Austin Teen Book Festival Announcement and Interview

The official announcement that I’ll be at the Austin Teen Book Festival on Sept 29th! I was there a few years ago and it was such a blast and I met so many awesome people there. I can’t wait to go back and make an even bigger ass of myself than I did last time!

Anyway, here’s a short interview with me. If you’re dying to know who I’d bring back from the dead, who my best vocal impressions are, or who my favorite cowboy is, click on through.

Hooray For Books in Alexandria, VA

Tomorrow at 3:30pm, I’ll be emerging briefly from my revision cave to visit Hooray For Books in Alexandria, VA for a panel with fellow YA authors Jaclyn Dolamore (Magic Under Glass and Magic Under Stone) and Jay Baker (The Edumacation of Jay Baker). There will be readings, discussing of important, deep, literary things and all the usual nonsense one expects from a YA author panel. Although I must warn everyone, due to the enforced hermitage of revision deadlines, I may be a little extra strange. Any requests for Tom Waits or Kermit the Frog impersonations will be accepted.

Virginia Festival of the Book

Tomorrow I’m heading down to Charlottesville for the Virginia Festival of the Book to talk on panel called “Young Adult Fiction: Heroes, Demons, & Bad Roomates”. I’ll be joined by Jenny Hubbard (Paper Covers Rock), Matthew Cody (The Dead Gentleman), and Wendy Shang (The Great Wall of Lucy Wu). We’ll be reading and answering questions about YA, writing, and pretty much anything else people feel like asking. If you’re in the area, come check us out!

NYC Teen Author Festival 2012

For the third year in a row, I will be participating in the New York City Teen Author Book Festival! It’s a week of events all around the city featuring tons of authors. I’ve had so much fun on previous years. I can’t wait be in it again!

Below I’ve listed the full schedule, which includes the panel discussion I’ll be participating in on Wednesday, March 28th at the Main Branch public library called”Things Fall Apart: World Building and World Destroying in YA”. And of course the super crazy, all-author signing on Sunday, April 1st at Books of Wonder. But if you’re in town, you really should try to see as many things as possible. It’s going to be nonstop awesome.

You can also join it on Facebook at

The full schedule…

Monday, March 26:

Plotting Dangerously:  Doing What it Takes to Find the Story

Mulberry Street Branch of the NYPL, 10 Jersey Street b/w Mulberry and Lafayette, 6-8.

  • Coe Booth
  • Jen Calonita
  • Paul Griffin
  • Deborah Heiligman
  • Melissa Kantor
  • Morgan Matson
  • Kieran Scott
  • Melissa Walker

moderator: David Levithan

Tuesday, March 27:

The Mutual Admiration Society Reading

McNally Jackson Bookstore,  52 Prince Street, 7-8:30

  • Madeleine George
  • Ellen Hopkins
  • David Levithan
  • Jennifer Smith
  • John Corey Whaley

Wednesday. March 28:

Things Fall Apart: World Building and World Destroying in YA

42nd St NYPL, Bergen Forum, 6-8

  • Anna Carey
  • Sarah Beth Durst
  • Anne Heltzel
  • Jeff Hirsch
  • Andy Marino
  • Lauren McLaughlin
  • Lissa Price
  • Jon Skovron

moderator:  Chris Shoemaker

Thursday, March 29:

The NYC Big Read

Queens – Long Island City branch of the Queens Public Library (37-44 21 Street, Long Island City, NY 11101)

  • Tara Altebrando
  • Brent Crawford
  • Gina Damico
  • Jeff Hirsch
  • Andy Marino
  • Jon Skovron
  • Alecia Whitaker

Manhattan – (locations to come)

  • Jen Calonita
  • Anna Carey
  • Matthew Cody
  • Jocelyn Davies
  • Melissa De La Cruz
  • Hilary Graham
  • Christopher Grant
  • Leanna Renee Hieber
  • Anne Heltzel
  • Gwendolyn Heasley
  • PG Kain
  • Kody Keplinger
  • Lauren McLaughlin
  • Sarah Mlynowski
  • Eugene Myers
  • Micol Ostow
  • Stephanie Perkins
  • Jessica Rotherberg
  • Lena Roy
  • Erin Saldin
  • Leila Sales
  • Eliot Schrefer
  • Samantha Schutz
  • Mark Shulman
  • Arlaina Tibensky

Brooklyn — –Brooklyn Public Library — central branch, Grand Army Plaza

  • Kate Ellison
  • Gayle Forman
  • Melissa Kantor
  • Barry Lyga
  • Michael Northrop
  • Matthue Roth
  • Victoria Schwab
  • Melissa Walker

Bronx — Bronx Library Center – 310 East Kingsbridge Road, Bronx 

  • Elizabeth Eulberg 
  • Paul Griffin 
  • Alissa Grosso 
  • David Levithan
  • Sarah Darer Littman
  • Kieran Scott
  • John Corey Whaley

Friday March 30


42nd Street NYPL, 2-6

2:00 – Introduction

2:10-3:00: Being Friends With Boys

  • Elizabeth Eulberg
  • Jenny Han
  • Terra Elan McVoy
  • Stephanie Perkins

moderator:  Sarah Mlynowski

3:00-3:50:  The Writer as Time Traveler:  Writing the Past While Sitting in the Present

