I would like to stand here with my head bowed and take a moment of silence to offer my humblest apologies on the lateness of this post.
Alright. Moment done. LET’S TALK ABOUT YALL FEST.
I drove up to Charleston with my mother and best friend on Thursday night to prepare for the awesomeness of the panels and signings in the following days. On Friday from 3-5, some authors were signing at various venues along the street by Blue Bicycle Books. Saturday, the main day, had more signings and three panels every hour, including the opening and closing keynote.
On Friday we divided and conquered to try and get as many books signed as possible. We met Sarah Dessen, E. Lockhart, Lauren Oliver, Scott Westerfeld, and Kathy and Brennan Reichs. And my mother was kind enough to see Gayle Forman and James Dashner to get those books signed, too.
Guys, people are crazy, though. We were casually strolling through Charleston in the morning around 11, and people already began lining up for the authors.
James Dashner was particularly popular, probably because his movie just came out. I didn’t wait in line for him, but we did see him casually crossing the street and got a picture! He was so sweet about it, too.
Most of the authors were awesome and super nice to all the fans. They didn’t mind being ambushed by crazed young adult readers and stopped to chat often. On the Twitter hashtag, it was fun to see pictures of the authors just ambling down the street. I usually don’t think of them as doing anything but writing, but I guess they can’t do that all the time.
Saturday is when things went a little insane. This is when most people came, and we had to hop out of the car in the middle of the Charleston traffic to race to our first panel on time. And the line already snaked around the building.
The panels are super interesting. We went to a promotional one about the anthology My True Love Gave to Me with a ton of awesome romance authors. They had panels for everyone, from publishing trends to heroines to anxiety to movie adaptations. We preferred the panels to the signing lines because you actually get to hear the authors’ opinions and see them for longer than 30 seconds.
Still, in between the panels we met Ann Brashares and kept a keen eye out for author-spottings.
My favorite panel was probably the one focusing on movie adaptations. I’m interested in the crossover and the authors’ views on their work being squeezed and shimmied into a different format. Mostly, they all said how much they loved the adaptations. If that’s entirely true, I don’t know. Maybe they’re more flexible with their work than I am. Plus I don’t make any money off the movie, so that’s probably an added treat to like it.
Lastly, we stayed for the closing keynote featuring Ally Condie and Sarah Dessen and the Tiger Beat Smackdown. Both of these were ticketed events, but it’s only $7 each. The Smackdown was super cute. The authors read famous first lines and converted children books to young adult and read their childhood masterpieces. They had the whole audience laughing and clapping which ended the festival really well.
They also announced a surprise. YALL WEST. So for all you west coasters who can’t come all the way to South Carolina, you don’t have to anymore! Now I’ll have to convince my mom to take me there, too. Mhmmm…. I’m feeling a road trip.
The atmosphere at the YALL Fest is amazing. All the volunteers and fellow readers are not opposed to bookish conversation, and Charleston is gorgeous just to hang out in as well. I admit, I’m not as dedicated as those willing to wait in line at 4 in the morning for a wristband to get their Veronica Roth books signed, but I enjoyed gawking at their intensity.
Plus, we did get a secret picture of her signing. How cool is Veronica Roth, though? She’s so adorable!
The Twitter hashtag was fun since it featured the long lines and crazy surprise meetings. Team Epic Reads was there, too, and I kept my eyes open for the Tea Timers, but alas, I did not get a chance to meet them.
I definitely recommend it for avid readers, and I’m planning on going back next year.
Did any of you guys go to the festival?