This year, the 3rd annual YALL West book festival took place on April 28 and 29
If this is your first time hearing about YALL West (WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!?) let me briefly explain what it is. YALL West is the west-coast sister festival of YALL Fest – an annual young adult book festival that takes place in Charleston, South Carolina – that takes place in the Spring in Santa Monica, California. Over 100 authors and more than 1,000 people it seemed attended YALL West this year, and every time I go it just seems like this event is getting bigger and bigger!
Unfortunately, this year YALL West was only on Friday and Saturday instead of its usual Friday through Sunday schedule, so it was more hectic and stressful than previous years. Friday was just the preview event and the actual festival was only on one day, Saturday. Back then, we were able to spread out our self-created schedules for the entire weekend and figure out what our plan of attack would be for each day. This time we only had ONE DAY to do as much as we could which included attending signings, lining up for book drops, getting into panels, etc. It was overwhelming, to say the least.
I got sick with a really bad cold a few weeks before YALL West so I missed out on a lot, the Festival of Books included. I was determined not to miss YALL West though, especially this year because 1) I have attended YALL West since it’s inception and 2) my all-time favorite fantasy author THE Cassandra Clare was attending this year and I absolutely refused to miss the chance to seeing her again and getting more of my books signed. I was trying to go easy on myself though because I still wasn’t 100% and lowered the number of authors whose books I wanted signed to just Cassie. I really couldn’t handle dragging around a luggage filled with books this time, and I wanted to be able to relax and spend time with my friends more rather than running around like a maniac jumping from signing lines to booths and back again.
I carpooled with my friend Jasmine (Movies, Shows, & Books) and her cousin, and we arrived at the high school around 7:30am. Thankfully, the line wasn’t too bad – just about 50 people in front of us. That sounds like a lot of people – and it sort of was – but by the time 9am arrived (when the festival was supposed to officially begin) the line completely wrapped around the entire chain-link fence that lined the football field. As we stood in line, we could see people lined up all the way across from us and disappear past the end of the fence. I wondered how far down the block the line went.
My friend Allison (A Bookish Alli) convinced me to mainly focus on obtaining ARCs this year, which sounded a lot easier than it really was. Right when they allowed us in, I tried to get an ARC for Leigh Bardugo’s Warbringer from the First in Line booth but those disappeared so quickly, it was insane. Not too big of a deal though because my priority ARCs for the day were Marie Lu’s Warcross, Julie Dao’s Forest of a Thousand Lanters, Adriana Mather’s Haunting the Deep, and Stephanie Perkins’ There’s Someone Inside Your House. Sadly, at the end of the festival I was only able to get Adriana’s and Stephanie’s. Penguin said on Twitter that there was going to be an ARC drop for Warcross but apparently made a mistake, then corrected it to just samplers. So disappointing. I still got a sampler but I never read those because what’s the point? The “ARC” drop for Stephanie Perkins’ upcoming horror/suspense novel was also a disappointment because it was only a “partial ARC”.
At least I got some other ARCs that I hadn’t planned for, lots of swag, and most importantly, I got two more Shadowhunter books signed! The wristband pick-up area for Cassie’s was ABSOLUTE CHAOS. I would compare it to being in the Hunger Games when the timer turns to 0 and all the Tributes rush to the Cornucopia.
The person who had the wristbands kept moving around so the stampede that followed her kept moving, too. (Like Pikmin) They were also distributing wristbands for Victoria Aveyard at the same time, but since there was a stampede of people frantically trying to get in line, it was so difficult to figure out which line (or mob) was for Cassie. Thankfully, Jasmine’s cousin was able to get in line and we made some friends who kindly agreed to split our books among them so we could all get our books signed!
Jasmine was kind enough to allow me to line up for Cassie’s signing (I got one of her books signed for her, of course ^_^) so I was able to take a photo with her. She loved the little Alec bookmark I had. Haha
After I achieved my main goal for the day I wasn’t as stressed anymore and could enjoy the festival more. Like I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t able to get all the ARCs I wanted but I’m grateful for the ones I did get.
I tagged along with Jasmine when we went to Jennifer Niven’s signing, not because I had books to be signed but because I hadn’t seen her since we went to the Supernatural convention last year and I missed her so much!
On our way to the Penguin Teen both we found Tamara Ireland Stone! We saw her in the distance and managed to get to her before she disappeared. Haha
I was wearing my Rusk University (by Cora Carmack) football shirt that has Moore (for my absolute favorite football player book boyfriend, Silas) on the back, and was so happy that some people recognized it! One person stopped me as I was talking past just to tell me how much they loved my shirt and that they loved the series, and another person mentioned how much they were looking forward to her YA debut novel, “Roar”! Being part of the street team, hearing that made me so happy!
At the end of the day I finally had a chance to just sit and relax. Jasmine and her cousin wanted to find Margaret Stohl so Jasmine could get her books signed, while I went to hang out with my friends at Christine’s booth.
It was definitely less stressful this year because I drastically reduced my goals, but I was still exhausted by the end of the day. Overall, I had a great time and loved being among so many passionate YA readers and friends. I even made some new ones who I hope to see again soon! Can’t wait for YALL West 2018!