Expanding Forms

The Many Faces of YA Fiction
with Alessandra Narváez Varela, Harmony Becker, and David Levithan & Jennifer Niven

Saturday, October 9th, 11:30 am Central   

As the YA novel continues to mount in popularity with readers of all ages, the stories and styles that fall under the umbrella are expanding at just as exponential a rate! From novels in verse (Alessandra Narváez Varela, Thirty Talks Weird Love) to graphic novels (Harmony Becker, Himawari House) to those that expand beyond the bounds of single narrators and authors (David Levithan and Jennifer Niven, Take Me With You When You Go), we’re bringing you a smorgasbord of voices to discuss the craft of making YA fiction unique. Moderated by Rain Taxi Managing Editor Linda Stack-Nelson. This event will be ASL interpreted.

Free to attend, registration required. We hope to “see” you there!


Copies of the books featured on this panel can be purchased in advance using the button below!  Books are provided by Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul; purchasing here helps support them AND Rain Taxi’s Twin Cities Book Festival—thank you!

Praise for Thirty Talks Weird Love:

Using a mixture of structures and styles (including free verse, prose, erasure, and concrete poems) that both keep the narrative fresh and express Anamaria’s innermost thoughts, Narváez Varela fashions a thoughtful and candid portrait of a girl battling depression in a “red cruel beautiful mother beast” of a city. Much like plumbing the contents of a poet’s composition notebook, this layered story rewards multiple reads.

—Publisher’s Weekly

Pick Up Thirty Talks Weird Love

PRICE: $20

BOOK PURCHASE with Local Pickup at Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, MN (price includes sales tax)

Ship Thirty Talks Weird Love

PRICE: $23

BOOK PURCHASE plus $3 shipping to your location (U.S. only, price includes sales tax)


Praise for Himawari House:

There is humor and charm in the intersection of languages and understandings. Harmony Becker’s story resonates with humanity and deep wisdom. Himawari House is a tantalizing peek into the future of our global society.

—George Takei, author of New York Times-bestseller They Called Us Enemy

Pick Up Himawari House

PRICE: $19

BOOK PURCHASE with Local Pickup at Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, MN (price includes sales tax)

Ship Himawari House

PRICE: $23

BOOK PURCHASE plus $3 shipping to your location (U.S. only, price includes sales tax)


Praise for Take Me With You When You Go:

Take Me With You When You Go knocked the wind out of me. Levithan and Niven write with such effortless clarity, purpose, and voice, weaving an intricate and moving portrait of humanity’s brightest, most beautiful pieces alongside the pain and heartache of real life. Simply put: one of the loveliest, most tender, biggest-hearted books I’ve read in years. I am in awe.

—Emily Henry, New York Times bestselling author of People We Meet on Vacation and Beach Read

Pick Up Take Me With You When You Go

PRICE: $20

BOOK PURCHASE with Local Pickup at Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, MN (price includes sales tax)

Ship Take Me With You When You Go

PRICE: $23

BOOK PURCHASE plus $3 shipping to your location (U.S. only, price includes sales tax)


About the Authors:

ALESSANDRA NARVÁEZ VARELA was born and raised in Ciudad Juárez, México. She earned a B.S. in Biology and a Bilingual M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso, where she now teaches. Thirty Talks Weird Love is her debut novel. Visit her website at alessandranarvaezvarela.com.


Harmony Becker was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the illustrator of George Takei’s graphic memoir They Called Us Enemy. She currently lives in Mexico City.


Jennifer Niven is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of All the Bright Places and Holding Up the Universe. Her books have been translated in over 75 languages, and have won awards around the world. When she isn’t working on multiple book and TV projects, Jennifer also oversees Germ, a literary web magazine for high school age and beyond. Jennifer divides her time between coastal Georgia and Los Angeles. Find her at jenniferniven.com.

David Levithan’s many acclaimed novels include Someday, Another Day, Every Day, Two Boys Kissing, and Boy Meets Boy. His bestselling collaborations include Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Sam & Ilsa’s Last Hurrah (both written with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (written with John Green). In 2016, David has received the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and others. Learn more about him at davidlevithan.com.


Linda Stack-Nelson is the managing editor at Rain Taxi and the exhibit coordinator for the Twin Cities Book Festival. Linda’s professional past includes undergrad at the University of Oklahoma, editorial work with World Literature Today and Graywolf Press, and bookselling at Wild Rumpus. Their personal past includes dressing up as a poppyseed bagel. Linda is currently an Assistant Editrix of Fiction for Storm Cellar Quarterly as well as a contributor to other publications.