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June 14, 2018

Teenreads at BookCon 2018

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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 interns, Teen Board members and reviewers and we have the full scoop for you below!

Teenreads.com: Who did you attend BookCon with?

Alice D., Teen Board Member: My mom.

Ana Couto: I attended BookCon on my own but I met up with Dana, Jess and Rebecca!

Cat Barra: I went to BookCon with my friend Sam.

Dana Cuadrado: I attended BookCon, as a Teenreads.com intern, with my best friend and co-bookstagrammer Ellie!

Ellie Gangone: I attended BookCon as a fangirl and lover of reading with my best friend and co-boostagrammer Dana Square, I mean Cuadrado!

Jessica Cozzi: My co-bloggers, Amber and Emily!

Rebecca Munro: My boyfriend, Matt, and lots of meetups with my interns!

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

Alice D., Teen Board Member: I was excited about getting free ARCs and swag and attending panels and book signings with my favorite authors (Kendare Blake, Tahereh Mafi, Jenny Han …).

Ana Couto: Since I attended BookExpo the previous days and got lots of incredible books, I was mostly looking forward to the author panels at BookCon, and they did not disappoint!

Cat Barra: Since I didn’t get to go to any last year, I was SO excited to go to autographing sessions with some of my favorite authors! I got to go to events with Sandhya Menon, Renée Ahdieh, Becky Albertalli and Angie Thomas. They were all so nice and friendly, so waiting on line was definitely worth it.

Dana Cuadrado: Since I had spent two days at BookExpo and only attended Sunday of BookCon, I was most excited for the photobooths and activities of BookCon. I wasn’t really interested in standing on long lines for the YA giveaways and signings.

Ellie Gangone: I only attended BookCon on the Sunday and honestly looked most forward to the giveaways and ARCS I was going to receive. The activities also interested me and I was mostly optimistic for the long lines that awaited me throughout the day. Also, the chicken tenders at that one place in the food court.

Jessica Cozzi: We spent the first two days of BookExpo getting all of our anticipated books, so we skipped out on the Saturday of BookCon to rest and then went on Sunday. Since we already had all of the books we wanted, we just met up with friends, walked around, and hung around the booths. We don’t normally get to do that, going off of experience from past years -- we’re always running around and waiting on lines. So it was nice to sit back and stroll around and take everything in for once.

Rebecca Munro: After working all through BookExpo, I was just excited to attend as a reader and see what other people were really excited about. I was also super excited to finally get my hands on an ARC of THE ART OF LOSING by Lizzy Mason.

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

Alice D., Teen Board Member: I spent most of Saturday waiting in line to get my books signed and most of Sunday getting free swag, so the only event I went to was the Power Moves panel.. It was really inspiring to hear Veronica Aveyard, Kendare Blake, Tahereh Mafi and Melissa de la Cruz talk about strong women as well as their struggles as teenagers and advice for teen readers.

Ana Couto: I attended lots of events of at BookCon! On Saturday I went to three panels: The Magic of World Building with Renée Ahdieh, Leigh Bardugo, Sabaa Tahir, Scott Westerfield and Marie Lu. Magic and Power with Cassandra Clare, Brandon Sanderson, Marissa Meyer and Tomi Adeyemi. And last but not least, Heartthrobs Unite! Romance Writing Coming to Life with Kami Garcia, Morgan Matson, Siobahn Vivian and Mary H.K. Choi. Then on Sunday I received a ticket for Romance And Candy, an event that was held in the HarperCollins meeting room which featured several romance authors from varying demographics. I got signed copies of BRUJA BORN by Zoraida Cordova, FURY BORN by Claire Legrand, THE WEDDING DATE by Jasmine Guillory and THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY by Roni Loren. This was my favorite event --- I love meeting authors and getting a chance to ask them about their work. They were all very friendly and engaging, and I definitely feel that talking to them made me more excited to read their books.

Cat Barra: I went to The Dark Artifices Panel with Cassandra Clare. She is always so entertaining to watch when being interviewed. She talks like she writes, so her answers and subsequent stories are always very engaging and funny!

Dana Cuadrado: I was lucky enough to get a ticket for a Romance And Candy event that featured YA and Adult Romance authors such as Zoraida Cordova, Claire Legrand, and on the adult side Alisha Rai and Sarah MacLean. It was great because it was interactive and there was a lot of candy! Each person got four books and you could have them signed by the author.

