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Teen Book Fest Panel Preview: Keepin' It Real

Teenscape Department, Central Library,
Teen Book Fest Logo

The Keepin’ It Real panel will take place on Saturday, October 12 at 2pm in Meeting Room A.

Whether the teen protagonists in these authors’ books are dealing with issues of identity, friendship, family, or survival, what their stories have in common is how real they feel. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll recognize the characters who live in these honest and relatable books… you might even recognize yourself.

Meet our panelists!

Maurene Goo, author of Since You Asked

Holly Kim was perfectly happy to fly under the radar until the day her snarky rewrite of a fellow newspaper staffer’s column is accidentally published. Holly’s subversive snarkiness gets people’s attention, and lands her a monthly column in the school paper - and a whole lot of new fans and detractors.

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Bill Konigsberg, author of Openly Straight

Rafe Goldberg has been openly gay since middle school. His parents and friends support him, his classmates accept him, but Rafe is tired of being known only as “the gay kid.” When he’s accepted at an all-male boarding school, he sees it as a chance to reinvent himself and decides to let his classmates assume he’s straight.

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Patricia McCormick, author of Never Fall Down

Based on the life of Cambodian peace activist Arn Chorn-Pond, Never Fall Down follows Arn’s story from the age of 11, when he is separated from his family and forced into a Khmer Rouge labor camp. When the soldiers ask for musicians, Arn volunteers - but the decision that saves his life will also take him into the middle of the Killing Fields.

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Andrew Smith, author of Winger

Ryan Dean West, nicknamed Winger for the position he plays on his school’s rugby team, is a 14-year-old high school junior with a bully for a roommate, a checkered past, and a blistering crush on his best friend, Annie, who treats him like a kid brother.

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Ned Vizzini, author of It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Clinically depressed and overwhelmed by the pressures at the elite Manhattan high school he attends, Craig Gilner finds himself contemplating suicide. It’s only when a call to a suicide hotline lands him in a psychiatric hospital that Craig can begin to get a handle on himself, his happiness, and his recovery.

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Moderator: Amy Bradley, Young Adult Librarian at the Washington Irving Library

We will be giving away prize bags including copies of Since You Asked, Openly Straight, Never Fall Down, Winger, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story to members of the audience at this panel. Don’t forget to fill out a prize ticket when you take your seat!

Patricia McCormick, Andrew Smith, and Ned Vizzini will be signing copies of their books in Meeting Room B from 3:30-4:00. Maurene Goo and Bill Konigsberg will be signing from 4:00-4:30, also in Meeting Room B.


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