I have been waiting for months for the Texas Teen Book Festival in Austin, TX. I live in the Dallas area now and lived in the Austin area for 3 1/2 for college. I love love love Austin! If I could pack up my life and move there again I would. The fiance and myself took off of work and school for the weekend and headed down Friday around 3pm. The traffic was pretty horrific but worth it. Right when we got there we hit up one of our old hangouts, Kerbey Lane. If you ever make a trip to Austin you have to go to Kerbey Lane and Magnolia Cafe on Congress! There we munched on some cowboy queso (queso with guac and black beans) for a late night dinner/snack. So worth the midnight carbs.
We hit the hay early so that we could get up early and try out a new coffee bar on Congress before the festival. I won’t say the name of the one we tried but it wasn’t a new favorite by any means. The best one in Austin that I can think of is the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf if you ever make your way down. I’m glad I had some java though. The lines were crazy at the festival! The volunteers were saying they were not anticipating so many people to come. There were bus loads of schools bringing kids and we talked to people from our area in Dallas to people from McAllen, TX. While we were in line purchasing our books the volunteer crew had to rearrange somethings because of all of the people showing up. And I’ve got to say, I have never been to the St. Edwards University campus before this weekend and it was such a cute, peaceful school overlooking the downtown area. I loved the atmosphere, very bookish indeed.
My high school friend sttod in line for Marie Lu and got our books signed. I was bummed I didn’t get a chance to meet her in person but I saw her from one booth away and she seems like such a cool, laid-back person. Maybe on day she will make her way to Dallas.
The lines were crazy long but luckily some of my friends from Texas State came and met us up there and we stood in the purchasing line and they held our place in the Signing line. Me and Ricardo were only there for about 3 1/2 hours, I wish we could have stayed longer. We made it in the first signing group but we missed one of the author panels I was really looking forward to. But I did get some pretty awesome books! ($100 worth of books! Eeeek!)
My favorite part of the whole festival was getting to meet Garth Nix! I have been a huge fan of his since my Young Adult Lit professor at Texas State had me read Sabriel. His mixture of high fantasy and teen angst, and growing pains is amazing. I don’t think many people could pull it off but he sure did in all of his books. And this probably sounds so corny to say but I LOVED his accent. It was the coolest thing. We talked for a minute and he said “Best Wishes” and it was the most interesting thing I have ever heard! I clearly have never met an Australian person before…
I just started one of the books that I bought, Jackaby. I was hooked from the first page. This William Ritter dude can write! I am so impressed with his detail and description. I love finding new YA authors that have that kind of style, kind of like Erin Morgenstern who wrote The Night Circus. Not enough authors have this writing style anymore. I get the whole apocalypse, and dystopian style of straight suspense, and to the point but these writers are so rare and I love finding this kind of talent. I would want to write a novel with that kind of beautiful figurative language. It’s captivating. And the thing about William Ritter is that it’s funny too! I’m definitely going to be on the look out for more of his work. So far the story seems very Sherlock with some supernaturalness thrown in. I’ll post a review once I finish it.
I am so looking forward to the Texas Teen Book Festival next year. I hear Austin is having another book festival next weekend as well but it’s more towards the romance genre. I’ll be on the lookout for any in the Dallas/Fort Worth area as well.