North Texas Teen Book Festival Event +GIVEAWAY

Friday, March 13, 2015
So let's chat about one of the best bookish events I've ever been to: the North Texas Teen Book Festival.

This festival was put on by the AMAZING people who work at the Irving Public Library as well as many other people and companies who supplied either time or money to make sure that this event ran smoothly.

There were well over 50 authors at this event and about 5000 attendees. Talk about a packed house, y'all! And it was amazing!

Needless to say, it was glorious! I got to meet up with some amazing friends, bloggers, and authors. So let's start from the beginning. Me and a couple of my college friends got a hotel together but we decided since we were in Dallas for a book event, why don't we do something bookish like go to Barnes & Noble on a Friday night... because that's just what you do. 

It just so happened that A.G. Howard, author of the Splintered series, was signing at the B&N in Frisco.

We all got our book signed and met up with the wonderful ladies, Katie from Polished Page-Turners and Mary from Mary Had a Little Book Blog. You guys, these ladies are downright fabulous! If you don't already follow them, you DEFINITELY should!

That evening, Mary surprised me with the most amazing gift I've ever received for my birthday:

That's right! She snagged an ARC of ACOTAR from one of the publishers at the event who was setting up for NTTBF the night before!

You guys, I screamed in the middle of Barnes & Noble and did a happy dance. I actually very nearly cried I was so stinking happy. So to Mary, THANK YOU! You are an absolute gem!

I'm still not over it! I've already finished the book and it was so dang good I just can't wait for the next one and it's going to be at least a year and half! Cue the future tears and feels fest!

That evening we all got some dinner at IHOP and chatted it up. Have I told you how great these gals are? Because they are seriously awesome!

Needless to say, that night I got only a little sleep seeing as there was absolutely no way for me to go to sleep with ACOTAR merely feet away. So I started the book that night. heh! ;)

We woke up at the butt crack of dawn ready to take on the day with books and camera in hand (though I will confess, I am the worst picture taker EVER!)

The morning started off with hitting up the publishers' tables. And I was fortunate enough to get a copy of Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson. And you guys, this book is so dang good!!! Thanks goes to Macmillan for giving me the ARC!

The morning was off to a great start. The event was comprised of mostly two things: panels and a signing. 

There were five panel times and well over three dozen different panels to choose from.

The first panel I attended was called Secondary Education, which was about secondary characters.

This panel was one of the best of the day. It included Leigh Bardugo (who is effing amazing! Can we be friends?!), Sarah Rees Brennan (who is awesome and has a wicked Irish accent), Rae Carson, Tessa Gratton, and Sherry Thomas (who as always is effing hilarious).

The entire panel was a joy to sit in on. They talked about the secondary characters in their books and how important they were and even some steamy scenes in their books. Overall, this panel was amazing and absolutely hilarious. These guys played off each other so well it's hard to imagine them not being friends IRL

The second panel I attended was called Unlikely Place for Love.

This panel was about finding love in unlikely places and situations. Like hello, let's find love in the middle of the world falling apart, because you know, that's what you do! Haha!

This panel included April Genevieve Tucholke, Julie Kagawa, Rachel Vincent, Leigh Bardugo, and Sherry Thomas. 

Though this was probably my least favorite of the panels I attended, Sherry gave some spectacular writing advice. She mentioned that a book depends completely on conflict, and in the end, so does the romance in the novel as well. Leigh's advice as far as writing was to read widely, which I so appreciated. She mentioned a ton of books for readers, and I firmly believe (as a writer) that you have to immerse yourself in books before you ever set out to write one.

The third panel I attended was called Slasher Girls and Monster Boys.

This panel was about writing in the horror genre or about darker elements in YA. The panel included April Genevieve Tucholke, A.G. Howard, Nova Ren Suma, Carrie Ryan, and Leigh Bardugo.

They talked mostly about the horror genre, the setbacks that come with writing and reading horror, and the spooky things that scared them when they were children as well as current fears. It was a fun panel, especially with all of these ladies.

The fourth and final panel I attended was called Reading the Rainbow, and dear God, I was so happy I had the privilege to sit in on this amazing discussion.

