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If you're a young adult booklover, you're probably already familiar with BookCon, the event where storytelling and pop culture collide. At BookCon, readers of all ages can interact with the authors, publishers, celebrities and creators of content that influence everything we read, hear and see. With interactive panels, autographing sessions, storytelling podcasts, special screenings, literary quiz shows and so, so much more, BookCon is the ultimate place to celebrate books. This year, Teenreads was on the scene with a group of nine interns, Teen Board members and reviewers and we have the full scoop for you below!


Teenreads.com: Who did you attend BookCon with?

 

Amanda Melfi: I went with my fellow intern and close friend Dana.

 

Brynn S., Teen Board Member: I went with two of my best friends, Taylor and Danielle (who are also on the Teen Board) as well as my family. I also met up with other friends from Booktube there as well as a few from school.

 

Dana Cuadrado: I went with Amanda, who is both an intern and one of my good friends!

 

Danielle F., Teen Board Member: I went with Taylor and Brynn (fellow Teen Board members) as well as other friends I’ve made through BookTube and my family.

 

Jamie Frisk: I went with my friends, Matt and Rebecca, on Sunday.

 

Kat Szabo: Matt and Rebecca, but I was only able to attend on Saturday.

 

Maya Gittelman: Solo, but ran into a lot of great folks!

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: I went with both Teen Board members (and close friends) Danielle and Brynn as well as my other friends from the book community.

Vivian Payton:  My daughter, Elena Payton, and friends, Cheryl, Alen and Natalia Olivera

 

 

TRC: What were you looking forward to the most at the conference?

 

Amanda Melfi: All of the amazing ARCs that were being given out!

 

Brynn S., Teen Board Member: I’m always excited to spend more time with my online friends like Danielle and Taylor since I don’t get to see them as much. I was also looking forward to meeting Bill Nye (!!) with my entire family as well as some authors like Jenny Han, Renee Ahdieh, and Stephanie Perkins!

 

Dana Cuadrado: I was most excited to meet Krysten Ritter, author of the upcoming BONFIRE and star of the Netflix series “Jessica Jones.”

 

Danielle F., Teen Board Member: I was most excited about meeting authors I hadn’t met before like Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson. I was also super excited about all the ARCs because Bookcon had some amazing options this year!

 

Jamie Frisk: All the free goodies, totes and meeting Krysten Ritter.

 

Kat Szabo: Getting as many ARCs and tote bags  as I could carry.

 

Maya Gittelman: Hearing interesting panels, grabbing ARCs, seeing what cool books are upcoming, and meeting authors!

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: Mostly meeting authors including Stephanie Perkins, Jenny Han, and more. I also was looking forward to seeing my online friends once again in person!

Vivian Payton:  Getting books signed by favorite authors and receiving many free ARCs!

 

 

TRC: What events did you attend? Which was your favorite? Why?

 

Amanda Melfi: I attended a lot of author signings and giveaways rather than panels. There was just too much going on on the floor!

 

Brynn S., Teen Board Member: I focused on author signings and the show floor rather than panels but I attended both Booktube panels! It’s always fun to see those panels since it’s from my own community and I get to see tons of other Booktubers I know. Some of the signings I attended were Jenny Han, Adam Silvera, Marieke Nijkamp, Renee Ahdieh, and more. Meeting Bill Nye had to be my favorite event though. Even though I didn’t get too much time to meet him and he wasn’t exactly someone from the book community, it was insane to see him after watching him at school for so many years.

 

Dana Cuadrado: I didn’t attend any panels because I was really excited about meeting authors through signings and getting ARCs. But I really enjoyed the experiences in the Crystal Palace such as the Shadowhunters and Grishaverse photobooths.

 

Danielle F., Teen Board Member: I attended author signings on the show floor and in the autographing area. I also went to two panels, both were about Booktube which was super interesting for me because I’m part of that community. My favorite event was the Stephanie Perkins signing because she was super sweet and she is one of my all time favorite authors that I hadn’t met yet.

 

Jamie Frisk: I didn’t attend as many events as I would have liked because I was only there for one day, so I mainly walked around on the floor and tried to take in as much as I could in the little time I had. I did get to see Kevin Hart’s event where he discussed his new book, I CAN’T MAKE THIS UP: LIFE LESSONS. It was nice to see the more serious and sensitive side of the comedian and listen to his stories.

