Thursday, May 26, 2016


Hello TBF readers!

It’s been almost two weeks since TBF 2016! I still have a ridiculous smile on my face because I have so many happy memories from TBF! There are so many people to thank for making TBF happen so here we go!

THANK YOU…to the 31 authors who traveled long and far to come to Rochester! You have changed our lives forever by talking to us, signing all of our books, taking pictures with us and just being there. You have touched all of our hearts! Please come back someday!

THANK YOU…to the various publishers who sent and supported all of those wonderful authors! We hope that you know that your authors have treated like the rockstars that they are. We love your authors and their books.

THANK YOU…to all who have donated to TBF! Your support for TBF means the world to us! TBF would not be possible without you! We can keep the event FREE for all who attend. Every teen from different backgrounds can come together without fear and share the love for books!

THANK YOU…to the TBF volunteers! You gave up your whole day to help run this huge event run smoothly. You helped bring a smile to the authors and attendees faces!

THANK YOU…to the fantastic TBF Committee! These wonderful people worked all year to help plan and bring you TBF. They are dedicated to bring happiness and spread the love of reading. Without their passion and dedication, TBF would not be possible.

THANK YOU…to Stephanie Squicciarini! You have seen this remarkable and amazing woman. Stephanie is the woman behind TBF. Without her, we would not TBF. We would not have an awesome teen book festival right here in Rochester. We wouldn’t have the wonderful memories at TBF with the authors or other teens if TBF did not exist. She has been working ELEVEN hard years to make sure that TBF is what you imagined.

And lastly, THANK YOU to YOU! Yes, you! TBF is about you! TBF is about bringing the Rochester community together. It amazes me that so many people attend TBF each year. It once was an itty bitty teen book festival and now it bloomed into a big festival! Without your endless excitement for TBF, it would not continue to be an event to look forward to.

If you attended TBF this year, please fill out this survey! We want to help make sure TBF is perfect for next year and we can’t without your help! The due date for the survey is June 3rd. Also tell us which authors you want to see at TBF 2017!

Thank you all so much! I will talk to you all soon!


Friday, May 13, 2016

TBF Author Bio: Rachel Hawkins


Are you guys excited?! To celebrate the fact that TBF is TOMORROW, Katie will share some fun facts about TBF Author, Rachel Hawkins! Take a look:

Looking for sass, superpowers and strong leading ladies? Search no further as Rachel Hawkins is your woman. Author of the wonderfully hilarious Rebel Belle series about a homecoming queen forced to protect her arch nemesis and Hex Hall which she describes herself as "... if you got sent to Hogwarts, only it TOTALLY SUCKED, ” she has a similarly fantastic sense of humor in real life (just wait until you find your time sucked away stalking reading her tumblr).
Here are ten fabulous facts about Rachel Hawkins:
  • Obviously, she’s a big fan of spooky tales and names R.L. Stine, Stephen King, and Lois Duncan as some of her favorite authors.
  • She was born in Virginia and now lives in Alabama.
  • She is married to a geologist.
  • Her favorite Southern slang is “bless your heart.”
  • She got stabbed with an arrow when she was 5.
  • Some of the fandoms she’s in are Doctor Who and Game of Thrones.
  • She knits (Apparently very badly…)
  • She once was a high school teacher that had to help seniors understand works like Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales.
  • If she ever was in a beauty pageant, her talent would be monologuing.
  • If she only could use one word to describe herself it would be “shenanigans.”

Make sure to visit Rachel Hawkins and other authors at TBF which is less than ONE WEEK AWAY! :)

Thank you so much, Katie!

See you all, tomorrow!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Book Review: Identical by Ellen Hopkins

IdenticalGreetings readers! Only two more days until TBF!

I've been reading Ellen Hopkins' Identical and let me just preface it with this: it is intense. For those of you familiar with Ellen Hopkins, this shouldn't be a surprise; she tackles a lot of dark issues afflicting teens and their families and Identical is no exception. The one difference is that the issue that she's tackling isn't apparent for some time into the book. I won't spoil it for you though, that's not what I'm here to do. I just want to warn you that if you aren't familiar with Ellen Hopkins and the themes she tackles but want to read her books, I would probably recommend a different book of hers to you first, Burned, before you dive into the intensity of Identical or other books. It's still deals with serious issues, but is a touch tamer than most of her other books (I actually started Burned and that's how I got into her other books).

