We attend the Texas Teen Book Festival every year in Austin. Funny enough, we did not start going until after we had moved to Dallas from Austin. This was our third year attending, but it was the 8th annual festival.
Even though we have only attended the last 3 years, the festival has grown by leaps and bounds since then. Our first year everything was still a hot mess. They had one tent and the lines were a hot mess and we had to stand out in the heat for two hours. The next year they had more tents for the book signings and they had moved the book sales to inside a gymnasium at St. Edward’s University. And the second year we went they added a bunch of bookish vendors. They had some Etsy shop owners who made cute book buttons and journals. And there were a few independently published authors who were trying to advertise their new books.
Schedule and panel listing are taken straight from the website.
This year Owlcrate was there! I’ve never ordered a subscription box from Owlcrate but they look super cool. I live watching the unboxing videos on Instagram stories and Snapchat. They always have one YA book with some bookish swag. Each month has a different theme. This months theme is Once Upon a Dream. If you are interested in Owlcrate here is a link. They run at $29.99 a month. Everyone in attendance got to spin their wheel of goodies. Some of the prizes included a bookish TBR list, book pins, shirts, and past Owlcrate boxes.
The Alamo Drafthouse movie theatre was up there hosting giveaways too. They had held a viewing of The Outsider’s the night before for the book festival. Several of the author’s attended and were hosting a panel there. We signed up for their raffle and were given a free movie ticket for following them on all 4 of their social media.
After viewing the vendors we headed straight to book sales. We arrived a little late this year because we were both a little under the weather this trip so we missed Mindy Kaling’s speech Here are all of the books I purchased this year at the festival. 5 of them are mine and I got 2 for a friend who lives in San Diego who usually goes with me but she was not in town that weekend.
She wanted The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley.
I bought The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, and Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel.
I’m super excited about all of these novels because I haven’t read any of them. One of the only books I have read that was at the festival was The Wrath & The Dawn. I own the new one The Rose & The Dagger but have not read it yet.
After buying our stack of books Ricardo and I killed some time hanging out at the campus coffee shop Jo’s. I caught up on reading Empire of Storms Sarah J. Maas and Ricardo was on Reddit on his computer. After we finished up our cafe au laits we walked over to the signing tent and stood in line early to beat the crowd. I made Ricardo stand in Kendare Blake’s line and I was the second person in line for Kenneth Oppel. I’m most excited about reading Every Hidden Thing because I love all things paleontology!
Kenneth Oppel seemed nice but kind of shy, and Kendare Blake was super nice and down to earth! She took the time to talk to me a little bit and that was really nice. We talked about how I was visiting from Dallas but used to attend college near Austin, and how I’m a reading teacher now. I loved her! I love when the authors seem like genuinely nice people who want to know their readers.
After we finished getting those two books signed we went over to the first panel and listened to Renee Ahdieh and Sabaa Tahir and other author’s speak about folklore and setting your story during an older era and retelling fairytales. I love Renee Ahdieh even more than before because her favorite fairy tale/Disney move is Mulan and that’s my favorite! We also heard her and Laini Taylor speak on how they enjoy fairy tales like Mulan better because the heroine in it saves herself. THEY DON’T NEED NO MAN!
We left after the panel because we had tickets to go see Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children at The Alamo Drafthouse off of Lamar. I wish we would have gotten them for the evening because all of the author’s went to see it that night Oh well. A review of the movie will be coming later. Overall I enjoyed the movie but I think people who haven’t read the books will enjoy it more than those who have just because it wasn’t true to the novel… at all.
The rest of our time in Austin we just visited our old haunts and we found a cool coffee house we had never been to before. It was close to Mount Bonnell, right on the river, called Mozart’s Bakery and Coffeehouse. The weather was perfect so we sat in their outdoor area. They have picnic tables lined up on a deck with Christmas lights in all the trees. It was great! I think if we ever move back to Austin we want to look for an apartment or house in that area. It’s so beautiful. In college, we lived near downtown.