NoVa TEEN Book Festival 2018 Recap

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to go to the NoVa TEEN Book Festival in Arlington, VA. This was a free event full of panels, breakout sessions, signings, and more. This was my first major event since joining the book community, so I was obviously nervous, but it ended up being a fantastic day!

Dhonielle and Tomi
The first panel, 24K Magic, featured Tomi Adeyemi, Susan Dennard, A.C. Gaughen, and Audrey Coulthurst. While I did DNF Truthwitch, Susan Dennard is an absolute doll! She is so cute and nerdy and precious. Tomi Adeyemi is a goddess. She has the most amazing personality and I loved getting to hear how she (and all these other amazing authors) got the inspiration for the magic systems in their books. Next up came The Power, a panel highlighting both super powers and empowerment, featuring Dhonielle Clayton, Jennifer Mathieu, Shaun David Hutchinson, and Sam Miller. Dhonielle made some really powerful comments about beauty standards, and they all made sure to highlight that with great power comes great responsibility. The third panel of the day was a conversation between Tomi Adeyemi and Dhonielle Clayton. These ladies are so amazing on their own, but hearing them together was inspiring. 

Go the Distance Panel
After a lunch break, the fourth panel centered around family, and included Atia Abawi, Brigid Kemmerer, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Eric Smith. Some of the questions were pretty hard-hitting, and the authors revealed a lot of personal struggles they've had with their own families that led them to develop specific familial relationships for their characters. The fifth panel was all about royals, so this one was right up my alley. Alexandra Christo, Sarah Glenn Marsh, Linsey Miller, and Jodi Meadows all discussed their characters, the political systems in their books, and even had to choose which Disney hero/villain/sidekick their main characters would be! Next came Go The Distance, a panel about obstacles, which featured Rachel Hartman, Arvin Ahmadi, Meagan Spooner, and Scott Reintgen. Whether physical or emotional, all their characters faced some major obstacles, and more than one of these authors admitted to being extra mean to their characters in this aspect a few times throughout their stories.

Thriller Panel
I ended up going to a breakout session instead of the seventh panel, and I picked the Q&A session with Dhonielle Clayton and Eric Smith. I've followed Eric on Twitter for a while now so I wanted to get some more time around him, and obviously Dhonielle has a personality that you just gravitate towards! I returned to the main room for the Thriller panel, featuring Karen McManus, Dana Mele, Megan Miranda, K. Ancrum, and Kimberly Reid. I love thrillers so I really enjoyed hearing these ladies talk about the research that went into their books (including having to be careful what they look up on Google!) and their writing processes to determine whodunit. I was fortunate enough to meet Karen and Megan at a local event earlier in the week, so I enjoyed getting to see them again in conversation with a few other authors. 

Finally was the keynote by Anna-Marie McLemore. This girl is fire! Her speech was about not only the doors that have been slammed in her face due to being queer and Latinx, but also how she overcame them, and how we can all overcome obstacles if we choose to write our own stories rather than letting others write them for us.

Keynote by Anna-Marie McLemore
After all the panels and sessions were over came the signing. You got to enter based on what time you arrived at the event, so if you had been there since the beginning you got to enter the signing room first, and so on. This surprisingly wasn't as chaotic as I was anticipating! Each guest could bring up to 3 books from home, then buy any additional books they wanted signed at the event. I preordered mine, which was an easy process! During the signing I got to meet Tomi Adeyemi, Alexandra Christo, Jennifer Mathieu, Dhonielle Clayton, Meagan Spooner, Anna-Marie McLemore, Dana Mele, and Sarah Nicole Lemon. They were all just the sweetest human beings ever. I also got to spend some time during the day with Sam from Thoughts on Tomes, and she gave me some great advice on being new in the community and connecting with other creators. 

Overall this was a really fun day! I'm going to another big event in about 2 weeks so I'll be sure to do a recap of that as well. Can't wait to go to this again next year!


  1. So jealous! Sounds like an amazing day and so many fabulous authors!

  2. Sounds like you had an awesome day. I wish there were events like this near me.

  3. Sounds like you enjoyed yourself. It looks like a great event.

  4. Wow! Looked like a great time! I have been hearing so many things about Children of Blood and Bone that I added it to my TBR (plus did you see her video she posted of seeing her book in print for the first time?! So sweet!)

  5. Sounds like a fun event! I have yet to go to a book event. They are always too far away- someday though! :)

  6. Looks like you had a fun blast, thank you so much for sharing your awesome post!.

  7. I'm so glad you had a good time! Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
    Loving the layout of your blog also.