No Risk No Rewards Panel: Risks Were Taken

-This post comes from BookPeople Teen Press Corps members Emma and Sofia


The No Risk No Reward panel at #ttbf15 with @_jesse_andrews_ , @cindyponauthor, @davidlevithan and @carrieryanwrites

A photo posted by Texas Teen Book Festival (@txteenbookfest) on

Cindy Pon (Serpentine), David Levithan (Another Day), Carrie Ryan (Daughter of Deep Silence), Jessie Andrews (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), with Moderator: Lindsey Lane


Jesse Andrews’ book, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl  is described as first person on hyper-drive. Jessie Andrews’ wanted to be inside a kid’s head (which mainly  involves intense swearing) and  write a story as though he was 17 today.  “I wrote ten chapters and deleted them before I found the right voice for my character.” Andrews also announced he is publishing another book in April.

David Levithan published his first book in 2003, Boy Meets Boy, which is also his favorite book that he’s published to date. Not only is he an author, but he is also a publisher at Scholastic! His job is to help nourish new authors and support their ideas. Levithan did not intended to write a companion book. He writes to find out what the story is.

Cindy Pon’s first book was published in 2003. She was said to have queered 120 agents before she published her first book, Silver Phoenix. She came to America when she was six, and learning to read opened up a new world to her. It was like magic. “I never read a person who looked like me, so I wrote Silver Phoenix.” She researched folklore for her content, and after the Silver Phoenix was published, she realized she had never written about a sister relationship. That brought out her love for female friendship and coming of age stories, so she published Serpentine.

Big things are on the horizon for  author Carrie Ryan. She is said to have a movie released for her series The Forest of Hands and Teeth, starring Maisie Williams. Ryan did not like scary movies, however she worked in a coroner’s office (freaky!). When writing Daughter of Deep Silence, she researched how to successfully poison someone and get away with it. She came up with the idea for her latest book at a friend’s house after binge watching Revenge and Arrow.

Lane, the moderator, asked the authors what their thoughts were about dark and edgy material falling into the hands of their readers. Authors agreed that it’s not edgy, it’s real life. They agreed that emotional truth defines young adult literature.