Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Friday, October 2, 2009

BBF Recap: Love, Rage and Anxiety in YA

Friday, Sept. 25th kicked off this year’s Baltimore Book Festival … and it was a great night! Even though I’m not a YA lit fan, I greatly enjoyed the "Coming of Age: Love, Rage, and Anxiety in the Young Adult Novel" I attended. The panel was moderated by author David Levithan and included Garret Freymann-Weyr, Sharon Draper, Edward Bloor, and Libba Bray.

David did a wonderful job moderating, including lots of humor yet also some great questions for the panelists. Each author had a chance to talk about his/her latest book and to read an excerpt. I did my best to get video clips of each one but my view was blocked for Garret’s and Edward’s readings so I don’t have those. (FYI, Garret read from AFTER THE MOMENT and Edward read from TAKEN.)

I hope you enjoy what I WAS able to catch on film …

Edward Bloor spoke first. His new book, TAKEN, is set not too far in the future at a time when kidnapping for ransom has become a common occurrence. He read an excerpt where his main character is trying to get her kidnapper to identify with her so he wouldn't kill her.

Sharon Draper was up next. Sharon says people always ask her "Why do you kill people in your books?" Her answer? "I don't! They kill each other - they do stupid stuff!" I loved listening to Sharon - she was very animated and interesting so I was pleased when she read excerpts from two of her books. Her first was from her book NOVEMBER BLUES. In the excerpt, a pregnant teen is shocked when she meets a pregnant 12-year-old who is almost nonchalant about having a baby. This excerpt was fabulous – I definitely want to read that book now! Unfortunately I didn’t record that reading. However I did record her second reading, from her latest book JUST ANOTHER HERO:

Up next was Garret Freymann-Weyr. She read from her new book AFTER THE MOMENT. Her book is about a boy who didn't go to war when many others his age did go. It is also about memory, about how the choices and decisions we make as teens become the memories that shape us later. Sorry, no video of this one as my view was blocked.

Libba Bray seemed to be THE author of note at the panel; at least, she was the one most of the audience was there to see. She read from her new book GOING BOVINE. This book sounded incredibly strange ... but then Libba told us that she based it on Don Quixote and it all made sense (almost).

David did the last reading, which was an excerpt from his latest book LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW. He joked that he wanted to read last because “nobody wants to go after the 9/11 book.” The video captures his intro to the reading but not the reading itself.

After the readings, David asked each author which feeling from the title of the panel (love, rage, or anxiety) they feel they captured the best. Here are the replies:
  • David - captured rage best in his upcoming book WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON
  • Libba - captured a mix of all three in GOING BOVINE
  • Edward - captured anxiety in TAKEN
  • Garret - captured rage in both her books but in different ways
  • and I missed Sharon's answer because Trish from Hey Lady! called me just then (read about our get-together at this link)
Questions from the audience followed. One teen asked "What is the hardest or most annoying thing about writing about teenagers?" We all laughed at that one! Here are the replies:
  • Garret - bibliotherapy (not really sure what she meant by that ...)
  • Sharon - slang, because it changes every day
  • Edward - "getting dissed" by people for writing about teens - he often hears "why don't you write 'real' books?" - the other authors definitely agreed with that
  • Libba - people underestimate teens and don't think they are actually smart
  • David - joked that he is a bit troubled when he's writing because he realizes that the line between "adult-dom" and "teen-dom" isn't as solid as it seems - he can feel the same things he felt as a teen ever though he is years removed from that time
A teen in the audience asked about tips for aspiring teen writers. The panelists had some great advice:
  • David - recommended
  • Garret - said read for pleasure, and figure out what you like and don't like and why
  • Sharon - suggested reading poetry because it is rhythmic and good writing is poetic in nature
  • Edward - recommended NaWriNoMo and also stressed that we need to recruit more readers so that we have a literate population, not just literate leadership
  • Libba - said to write the best story you know how - she also said she hasn't figured out how to do that yet - "a novel should cost you something to write - a part of yourself must go into your book" - search for truth in your writing

And that was the end. PHEW! I'm exhausted from all this recapping. Next I'll tell you about the wonderful bloggers I got to meet after this panel.


bermudaonion said...

Wow, I wish I could have been there! I'm glad to know that there were teens in the audience with such great questions!

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

Thank you for the wonderful recap Heather. I am so sorry that we missed this but it was still good to get some books signed and have dinner with you!

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

bermuda - It was really quite interesting, even though I'm not a big YA fan.

Nicole - Yeah, I think you all would have enjoyed it, but I'm just glad you made it at all! :)

Suey said...

What fun! I would have loved that panel. Thanks for the recap. Now I want to go read all those books. Sigh.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Suey - Yes, that IS the biggest peril of attending author panels ... ~LOL~

Kailana said...

Sounds like fun! I am not a huge fan of most of them, but I do love Libba Bray.

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

Thanks for pointing me to this video, I didn't actually know all this about GOING BOVINE, I just knew that Justine Larbalestier recommended it as a different sort of unreliable narrator when I saw her talking about LIAR.

Bray should have been the narrator of her audio book, she's *much* better than the actual narrator was.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Jen - I'm so glad you enjoyed it - Libba was HILARIOUS during the whole panel. I look forward to your thoughts on the book!

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