Now that I've finished that little caveat, on to Identical!

Written in free verse like Hopkins' other books, Identical is filled with first person snippets and poems from the point of view of Kaeleigh and Raeanne, twin daughters of a local judge and a politician. On the outside they're an ideal family, but each family member holds trauma and secrets. Their mother is on the campaign trail, and while she's away, their father smothers Kaeleigh in misdirected love. Raeanne wants nothing more than that attention from her father, but when she doesn't get it, she turns to drugs and sex to cope. Both twins are on a downward spiral but their differences drive them apart more than their kinship brings them together. Their facades need to come down for them to really live, but who is going to step up to change themselves and make up with the other?

As I mentioned before, this is something right up Ellen Hopkins' alley of controversial, deep and dark, and the verse fits so well with the themes she's trying to express. The free verse and the poems allow for a lot of texture and visual aspects that only further the story and the emotion that goes along with each excerpt, even hinting at other things between the words. And Kaeleigh and Raeanne represent different ways that dysfunction manifests in people and how different people internalize or act on their pain.

Raw, painful, and tragic, this book is definitely for anyone who has read and enjoyed Ellen Hopkins in the past. She perfectly captures the emotional depth required to convey the situation of Kaeleigh and Raeanne. Just keep in mind the book is meant for ages 14 and up, and if you're new to Ellen Hopkins, I would still recommend Burned first. And since they're both written in verse, I bet an avid reader could read both before the festival ;)

Happy reading! See you all at TBF this weekend!


Book Review: Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

Hello TBF readers!

TBF blogger, Katie reviewed Sarah Rees Brennan's latest novel, TELL THE WIND AND FIRE. Take a look:

“In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised.

Lucie alone knows of the deadly connection the young men share, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

Celebrated author Sarah Rees Brennan tells a magical tale of romance and revolution, love and loss.”

If you’ve read A Tale of Two Cities, the name Lucie Manette may seem very similar to you. And it certainly should, since Tell the Wind and Fire is actually a retelling of Dickens’ classic tale, replacing the two cities in the title, Paris and London, with two sides of New York City- Light and Dark.

In this reimagined modern-day society, humanity has discovered two types of magic and while Light Magicians who derive their power from the sun and moon receive a place at the top of society where they are ruled by the ruthless Mark Stryker, Dark Magicians, taking magic from blood, are confined to the slums where unrest is always brewing.

Caught between these two worlds is Lucie Manette, a.k.a. the Golden Thread through the Dark who became a city-wide celebrity after trying to save her father from the Cages, a cruel Light punishment. Having moved from her previous home with her aunt in the Dark side of the city, she now has a better life ahead of her, along with a happy relationship with Ethan, Mark Stryker’s nephew- but only as long as she can keep her image clear and her past out of the spotlight.

However this all begins to change when she finds out, through a series of unfortunate circumstances, that Ethan has a doppelganger created by Dark magic, the roguish Carwyn. And to make matters worse, the Dark side of the city is starting a revolution, using her name as their rallying cry.

With magic, and evil shadow twins, this book is a good read if you don’t enjoy the long-windedness and historical setting of classics. I also found the main character, Lucie Manette, to be quite more in control of her own destiny than the original which is great if you’re like me and enjoy reading about strong female leads.

But when it comes to my favorite character in the novel, it would have to be Carwyn. Funny and wildly sarcastic, he was a wonderful doppelganger not just for Ethan but for his counterpart in A Tale of Two Cities Sydney Carton. Here are some of his best lines:

“‘Well, said Carwyn, ‘I’m a growing avatar of darkness and I’ve been waiting for room service a suspiciously long time. Like two hours. I’m wondering what to do about it.’”