 

Kat Szabo: I didn’t actually attend any events except for a few ARC signings and giveaways --- like I said, I want as many books as possible to add to my giant “to read” pile.

 

Maya Gittelman: I went to the Carrying On panel with Rainbow Rowell and Emma Straub, which was packed and a ton of fun --- I’m so excited to check out her take on Marvel’s RUNAWAYS! I also went to the We Need Diverse Books panel, and it was so wonderful to meet some of the groundbreakers behind the hashtag and to learn what they’re working on. WNDB’s story collection Flying Lessons is out now, and they’re also launching an app called OurStory, which curates an accessible catalog of diverse young reader books! Both are so exciting and great steps for WNDB to take. I also heard Janet Mock speak, which was transcendent, and I attended the Welcome to Night Vale panel with Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor, Cecil Baldwin and Dylan Marron. They were all super cool, kind, gracious and brilliant, as I had imagined. Dylan Marron said he liked my earrings, and that lit up my very soul.

 

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: I attended a few author signings but the main panels that I went to were the BookTube related ones since I am a part of the community. Those had to be one of my favorite events I attended since I got to hear from some of my favorite creators and could really relate to some of the things they were saying.

 

Vivian Payton:  I attended one YA panel with my daughter and friends, but it didn’t grab me. I did attend many giveaways though!  I also saw Elin Hilderbrand at Hachette who was physically very close to me, but since I’ll be attending her book signing for The Identicals on June 14th in Sparta, NJ, I decided not to get in line.  I was also bummed that I didn’t get to see Jamie Brenner and have her sign The Forever Summer, but she will be a guest of Elin’s on June 14th.  I’ll get to see both at the same time!

 

 

TRC: Were there any authors who surprised you or shared something unexpected? Who and why?

 

Amanda Melfi: My favorite was BLACK BIRD OF THE GALLOWS by Meg Kassel because I found out that (like myself) she is a BIG fan of The Mortal Instruments! It was really fun being able to bond over another book series!

 

Brynn S., Teen Board Member: If you weren’t familiar, Renee Ahdieh is an amazing (and bestselling) author but she also dabbles in makeup and beauty-related stuff. If I remember correctly, I think she was a makeup artist before publishing books. Anyway, at her signing she looked beautiful so I complimented her and her makeup. She called me beautiful right back and it made my day because let’s face it, she’s absolutely gorgeous.

 

Dana Cuadrado: One the first day of BookCon, I went to the HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA and GUNSLINGER GIRL signing. I had met Kerri Maniscalco at her signing during BEA and she recognized me, but thought I was a great friend for getting her book signed for my bestfriend. I hadn’t heard of the other author Lyndsay Ely and we bonded over her cover and how it reminds me of the TV show “Wynonna Earp”.

 

Danielle F., Teen Board Member: Adam Silvera surprised me in a super small way when I met him at his in booth signing. He ended out conversation by saying “Thank you Danielle” and I was honestly super surprised that he used my name since authors normally don’t. It was a cool and genuine moment.

 

Jamie Frisk: I wasn’t able to attend many events or panels, but I was surprised about Kevin Hart’s more serious approach to his event while talking about his book.

 

Kat Szabo: No, since I did not actually get to check on any panels, but I grabbed a few books in genres that I might not normally check out.

 

Maya Gittelman: In a seriously excellent panel called WNDB Presents Super Heroes and Superheroes with Jason Reynolds, Renee Ahdieh, Gabby Rivera, and Karuna Riazi, Jason said: “If you look around and you are the only man on a panel, you have decisions to make. As a man, we have been taught to dominate, to take over, to make our voice the loudest in the room. You have to fight that. You have to push against what you’ve been taught to do. We’re talking about heroes today, and sometimes the most important thing you can do, especially as a man in a room full of queer folks and WOC, is be quiet, and listen.” And then he did. And when he did eventually speak, it was to clearly elucidate the school to prison pipeline and discuss how he combats it in his YA speculative fiction. It was one of the most important panel discussions. He is the real deal.

