Wednesday, May 17, 2017

TBF 2017 Map and Schedule

TBF is THIS week! Are you guys excited?!

If you are like me, I'm a planner. I love to look ahead and start planning. Today, I have very helpful links for anyone who wants to see where our wonderful 27 TBF authors will be throughout the day.

For the awesome and useful *color-coded* map AND schedule, click HERE!

In addition to the author sessions, there will be special workshop sessions that are open to all teens. Check out programs and the times HERE!

I can't wait to see you all there!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My TBF Experiences

Greetings fellow bookworms,
In light of the the rapidly approaching Teen Book Fest (17 days and counting), I’ve gathered a couple of tips and tricks from both my own experiences at TBF and that of my friends. I know it’s really easy to get caught up in the sheer awesomeness of what is happening all around you (Fav authors! Presentations! BOOKS!) but just making sure to keep in mind a few things can be particularly helpful in making sure your day is just as amazing as a new series by your favorite writer- or at least at close as it can get to that level of euphoria.
  1. Plan in advance. Yes, there may be tests and APs but just taking a few minutes to plan can make sure you don’t get hit with any nasty surprises on festival day. The TBF site has both a map and schedule for anyone who wants to look at them so consider taking a couple moments just to figure out which authors you want to see and where you have to go BEFORE you hit the festival grounds.
  2. Don’t forget your books. You’d think this would be obvious but I can (shamefully) tell you that I have, indeed, left them before at home. This is one of the worst feelings in the world so make sure you have all the books you want to get signed. Put them in the car, your bookbag, duct tape them to your leg, it doesn’t matter; just make sure you have them at TBF.
  3. Bring water and snacks. A tip from someone who’s been to TBF a couple of times before: you will do a lot of walking and chances are, whether you want to go to all the author sessions or not, you won’t have a ton of time to grab any lunch. So bringing some food and a water bottle can likely both save you some time and possibly prevent the very embarrassing scenario of having your stomach grumble right in front of your favorite author.
  4. Get there early. Again, maybe this is obvious but I know I’ve showed up late once before and really regretted it. Part of the fun at TBF is seeing the rally in the morning and not to mention showing up late can put you in jeopardy of missing an author’s panel. So don’t make the same mistakes I did- get there on time.
  5. Finally, don’t be nervous. I know that when I see a favorite author, my brain tends to kind of blow up right on the spot and I begin to babble all over the place. It’s ok. Calm down. Authors are really, really cool people. Just be yourself and you'll have a much better experience.
So in conclusion, TBF is going to be great, guys. We’re all going to have a lot of fun, meet our favorite authors, and probably bankrupt ourselves buying books. Hopefully, all of these tips are
going to be helpful but remember not to get too caught up in the planning. Just have fun- that’s what TBF is all about.
Happy Reading,


Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

When I started reading this book for my review, I had already read it once before and loved it. But like test corrections, telling jokes and pie, it somehow was better the second time around. I’m a big fan of Sarah J. Maas (who isn’t?) and like all of her high-fantasy feminist novels, A Court of Thorns and Roses doesn’t disappoint.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin--one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin--and his world--forever.

First, Feyre. What can I say? She’s fantastic. At the beginning of the book she’s a huntress who would do anything to protect the family she both loves and resents for leaving their survival on her shoulders. As the book progresses, she loses none of that loyalty but learns to move beyond the bitterness and explore who she really is. Feyre is fascinating, intelligent and at times, hilarious given Sarah J. Maas’s fae-given gift to write snarky dialogue. Her mutual attraction with Tamlin brings out many of both her own and the fae’s best personality traits, and, in time, develops into a fierce and fiery mutual love. So, if you like courageous heroines with a talent for wisecracking, Feyre’s for you.

