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May 20, 2015

RT Booklovers Convention --- A Teen Board Member’s Experience


On May 16th, Teen Board member Christa O. had a chance to attend Teen Day at the RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas, Texas --- a weeklong convention with more than 100 authors --- with her mom and two best friends. Read about her experience, below!

The Teen Day started off with us going into a huge room with ALL 100+ authors; it was a MAD HOUSE! We brought books to sign, so we were all so excited! I have been to one other book convention, but it was really low-key compared to this one. I got to meet and take pictures with several authors --- including Scott Westerfeld, Marie Lu and Lauren Oliver --- and I got to meet Julie Murphy again! By far the biggest line was for Kiera Cass, and my best friend wanted her signature. She was super friendly and funny. Other authors were there, of course, so once we got all our books signed, we just walked around. The authors who weren't very busy were very friendly and told us all about their books. We received a TON of free bookmarks and buttons. Since we had time, I also had some authors sign bookmarks for me since I didn't have their books with me, including Susane Colasanti, Lydia Kang and Sophie Jordan.

Once the signing was over, there was a pizza party where they gave you a tote bag full of books. Unfortunately, I'm lactose intolerant so we skipped it to get food from a restaurant (CURSE YOU LACTOSE INTOLERANCE). Fortunately, though, we actually sat RIGHT BEHIND a bunch of YA authors. We got to see them and have a nice lunch. So, yay! 

After that there were multiple games and book panels you could choose to attend, which is great because it made the day very personal. My two best friends and I want to become authors one day, so we chose a panel where several authors talked about writing tips. It was just cool to hear how authors write their books --- we took some notes because they gave such good advice, like how there’s no such thing as writer’s block! At the end you could come up to talk to them if you wanted, and I got an autograph from one of them.

The last event that went on was the best --- we were all gathered for dinner with all of the YA authors. There was at least one YA author per table, so we could talk to them and amongst ourselves. We also had to answer a sheet of YA questions, and the number we got correct determined the order in which we could go get our “goodies” --- a tote bag full of free books. Then you continued in line and went to the "goodie room" where you selected two books and they had a bunch of posters and bookmarks too.

Once everyone went through you could one more book and then it was a free for all! I ended up getting four copies of the same book so some of my friends back home could read them. They were also passing out extra tote bags. My friends and I didn’t know this in time so we didn’t get them, but that's OK! Once everyone got books they were trading to get the books they wanted. I traded so I could get a copy of DUMPLIN' by Julie MurphySince most of the authors were there in the room, you could then walk around and get your new books signed by them. There was also a photo booth with props, so you could take funny pictures with your friends AND authors. The line was SUPER long, so we decided to take photos of each other around the hotel, instead. 

Overall, this was THE CRAZIEST thing I've ever done. I would totally do it again, though --- on the car ride home we were already talking about returning next year. I would highly recommend that YA lovers go look for conventions around them. Some conventions are free and some you have to pay to get into (like the one I went to), but they're all definitely worth it! I LOVED going. If you don't have any in the state you live in, look up ones that are going on in states where you have relatives (which is what I did). That way you can go AND hang out with relatives. I'm definitely planning on going next year, wherever it may be!