Well hello, everyone! How are we all doing?
I have quite a large (but exciting) post for you today, as last Friday (28th July) I went to The Young Adult Literature Convention, or YALC! 🙂 This is an annual YA event hosted in London, UK, at the end of July. It is a 3-day convention filled with bookish talks, workshops, amazing book deals, promos and all-round book love.
I attended my first YALC last year, and I had such a good time that I thought I should pay a visit this year too. After lots of umm-ing and ahh-ing, I decided to follow the same plan I had last year and visit on the Friday, rather than going during the weekend. I was worried that the weekend would be a lot busier, and that I wouldn’t be able to get as much bookish loot, haha.
In the end, I had a good time on Friday! 🙂 I thought I would give a little run-down of my experience, and then end it all off with a mini haul (of course). I apologise in advance if this post is a big one, but I hope you enjoy!
So, I got to the Olympia venue at 8:30am and, although YALC didn’t start until 9, there was already a fairly hefty queue! Thanks to the #YALC on twitter, the wait didn’t feel too long, as everyone else was getting excited for the day’s events.
Eventually everyone was allowed in, and everything kicked off pretty quickly after that. There was a definite summer vibe going on for YALC, I mean look at these decorations and rest area!
The chairs were really comfy, although the lounge area is really small, so when I needed a rest I tended to just sit against a wall space instead 😛
Anyway, back to the important bit- the book stalls!! The layout was a bit different to last year, with book stalls on one end of the room and the main stage and workshop areas at the back. There were also a lot more stalls this year too, which is always exciting. As well as all the big YA producers (like Penguin, Bloomsbury, Walker YA, etc) there were some names I didn’t recognise, so it was really cool to see all the new YA publishers and book trends. All the stalls were decorated beautifully, and of course, each stall had their own selection of YA and some really good deals. I couldn’t not take advantage of that, right?
I did keep an eye on Twitter for any sudden flash giveaways and things. There were quite a few on offer, such as giving away proof copies or special merch, but you YALC-goers are so speedy! I swear all the giveaways finished in like 5 minutes of it being posted, so I unfortunately didn’t grab those goodies. I did however manage to get a few freebies that the publishers were offering on their tables throughout the day, which I will show at the end.
Oh, and there were also some really interesting stalls from some independent sellers! The Book Box Club and Geeky Clean were there, as well my old fave Fairyloot! I actually attended Fairyloot’s stall as they were doing a spin-the-wheel game. Whatever colour the spinner landed on you won a prize, such as a candle, a book, a sample chapter, etc. I was hoping to get a book of something (I mean who wouldn’t), but in the end I got a signed book-plate from Mindy McGinnis. I don’t own her book Given to the Sea, but I guess I can save it until then!
I’ll be honest and say that I mainly attend YALC for the book merch, but I was also interested in a few talks on the main stage. This year I attended two in particular: Heroines and SFF Now. Heroines was hosted by Anna James, and the authors in the talked included Alwyn Hamilton, Laure Eve, Melinda Salisbury, Amy Alward and Sophia Bennett. I was quite intrigued about this talk, as the nature of heroines is definitely something that has been changing with the times. It was really interesting to hear each author’s take on what makes a heroine. For example, Laure Eve (who likes villains) says that for her, a heroine has a determination or agenda, whether that is good or bad. I think this is quite cool, as a lot of people think or heroes/heroines as inherently good. Heroines are subjective and, as you can you root for them or identify with them, I think they can still be classed as a heroine. I mean, in writing, anything goes! What do you think?
SFF Now was hosted by Laure Eve, and included the authors Taran Matharu, Samantha Shannon, Laura Lam, Elizabeth May and David Owen. I have an unhealthy love for Sci-fi and fantasy books, so it was great to hear from some established and up-and-coming YA authors from this genre. In fact there were a few authors there that I hadn’t read before, and after this talk some more books were definitely added to my TBR list!
When I last came to YALC I also attended some publisher talks and creative-writing workshops. I was tempted to try another writing workshop (I’d love to be an author one day… I just need a story idea!), but when the time came I just didn’t feel like it, so I flaked. I was also planning on attending Melinda Salisbury’s book signing, but I flaked on that too- oops! I’m a bit weird with meeting authors and having signed books, and in the end I just didn’t have the drive to queue and get The Sin-Eater’s Daughter signed. I feel like a terrible book-blogger, sorry guys! 😛
All in all it was a good day. I spent SO much time walking around all the stalls deciding what I should buy, and by the end of the day I was exhausted. My feet hurt from walking, and my shoulders/back definitely ached from all the things I had bought/acquired! It was a bit boring attending the event on my own (especially as I am terrible at making friends/talking to new people), but it was fun to chat with Amy on Twitter about our experiences (and book purchases) throughout the day. Thanks, Amy! 🙂 Oh, and go and check out her blog, too!