Sadly, this panel (though it was probably the most popular) was stuck in a very small room, which made it so only the people who had lined up outside were able to get in. This panel included Lauren Myracle, Alex London, David Levithan, and Sarah Rees Brennan. 

This panel stole the cake for me! I so enjoyed this panel the most out of all of them -and there were some really good ones too! All of these authors discussed the need for LGBTQ characters in books and LGBTQ literature in general. The room was full of students who identified themselves among LGBTQ... and I saw in them how much these authors' books had affected them. It was so easy to spot the pain in some of these student's eyes and words, and to see the encouragement that these authors and the people around them gave so freely was astounding. It brought me to tears and David and Alex were tearing up as well. Though this panel was hosted accidentally in a smaller room, it made the entire group so much more intimate. Needless to say, these authors were an absolute privilege to meet and hear speak.

Now for the Signing!!
I met so many amazing writers and authors, and like I said before,  I am a terrible picture taker. I only took a photo with one author! Ugh boo me off the stage, I'm such a terrible person, but let me tell you who all I met!

D.J. MacHale
(author of Pendragon series): as a middle schooler, one of the main books that got me reading was the Pendragon series and nearly 13 years later, I got to meet him and give him my ratty copy of his first book. He was so surprised to see a torn up first edition of his book that we talked for a good ten minutes. It was so amazing to finally be able to meet this man! Probably the best author I met the entire day!

John Corey Whaley (Noggin): It's no secret that Corey is my John Green. I told him that too! And he was flabbergasted! I told him how much I loved reading Noggin and he was so humble that he almost seemed surprised that I loved it so much. If you haven't read Noggin, do it!

David Levithan (Two Boys Kissing & The Lover's Dictionary): My knees were shaking when I met this guy. Like I was effing quaking in my boots I was so nervous! I read The Lover's Dictionary about 3 years ago, and it wrecked me I loved it so much, and I just recently had to read Two Boys Kissing for my YA grad class. He was surprised to hear I had to read one of his books for class, and so I told him a bit more about how much I loved it and that it sparked such great discussion in class. In the end, I told him that his books would change the world, and all he said was, "Dear God, I really do hope so."

Leigh Bardugo (Grisha trilogy): Meeting Leigh was a little more a passing thing. I felt super pressured to make it fast because her line was so dadgum long! But she was great and fantastic and everything that defines amazing.

Claire LeGrand (Winterspell): I met Claire closer to the end of the signing and had a really great conversation with her. We talked about writing because I told her I was getting my MA in Creative Writing, and all that comes along with that. She was fantastic, and I can't wait to read her book!

April Genevieve Tucholke (Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea): April is a quirky individual, but I like her. I didn't have enough room to bring her book with me to get signed sadly, but I did get her to sign my poster, and we talked about Oklahoma since her brother is moving there. I told her all the places she needed to mention to him. It was a fun little conversation!

Jessica Brody (Unremembered): I was so angry at myself for forgetting this book in my car. I was so angry, but she was nice enough to sign some swag for me and chat about how it was in the publishing world.

Rae Carson (The Girl of Fire and Thorns series): Though I will be the first to say that I was not a huge fan of the first book, I will say that I am still eager to read the rest. Hopefully, I will get the chance to do that soon. She was great to meet and I enjoyed hearing her speak in the panels nonetheless.

Sherry Thomas (Burning Sky): Of course I didn't leave without hitting up my homegirl Sherry Thomas. She's my favorite! She told me that she remembers me from this past summer when I met her and through Twitter. It was great to see her again, because gah she's absolutely hilarious! I love her, and will always actively hear her speak every chance I get.

Lindsey Cummings (The Murder Complex): I've followed Lindsey on Twitter for a long time now, since before her debut novel came out, so it was finally cool to see her and actually chat with her.

Overall, this was an amazing hit! I so thoroughly enjoyed meeting all these awesome authors and other bloggers. I can't wait to see how NTTBF will change for next year, but all that I know it can't get much better than it was this past weekend. It was phenomenal!

I am giving away a SIGNED Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo including a Six of Crows bookmark. 