 

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: Not exactly one I met, but Marissa Meyer did surprise me when I heard her from the line I was in for a signing, belting out songs from her Truth or Dare Event with Leigh Bardugo. I thought it was hilarious and so amazing of her to go up there in front of a ton of people and do that.

 

Vivian Payton:  Sadly, no.  

 

 

TRC: What was your best unexpected encounter with an author or fan?

 

Amanda Melfi: My best unexpected encounter was when Dana and I ran into author Lindsay Cummings and she remembered us from the HarlequinTeen party we had attended together a few days prior! It was amazing that she was able to recognize us after meeting so many people at her ZENITH signings.

 

Brynn S., Teen Board Member: I have my own Booktube channel so similarly to Danielle and Taylor, a few of my viewers came up and talked to me! I have a smaller audience so I wasn’t expecting it but they would ask for a picture and I got to talk to them for a few minutes. Seeing the views and comments is so different from actually meeting viewers in real life and it was such a surreal experience for me.

 

Dana Cuadrado: I have to agree with Amanda. Both Lindsay Cummings and Sasha Alsberg were so nice at the HarlequinTeen party and they recognized us at BookCon. They both went out of their way to take pictures with fans and seemed really happy to be there. But also Krysten Ritter who I was so excited to meet was just so nice. Fans didn’t get a lot of time to speak with her but she was great and every single person on the signing line got to take a picture with her.

 

Danielle F., Teen Board Member: Not even an hour into Bookcon a viewer of my youtube channel came up to me and asked me to take a picture with her and sign her tote bag. It was an insanely cool experience and I continued to meet lovely viewers throughout the weekend!

 

Jamie Frisk: I didn’t have an unexpected encounter with an author or fan but, I did have an amazing time making the acquaintance of other book-minded people while online for some goodies from OwlCrate. It was so nice being surrounded by so many people with similar interests to mine.

 

Kat Szabo: I ran into my friend Ashley Poston, author of GEEKERELLA! Not exactly unexpected, since we planned to meet up, but still fun! But since BookCon is so crazy we only got to hang out for a few minutes.

 

Maya Gittelman: Oh my gosh! I asked Janet Mock a question about memoir and visibility and vulnerability during the Q&A portion of her event. She thanked me for my question and validation and answered it so thoughtfully and encouragingly. I was already floating on air when I went to her signing line, where she then thanked me again. We had a great conversation, and then at the end of the con, as I was walking to the subway and writing out a gushy FB post about how incredible she was, I hear someone call out “Bye, Maya!” And Janet Mock was smiling waving to me from her car.  And then she gave me a shoutout on her Instagram story a week later!!! Ahhhhhh!!!

 

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: If you don’t know, I make youtube videos online pertaining to books with an audience around 2,000 people, so it surprised me when a few people recognized me and even asked for a picture. I’ve never had that happen to me before and it was definitely unexpected going into the event.

 

Vivian Payton:  I didn’t have an unexpected encounter with an author or fan, but I was excited that I got to see and take a picture of Chelsea Clinton!  Unfortunately, the picture was far away, but I still know it’s her.

 

 

TRC: And of course, the books! Tell us some of the books that you came away wanting to read after BookCon.

 

Amanda Melfi: GUNSLINGER GIRL and ODD & TRUE

 

Brynn S., Teen Board Member: THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END by Adam Silvera is one I was hyped for before and now I’m super happy to have gotten! Also, LOVE,  HATE AND OTHER FILTERS by Samira Ahmed was one I didn’t know about fully but got signed. The author was super sweet and the book tackles Islamophobia, a very important topic but one not many books touch on so I’m excited!

 

Dana Cuadrado: BLACKBIRD OF THE GALLOWS, SECRETS OF SKIN AND STONE, and GUNSLINGER GIRL

 

Danielle F., Teen Board Member: THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END, WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER and ONE DARK THRONE are some of the most exciting ARCs I received.

 

Jamie Frisk: There are so many! I’m looking forward to reading Krysten Ritter’s BONFIRE and revisiting the epic adventure of HIS DARK MATERIALS before Philip Pullman’s new book comes out in October.

