Austin Teen Book Festival: Best Time Ever!
So you know how sometimes you meet someone and you just instantly click? That’s how it was with me and Maya, my teen guide for the morning. We had breakfast together and talked about everything from middle school to books. I loved hanging out with her, and we could have talked all day except it was time for the keynote address from Libba Bray.
I hate when people say, “You had to be there.” So sorry, but you really had to be there, because I’m afraid I just can’t give over to you how fantastic this keynote was.
Libba talked about lots of things but what really got me was when she talked about what she was like as a teen and how teens are perceived by the world: frightening due to their excellent ability to call out any inauthenticity anywhere. In other words, grownups get through their days with little lies, but teens spot these and call the big people out. The other thing is that Libba is beyond hilarious, and right when you’re laughing, she’ll zap you with some incredible truth about the world that you never thought of before.
After Libba spoke, it was time for the panels. The Delacorte Dames and Dude spoke to three different groups of teens, and we had three different terrific librarian moderators. The best question, I think, was whether we ever have to go to a place in our personal past that we don’t want to go to in order to write a scene. That, of course, forced me to describe how the love triangles in my books were born. Let’s just say my best friend growing up was the cheerleading captain and the president of the model U.N. So there actually weren’t any love triangles. It was more like a love line (her and the guy) and then the dot on the outside (me), if that makes any sense. Anyway, we had lots of hearty laughs while answering that question.
In the middle of the day, the authors were entertained by the West Lake High School dance troupe’s rendition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The dancers were dressed as zombies. How fun is that!
Later, after the book signing, the speakers went to dinner at Hula Hut. We sat on the pier overlooking Lake Austin. It was a gorgeous night, and so much fun to talk to authors who came in from out of town like Lisa McMann, Carrie Jones, and Matt de la Pena.
Thank you Heather Schubert and the Austin school librarians who organized this amazing day. Thank you to the hundreds and hundreds of teens who came out for it. And also thank you to BookPeople. We love you people at BookPeople!