“‘I know,’ said Carwyn [pretending to be Ethan]. ‘I am just not very bright. Well, you’ve seen the kind of clothes I choose to wear, with the entirety of New York’s men’s fashions at my disposal, right?’”

“‘I said I wasn’t a criminal mastermind whose devious plans topple cities,’ Carwyn told me. ‘I never said I was nice.’"

So all in all, make sure to pick up Tell the Wind and Fire before May 14th and check out Sarah Rees Brennan at Teen Book Fest! You certainly won’t regret it!

Thank you so much, Katie!

That's it for today! Talk to you guys soon!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

TBF Author Bio: Scott Westerfeld

Hello TBF readers!

One of the the most famous authors to be frequenting TBF this year is Scott Westerfield whose fantastic books have topped the New York Times Bestsellers Chart for more than 50 weeks. Author of such mind-bending dystopian fiction such as the Uglies series, and illustrated steampunk such as Leviathan, Scott Westerfield is a genre-hopping rebel. His latest book, in fact, is a paranormal romance crossed with coming of age story as a teen author makes her way in New York.

However he still has a lot more coming with a super- not hero but zero- tale about six friends who use their powers for a lot more than to fight crime, and a sequel, Swarm, which will be available in September.

Here are 10 fun facts about Scott Westerfield:
  1. He is a vegetarian.
  2. He never wears jeans.
  3. He is married to Justine Larbalestier, a YA author in her own right with such works as Razorhurst.
  4. Besides YA, he’s written a space opera, a couple of Goosebumps books, and three Powerpuff Girls choose-your-own adventures.
  5. He’s also ghostwritten- not that he’ll tell us who it was for.
  6. If he wasn’t a writer, he would be a game developer.
  7. He does not like winter- which makes sense as he spends half his year in Australia.
  8. He’s been mentioned in Time Magazine as the author of Uglies.
  9. He is writing another book as a complement to Afterworlds which is a handbook for emerging authors called How to Write YA.
  10. Most of the events that happen to Darcy in Afterworlds are based on real events that he either experienced or heard about from his friends. 
Enjoy and remember to come see Scott Westerfield and all the other amazing authors at TBF!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Book Review: The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York by Kory Merritt

Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York Comic, Page
It's the home stretch readers! TBF is THIS WEEKEND and I'm so excited!

This is going to be one of the last couple book reviews. Today I'm writing about The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York by Kory Merritt. I'm hard pressed to describe it as one particular genre; I've never read anything like it before, and the medium and story telling are unique and enjoyable. If I had to describe it in three words/phrases, I would call it quirky, artistic and thought provoking.

The story opens when Jonathan York, a boring, simple man with a boring simple life, gets lost in a swamp that is anything but boring and simple. His terrifying adventure has one hope of reprieve: he finds an inn in the middle of the swamp, and if he can tell the innkeeper a story, he will be granted a room to stay the night. Sounds easy right? Until you take into account that Jonathan has no stories to tell and fears public speaking! So his adventure resumes when the innkeeper kicks him out and he faces the swamp to make a story right then and there, and boy is it an interesting one.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone of the street, really, because it appeals to a lot of different age groups and demographics. It touches on a few pieces of wisdom that we learn through life, with humor and candor, rhyme and rhythm. It's also short 'n' sweet and has very interesting art and storytelling. I'd almost like to say it's like a darker version of The Little Prince (with a little more art involved and a more relatable protagnist) in that anyone can read it, understand it, and enjoy it. It's also a great one to read the week just before TBF because it's so quick, so if you get a chance, pick up a copy! Happy Reading!


Saturday, May 7, 2016

37 Things I Love (in no particular order) by Kekla Magoon

Hi readers! I hope you all have been getting through APs alright, but just think, TBF is right around the corner.  If you're anything like me, you probably haven't had much time to relax, much less read, but if you're looking for a quick and heartwarming book 37 Things I Love is the perfect choice.

