Hey, where’s my awesome book memorabilia?

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Some people say kids these days have it a lot rougher than we did growing up.

The madness surrounding the young adults series "The Hunger Games" has already begun - and the movie hasn't even been cast yet.


Case in point: Just look what I saw in Hot Topic the other day.

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“Vampire Diaries” take a bite out of the Garden State

I learned a few things about the cast of “The Vampire Diaries” yesterday that I didn’t know.

Jersey boy Paul seemed happy to be home./All Garden State Plaza event photos by Ava Gacser

First – and most importantly – Paul Wesley, who plays *good* brother vampire Stefan, is a Jersey boy.

“My home state!” he shouted in greeting, moments after taking the stage during a Q&A with fellow castmates Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev at Paramus’ Garden State Plaza.  (The event followed a meet-and-greet/signing at the mall’s Hot Topic.)

Who knew?

While one of the some 500+ fans gathered at the mall told me she thought he was from Cherry Hill, the truth is – according to IMDB and Wikipedia – Paul is another Marlboro celebrity. (He joins the Hayes family from TLC’s “Table for 12.”) He was born in New Brunswick (as was I, albeit a *few* years earlier) and reportedly attended Rutgers (ditto) for one semester before leaving to pursue acting.

Ian, who plays bad boy Damon on the show, seemed to enjoy all of the adulation - most of which came from teenage girls. (Shocking!)

I also learned that Paul, who plays *good* boy vampire Stefan, is a big fan of a certain kooky reporter from Kazakhstan.

“Paul does the best ‘Borat’ impression ever!” revealed Nina.

(Paul quickly confirmed that with a quick “Hello, hello!” in a full-on Sacha Baron Cohen voice.)

Fans had an overall better view of these posters (for a good five hours or more) than they did of the "Vampire Diaries" stars.

As for Ian (he of the piercing baby-blue eyes), who plays oh-so-bad-boy vampire Damon (Stefan’s older brother), he confirmed that he will return to his roots as the ill-fated (or maybe not so ill-fated?) Boone on the new – and final – season of “Lost,” which kicks off at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, on ABC.

When asked how many episodes he will be in, he replied, “I think three.”

I bet Nina - sandwiched between Ian on her left and Paul on her right - was the envy of every single female in the mall yesterday.

Nina refused to take sides in the fans’ battle over which vampy brother is hotter.

“I am on ‘Team Defan,'” she joked.

Nina did offer a tiny hint at this week’s eagerly anticipated episode, “Children of the Damned” (see above clip) – which features the introduction of her character Elena’s alter-ego, Katherine: “There will be blood.”

Before the question-and-answer session ended, I made my way around the corner to the entrance of Urban Outfitters. The actors had come through the store on their way in, so I figured they would leave that way, too. And it’s a good thing I was standing there, because that’s exactly what happened.

Paul walks through Urban Outfitters on his way out of the event.

Paul was the first one through. When fans began tapping on the window, he turned around, smiled and waved hello. Ditto Nina.

Ian was the last to walk by, but he wasn’t content with just smiling and waving. Oh, no.

This photo was snapped seconds before Ian got *up close and personal* - albeit through a glass window - with some fans.

Ian took it a step further: He walked over to the window, smiled and pressed his lips against it in a kiss! (If only I’d caught that on video!)

If it wasn’t already obvious, Ian enjoyed himself thoroughly.

“I feel like a Beatle!” he said during the Q&A.

Later, he wrote on Twitter: “New Jersey rocked our world! Thank you to everyone there tonight- completely surreal… Thank you thank you thank you.”

A short article about the event is featured in today’s issue of The Record and professional photos are available here and here. In addition, there is an assortment of videos taken by fans on Youtube. The picture quality of this one is particularly good. Enjoy!

Also, the new issue of Nylon magazine features the trio in a cover story. Alas, the magazine is cleverly keeping most of the article offline, ensuring people will actually buy the issue. They know how to whet the fans’ appetite (for blood?), that’s for sure. However, the mag’s site does sport some great photos of the actors. Here are just a few:

Credit for this photo and the two below, Nylon Magazine

If anyone was at the Garden State Plaza event and would like to share their stories, photos, or video, please leave a comment!

And by the way, I would love to know how Ian got ahold of my cat. I want Ginger back!

The kitty Ian's holding in his Twitter photo bears a striking resemblance to a certain cat I know...

Is my Ginger a doppelganger for Ian's cat or what?/Credit Ava Gacser

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