Shannon Messenger is the author of Keepers of the Lost Cities a middle grade fantasy series. It stars a twelve year old named Sophie, who is gifted with telepathy and as a result has never felt at home with her life or her family. A mysterious boy named Fitz reveals Sophie's true identity, and she is soon forced to leave her family behind for a strange new world where she truly belongs.
When I heard that this author would be coming to the store, I was interested. I wasn't familiar with her books, but then again I haven't been a children's bookseller for very long and I'm still learning new names every day. But since the name wasn't instantly recognizable, I thought there might not be a large turnout. Boy, was I wrong! We had a large audience eagerly waiting before Shannon even stepped foot in the store. Two of her fans had even dressed up as characters from the book for the occasion. If a writer can inspire her readers to cosplay, I assume they must know what they're doing.
Shannon talked for a few minutes about how she became a writer and her process, and then she turned her time over to questions. Hands shot up all over the room.
There were a lot of questions regarding “shipping”, and it took me a moment to realize that the kids were asking about whether Sophie was going to be involved with Boy A or Boy B. I hadn't recognized the term because I associate it with older teens and adults trying to match up characters in Twilight or Hunger Games; I didn't think middle readers were also so concerned with the romantic triangles of their fictional characters.
It was really heartwarming to hear how much the kids enjoyed the stories, and how eagerly they had awaited the newest book. It made me wish that I'd read the books before the event so I'd have a better idea of what they were talking about, and so I could join their enthusiasm. But even as someone who knew nothing about the characters or their world, I enjoyed the talk, because Shannon is a very engaging speaker. She spoke with gusto throughout the afternoon, never flagging or seeming tired, even though she had done multiple school presentations before arriving and had eaten nothing but a granola bar all day. She was friendly and took a moment to listen and speak with each fan before signing their books. Shannon was a real class act, and her kindness to her readers makes me want to tell everyone about her books, even though I haven't read them (yet).