This past Saturday, a friend and I had the opportunity to attend the Texas Teen Book Festival in Austin, Texas. This event has been held every year since 2009 as a one day event, and currently takes place at St. Edward’s University. Texas Teen Book Festival (TTBF) “fosters a community effort to celebrate and promote reading and writing by connecting teens to local and award-winning authors, whose writing spans across genres and interest levels.”
This year TTBF had an awesome line-up of 34 authors and a some exhibitors. Some of the authors included Leigh Bardugo, Renee Ahdieh, Laini Taylor, Kendare Blake, and Caleb Roehrig. With this great of a line-up it was hard to decide which books to bring and which to leave at home. (This was my first time at a book festival, so I thought there was a limit to the amount of books you were allowed to bring from home. For future reference, just bring them all!!!!!!)
The festival officially started at 8am, and I was in line probably by 7:30 (which silly me I should have been there by like 6am!). We didn’t know what the line was for, so we just joined everyone else. By the time we made it inside, all the bracelets for the first signing were gone! =( Our day was filled with plenty of authors, panels, and walking around the exhibits to make up for it.
This year their guest author was Mindy Kaling! I unfortunately did not make the cut to get a book signed by her, but I did get to enjoy her Q&A session. Since this was a YA book fest, the facilitator asked questions about Mindy’s life in the scope of writing a YA novel. All of Mindy’s answers were hilarious, I mean, come on…it’s Mindy Kaling! She told us that her secret crush was Pierce Brosnan, but is that really a secret? (Side note: he was in Austin for the ACL festival) Mindy told us who her friends were in high school, who the mean guy was, and what types of books she read as a teen. Sounds like the start to a contemporary YA novel! Kaling’s next project is filming the A Wrinkle in Time movie adaptation with Emma Thompson! This was one of my favorite books growing up, and I can’t wait to see this movie!
After Mindy, my friend and I went to the first of three author book signing events. For the hour session, I stood in line for Kendare Blake and was about 5 people away from getting my book signed, and then the session closed! Talk about disappointment! My friend on the other hand was more successful, he stood in line for E.K. Johnston and was able to get his book A Thousand Nights signed. He also made her a drawing for the new Ahsoka book, which is being released October 11th 2016. Johnston was very happy with the drawing, and was excited about getting her very first fan art! If you have not read A Thousand Nights or any other of her books, I definitely suggest you check her out!
Before the next panel we had some time to kill. We walked around the exhibit area and checked out all the great things being offered there! Owlcrate was there with their prize wheel, and they had some awesome prizes! I won a Mockingjay bracelet by The Geeky Cauldron. My friend wanted to win a whole box, but got a candle instead. Which he gave to me, because he has “too many fire hazards in his room already.” Thanks, I love candles and will not turn one down! We talked to a few authors who had booths, and he bought The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren book 1: The Seeker, by Cody Wagner. (Click the link to check out its Goodreads page)
The opening keynote speaker was Laini Taylor, and she was amazing, insightful, and very funny. Taylor gave great life advice, without it sounding like advice from an adult to a high school student (although I am not in high school, and haven’t been for years, it was still good advice). For my first book festival, so far it was going pretty well!
The second book signing, right after Taylor’s keynote, was a bit more successful than the first. I was able to get my books signed by Laini Taylor and Renne Ahdieh! The third signing was right after, and unfortunately Leigh Bardugo could only stay for 30 minutes so that she could prepare for her closing keynote. It was a bit crazy trying to get in line for her signing, as you can imagine everyone there wanted her to sign their copy of the Grisha trilogy and the Six of Crows series books! My friend was nice enough to wait in line for Bardugo while I went to her closing keynote.
Leigh Bardugo’s closing keynote was everything and more! She showed a very funny video about how to handle YA haters, and her speech was ah-may-zing! I might be biased, but that’s okay! =D
After the keynote, there was a mega author signing. So I was finally able to get my Blake book signed along with my An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Since everyone was in line for Leigh Bardugo, (including my friend, such a nice friend, everyone should have one!) I was able to hop around and get my books signed by all the authors that I missed the first time around. But, let’s be honest, everyone had one friend stand in line for Bardugo as they went to go get books signed, and then returned the favor. Luckily for us, Bardugo announced that she would stay until everyone got their books signed! I can’t imagine how long she stayed there signing books for fans, but I love when authors are willing to do that!
<- Here is my friend getting Six of Crows signed for his friend back at home! Waited in line for over an hour, but it was totally worth it!
And finally, here is a picture of Leigh Bardugo and myself! I am so glad that she decided to stay longer to sign everyones books and pictures! She was very nice and I would love to see her again!
Here is my haul of books that I was able to get signed! I loved being able to meet all of these fantastic authors and have a small conversation with them. It makes reading their books a little more personal than reading just because it is the next popular book. I want to thank Texas Teen Book Festival, Book People, and their many sponsors and volunteers! I am already counting down the months until next years TTBF!