All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter. 
This giveaway is for US only. Sorry, I'm a poor grad student.
Make sure to check out my Giveaway and Privacy Policies.

I added a few fun questions for you guys to answer in order to get extra points! None of them are trick questions, and you can easily find the answers in my post! :)


  1. Sounds like you had an absolutely blast!! :) Thanks for the opportunity to win Leigh Bardugo's book!
    I would've been most excited to meet Jenny Han or Stephanie Perkins!! :)

    1. Of course! Yes, I wasn't able to meet Jenny Han or Stephanie Perkins, but luckily Stephanie is coming to my city in a week and a half and hopefully that will be a little less chaotic in meeting her!

  2. I would have liked to have met Sarah Rees Brennan or Julie Kagawa because I love their books and would like to know how they came up with characters and the ideas for their books!! :) Thanks for the giveaway!!

    1. Sarah Rees Brennan was hilarious and Julie was so fun! I hope one day you get to meet them!

  3. AHHHHH THIS IS SO AWESOME AND EXCITING. LUCKY YOU!! I don't think there's anything like this in Australia EVER. *grumbles at country's failings* BUT ERMAGERD LEIGH BARDUGO AND AG HOWARD. I won't lie, meeting AG Howard is like on my bucket list. heeh. She's so fantastic on twitter and her books. Ohhhhh, SO MUCH LOVE FOR SPLINTERED.

    1. Well, I hope you get to meet her because she is an absolute GEM! She was so sweet and funny and personable. I really hope you get the chance!

  4. It sounds like you had a blast!!! You got to meet so many amazing authors. :D When I got my copy of ACOTAR I freaked out too, it's totally normal. I'm so glad you got to go to this event. I would have been fangirling so hard all day.

    1. Girl, I was fangirling ALL DAY! It was amazing and I had such a fantastic time. I was super sore afterward, but that's normal after spending an entire 12 hour day carrying around 25 pounds of books hahaha!

  5. I would have loved to sit in on that Reading the Rainbow panel. It sounded like it was the best of the lot and very inspiring. I totally get the David Levithan and shaky knees. What you said to him was spot on, though. I have so much admiration for him!

    1. It was pretty amazing, I'm not going to lie! I wish you could have sat in on it. Maybe next time!!

  6. Haven't met any author; would like to meet any of them

  7. Thanks for the giveaway! I would have liked to met Leigh Bardugo, Julie Kagawa, and A.G. Howard. <3

  8. I haven't read many of the authors that you mentioned, but I think I'd want to meet David Levithan. I have a few things written by him (that I still need to read), and he just seems like he'd be a wonder to talk to.

    Erin @ The Hardcover Lover

  9. Leigh Bardugo and Julie Kagawa :D

  10. Julie Kagawa and Leigh Bardugo, definitely!! Even though she wasn't part of the actual event, A. G. Howard would have been awesome to meet as well! I've always wanted to meet her, almost purely for the fact that I'm decently fascinated with how her brain must work to create a story like Splintered!! =) Haha, I understand the madness!

  11. Leigh Bardugo is the author that I would most like to have met. I really enjoyed reading about your experience and I loved seeing pictures of the signed books.

  12. I would have loved to meet Julie Kagawa and Rachel Vincent. I love the Iron Fey series and My Soul to Take series so it would have been fun to meet them.
    You're so lucky to have great friends like Mary, I'm pretty sure I would have peed if one of my friends gave me a copy of ACOTAR, just saying.
    The panels sound like they were awesome! I think strong secondary characters are important. Even though I don't identify as a part of the LGBTQ community, I would have loved to go to that panel too. The LGBTQ community needs to be represented more in YA, and not just in specific books where the plot is driven by the MC identifying with the community.
    Is it weird that I was geeking out and imagining that all the books were signed to me? (Name buddies lol)

  13. I'd love to meet Mary Pearson!!!! I fell in love with The Kiss of Deception last year and she became one of my favorite authors.

  14. I would have loved to meet Julie Kagawa, Leigh Bardugo, and Sherry Thomas. I think I would have enjoyed their panel. Thank you for this amazing chance! :)


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