The end of July only means one thing for me, and that’s that it’s time for YALC.
For everyone who doesn’t know YALC stands for the Young Adult Literature Convention and it’s three days full of craziness, running like made for ARCs and giveaways, and ending up with an aching body from carrying around more books than any one person should have to carry around. This was my second full weekend at YALC, and I’d say I had an even better time this year than I did last year. Granted it was incredibly exhausting, but so far the best weekend of 2017.
There was an incredible line-up this time around, and before I went I made sure I knew what I wanted to do, what panels I wanted to see and what signings I wanted to be in the queue for. However despite my excellent (maybe a slight over-exaggeration there) organisation skills there was still a certain amount done on a whim. There were times when I was sitting in a panel and I had to run out to grab an ARC that I saw through Twitter was being given away.
YALC Top Tip #1: Follow the publishing houses on Twitter and put a notification alert on their Tweets. There are plenty of ARCs up for grabs and they are all announced on Twitter but it really is first come first series.
Also keep an eye on #YALC for any publishing houses you may have missed.
Friday was the first day of YALC, and I was up at Olympia London just after 8am for a convention that didn’t start until nine. Still it was well worth it when the doors opened and I was finally inside. The first day was when I ended up getting most of my books, and by the end my shoulder felt like it was going to fall off from carrying around so many books in a selection of tote bags.
YALC Top Tip #2: It is so much easier, and friendlier to your shoulder, to take a small suitcase rather than being forced to carry around twenty odd books in four tote bags.
I met Alwyn Hamilton, who I would say is one of the nicest authors I’ve ever met, Melinda Salisbury, Taran Matharu, Emily Barr, and Samantha Shannon, who is the author of one of my favourite series, while getting my books signed. I also managed to snag my first few ARCs of the weekend, but more on that later in my YALC Haul.
Saturday was the day I was the most excited for because this was the day both V.E. Schwab and Laini Taylor were going to be at YALC. I had an opportunity to attend Laini Taylor’s author signing at Waterstones Piccadilly back in April, but I had plans the same day so had to give it a miss. I was devastated but felt much better when I saw she’d be at YALC later this year. The signing queues for both authors were huge, but meeting them both (V.E. Schwab for the second time) was probably the highlight of my weekend.
YALC Top Tip #3: This year they were doing virtual queuing for the authors whose signing queues got too long, and it was a brilliant way to run things. Instead of waiting in a queue for half an hour/an hour you got a ticket with a number, and then you could wander off an sit in another panel or buy more books knowing you still had a place in the queue.
Also on Saturday I met up with Kate from Reading Through Infinity which was a nice surprise, getting to meet someone in real life I’d been speaking to online for so long.
YALC Top Tip #4: Talk to other people attending YALC. It’s scary and I’ll be the first to admit that because I can be terrified of talking to other people as well, but we all have a common interest.
It’s easier in queues because you’re all waiting for the same thing, be it an author signing or an ARC, so strike up an conversation about that. It’ll make the wait go much quicker and everyone I met at YALC was so incredibly friendly.
Sunday was the end of YALC, and by this point I was so shattered that when I woke up part of me was tempted to just stay in bed and give the last day a miss so I could sleep more. The train delays I had didn’t make it any easier, but in the end I was glad I made it up to London because I ended up snagging my best ARC of the weekend, but again more on that later in my YALC Haul.
Also on Sunday Alwyn Hamilton unveiled the cover for the last book in the Rebel of the Sands series; Hero at the Fall. I am a massive fan of this series, and was incredibly excited to see the cover because so far all the books in the trilogy have been beyond gorgeous. Of course Hero at the Fall was no exception.
Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton
Once, in the desert country of Miraji, there was a Sultan without an heir.
The heir had been killed by his own brother, the treacherous Rebel Prince, who was consumed by jealousy and sought the throne for himself.
Or so it was said by some. There were others who said that the Rebel Prince was not a traitor but a hero…
In the final battle for the throne, Amani must fight for everything she believes in, but with the rebellion in pieces, and the Sultan’s armies advancing across the desert plains, who will lead, who will triumph, who will live and who will die?
YALC Book Haul
Books I Brought;
- Timebomb by Scott K. Andrews
- Second Lives by Scott K. Andrews
- The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris
- Runemarks by Joanne M. Harris
- Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
- The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
- Kingdom of Sleep by E.K. Johnston
- Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff
- The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman
- Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
- The Rosewood Chronicles by Connie Glynn
- All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
- The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
- Moonrise by Sarah Crossan
- S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett
- The Fandom by Anna Day
- The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
- Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi
The Hazel Wood is one of my most anticipated releases of next year, and the second I saw Penguin Platform had ARC copies behind their stand I knew I needed to get my hands on a copy. I pretty much stalked their Twitter and their stand, keeping an eye out for the flash giveaway.
This was the ARC I ran out of a panel for, and it was lucky I did because they were gone in five minutes.
- The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr
- Invictus by Ryan Graudin
I had no idea there was going to be an Invictus ARC drop at YALC until the Sunday morning, and getting a copy (that I was later able to get signed by Ryan Graudin) pretty much made my weekend.
And that was my weekend, it was insanely tiring but all in all I cannot wait for YALC 2018. That being said I am glad these conventions are only once a year, I feel I need a year to recover from this one in order to be able to do it all again.
Plus I now have a lot of books I need to get through.
Did anyone else go to YALC this year; if so what was the highlight of your weekend? Also is anyone already planning to go next year? I certainly am.
Let me know in the comments below.