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!
- Meeting two of my favorite authors
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 :)
- 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.
♥ 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.
- ♥ 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.
- 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)
- 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 :)
- 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.
- Charleston is a lovely city!
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!
Did you attend YALL Fest this year or in the past? What did you think??