Chicago Young Adult Book Fest 2015
May 10, 2015
I love when a good book event comes to town! A couple of weeks ago, I was browsing Twitter when I discovered the inaugural Chicago Young Adult Book Fest. At first, I was surprised when I hadn’t even heard about it yet. Once I heard a couple of my favorite authors were going to be there, I knew I had to go.
The event was sponsored by The Book Cellar and held at Salzer Library in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago. I was a little nervous when I heard that only street parking was available, but there was no need to be worried – parking was ample.
There was an author panel every hour on the hour from 10 am-4 pm. The event then moved to The Book Cellar where the authors would be available to sign their books. Unfortunately, I was not able to stay for the whole day so I missed last two panels and the book signing, but the day was still good for me.
I was able to hear some interesting discussions on social media, the value of bloggers (that felt a little uncomfortable at moments), fan fiction (which was a new concept for me), sex in YA literature, the creation of different worlds, and how much of their own selves authors reflect in the development of their characters. It’s interesting to hear how different authors navigate different aspects of writing and promoting their works.
I loved seeing Joelle Charbonneau, James Klise, and Rachel DeWoskin again. Each one of them is so very gracious and approachable, and I will always sing their praises. Yesterday, I discovered a couple new authors that I want to check out soon, including Philip Siegel, Brandy Colbert, Molly Backes, J. Adams Oaks, and Jessie Ann Foley. Even though I didn’t get the opportunity to meet them, they were so open and responsive to the audience.
As much as I enjoyed the day, I do think that there is quite a bit of room for improvement on the part of The Book Cellar. I love that they put this event together, but I think they need to be a little more prepared next year. There was very little promotion and attention given to the event on social media, and even their own website didn’t give specifics on cost and registration. When I arrived 15 minutes prior to the start of the event, there was no one around to direct me to where I needed to go. I had to track down a library employee to help me. The accommodations were not the most conducive to an entire day of sitting – the wooden chairs were uncomfortable for the long haul, and there was nothing to perk up the drab room. The biggest drawback for me, however, was that there were no snacks or even water provided for an event that lasted the entire day! I totally appreciate that the event was free, but I would be willing to pay for an event in which I felt comfortable and appreciated. By the time I left at 2, I was so grateful I had other plans, because I was starving! I plan to attend again next year, but I do hope that the execution of it is a little more solid. After attending the Anderson’s Young Adult Literature Conference last fall, this one paled in comparison.
What book events have you been to recently? Are there any book events that you would recommend?