  • Judy Blundell
  • Matthew Cody
  • Jennifer Donnelly
  • Leanna Renee Hieber
  • Suzanne Weyn

moderator:  David Levithan

3:50-4:40:  No Ordinary Love:  How to Create a Satisfying Love Story and a Satisfying Supernatural World at the Same Time

  • Andrea Cremer
  • Melissa de la Cruz
  • Jeri Smith-Ready
  • Victoria Schwab
  • Margaret Stohl

moderator:  Barry Lyga

4:40-5:30:  New Voices Spotlight

Emily Danforth
Kate Ellison
Lucas Klauss
Carley Moore
Aleica Whittaker

Barnes & Noble Reader’s Theater/Signing

Union Square B&N, 33 E 17th St, 7-8:30

  • Andrea Cremer
  • Emily Danforth
  • Lucas Klauss
  • Stephanie Perkins
  • Siobhan Vivian
  • John Corey Whaley

moderator:  David Levithan

Saturday March 31


42nd Street NYPL, 1-5

1:00 – Introduction

1:10-2:00 – Rising to the Challenge: YA Characters Facing Down What Life Throws Them

  • Tara Altebrando
  • Matt Blackstone
  • Susane Colasanti
  • Kody Keplinger
  • Siobhan Vivian
  • K.M. Walton

moderator:  David Levithan

2:00-2:50 — Killer Instincts:  Death, Murder, and the YA Novel

  • Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • Gina Damico
  • Kim Harrington
  • Barry Lyga

moderator:  Marie Rutkoski

2:50-4:00 — Moments of Truth: Characters at a Crossroads

  • Natasha Friend
  • Margie Gelbwasser
  • Jennifer Hubbard
  • Stewart Lewis
  • Sarah Darer Littman
  • Jess Rothenberg
  • Daisy Whitney

moderator:  E. Lockhart

4:00-5:00 – Looking Forward to Fall

  • David Levithan
  • Marie Rutkoski
  • Eliot Schrefer
  • and more authors reading from their upcoming books

Sunday April 1

Our No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing

Books of Wonder, 1-4


  • Jennifer Barnes (Every Other Day, Egmont)
  • Matt Blackstone (A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie, FSG)
  • Caroline Bock   (LIE, St. Martin’s)
  • Jen Calonita  (Belles, Little Brown)
  • Anna Carey (Eve, Harper)
  • Susane Colasanti (So Much Closer, Penguin)
  • Andrea Cremer (Bloodrose, Penguin)
  • Gina Damico (Croak, HMH)
  • Emily Danforth  (The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Harper)
  • Jocelyn Davies  (A Beautiful Dark, Harper)             
  • Sarah Beth Durst (Drink, Slay, Love, S&S)
  • Elizabeth Eulberg (Take a Bow, Scholastic)
  • Gayle Forman (Where She Went, Penguin)
  • Natasha Friend (For Keeps, Penguin)
  • Kim Harrington (Perception, Scholastic)
  • Barry Lyga (I Hunt Killers, Little Brown)
  • Daisy Whitney (The Rivals, Little Brown)                     


  • Margie Gelbwasser (Pieces of Us, Flux)
  • Alissa Grosso (Popular, Flux)        
  • Jenny Han  (We’ll Always Have Summer, S&S)                
  • Leanna Renee Hieber (Darker Still, Sourcebooks)
  • Anne Heltzel  (Circle Nine, Candlewick)
  • Jeff Hirsch  (The Eleventh Plague, Scholastic)
  • Jennifer Hubbard (Try Not to Breathe, Penguin)
  • Melissa Jensen (The Fine Art of True or Dare, Penguin)
  • PG Kain (Famous for Thirty Seconds, S&S)                       
  • Melissa Kantor (The Darlings in Love, Hyperion)
  • Kody Keplinger (Shut Out, Little Brown)
  • Lucas Klauss (Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse, S&S)
  • David Levithan (Every You, Every Me, RH)
  • Stewart Lewis (You Have Seven Messages, RH)
  • Sarah Darer Littman (Want to Go Private?, Scholastic)
  • Elisa Ludwig (Pretty Crooked, S&S)


  • Carolyn Mackler (The Future of Us, Penguin)            
  • Andy Marino (Unison Spark, FSG)
  • Wendy Mass (13 Gifts, Scholastic)
  • Terra Elan McVoy (The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, S&S)  
  • Lauren McLaughlin  (Scored, RH)
  • Sarah Mlynowski (Ten Things We Did, RH)
  • Carley Moore (The Stalker Chronicles, FSG)
  • E. C. Myers  (Fair Coin, Pyr)
  • Michael Northrop (Plunked, Scholastic)
  • Micol Ostow (What Would My Cell Phone Do?, Penguin)        
  • Stephanie Perkins (Lola and the Boy Next Door, Penguin)
  • Jessica Rotherberg (The Catastrophic History of You and Me, Penguin)
  • Marie Rutkoski (The Jewel of the Kalderash, FSG)
  • Erin Saldin (The Girls of No Return, Scholastic)
  • Leila Sales   (Past Perfect, S&S)
  • Kieran Scott (He’s So Not Worth It, S&S)


