North Texas Teen Book Festival


As a self-proclaimed nerd, going to NTTBF (North Texas Teen Book Festival)  on March 23 was almost required. I’ve been going to NTTBF every year since eighth grade, and every year it’s a pleasure. The two great purposes this convention has is for me to explore new books to put on my wish list and to get inspired to create.

When we arrived at the Irving convention center, there was still an hour and a half to kill before any of the panels started, so we went to the book sale area to scope out what books were popular. Many others had the same idea, so it was very crowded, and we decided to leave and camp out in a panel room and wait for it to start.

The panels at NTTBF never fail to disappoint, so this time around I didn’t have too much of a preference as to what panels I would see.

For the first panel, I chose to go to “Bad Medicine:” featuring Samantha Mabry, Mindy McGinnis, Beth Revis, Justin A. Reynolds and Kiersten White. As the name implies, the panel was about anything medicine, from heroin to sickle cell to necromancy. The diversity of this panel was interesting. Some of the authors in the panel also discussed what inspired them to write their books, and some of the personal experiences that they shared were both upsetting and enlightening.

The second panel was called “Get a Clue” and featured authors Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Brittany Cavallaro, Karen M. McManus and Caleb Roehrig. The panel focused on mystery and espionage themed stories. The authors provided tips on how to add suspense in the story and how to avoid being predictable. One author mentioned not knowing who the killer was until the very end to make every character seem suspicious and avoid cliches, which I thought was an excellent process for a mystery book. Another topic that came up was the idea of having to justify placing teenagers at the center of the story, which I’ve come to realize is very tricky.

The third and final panel we went to was “Tales from the Dark Side” featuring Zoraida Córdova, Tessa Gratton, Alex London, Samantha Mabry and Natalie C. Parker. Despite the name, this panel was probably the most relaxed and full of jokes. The authors talked about their processes for writing books and how it’s not the ending that’s the hardest part, but the journey to get to the ending of their story. I found this point of view relatable, especially how it was explained as an image you have to find your way to.

Instead of going to another panel, my friend and I decided to get in line for author signings. I didn’t really have any books I wanted to get signed, but I was excited to go along with my friend to meet the authors. After getting her books signed, my friend and I wanted to kill time, so we went to lines that were empty or short to talk to authors about their books. The authors were all so friendly and open to talking about their experiences and giving advice.

Overall, every year at NTTBF is a great experience, and this year certainly met all of my expectations.