6 Impressions From a First Time YALL Fest-er

Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell!!!!

This time last week I was at YALL Fest, the largest Young Adult book festival in North America (which means it’s probably the largest in the world). It. Was. AMAZING.

I went with my friend Regina and it was our first time at a festival like this so needless to say we were overwhelmed! Later next year, before the next YALL Fest, I will post all about our tips and advice, but for now, let me just enthuse about my 6 biggest impressions/favorite memories from YALL Fest 2014!

  1. Meeting two of my favorite authors

    Ann Brashares
    The two authors I was most looking forward to meeting at YALL Fest were Ann Brashares, author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, and Rainbow Rowell, author of Eleanor & Park, Landline, and Attachments (my favorite read of the year so far). I got to meet them both and have them sign some books and I was fangirling like crazy! Ann Brashares’s line was shorter which was awesome because she spent a few minutes talking to each of her fans. She told me so many nice things: that I look like a Maggie, that she loved my hair (and she talked about how her daughter has red hair, too), and she was also really happy that I loved Sisterhood Everlasting (the final, darker, and sadder Sisterhood book). Rainbow Rowell’s line was fast-moving, but she did let us take pictures with her! Dreams come true :)

  2. The panels!
    Ok, for anyone who may be going to YALL Fest in the future, do not miss out on the panels!! I absolutely loved meeting Ann Brashares and Rainbow Rowell, but the panels were equally amazing. We got to go to 3 and a half (we came in halfway through one called “The New Romantics”) and it really made YALL Fest incredible for us.
    The New Romantics – several YA romance authors including Ann Brashares, Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass), and Kiera Cass (The Selection), talked about the most romantic things that someone has done for them, genres they wish they could write, and their most embarrassing pieces of writing.

    The New Romantics
    Hollywood Adaptations – LOVED this panel! All of the authors here seemed so down to earth, especially James Dashner, who is such a goof…I can’t wait to meet him one day.

    Hollywood Adaptations
    Closing Keynote – This was a panel with Sarah Dessen (Just Listen, The Truth About Forever) and Ally Condie (The Matched series, Atlantia), but the most entertaining aspect was the moderator, Brendan Reichs (The Virals series), who was absolutely hilarious! It was also inspiring to hear about Ally and Sarah’s writing processes.

    Closing Keynote

  3. YA Smackdown – This is a DO NOT MISS event. Dozens of authors participated in different skits, the most memorable being Hollywood Squares, reading the first lines of famous YA novels, and reading some of their earliest, most embarrassing works. All of this was topped off with a musical performance that concluded with The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s Time Warp.

    YA Smackdown

  4. Realizing authors are just like us
    This sounds like an US Weekly article, but it’s true. The panels showed me that most authors are weird (in a good way)! They aren’t polished or “above anyone,” except some of them DO dress like they’re straight out of The Devil Wears Prada (I’m talking to you, Marie Lu <3)

    Marie Lu

  5. Blogger Dinner
    Friday night we were happy to attend a book blogger dinner where we got to meet bloggers from all over the continent. It was such a fun evening! I love the blogging community :)

  6. Connecting with other fans/bloggers/authors on Twitter
    THIS actually turned out to be a life saver. We found that the YALL Fest website had a lot of conflicting info, for example, some of the author signings required wristbands which were given out earlier in the day. One of these special wristbands was needed for Rainbow Rowell’s line, and the website said those would be given out to the first 200 people in her line in the afternoon, but actually, they were giving them out in the morning. If I hadn’t been scrolling through Twitter while getting dressed that morning, I would have missed the memo a fan fortunately tweeted. I OWE MY SIGNED RAINBOW BOOKS TO HER! Next year, stay updated through Twitter.
  7. Charleston is a lovely city!

    The people there were so nice! The waitresses, the parking garage attendants, even curious drivers were nice to all of us out-of-towners. And the city had so many cute shops and restaurants. I’ll love visiting this city again next year!

I know this post was long! But hopefully it helps anyone who wants to attend YALL Fest next year! I will probably post about this again next fall because I have plenty of advice for first timers!


Veronica Roth and James Dashner were hilarious “frenemies” at YALL Fest :)


I also got to meet Gayle Forman!

Did you attend YALL Fest this year or in the past? What did you think??

15 thoughts on “6 Impressions From a First Time YALL Fest-er

  1. Oh my gosh! Look at you name-dropping like crazy! I went to an English Teacher’s Conference one time and they had a few YA authors speak and they did book signings, but nothing like the big names you got to meet at YALL Fest! The most famous author I met was Lois Duncan (who wrote I Know What You Did Last Summer and Killing Mr. Griffin–both scary stories adapted into film). But Lois was a little on the kooky side…it turned out that she really BELIEVED in a lot of the supernatural stuff that she liked to write about. You just never know. But I’m glad Ann Brashares (and everyone else) was so nice! That’s great to hear!

  2. OMG! I am so jealous of all your experiences! I met Gayle Forman a couple of months ago (I posted the event recap on my blog) and she was such a sweetheart. She kept singing Frozen songs and she even allowed me to touch her beautiful curls.

    I may never get to go to a YALL Fest so I really loved reading this post. Thanks for the great recap! :)

    • Gayle Forman was really sweet! We kind of ran into her as she was leaving a building and I just asked if we could take a picture and she kindly obliged. I know a lot of other authors were just as nice. I heard that Kiera Cass stayed after her alloted signing time to make sure everyone got their books signed. And Michelle Hodkin (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer) did the same because she spent ~5 minutes talking to each of her fans. YALL Fest was definitely an amazing experience and I hope you are able to go some day!

  3. Wow YALL fest sounds like a ton of fun! I heard they are bringing a version to the West Coast so I hope to go to that next year. I also hope they do a YA smackdown because I want to see that the most! Great pictures and recap Maggie!

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