Ellis is approaching the end of her freshman year of high school and her life is falling apart.  She and her best friend seem to be locked in an endless fight, her mom is trying to force her to make decisions that she doesn't want to deal with, and her father is in the second year of a coma.  Amidst all this drama, she reconnects with a friend who she grew apart from and discovers the truth behind stories and what it means to be a friend.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  As many readers know, stories about high school students can often seem forced, but Magoon did a wonderful job making her characters realistic and interesting.  Every one has had fights with their friends and has had to deal with the fallout and Ellis is no different.  Romance and confusion and grief mingle beautifully throughout the novel, leaving the reader wanting more at the end of every chapter.  I know that I will remember this book for a long time and I know that it will leave an impact on every person who reads it.

Any fan of Susane Colasanti, Jennifer E. Smith, Sara Dessen or Rainbow Rowell will certainly enjoy this book.  Even if realistic fiction usually isn't your thing, this is the perfect book if you're looking to branch out and expand your horizons. Well, that's all from me today! Happy Reading!


Friday, May 6, 2016

TBF Author Bio: Terry Trueman

Happy Friday!

It’s not many authors that receive a Printz Honor for their first book but, then again, Terry Trueman isn’t most authors. In 2001, Stuck in Neutral, the story of a kid with cerebral palsy who lives right on the edge between life and death, got its first success of many more to come.

Of course, however, a fascinating book deserves a fascinating writer which is exactly who Terry Trueman is. Here are ten fun facts about the author of Stuck in Neutral, Cruise Control, Inside Out, No Right Turn and Life Happens Next.
  1. He originally started writing at seventeen.
  2. His writing role model is Charles Bukowski, a poet.
  3. For that matter, Stuck in Neutral originally started out as a poem about his son Sheehan.
  4. He lives in Spokane, Washington... (Pretty far from Rochester, eh?)
  5. … But was born in Birmingham, Alabama.
  6. He has one dog whose name is Rusty, and says he likes dogs as long as they aren’t barking (Fairly relatable).
  7. He likes corvettes.
  8. He prefers to start his writing in the center of tension and loves revising.
  9. For Stuck in Neutral, he has mentioned that he revised it a minimum of 50 times.
  10. Writing has always been his dream job, and especially after Stuck in Neutral, he has really began to see how much he loves it.
Enjoy and get excited! TBF is only in one month!


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

TBF Radio Interview

Hello everyone!

Are you guys excited for TBF?! Three Mercy High School students will be interviewed about TBF on "Fresh Perspectives” on 104.3 WAYO this Thursday at 4 p.m. They are just as excited about TBF as you are! For any first timers, this would be a wonderful opportunity to get a better idea about what TBF is all about. Here is the link to listen to the radio interview live!

That is all today! Talk to you guys very soon!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

TBF Author Bio: Ellen Hopkins

Happy Tuesday!

Ellen Hopkins’ claim to fame in teen literature is twofold: firstly, the fact that her books are written in entirely poetry and secondly, that she is unafraid to touch on tough subjects in teenage life. Without fear of censorship, in her books Burned, Crank, Glass, and many more, she confronts the issues of drug abuse, sexual abuse and teenage prostitution in ways that make her writing identifiable to most teens and a source of hope for a great many who are in the positions described by her books.

Here are 10 facts about this amazingly influential author:
  1. A few of her favorite teen authors are fellow TBF attendee Laurie Halse Anderson, John Greene, Laura Weiss, Neal Shusterman, and Meg Cabot.
  2. Her first job in writing was as a freelance journalist. Afterward she moved into children’s nonfiction and then eventually the fiction that she writes today.
  3. Poets that influenced her are Billy Collins, Sharon Olds, Langston Hughes and T.S. Eliot.
  4. She prefers print books to online.
  5. If she wasn’t an author, she says she would probably be a pilot. As a kid she wanted to be(if not a writer) then a lawyer or work with horses.
  6. For that matter, when she was nine, she published her first poem.
  7. Her advice for young writers is to read and write often, especially in genres that you don’t frequently experience.
  8. Crank was the 4th most censor-challenged book in 2010.
  9. Impulse was the most emotional book for her to write as well as her favorite.
  10. Her research often involves talking to those affected by the issues she writes about and is often very extensive.
Enjoy and remember TBF is in less than a month!