The second thing I found amazing not just in this book but all of Sarah J. Maas’s novels in general was the world-building. In her writing, she gives us a window into the Spring Court of the Fae world. You can practically see the flowers blooming within the faerie lands and smell the fresh scent of springtime rain (both of which are a nice break considering the current climate in New York). Sarah J. Maas makes the faerie land of Prythian both real and intimately appealing to the reader in a way that show her ability to, if almost by faerie magic, whisk worlds of fantasy right out of thin air.

So in conclusion- read A Court of Thorns and Roses. Not only is it a beautiful book (and, incidentally part of a completed trilogy) but you’ll get to fangirl all over Sarah J. Maas at TBF on May 20th!
Happy Reading,

Book Review: Dan vs. Nature by Don Calame

Before I start off this book review, I believe I should give you due warning. It is highly likely that none of what I say will be able to accurately describe the hilarity and sheer weirdness of everything that goes on in this book. The only truly effective way to enjoy it to the fullest is to read it yourself.

Anyway, the front cover describes the book as “an outrageously funny and wickedly raunchy romp in the woods” (Here, see for yourselves).

This is an understatement.

Shy and scrawny Dan Weekes spends his time creating graphic novels inspired by his dream girl and looking out for his mom as she dates every man in the state of California. Then his mom drops a bomb: she and her latest beau, Hank, are engaged, and she’s sending her "two favorite men" on a survivalist camping trip to "bond." Determined to trick Hank into showing his true — flawed — colors on the trip, Dan and his nerdy germaphobe best friend, Charlie, prepare a series of increasingly gross and embarrassing pranks. But the boys hadn’t counted on a hot girl joining their trip or on getting separated from their wilderness guide—not to mention the humiliating injuries Dan suffers in the course of terrorizing his stepdad-to-be. With a man-hungry bear on their trail, no supplies, and a lot of unpleasant itching going on, can Dan see his plan through now that his very survival depends on Hank?

The first thing I tend to look at when reading a book is the characters and these were spot-on. Dan is a sympathetic hero (progressively more sympathetic as the poor kid is subjected to more and more disasters in the woods) and relentlessly hilarious in his descriptions of everything going on around him. For example, “The entire wrestling team lunges at once, gripping my arms, my legs, my shirt, my hair, stretching me out like da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.” Charlie, his germaphobe wisecracking best friend, is similarly hilarious and almost terrifying in his prank-planning skills and, Hank, the poor stepdad in the picture, is the most awkward mountain man/dentist in history. And of course, there’s Penelope, the aforementioned “hot girl” who has snark to match Charlie blow for blow and is unexpectedly an adept marks-woman when it comes to hunting squirrels. In her characterization especially I have to give Calame kudos because she proves herself both smart and capable in a way that’s not subverted for plot or any other purposes throughout the book.

Similarly to the characters, the plot of this book is hysterical. The pranks are gross and whether they work or not, basically are page- bound laughter just waiting to happen. Just when you can’t think the trip could get worse, it does. Multiple times. As the book progresses, it really is surprising that for what they’ve been through, the characters are still (mostly- I’m not giving any spoilers) in one piece.

Finally, I believe this review would be a farce if I did not at least mention Baby Robbie. What is Baby Robbie, you ask? This unfortunate child is Dan’s Life Skills class Real-a-Lot doll who, although unmentioned in the blurb, goes under several very unfortunate circumstances throughout the survivalist trip. Let’s just say, this fake baby is going to be having fake nightmares for weeks.

Anyway, I doubt that I’m really able to do it justice in this review but if you’re looking for a book hilarious enough to make you laugh out loud in the middle of a quiet study hall, this is the one. And come see Don Calame and all of your other favorite authors at TBF on May 20th!
Happy reading,

Thursday, May 4, 2017

My Experience as a TBF Attendee

Hey guys! Katie C. here. Today,instead of reviewing a wonderful book by one of our lovely TBF authors, I’m going to talk about my experience actually attending the festival.

I first started going to TBF back in 2014. I attended with a group from my school. We would meet every Thursday after school to read and discuss books by authors that were attending that year. When the event finally arrived, we all met up at Nazareth in matching t-shirts and went in together to experience the event!.

