Boston Teen Author Festival 2018 Recap

btaf18 recap blog header

Good morning/afternoon/night, everyone! A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the 7th annual Boston Teen Author Festival. You may already know this from when I posted about how excited I was to attend. This was my third year attending and was every bit as fun and exciting as the past two years were. Today I wanted to share with you all the things I did throughout the day and my awesome haul of books!

As usual, the event kicked off with an intro panel where all of the authors and their most recent books were introduced. I always really enjoy this part because it gives you a chance to hear at least a little something from the authors you won’t end up seeing at later panels or at the signing at the end of the day. Each author also had to tell us what they would do if they got to spend a day with one of three people: their main character, love interest, or villain. I’ll just say the answers were quite humorous and at times a bit… murdery.

After the intro panel was done, the panel sessions began. The first panel I attended was To Be Continued, which featured Kiersten White, Gabe (aka Ava Jae), Julie C. Dao, and Sasha Alsberg. These authors discussed their approaches to writing series and the difficulties they face. I thought it was super interesting to hear about how much their ideas for their series change as they go through the process of writing it. I also found it really fascinating to hear about how Gabe wasn’t sure that their series would actually get to be a series. They had mentioned that the first book sold and although they had always envisioned it having two more books, they weren’t sure that they’d actually be able to write the other two. So they had to try and wrap up the first book nicely while still leaving room for those following two if they got the chance to write them (which they did!). Number one thing I learned at this panel: Kiersten White is hilarious and I love her.

Honestly, Though was the second panel I attended. This featured Adib Khorram, Dhonielle Clayton, Mark Oshiro, and Rachel Lynn Solomon who all talked about the importance of discussing “dark” real-world themes and issues in teen lit. This was an absolutely fantastic panel and the authors provided a lot of insight into why they write the things they write. An overwhelming theme here was that many of these authors felt that things they had gone through as teens weren’t reflected in any books that were available to them at the time and so they wanted to provide that for today’s teens. Like I said, this was a really great panel and one that still managed to be pretty light and fun despite some of the things that were discussed. (As a side note, this was moderated by Rachel Strolle, aka Rec-It Rachel, and she was a DELIGHT. I’ve been following her on Twitter for a while so it was really cool to see her!)

After session two was the lunch break. At this point, I went and picked up the beautiful art print I got for donating to the Kickstarter. I also went and purchased a ludicrous amount of books. I ended up spending over $70 (I’m not even mad about it). The books I got included:

Most of these were hardcovers, so I’m honestly pretty pleased with the price of this haul. I was especially excited to get Darius the Great is Not Okay because I’ve wanted to read that for the LONGEST time. I was hoping to get the Black and Pearson books signed which is why I bought them here, but that didn’t end up happening. I’ll get into that later, though.

For lunch, my mom and I grabbed tacos from the Rhythm ‘n Wraps food truck that was there. These tacos were AMAZING. We got seasoned fries too which were just as fantastic. Seriously, if you’re ever in Boston, go check them out. The food was wonderful and was pretty reasonably priced. Their food is vegetarian and they have some vegan options as well. I definitely recommend them!!

After lunch, we went to the Sorry, Not Sorry panel which discussed “unlikeable” female characters and why they’re labeled that when they often have the same characteristics that male characters are loved and praised for (namely ambition). I absolutely adored this panel. The authors on this panel were Kiersten White (again, hilarious and I love her), Claire Legrand, Lygia Day Peñaflor, and Julie C. Dao. All four authors had a lot to say about how frustrating it is to see their (and others’) female characters being called unlikeable for things that male characters are praised and loved for. There was a lot of feminist power at this panel which is always nice. 🙂 I’m also really happy that this feminist panel wasn’t just white women!

The last panel I attended during the day was Talking Touchstones. The authors (Nova Ren Suma, Makiia Lucier, Holly Black, and S. Jae-Jones) discussed making fantasy worlds and how to make them still feel real enough for readers to relate to the stories. One of the highlights of this panel was simply seeing Holly Black, truthfully. Her debut, Tithe, was one of the first YA books that I ever read so it was just really cool to see her. It was also kind of funny because Nova Ren Suma mentioned how she was told that Holly Black was the queen of worldbuilding and Holly was so taken aback by it, haha. It was cool to hear how different the worldbuilding process was for each other. Some of them mentioned that they build their world first, then come up with characters and plots. Others said they come up with a character and have to think about what kind of world suits them. It was honestly really fascinating to hear how different their processes were.

After the fourth panel, it was time for the signing! I had brought a few books from home and had the books that I picked up at the festival so I had quite a few to try and get signed. I didn’t end up getting them all signed because a few authors had lines that were just way too long for me to get to. I decided to just try and knock out as many lines as I could since none of the authors were *super favorites* of mine that I was dying to see (with maybe the exception of Holly Black, but oh well. I hadn’t read anything by her in years.). I ended up getting the following books signed:

The three books I had but did not get signed were Furyborn by Claire Legrand, The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, and Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson. All of the authors were ridiculously kind and it was so nice to meet them! Mark Oshiro was really funny, too. He was so excited because I had one of the original ARCs of his book that didn’t have the cover art on it.

For the first time ever, BTAF had some ARC drops throughout the day. I managed to grab quite a few between me and my mom. The ARCs I got included:

I also got a sampler from Page St. Publishing that includes samples from a bunch of their upcoming releases. I’m most excited about snagging The Similars and To Be Honest because both of those are books I really want to read!

All in all, this was another very successful and fun Boston Teen Author Festival. I cannot wait to see what next year brings!

Did any of you attend this year? Let me know in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Boston Teen Author Festival 2018 Recap

    • Yes I did!! It was kind of frustrating in the past that you had to skip a panel if you wanted to eat lunch (because you aren’t allowed to eat in the panels either so you couldn’t bring your own lunch and just eat while attending one) so I was really happy with that change. Kiersten White was literally SO funny. Definitely bumping her books way up on my TBR!

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