New York City Teen Author Festival Recap: Part 2

Hi! I’m back with the final installment about my time checking out the NYCTAF festival. Unfortunately, due to work, I couldn’t attend any of the awesome-sounding panels that were going on the Friday of the festival. (For details on who attended, check this out.) Luckily, I didn’t miss out on all Friday events:

Friday, March 30th: Reading/Signing at Barnes & Noble in Union Square:

Who was there:

David Levithan (Every You, Every Me)
Andrea Cremer (Nightshade)
Emily Danforth (The Miseducation of Cameron Post)
Lucas Klauss (Everything You Need to Survive the Apocolypse)
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss)
Siobhan Vivian (The List)
John Corey Whaley (Where Things Come Back)

What happened:

This particular events ranks number 1 for anything I attended for NYCTAF. Each author got to have a chapter of one of their books acted out. It was pretty hysterical and a great way to experience new work. I even took some semi-crappy pictures! Enjoy!


  • The authors opened by reading various one liners from different YA books including Sweet Valley High and good old Judy Blume. (It was funny to see which lines you could identify.)
  • David Levithan and Andrea Cremer tangoed.
  • After weeks of staring at the cover of The Miseducation of Cameron Post at Barnes & Noble, the scene performed from this book made me finally buy it.
  • Lucas Klauss played St. Clair in the “performance” from Anna and the French Kiss and it was beyond hilarious. His British accent was a cross between a butler and a vampire? Neither of which was sexy and just sort of the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.
  • Afterwards, I totally forgot how to speak when I met Siobhan Vivian, told Emily Danforth how much I loved the cover of her book, and told Stephanie Perkins that her hair reminded me of Ariel. (Clearly, I am horrible at speaking at authors. But not so much the people on line with me. How weird that I meet a girl (hi Laura!) who grew up a town over from where I did?)

Saturday, March 31, 2012: New York Public Library

A full day of panels while it was gray and dreary outside! One thing about Saturday is that it ran 5 hours with one 10 minute break. I was fully expecting to go grab a snack during the “Killer Instincts:  Death, Murder, and the YA Novel” (not my thing) but all the of panels started right after the other. By the end, I was pretty much starving. (A suggestion for next time… longer break? Granola bars, something? I should have been more prepared but I thought I’d have more time to step out.)

Rising to the Challenge: YA Characters Facing Down What Life Throws Them

Who was there:

Tara Altebrando (Dreamland Social Club)
Matt Blackstone (A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie)
Susane Colasanti (Something Like Fate)
Kody Keplinger (Shut Out)
Siobhan Vivian (The List)
K.M. Walton (Cracked)


  • Three of the authors on this panel were teachers — Susane, Matt, and K.M. Both K.M. and Matt talked about how experiences in school helped them to write their books.
  •  Susane is a Jersey girl! Many of the experiences that happened in her newest book, Keep Holding On, are based on real bullying she experienced as a kid.
  • Kody says her writing doesn’t tell her own story, instead she writes about what she saw and what she wanted to read when she was in school.
  • K.M. was very delighted she could use the “f-bomb” in her novel.
  • Tara wanted to write a book about Coney Island and high school as a freak show. First draft didn’t work out and her editor suggested something more emotional had to happen. She went back to writing about the loss of a mom. “I’ve said all I need to say about dead mothers.”
  • David Levithan was Siobhan’s editor. She first pitched The List coming from one girl’s perspective. David asked about the others girls and writing about them actually made the whole thing more of an intimate experience. “The line between feeling pretty and unpretty is fragile.” She was able to put a piece of herself in all the girls.

Moments of Truth: Characters at a Crossroads

Who was there:

Natasha Friend (For Keeps)
Margie Gelbwasser (Pieces of Us)
Jennifer Hubbard (The Secret Year)
Stewart Lewis (You Have 7 Messages)
Sarah Darer Littman (Want to Go Private?)
Jess Rothenberg (The Catastrophic History of You and Me)
Daisy Whitney (The Mockingbirds)
Moderator: E. Lockhart (The Boyfriend List)

This panel flew by! Everyone read a bit from their books (which took up some time), Stewart Lewis brought his guitar and sang a song, and they all answered some questions. I didn’t take a lot of notes on this one but here are a few highlights:

  • Littman talked about writing Want to Go Private? and how she didn’t want to face what happens to her character. As a victim of sexual abuse, Littman had nightmares while writing this and she couldn’t sleep. “Hardest thing ever.”
  • Whitney says The Rivals was the only book she outlined. There also wouldn’t be a third book in the series and this second book is all about choices.
  • Rothenberg used the 5 stages of grief as an outline for her book: The Catastrophic History of You and Me.

Looking Forward to Fall

In the final panel of the day, authors went up and read a bit from their books that will be released later in the year.

David Levithan, Every Day
Brian Meehl, Suck It Up and Die
Marie Rutkoski, The Shadow Society
Alyssa Scheinmel, The Stone Girl
Eliot Schrefer, Endangered

One comment… while all of these sounded amazing, Endangered probably intrigued me the most. It’s not a book I would normally pick up but I was very very moved by the reading,

And there we have it! I’m so glad I was able to take part in these events and I hope to attend more in the future! Thanks to all those involved for making it a great week!

4 thoughts on “New York City Teen Author Festival Recap: Part 2

  1. elena says:

    Ahaha to the Lucas Klauss as St. Clair thing. I don’t know, he sounds kind of perfect to me! It sounds like SO MUCH fun, thanks for sharing. 😀

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