Thursday, October 3, 2013

Austin Teen Book Festival 2013

So this past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Austin Teen Book Festival. Guys, this thing was AWESOME! I knew it was big, but I had no idea that people were literally driving in from hours away just to be part of the fun. I talked to several other book lovers throughout the day, and none of them were from Austin!

I arrived with hopes of seeing a particular panel, but I arrived late and then couldn't figure out the layout right away. So instead I wandered around and checked out the vendor booths. There were so many great booths! And I mean great booths, all the way from local authors, the library, and publishers. It was great! I snagged a bunch of goodies including two posters and two bumper stickers. It's too bad I'm not big on sticking bumper stickers to my car, otherwise they'd be on there now. I need to come up with something else cool to do with them instead. I also purchased my books!

The first panel I went to wasn't much of a panel, it was more of a game show. Fierce Reads versus Dark Days. Yes, the moderator had a light saber and gave out points in the form of colors at one point. It was fun. If only the two women behind me would have stopped talking so loud throughout the entire thing I might have caught more of the answers. They were so loud the lady in front of me kept turning around and glaring at them.

Anyways, after that panel I had lunch with some lovely librarians from all over Texas. I marveled at the sheer number of people in attendance. So many book lovers in one place. There were adults with small children, a bunch of middle schoolers with their parents in tow, a ton of teenagers, and then a large number of adults without any children in tow. It was amazing.

After lunch I attended three more panels. The first was by far my favorite panel of the entire day: Dark Days. The panel included Madeleine Roux (Asylum), local author Sherry Thomas (Burning Sky), Mindy McGinnis (Not a Drop to Drink), Michelle Gagnon (Don't Turn Around, Don't Look Now), Rae Carson (The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers, Bitter Kingdom), and moderator Amy Tintera (Reboot). This panel was full of awesomeness that can't be described. You can tell the authors are on tour together as they played off each others answers and they were so freaking funny. I left that panel wanting to buy and read all of their books. Too bad I'm not made of money! But a very good thing the Austin Public Library put together a list of the books featured at the festival on their site. (I've requested them all. lol)

Then my dad dropped off my daughter a bit too early for the signing portion of the day, so she joined me for the Into the Hearts of Darkness panel. This panel was fun as well. Again six wonderful authors: Holly Black (The Coldest Girl in Coldtown), Johnny Sovron (Man Made Boy), local author Mari Mancusi (Scorched), Robin Wasserman (The Waking Dark), April Genevieve Tucholke (Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea), and Texas author and moderator Victoria Scott (The Collector, The Liberator). The audience enjoyed yelling out "Devil Horns!" when one of them would mention something they've done or thought that was considered "bad." It was fun and entertaining.

The final panel was freezing! I had been cold in all of the other rooms, but this one was downright frigid. And I was in shorts and flip flops. Next year I will definitely be in jeans and sneakers. Brrrr! So Tales of Tomorrow as fun and interesting as well. I left there more interested in some of the books that I had previously heard about, but hadn't necessarily been interested in. This panel was made up of Malinda Lo (Adaptation, Inheritance), Brandon Sanderson (Steelheart), Suzanne Young (The Program, A Need So Beautiful, Just Like Fate), Cat Patrick (Forgotten, The Originals, Just Like Fate), local author P.J. Hoover (The Emerald Tablet, Solstice), and moderator Brian Yansky (Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences, Homicidal Aliens and Other Disappointments).

Of course at the end it was time to race from line to line to get autographs. We were slightly disappointed when we were still in a very long line and wanted more autographs, but they closed off the lines because our time in the Convention Center was up. We were all practically kicked out of there so clean up could commence and then the organizers could be kicked out as well. The security lady sure was sticking to the noted time everyone was to be out of the building.

All in all it was an exciting day and an event I will be sure to catch again in the future. It's events like this that help me to discover new books that I might not have added to my to-read list otherwise. Seriously fun! And I can't forget to mention the amazing group of teens from PSJA ISD. I talked to one student while in line for a while and was shocked to learn they were up at 1am to take a bus to the festival. Seriously, that's dedication. And their librarian who organized the whole trip, well, lets just say I am in complete awe and though I didn't meet her, I think she's completely awesome.

Here's a link to the PW article all about the festival. Now, who wants to join me next year?

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