TBF starts right off with a red carpet entrance where you can stand right outside and watch all your favorite authors walk into the festival. They all arrive on buses and other slightly bizarre vehicles with their own band playing right in front. It’s basically like a parade. After that small event is over, you’re allowed to walk in and hang around the gym for roughly an hour. During that time, you can by books and merchandise, as well as reserve a seat for the next huge event: truth or talent. From my past experience, I suggest that if you plan to buy anything (t-shirt, books, food, etc.) you do it during this time, since there’s only so much stuff and a lot of it is sold out by the end of the day.

Truth or talent is one of the funniest and best parts of the day. For another hour, you get to sit back as all the authors are introduced and watch them tell strange stories about themselves or show off one of their many (if weird) talents! This part of the day has always been a blast in my experience. Authors have clapped with one hand, sang part of your world (while another pretended to be seaweed during this), sweared in danish, and even written the first line of their next book!

After truth or talent, there are four sessions to go and see your favorite authors all across the campus. Some will be grouped together while others will be on their own. This is where you can go see your favorite authors and watch them speak and ask questions. During this time, lunch is also served and there are food trucks available as well. If you want to eat at a food truck, I suggest that you leave the session before a bit early since the lines get long fast!

After all the sessions are done, all the authors will be available for signing. While most of them will be in the gym area, a few will be scattered around the campus in different places. While authors won’t leave until everyone standing in line gets to see them, they will leave once their line ends. So tip of the trade: get in the shortest lines first and wait for the long lines to die down.

This year will be my fourth time attending TBF. in the past, I’ve met some great friends, meet authors that I knew and loved, and learned of one’s that I’d never heard of before, all while making great memories the entire time. And after taking a look at some of the amazing authors coming and reading their books in preperation, I know this year is going to be just as great, if not better, than the years I’ve attended in the past! See ya there!

Katie C.

Book Review: You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Leviathan

“The thing about possibilities: there are some you want much more than others. Or only one you want much more than everything else.”

This is my last book review for 2017 Teen Book Festival and I am finishing with such a good book. You Know Me Well is by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, both who are coming to TBF this year!

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really? Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed. That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way. When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

You Know Me Well is a story of first love and heartbreak and everything in between. One of the main things that stood out to me about this novel was the beautiful writing. The characters were incredibly real and well written and the whole novel just seemed poetic and beautiful. The friendship of Mark and Kate was really the main focus of this novel, and although I really enjoyed the sub-plots about their different relationships and heartbreak, I loved how this novel focused on how important friendship is. Despite only really knowing each other for a week they had a deep connection and I know that even after the story ended and their lives continue to progress the two will stay close. The book is told in alternating perspectives every chapter and the two characters perspectives easily mesh together and it feels as if you’re simply listening to the two tell the story instead of just reading about it.

Overall I really enjoyed this novel, as well as the other of David and Nina’s books that I’ve read and I strongly recommend you check out this one, as well as their others before TBF! Teen Book Festival is only a few weeks away and I know it’s going to be an amazing time for everyone.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

My Attendee Experience

Hi everyone! I’m here to tell you about my personal experience attending Teen Book Festival. Last year’s festival was my first and attending it was amazing! I loved all of the workshops I attended for all of the different authors, as they’re all so different from the one you went to before, and all of the authors are such amazing people. A couple tips I have are:

  1. Plan out your day beforehand, so you know which workshops you’d like to attend, their locations, and where authors are having signings.
  2. Carry a schedule and a map of with you as you attend the different workshops around the campus.
  3. Bring some sort of bag, to carry the books you either bought or brought to get signed, as well as some other necessities for the day.
  4. When buying books from the Barnes and Nobles stand, I’d recommend going while a workshop is in session, as during the in between times, as well as right before the signings the store is going to be packed and the lines will be super long.

Overall, the festival is all about having fun and celebrating books, and you can trust me that you’ll love the whole day. Look forward to a few more reviews leading up to the festival in a few weeks!