06/21/16

I turned 18!

On Sunday, I turned eighteen years old!

I’m an adult (according to the law), guys.

On my birthday, I jumped off a rope swing into a river, went bouldering for the first time, and ate a ton of Italian food. (I also got the full set of Harry Potter DVDs so I’m in a bit of a Harry Potter mood right now.)Aneeqah, my beloved best friend, also gave me the best birthday gift of all time (other than her existence) and read Jellicoe Road on my birthday with me. We just had our fangirling session which pretty much involved me reading out my favorite parts and Aneeqah nodding along with my emotions. She’s not quite on my emotional level yet.

On this day, I felt immense sense of gratitude, and I needed to make a post to thank the countless incredible people who have helped me get to the place I am. So here we go. (Also, this feels like an acknowledgements section, but OH WELL. I love reading acknowledgements.)

Thank you, my beautiful, incredible, insightful, and caring blogging friends who make me laugh and smile on a daily basis. Jen and Vy, who were some of my first blogging friends and showed me their ways with gifs and fangirling. I love you both so, so much and am so proud of all you’ve done this year! Emily, who I met on Lit Up Review and kept me sane from day one. Thank you for taking risks with me, always saying yes, and for always being ready for a political debate. Jessica, for being my LUR bestie and supporting all my endeavors, for meeting me in NYC two years ago and having lunch with me and walking around the city. I can’t wait to spend next year with you! Grace, who I’ve known since we were both little eighth graders, thank you for introducing yourself at BEA all those years ago, for writing the most beautiful poetry, for living the YA life, for reading my college admissions essay, and for being one of the most incredible friends a girl can have.

Aneeqah, my beloved best friend, thank you for everything. For being my friend for three (or four? I can’t remember) years, for putting up with my craziness, and for always answering your phone no matter what you’re doing. Thank you for brainstorming my book with me, for caring about my characters as much as me, for pushing me to constantly be better and do more, and for your constant love and support. Thank you for being you. I love you so much and could never have gotten through the past year without you.

Thank you to all of the people of publishing who have helped me in this crazy journey! Thank you to Jessica Preeg of St. Martin’s Griffin, for sending me my first ARC and showing me around your offices. You are the reason I fell in love with publishing! Thank you to Margot Wood, who spent two hours talking with me about the future, the industry, about college and growing up and everything in between. I cannot thank you enough for that conversation. Thank you Jill Bailey of Penguin, who took me under her wing and let me tag along with her at ATBF and brought me endless books. Thank you for writing me a recommendation letter, for supporting me and encouraging me to go for my dreams. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jill! Thank you to all of the reps at countless festivals and conferences who have given me ARCs, answered my questions, and taken a chance on a teen girl.

Thank you to BookPeople Teen Press Corps and our fearless leader, Tanecia, who came to my graduation with a smile on her face. Thank you, T, for your endless hugs and smiles and letting me fangirl and steal all the books. Thank you for driving me to a TFiOS premiere and never making me email you my reviews. Thank you for your friendship and everything you’ve done for me.

Thank you to all of the authors who have let me interview them over the years and who have given me hugs and taken pictures with me. Thank you for making my dreams come true, for being as amazing people, and for writing incredible books who have changed my life. Thank you for replying to my emails, giving me advice, and connecting me with people you know. Thank you for everything you do every day. Gayle Forman, Leigh Bardugo, Jessica Brody, Jandy Nelson, Jesse Andrews, Aaron Hartzler, David Arnold, Adam Silvera, Jason Reynolds, Morgan Matson, Katie McGarry, and so, so many more. I may not have met all of you, but you have all touched me in your own way.

Thank you to my family and all of the people who supported me from the beginning of my life – I couldn’t have done any of this without you.

Thank you to my readers, who have read this blog since the beginning. I love you all.

Here’s to the next journey – Barnard and NYC, here I come! 

  • THIS POST MADE ME CRY.

    you are fabulous. <333

    xoxoxo

  • HAPPY 18TH WILLA! loved this post so much – only confirms my knowledge that you will go on and do GREAT THINGS. best of luck this upcoming september in college! you got this!

  • Jen

    willa you never ever ever cease to amaze me. you are one of the most accomplished 18 year-olds I KNOW. seriously. never stop being amazing <33

  • Holly (nutfreenerd)

    Happy birthday! Reading Jellicoe Road sounds like the best present ever 🙂 Jonah Griggs = life <3