Maya Gittelman: All of the Adam Silvera books that I haven’t gotten around to, FLAME IN THE MIST, IT DEVOURS from Welcome to Night Vale, SURPASSING CERTAINTY, and I was lucky enough to snag an ARC of SHADOWHOUSE FALL, sequel to SHADOWSHAPER, and I couldn’t be more excited about it!

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END, FLAME IN THE MIST, and LOVE, HATE, and OTHER FILTERS are a few that I was really excited to pick up!

 

Vivian Payton:  Oh so happy here!  Who doesn’t love free books?  I never heard of the publisher Shadow Mountain, and I was very intrigued by their selection of books...free, of course. I came away with a lovely romance novel, The Secret of the India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen. Another great book I wanted is The Address by Fiona Davis, which I’m excited to read. Other great books I came home with are Heather Graham’s A Perfect Obsession, James Patterson’s Expelled, The Breathless by Tara Goedjen, Too Scot to Handle by Grace Burrowes and Wicken Cowboy Charm by Carolyn Brown.  As I mentioned, these were all free!

 

 

TRC: What book would you encourage your friends to read after your hearing from the author?

 

Amanda Melfi: Definitely HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA. The author was so nice at the signing!

 

Brynn S., Teen Board Member: Marieke Nijkamp! I met her and she was so sweet and seemed genuinely flattered over everything I praised about her book. THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS is a book everyone should read and Marieke is an author that’s amazing to support.

 

Dana Cuadrado: I have to agree with Amanda! I am even more excited for HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA after speaking with Kerri Maniscalco.

 

Danielle F., Teen Board Member: Anything by Goldy Moldavsky! I got the opportunity to meet and interview Goldy at BookCon and she was super nice and fun to talk to. It definitely made me excited to pick up her new book, NO GOOD DEED.

 

Jamie Frisk: Kevin Hart’s I CAN’T MAKE THIS UP: LIFE LESSONS.

 

Kat Szabo: GEEKERELLA.

 

Maya Gittelman: REDEFINING REALNESS and SURPASSING CERTAINTY, SHADOWSHAPER so you can read the next book, and though Zoraida Cordova didn’t make it on the day I was there, you gotta read LABYRINTH LOST!

 

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: Goldy Moldavsky! I watched Danielle interview her and she was so fun to listen to, it made me want to read anything she put out there.

 

Vivian Payton:  As I previously mentioned, I wasn’t able to get any books signed by any of the authors I wanted, but I’m very happy that I heard from Author Fiona Davis after posting on Facebook that I got her book.  She was very happy too!  Of course, I shared it on FB.

 

 

TRC: What’s your best memory of the day?

 

Amanda Melfi: Best memory of the day would have to be meeting up with one of Dana’s friends while there. It is always great to make more book obsessed friends!

 

Brynn S., Teen Board Member: It’s super challenging to single out one moment as a favorite but just seeing all of my friends made the entire experience fun. I never get to see them like I do with friends that go to my school, so being with them makes everything more fun and memorable even if it’s just something like walking to Javiets from our hotel or waiting in line for an hour.

 

Dana Cuadrado: My best memories of the day was hanging out with my two friends, Amanda and Michelle. We just enjoyed the experience to its fullest despite how exhausted we were.

 

Danielle F., Teen Board Member: It’s so hard to pick one favorite memory but it general it was hanging out with my friends that live all over the country and meeting new ones! I love them all so much and it’s always amazing to get to see them, even if it’s only once or twice a year.

 

Jamie Frisk: My best memories of the day were spending time with my friends and just browsing and walking around with no rhyme or reason. I just loved being surrounded by so many people who care for and love books as much as I do. Bookworms Unite!

 

Kat Szabo: Getting a backache from all the books I was carrying around.

 

Maya Gittelman: Daniel Jose Older. Janet Mock. Jason Reynolds. Hearing Cecil Baldwin and Dylan Marron in person.

 

Taylor F., Teen Board Member: My best memory was when Danielle and her sister Kayla jousted with their unicorn horns they picked up from a booth. It was hilarious and the people's reactions around them were priceless.

 

Vivian Payton:  We attended BookCon Saturday and Sunday.  I was so elated and on such a high.  Just walking around, visiting Random House, Hachette, Harlequin and a few other publishers made my day.  I was definitely in book heaven!  Then Monday came, and sadly I was having BookCon withdrawal.