  • Melissa De La Cruz (Lost in Time, Hyperion)
  • Alyssa Sheinmel, (The Lucky Kind, RH)
  • Jennifer Smith (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, Little Brown)
  • Jeri Smith-Ready (Shift, S&S)
  • Jon Skovron (Misfit, Abrams)
  • Victoria Schwab (The Near Witch, Hyperion)
  • Mark Shulman (Are You Normal?, National Geographic)
  • Margaret Stohl  (Beautiful Chaos, Little Brown)
  • Arlaina Tibensky (And Then Things Fell Apart, S&S)                      
  • Siobhan Vivian  (The List, Scholastic)
  • Melissa Walker  (Small Town Sinners, Bloomsbury)
  • K.M. Walton (Cracked, S&S)
  • John Corey Whaley (Where Things Come Back, S&S)
  • Alecia Whitaker (The Queen of Kentucky, Little Brown)
  • Maryrose Wood (The Unseen Guest, Harper)
  • Natalie Zaman and Charlotte Bennardo (Sirenz, Flux)

Recap of Visit to Arlington Public Library

I had such a great time at the Arlington Public Library. We talked about everything from serious stuff like the exploitation of teen literature in the publishing marketplace to sillier stuff like “So what was up with Holden Caulfield and that hat?!?” Such a smart, fun group of teens, and April Linder was so charming! Plus, there was pizza! And Twizzlers!Click the link above for their version of events. They also have a short Flickr photoset from the event.

How Not To Behave

I recently went to a local high school and talked to a few english lit classes. It was my first time, and I have to admit, I was a little nervous. I didn’t know what to expect, whether the teens would be interested in what I had to say, and whether I could refrain from cursing, talking about sex and drugs, or questioning the authority of the kind people who had invited me in the first place.

On that last point, the answer is, apparently, no. I tried. I really did. But there is really no school-safe phrase that is the equivalent of “shit sandwich”, Lord Byron really was a sex addict and habitual opiate user, and some school systems really do prevent teachers from using the books that would probably speak most immediately to the experiences of their students.

Some of the kids were interested in what I had to say about Struts & Frets and finding your passion. Most of the kids were interested in what I had to say about Misfit and not fitting in. All of the kids were interested when I described the works of Ellen Hopkins and Coe Booth. I told them these books were about them, about their experiences, and that these books did not pull punches or sugarcoat anything. I said, “If your teacher tried to bring these books into your classroom, she could get fired”. Notebooks and pens appeared out of nowhere and they scribbled down the names of this forbidden literary fruit. “How do you spell that?”…”“C-O-E”…

I think if you asked any of my teachers, none of them would have called me a “bad kid”. Except maybe my 1st Grade teacher, Ms. Spiers. But she was the kind of teacher who yanked you out of your chair by the ear and dragged you over to the dunce corner, so I don’t really count her. Anyway, I was a pretty good kid and never caused trouble for its own sake. But when something happened that I believed to be wrong, there was no threat of punishment that could dissuade me from acting. As you might imagine, being a creative kid in an All Boys Jesuit Catholic Prep School, there were plenty of times I disagreed with the establishment.

Some of those times, it was just teenage angst, “Rebel Without A Cause” kinds of issues. Like the time my mother gave me a white linen tie and some fabric markers and I drew Biblical scenes on it with a big question mark and the word THINK. Heh, the priests hated that one.

But sometimes it was more than just punk rock angst. Like when my female friends were repeatedly verbally harassed in the parking lot after school on their way to play practice by the star athletes of the school and nothing was done about it. It was only my pigheaded, reckless, stupid refusal to keep quiet and behave that changed things. I got a week’s detention and invoked the ire of both the Dean of Students and my own Drama Teacher, which felt to me like betrayal. I complained bitterly about it to my mother (a 60’s era hippie who quietly sympathized, in her own way, with my rebellious nature). Her advice was to let them know that one of the victims was the daughter of the OSU President, which was true. The next week, the same Dean of Students who had chewed me out for “willfully causing trouble” was visiting every classroom to talk about “Gentlemanly behavior”. And from that day until the end of the year, there was always a staff member in the parking lot after school.

Now, I don’t tell this story to make you think I’m some super noble activist guy. I’m really not. What I am is fiercely loyal to my friends. And what I hope you take away from this is the importance of disobedience. Teachers can’t tell their students not to behave. Really, that would result in utter chaos and nobody would learn anything. But an artist…ah, now, it almost behooves us to question, to challenge, to instigate.

If you’re curious, the teacher who hosted me sent me an email the following morning:

“Thank you for giving such an awesome presentation. One of my boys (normally a poor student) came to school early to snap up Struts & Frets, and I already have a waiting list for Misfit. So you — and your books — were clearly a big hit. I really appreciate the interest you have sparked in their reading.”

Hot damn, I’m not going to lie, that feels good.