can just feel the passion and dedication the second you walk in, it is obvious that the bookstores I have visited across the country are an indelible part of me.
So it was especially heartbreaking when the Citigroup Center Barnes & Noble closed here in New York at the end of June. That store was huge. When I was starting out as an author, they had a really big teen section with lots of room for those cardboard floor displays you don’t see anymore. I went there to take photos with my displays, and everyone was always so kind and welcoming. I was honored to moderate the very last event that store had, a teen panel that was part of B-Fest. Lots of sweet memories there.
Every negative situation has a positive side. The positive side of the Citigroup Center Barnes & Noble closing is that they let me keep my shelf talker…and also take a few faves. Shelf talkers are those labels you see under some authors’ books in Barnes & Noble stores nationwide. Here are the ones I took as mementos:
I am beyond grateful to have a shelf talker, and to be in such good company with these rock star authors.
Laurie Halse Anderson has been my favorite YA author since day one. Laurie is the OG of YA. Speak was the catalyst for an actual teen section, which pretty much didn’t exist until around 2000. Back in the day, there were like two shelves of teen books in the children’s section. Laurie inspired the teen section we know and love today. She is a beautiful writer. Every single page of her books resonates with truth and brilliance and emotion so strong sometimes you actually have to put the book down for a minute to get yourself together. She dropped the mic before that was even a thing. I will always be grateful to Laurie for helping me find my own voice, and will always be her #1 fangirl.
Everyone was saying I needed to read The Hunger Games. This was right before the final book came out. I was like, “No thanks, I’m all set with my TBR stack of realistic contemporary teen novels.” I am all about the realistic contemporary teen novels, which is why they are all I write. But people kept insisting. They were like, “You don’t understand.” And I was all, “No, you don’t understand. I’m not into dystopia.” But they would not shut up about how I didn’t understand. The first two books sat on my nightstand for a long time before I gave in and picked up The Hunger Games one night. Next thing I knew, I was still reading at four in the morning, eyes burning out of my head, not caring that I would be an exhausted mess the next day. Because OMG HOW GOOD WAS THAT BOOK? So yeah. Took that one.
Sarah Dessen paved the way for teen romance. She was a mentor when I was first getting started and is a friend I look up to today. I have learned so much from Sarah over the years. We have a lot in common, especially all things summer like flip-flops and long daylight time and fresh treats. Her books bring all the nostalgic feels. They have a timeless quality that feels like a dream to read. Leaving her shelf talker behind was just not an option.
There are some names that require no explanation. John Green is one of them. Enough said.
This Facebook Mentions Live video summed up my shelf talker feels:
Snaps for my readers on social who noticed the Joey + Pacey pic on my bulletin board. And yes, that is Jason Segel brushing his teeth in a scene from The Muppets!
Fortunately our shelf talkers are in lots of Barnes & Noble stores. And B&N will be opening some new high concept stores that focus on community and ways to inspire more social interaction, bringing book lovers together in wonderful ways. I am really looking forward to seeing those.
Happy summer reading, friendly neighbors! xoxo