"I'm trying to set a world record," said Josh Berk, leaning over the podium. The author of "The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin" was decked out in a purple velvet smoking jacket, a pipe clenched between his teeth. He aimed his flickering iPad at the audience. "Are you ready?"
We chanted the opening lines of Cyn Balog's new novel, Touched. "Got it!" he said as we burst into applause. The "simultaneous reading" was one of many events at YA Fest in Easton, PA. Throughout the afternoon, readers swarmed the Palmer Library for book signings, panels, and a chance to meet over 35 young adult authors.
Jennifer R. Hubbard and me, sharing a table. We sat two by two, scribbling our names on everything from postcards to Nooks. (picture by Kidlit Authors Club)
Teens raced up and down the aisles, trying to match a hilarious list of trivia questions with the correct author.
"Were you ever attacked by monkeys?" a girl asked me.
"Not that I can remember," I said.
towers of YA titles provided by local indie Harleysville Books
At a nearby table, Jonathan Maberry tried to guess if Jon Skovron's tale of visiting a necropsy lab was true (it was). Charles Benoit talked with me about "YA noir". On my left sat a table of awesome ladies and fellow Flux authors, Alissa Grosso, Margie Gelbwasser, Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman. We all wished the same thing: "Why didn't something like this exist when I was in high school?"
gift baskets loaded with candy and books
The festival was an easy drive from New York City. During the weekend, I stayed in Bethlehem, PA, a town of steel and train tracks, where you can sip picklebacks and dance to ragtime music at the Bookstore Speakeasy. I ate fried squash blossoms at Bolete, an old stagecoach stop, and visited Klein Farms Dairy and Creamery on the way home.
In just a few days, NARC will be in bookstores. I was so excited to sign copies at YA Fest. Shout out to Cyn Balog and Jennifer Murgia for making it happen!