Ellie Gangone: I loved being able to really chat with the artist on Paper Girls, Cliff Chiang, over at the Image comics booth. We bonded over not being able to draw hands since I delve into comic book drawings as well. That was super fun because I actually got to have a conversation with the artist as opposed to just signing my comic and moving along quickly. I also attended a meet and greet/signing with the author of Zenith and booktuber, Sasha Alsberg. I look up to her a lot and love her personality on and off screen. It was fun talking about her book, Zenith, and the different planets and space the book takes place in. She spent like 45 minutes talking and signing books for everyone who attended so that was fun. I was also lucky enough to grab a ticket for a Romance and Candy event. I met so many authors, like Claire Legrand, and Sarah Maclean. There was also a lot of candy that was consumed and a new obsession with the romance genre I got to explore. This Romance and Candy event had to be my favorite of Sunday’s Bookcon.

Jessica Cozzi: We didn’t attend any events this year, but we did go to the Simon Teen Carnival and we also got to go to the Penguin Teen 2019 ARC drop for a copy of 4 DEAD QUEENS. That was...a complete and utter mess. Everything was chaotic and everyone was pushing and screaming and fighting one another, but we managed to escape victorious with our ARC! :-)

Rebecca Munro: I attended way too many to list here, but my favorite was definitely Sunday's Book-to-Film panel with authors Nicola Yoon, David Levithan, Jenny Han and Alexandra Bracken.

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

Alice D., Teen Board Member:Kendare Blake was hilarious in the Power Moves panel. Since her books are pretty serious, I didn’t expect her to be so funny. For example, when the panelists were asked what the strangest thing they had to do for a book was, Kendare answered that she had researched poisons for her new book and was convinced she had discovered a poisonous tree in her backyard and obsessed over safely removing every trace before letting her new puppy run loose. I’m now an even bigger fan than I was before if that’s possible.

Ana Couto: At the Magic and Power panel, Marissa Meyer shared that she used to write fanfiction before becoming a published author. Learning this was not only unexpected, but I think it also shows the depth of Meyer’s passion for writing.

Cat Barra: I wouldn’t say any of them surprised me, but it’s always nice to know that the authors you love are really nice and friendly people.

Dana Cuadrado: I met Zoraida Cordova, author of BRUJA BORN and LABYRINTH OF THE LOST, at the Romance and Candy event who amazingly has two books out this year, however one of them will be the first under a new pen name because it is an adult romance novel!

Ellie Gangone: It wasn’t an author but an illustrator, Cliff Chiang. His artwork for the comic series, Paper Girls is gorgeous. I was surprised to find out he also has trouble drawing hands. I thought it was just me. It was also surprising to learn that he doesn’t necessarily have a lot of personal contact with the writer of the story. He is handed a script and sends emails back and forth with Brian K. Vaughan. I thought that was weird because I was always under the impression that the artist and writer work extremely close together on a project, but an email suffices for Cliff Chiang’s brilliant talent.

Jessica Cozzi: We didn’t meet many authors during BookCon this time around, but we did meet Margot Wood, formerly from EpicReads, and we had a major fangirl moment because she is our publishing hero.

Rebecca Munro: I was really surprised to learn about the ways Nicola Yoon and Jenny Han were able to give their input into their book adaptations.

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

Alice D., Teen Board Member: I ran into Rebecca when I was leaving on the first day! :)

Ana Couto: My best unexpected encounter with an author was at Romance And Candy, in which I met Claire Legrand, Jasmine Guillory, Sarah MacLean, Zoraida Cordova, Alisha Rai and Roni Loren. Tickets for this event were handed out randomly, so I was very lucky to attend this event!

Cat Barra: I didn’t really have any unexpected run-ins.

Dana Cuadrado: Ellie and I had attended Rachel Hawkins launch party for ROYALS here in NYC so we were so excited to chat with her at the Penguin booth about how much we loved the book. We even got a fun pic with her and a cut out of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle!

Ellie Gangone: Rachel Hawkins for sure! We kind of ran into her wanting to take a picture with the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle cut out that was behind her. We talked a bit about her book ROYALS and how troublesome a certain character in the book was. The conversation kind of just evolved into a photo op with Rachel and the royal hearthrobs.

Jessica Cozzi: The Margot meeting that we mentioned above!

Rebecca Munro: Not an author (yet!) but I was beyond excited to meet one of our Teenreads reviewers, Jena Brown!! It's so fun to put a face to the email.

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

Alice D., Teen Board Member: I saw so many posters for FURYBORN that I became curious and bought the book. I’m also excited for new books in Kendare Blake’s THREE DARK CROWNS series and the sequel to Marie Lu’s WARCROSS.

Ana Couto: I came away from BookCon with many exciting books. Some of the ones I most look forward to reading are THE ART OF LOSING by Lizzy Mason, THE WEDDING DATE by Jasmine Guillory, HATE TO WANT YOU by Alisha Rai and FURY BORN by Claire Legrand.

