Bring out your young readers this month in Austin

  • Sharyn Vane
  • Special to the American-Statesman
Sept 08, 2017
Special to the American-Statesman
Zac Brewer wrote “Madness” (HarperTeen, $17.99).

We’re blessed in Austin to have a robust literary scene year-round. But there are some seasons that particularly shine for bibliophiles, and fall is one of them. This September is no exception, so get your calendars ready to sync as we unspool the long list of writers for young people who are speaking in Austin over the next few weeks.

Five years ago, HarperCollins launched Epic Reads to give teens a way to connect with young adult authors digitally as well as on the page. In addition to its website and considerable social media presence, the effort also teams authors for mega-tour appearances in groups of three or four.

Epic Reads sweeps into BookPeople at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 with a quartet of young adult writers who will rotate in “speed-dating” format so that each attendee will get a chance to visit with each author in small groups.

On tap:

Annie Barrows, creator of the best-selling “Ivy+Bean” stories and the adult novel “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,” writes her first fiction for teens with “Nothing” (HarperTeen, $17.99). Barrows penned “Nothing” as an answer to all those young adult novels with dragons, vampires, sweeping romance and post-apocalyptic settings: Her 15-year-old protagonists decide to write down everything that happens in their sophomore year to prove how hopelessly boring they are. (Ages 14 and older)

Zac Brewer. “Madness” (HarperTeen, $17.99) chronicles 16-year-old Brooke’s journey through depression that nearly claims her life. Raw and honest, it’s an intensely personal novel for Zac Brewer, who has also struggled with the disease, as he explains in a foreword. Brooke’s “view of reality is blurred through the lens of her depression,” notes Brewer, who wrote the “Chronicle of Vladimir Tod” series under the name Heather Brewer. (Ages 14 and older)

Katharine McGee. The rich, troubled teens of the Tower return in “The Dazzling Heights” (HarperTeen, $18.99), Houston native Katharine McGee’s sequel to “The Thousandth Floor.” Set in New York City in 2118, “Heights” brings back all of the characters from the first book – except the one who perished, of course. Futuristic technology meets “Gossip Girl” in this frothy thriller. (Ages 14 and older)

Kendare Blake first introduced Katharine, Arsinoe and Mirabella in “Three Dark Crowns,” 2016’s story of three sisters who must each use their unique magic talents against the other in order to claim the queendom of Fennbirn. In the follow-up, “One Dark Throne” (HarperTeen, $18.99), the girls’ fateful 16th birthday approaches as each grapples with her newfound magical status post-Quickening. (Ages 14 and older)

Tickets are required and are included with purchase of one of the books at BookPeople; buying all four garners a 15 percent discount.

Monstrous surprises await in two books from Texas authors who will be at BookPeople at 2 p.m. Sept. 17. Austin’s Jessica Lee Anderson maps an “Uncertain Summer” (CBAY Books, $12.95), in which Everdil conscripts her brother and friends to help her hunt the Bigfoot who’s always lurked in the East Texas swamps near where she lives: After all, there’s a $1 million reward on the line. (Ages 9-12) Joining her is Dallas writer and publisher Madeline Smoot, who gathers 10 spooky tales of closet dwellers from Anderson and other writers in the anthology “The Monsters Hiding in Your Closet” (CBAY Books, $9.95; ages 9-12).

Sept. 23 brings two separate events: Georgetown author Paige Britt’s sensitively wrought “Why Am I Me?” (Scholastic, $17.99), a picture book that inspires connections and empathy through its series of questions volleyed between two young children (2 p.m., ages 4-9) and Patrick Ness’ “Release” (HarperCollins, $17.99), which follows Adam Thorn on a single fateful day, in which he’ll grapple with his father’s disapproval, his confusion about which boy he likes best, work harassment and more.

Ness — a two-time Carnegie Medal winner for his young adult writing — was inspired in part by Judy Blume’s “Forever,” and like that now-classic it includes detailed descriptions of encounters between Adam and his boyfriend as part of a nuanced portrait of an adolescent searching for his true self. It’s “the one I wanted to read when I was a teen and never got,” Ness explains. (6 p.m., Ages 14 and older)

Young Texas gridiron fans will delve right into sportswriter Mike Lupica’s latest middle-grade novel, “Lone Stars” (Philomel/Penguin, $13.99) — even though it explores the not-so-pleasant side effects of concussions on the field. Lupica will be at BookPeople at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19. (Ages 10 and older)

Book readings happening this weekend

But wait, there’s more! Don’t miss these Austin authors at BookPeople this week who’ve recently graced our pages. Last month, we told you about Don Tate’s new nonfiction picture book “Strong as Sandow” (Charlesbridge, $17.99), which profiles the legendary strongman. The launch party is at 2 p.m. Saturday, and will feature acrobatic strongman Andrew Perlot. (Ages 6-9) … Back in July, we reviewed “Witchtown” (Houghton Mifflin, $17.99), Cory Putman Oakes’ magical novel. Oakes will read from and sign the book at 3 p.m. Sunday at an event that will include witchy snacks and trivia. (Ages 12 and older) Details at bookpeople.com/event or 512-472-5050.