Of Sheep Festivals And Signings: Or How I Made It To Jennifer Donnelly’s Launch Party

Revolution Jennifer Donnelly Swag

Revolution Swag

Saturday afternoon, I prepped the GPS, picked up my friend and set out to a part of NY that I rarely frequent. Our journey there was safe, and quick for the most part. UNTIL we arrived in Rhinebeck. Upon getting there we saw a long line of cars and backed up traffic. It turns out that traffic was backed up for hours for a freakin’ SHEEP AND WOOL FESTIVAL, which apparently is kind of a big deal. Sidebar: who goes to a sheep and wool festival? I mean come on, there are better things to festival for. After an hour of going three inches per minute we finally made it into town and found a place to park. We then wandered around Rhinebeck awkwardly looking for Oblong Books, which is set slightly off the main drag, but not all that hard to find.

Once in Oblong Books, which is fantastically stocked with great YA books, and has an awesome reviewer program (I was browsing their reviewer ARCs, several of which are on my wishlist) we browsed the sections and wound up buying multiple copies of each of Jennifer Donnelly’s books. The manager started putting out chairs so we grabbed our seats in the front row and began reading our copies of Revolution. After a few rousing chapters, Jennifer Donnelly arrived and then there was poppin’ champagne AND cookies. However, as my stomach was empty, I did not have very much champagne (it’s terrible form to be wasted at someone else’s launch party, I guess). After some talking and mingling, we took our seats.

Jennifer Donnelly Book Launch Reading

Talking about inspiration

Jennifer Donnelly then took the stage, much clapping was had, because she is made of awesome. You know how sometimes when authors speak it’s boring (well, in my imagination), well it was totally NOT boring when Jennifer Donnelly talked. She told us about her inspiration for Revolution, which was an article about how in France they found a tiny heart believed to be the dauphin’s and were doing genetic testing on it. However, she had to put the idea in her idea folder, as there was another book she was due to write. Then after talking about her inspiration, she read two chapters from Revolution. She’s got a great reading voice, and I think would be a good fit for doing an audio of her book, which is pretty rare for some authors I think.  It definitely made me want to drop everything and delve into Revolution. Afterward, the floor was opened for questions. I only remember my question (arrogant lady that I am), which was ‘Andi is quite a departure from Mattie Gokey, who did you like writing better?’ Her answer, and this is definitely paraphrased: ‘Characters are like paper babies, and like children, you can’t choose a favorite.’

Finally, at the end, there was the line up for signing. I wound up getting at the end, because I had so many books to get signed and I definitely did not want to be rude and have all these people wait for me to get everything signed when they only had one book. I mean, I hate that guy at the grocery store who takes friggen forever with his 500 items, and makes you wait even though you only have one item and a credit card. So, I was not going to be that guy at a book signing. The cool part is that while I was waiting, Em and Nora of Love YA Lit came up and started talking to me. FYI meeting book bloggers is pretty much the most awesome thing ever. Even more awesome is that one of them is going to grad school for the program I want at the school I am looking at. When it was my turn, we chatted a bit about books, our TBR piles, and The Hunger Games trilogy. It was very awesome, and so totally worth my time.

Rock on Oblong Books for hosting such a fabulous launch party.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Sounds like you had a fabulous time! I was actually home in NY this weekend…I totally should have made the drive to Rhinebeck!

  2. Jennifer Donnelly is made of awesome! So glad I was able to go with you to the book launch, listening to your awesome playlist, and witness the traffic that apparently comes from a freakin’ sheep and wool festival. 🙂

  3. That’s so awesome that you got to go to the launch party. Looks like you got some great swag. Is that a reproduction of the key from the book? I went to her signing in Dayton and I agree that she should record her own audiobooks. My friend (who is not much of a reader) went with me and now she wants to read Revolution once I’m done with it.

  4. That sounds nice… NY + book signing + chat with bloggers. I should move to NY.

  5. Still sad I couldn’t summon up the energy to drive 3.5 hours for this one. Can’t be too jealous since it was my choice, but I’m sorry I missed it. Looks like a lot of fun! Plus, Revolution is AMAZING. My housemate is reading my ARC right now and enjoying it, too, so I’m happy the Revolution love is spreading.

  6. It was fun to meet you! I wish I had taken a picture of you with your pounds and pounds of books.

    And of course the event was great. I love hearing authors read from their books and discuss their characters and process and…anything else they want to talk about really.

    I also got stuck in Sheep and Wool Fest traffic, which funny enough is what Nora’s mom was in town for (the festival, not the traffic). It’s actually a pretty fun festival if you think sheep are cute and you like to knit and eat tasty food (Nora says there were some tasty vegan tamales there this year). It is not quite as fun if you are just trying to get to the bookstore in town.

    If you’re heading to the Rachel Cohn and David Levithan event next month, let us know! It’d be fun to meet up and talk books!

  7. Sounds like you had an awesome time! I’m super jealous!

  8. It sounds like such a fun event (cookies) and I keep seeing the book all over now. I like the info about genetic testing on a possible Dauphin heart, odd fact to add to my brain. I wish we got events like this where I am.

  9. April, thank you so much for this wonderful post! It was great meeting you and I hope you can make it to our Hudson Valley YA Society event next month!

  10. Absolutely awesome post and feature! I would have loved to attend this launch and signing 🙂


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