The school bus leaves early when you live in Rockport, Texas and TeenBookCon is hosted by Alief Taylor High School in Houston. A couple dozen teenagers, one parent, a science teacher, and a librarian left at 6:00 AM to make their first author session at the young adult literature convention that we look forward to all year long.
Young adult authors were paneled together in themes such as “This Too Shall Pass,” “All’s Fair in Love and Art,” and “Magical and Fantastical.” We were able to see “big” YA names such as Angie Thomas, Bill Konignsberg, and Laini Taylor. However, the middle-aged librarians in attendance were probably most impressed with Andrew McCarthy or “Blaine” from their high school era movie “Pretty in Pink.” “Blaine? His name is Blaine? That’s not a name. It’s a major appliance.” (Duckie Dale for those of you too young to know.)
RFHS Book Clubbers attended sessions all day, received henna tattoos, punched out buttons from comic books pages, ate from trendy food trucks, and at the end of the day, heard their name called to win 25 copies of signed books from every author in attendance at TeenBookCon.
The highlight of the day was when Hannah and McKenzie were shopping for books and were discussing that they would like to buy a copy of Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, and another author, Jeff Giles, overheard and not only, bought them a copy of the book, but asked them to attend the next session that he was paneled in so that he’d have time to get it signed for them. Hannah tweeted that it was the best day of her life.
After books were signed by their authors, the Pirates from the little town on the coast, reloaded their bus, which by the way was underwritten by the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, and sang old 8os songs all the way down the highway back to Rockport.
McKenzie may have phrased it best though. She shared that the authors “inspired kids,” whether they be “aspiring authors, going through a rough time, or they just enjoy getting away from their reality.” She said, “It means a lot to us. Thank you to the authors for your tips and tricks, stories, voice, and encouragement.”