Cat Barra: Mary H.K. Choi was at the same event that I met Sandhya Menon at, and she seemed so cool. It made me want to read EMERGENCY CONTACT. I really want to look into THREE DARK CROWNS by Kendare Blake. I was already dying to get these, but I got exclusive sneak peaks of QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS and CATWOMAN: SOULSTEALER. What I have read so far was amazing, so I’m itching for those two! I also got my hands on an ARC of THE ART OF LOSING by Lizzy Mason, so I’m looking forward to reading her debut.

Dana Cuadrado: I only got two YA books at BookCon, I know it’s insane, but one of them was a highly anticipated advanced copy of THE ART OF LOSING by Lizzy Mason. I heard Lizzy speak about the book at an event, BlogBoundCon, and it sounds like an extremely personal story about alcoholism that isn’t often seen in YA. I can’t wait to read it, but in the meantime you can pre-order it and impatiently wait for January 15th, 2019!

Ellie Gangone: I am looking forward to reading Paper Girls, a graphic novel by Brian K. Vaughan because I am a comics junkie. However, my most anticipated read has to be FURY BORN by Claire Legrand. Dana raved about how good it was and after meeting the author at an event at Bookcon I am super excited to read it.

Jessica Cozzi: It’s actually funny that Penguin ended up giving away 4 DEAD QUEENS, because on the ride into the city that morning I was talking to Amber about how interesting it seemed and how beautiful the cover was. So getting a copy immediately made me all the more eager to read it!

Rebecca Munro: THE ART OF LOSING!!!

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

Alice D., Teen Board Member: KENDARE BLAKE !!!

Ana Couto: I would encourage people to read THE ART OF LOSING by Lizzy Mason.

Cat Barra: I’m going to bug my friends about reading THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas (because I’m still not over it) and THE ART OF LOSING by Lizzy Mason.

Dana Cuadrado: THE ART OF LOSING by Lizzy Mason

Ellie Gangone: ZENITH by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings.

Jessica Cozzi: THE ART OF LOSING by Lizzy Mason. We met her at her signing and she seemed super sweet, and her book also seems right up the alley of me and my friends!

Rebecca Munro: I would definitely say THE ART OF LOSING. Although Lizzy was only signing, she was able to talk a bit to us about her inspiration for the book and it's one I really haven't seen done before!

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

Alice D., Teen Board Member: I loved meeting authors especially Jenny Han because they seemed really interested in talking to their fans.

Ana Couto: My best memory from BookCon were the author signings! All the authors I met were incredibly friendly and seemed genuinely excited to meet their fans. Their enthusiasm made my first BookCon experience that much better.

Cat Barra: Meeting some of my favorite authors, asking them questions and making Angie Thomas laugh.

Dana Cuadrado: I had the most fun at the different photobooths such as the THREE DARK CROWNS one at Epic Reads and CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE at Fierce Reads.

Ellie Gangone: Probably an impromptu photo with Rachel Hawkins, writer of ROYALS, Dana and the cardboard cutout of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Jessica Cozzi: Getting to meet up with all of our friends! We have so many incredible blogging friends that we only get to spend time with once a year, so we all took some time to sit down on the floor outside of the show floor and just talk and laugh and joke around and catch up. I was actually tearing up when we had to say goodbye!

Rebecca Munro: My favorite part is always running past people I know and having random encounters with fans --- it's so fun to know that we're all in it together!

TRC: What is a tip or recommendation that you can share for someone planning to attend next year?

Alice D., Teen Board Member: Look in the PW magazine handed out at the beginning of the day for giveaways from the publishers.

Ana Couto: Attend some of the panels! I know it’s tempting to remain firmly planted on the floor at all times to snag as many ARCs as possible, but it’s good to take a break from the long lines every now and then, and a great way to do that is by listening to a group of authors discuss their writing process and the inspirations behind their stories.

Cat Barra: I found planning this year to be very helpful. I came up with multiple things to do each hour, that way if one thing was ticketed and sold out I could just move to the next thing. But I also think it’s important to set aside some time to just wander around the show floor. There’s always so much going on, you’re bound to find something cool and unexpected!

Dana Cuadrado: I’m a planner to the utmost degree. It helps calm me before overwhelming situations, but BookCon can be a lot of long lines that feel like they go on forever. So sometimes it is best to give up on those scheduled plans and roam around. You might end up finding things you didn’t even know were happening!

Ellie Gangone: Make a Google Docs rough schedule of all the times and the names of the events, activities or panels you want to attend. Having a game plan is always a good idea with cons like this one.

Jessica Cozzi: Schedule your day, 100%. You may end up changing your mind on what stuff to attend once you actually get there, but that isn’t the point. Plan, plan, plan! It’ll make your life ten times easier and much less overwhelming when you actually get there and get caught up in the moment.

Rebecca Munro:  I'm seconding (seventhing?) everyone here and saying PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!