If I was honest I would say that I enjoyed last year’ YALC more, but that could be a combination of things- I mean it was my first experience of the convention, and I attended a lot more talks/workshops in 2016.
That said, I was checking a few YALC updates on Twitter for Saturday and Sunday, and there were SO many good offers and proof giveaways! Also, Benedict Cumberbatch visited YALC on Sunday a couple of times, I’m so jealous for all those who saw him! ❤
Okay, on to the bit I like the most- my YALC haul. ❤ I’m a shopaholic so this is when I get into my element. Let’s just get stuck into it with the freebies:
As you can see I managed to grab a couple of posters, postcards and bookmarks. I particularly like the Caraval bookmark (the black one)- it is based off the new paperback design (which is gorgeous btw), and the white BKMRK one next to it. I also managed to nab two tote bags; a really high-quality one from FairyLoot and a BKMRK one in a beautiful blue colour. 🙂 Can you also see a Mockingjay pin?
I managed to get my hands on a few samplers and proofs too, which is really fun. So I received:
- A proof copy of The Fandom by Anna Day. I don’t know too much about this one, but copies of this ran out in about 20 minutes, so I couldn’t resist. I think it is about some teens who get transported into the world of their fave fandom? Interesting
- Sampler of Hannah Witton’s Doing It! I was interested in this as I had heard a lot of good things, and I am interested in trying to read more non-fiction reads. However, when reading the sampler it didn’t really ‘do it’ for me 😛
- Samplers of Louise O’Neills feminist Little Mermaid retelling The Surface Breaks, as well as a sampler from Melinda Salisbury’s upcoming book, currently titled Sorrow. I wasn’t aware of these books until just before YALC, and I am really excited to give these a try!
- Samplers of Stiefvater’s All the Crooked Saints (amazing title btw), and Clean by Juno Dawson. I know absolutely nothing about these ones, although Stiefvater is well-loved in the bookish world, and Clean seems to have an interesting premise about a rehab centre?
- A Sampler of Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyemi. I found out about this book not long ago, and I am pumped for it. It looks like an amazingly diverse fantasy with lots of magic- I’m in. Can’t wait to give this a read!
- A sample copy of Floored– a novel with 7 characters, written by 7 authors. With so many authors I am intrigued to see how all the characters are linked together!
I definitely didn’t get as many free merch this year compared to some people, there was so much competition for the books and things you really do have to get there early! But I’m still happy with some of the things I got, especially the samplers.
As well as samplers I couldn’t resist buying a few actual books myself! There was so much temptation, and it took me a long time to decide which books I should actually take the plunge and purchase. In the end I bought:
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus~ Okay, this was the one book I knew I wanted to buy. I actually put it on my May Anticipated Releases list and, after seeing so many good reviews for it, it has been slowly creeping its way up my wish-list. It has red-sprayed edges on it too, which is super exciting.
- Because You Love To Hate Me by various authors~ Okay, so as soon as saw this one I just had to buy it! I mean, it’s a collection of villainous stories written by authors and BookTubers! That is such a cool collaboration, and I am hoping I enjoy the stories 🙂
- A Court of Thorns and Roses and The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas~ So there was a 3 for 3 offer at the Bloomsbury stand, and the only other books I was interested in at the time were some of Sarah J. Maas’ books (the other titles on display didn’t appeal to me as much). I am interested in reading Caelena’s past, so I decided to get the novella collection The Assassin’s Blade. I’m hoping it’ll show some more badassery! I also jumped on the bandwagon to get A Court of Thorn and Roses. Now, this has not interested me enough in the past to buy a copy, but with this current offer I really didn’t have anything to lose. I know a lot of people love it, so I’m hoping I do too.
- Pantomime by Laura Lam~ I’ve actually been umm-ing and ahh-ing about this title for a while, but I could never make the decision to actually buy a copy. However, after hearing from the author at the SFF Now panel I was really intrigued by the intersex main character, so I bought the last copy at the event~
- Sweetfreak by Sophie McKenzie~ Okay, this was my riskiest purchase. I am worried that the book might be too young for me, but to be honest I was really interested in the online troll and friendship storyline. I was thinking about it most of the afternoon at YALC, so I decided that that was a sign I should at least give it a go.
I will say that this year there weren’t as many books I was excited for at YALC, but that could be because I have so many on my TBR pile at home that I was trying to be a bit more realistic with my purchases. However, all in all I think I did pretty well! I do enjoy the book-loving vibe that YALC provides, so I’m sure I’ll be visiting next year too~
Did you attend YALC this year? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments! Oh, and if you have any questions about this event, let me know too and I’ll try to answer them! ❤