The seventh annual Boston Teen Author Festival took place on September 22 in Cambridge, Mass., drawing approximately 600 readers for a celebration of YA books. The event featured a diverse lineup of 32 authors, including bestsellers, Boston locals, and fan favorites. The schedule of 16 panels covered topics ranging from bending the rules of narrative chronology, the publishing journey, and portraying the teen experience with authenticity. Books were available for purchase from local indie Porter Square Books, in addition to free ARC giveaways—followed by an author signing. The festival was free and open to the public, thanks to the support of sponsors, publishers, and funders of the annual Kickstarter campaign. We’ve gathered a selection of highlights from the day.

Festivalgoers awaited the opening of the doors at 9:30 a.m. Photo: Jeff Masella Photography.

The audience for the opening panel, which brought together all 32 of this year’s authors, was packed with YA fans. Photo: Jeff Masella Photography.

Authors (from l.) Julie C. Dao, Lygia Day Peñaflor, moderator Rachel Strolle, Kiersten White, and Claire Legrand before the “Sorry, Not Sorry” panel, which explored whether their female characters are unlikeable, or just unapologetically ambitious. Photo: Jeff Masella Photography.

The “Talking Touchstones” panel, which addressed the challenge of balancing fantasy worldbuilding with a foundation of reality, featured authors (from l.) Nova Ren Suma, Makiia Lucier, Holly Black, S. Jae-Jones, and moderator Ashley Hearn. Photo: Aaron Ross Films & Photography.

Authors (from l.) Adrienne Kisner, moderator India Winslow, Arvin Ahmadi, Sara Farizan, and Erin Cashman engaged in a conversation about characters who gain confidence over the course of their story. Photo: Jeff Masella Photography.

Hundreds of attendees lined up to have their books signed by authors including (from l.) Kim Savage, Riley Redgate, Lygia Day Peñaflor, and Mary E. Pearson. Photo: Aaron Ross Films & Photography.

“All That and Dim Sum” explored food as a vital aspect of storytelling. (From l.): Authors Dhonielle Clayton, Gloria Chao, Nisha Sharma, moderator Patrice Caldwell, and Adib Khorram. Everyone left the session hungry. Photo: Jeff Masella Photography.

Katie Cotugno (l.) led a discussion on strategies for crafting complex portraits of sibling relationships, with authors Gloria Chao, Ashley Woodfolk, S. Jae-Jones, and Holly Black.

All 32 of the BTAF authors, along with the moderators and festival staff. Photo: Jeff Masella Photography.