A few weeks ago on November 9th, books fans around the world were heading to South Carolina for YALLfest, a young adult book convention. The event was organized by Blue Bicycle Books, an independent bookstore which started YALLfest three years ago.
YALLfest consisted of a ton (and I can almost use that word literally when we talk about all the books we took with us and hauled back home) of amazing authors that sat for countless hours to sign books for all of their adoring fans. Some of these authors even helped to make YALLfest a success (shoutout Margaret Stohl for giving the most high fives in the history of ever), making YALLfest the only YA book festival designed for the readers, by the authors. In addition to being able to meet some of our favorite, amazing authors, YALLfest was jam packed with author panels. We somehow managed to worm our way into a couple of panels, even though they were happening during author signings (talk about hectic!)
The panels consisted of multi-author themed talks about anything from movie adaptations and ALL.THE.FEELS, to having a YALLfest audience help write a story. At the “storyball panel”, a mutli-author panel geared towards middle grade readers, kids and adults alike joined forces to write a story that you can find published on the web HERE.
In addition to panels, YALLfest offered “coffee talks” with some of our favorite authors. We attended the Tahereh Mafi and Ransom Riggs coffee talk called “After The Peculiar Wedding” (really, that was the title of the event.) where the newlyweds talked about everything from the worst thing they had ever written (long purple eyelashes for Tahereh and a popcorn planet for Ransom) to how people at comic con don’t shower. These coffee talks were just as the title suggests – like having coffee with your favorite authors and chatting about whatever came to mind.
To top off the panels, the talks, and the signings, there were two ticketed events – The Keynote Speech with Veronica Roth and Rae Carson where Roth and Carson discussed girl power vs. boy power (duh. girl power for the win), and The YA Smackdown where all of the authors from YALLfest came together for a little fun and games (and pie.) We got to see Libba Bray’s BAND perform (did you know Libba Bray had a band? well you do now) and some of us even got pulled up on stage to be clones of the beloved David Levithan (he is like literally, everywhere….all the time).
There were events pre-YALLfest that we attended where we got to hear Lauren Oliver read an excerpt of her brand new book, Panic along with readings from Veronica Rossi, Melissa De La Cruz, and others.
Throughout the event: we laughed, we cried, we sang happy birthday (to both Lauren Oliver and Tahereh Mafi), we mingled with authors on every street corner we approached, and we might have peed our pants a little. YALLfest was SO MUCH FUN, and Blue Bicycle Books along with Amazon did an amazing job sponsoring the event. We have never been to a better book festival that was pretty much free, and we will definitely be back next year. See Ya’ll then, Charleston!
Watch the Veronica Roth and Rae Carson panel at YALLfest below!
Categories: Book News