I can’t believe I’m already doing another YALC wrap up post! It seemed like I waited for ages for YALC to roll around and then when it did come, it went way too quickly! Isn’t it always the way though?! For anyone who doesn’t know (ie hasn’t been stalking my twitter for the last few days, weeks or months), YALC is the Young Adult Literature Convention which has been held annually at Olympia for the past three years, which celebrates Young Adult Books and authors (mostly UK authors, but some Irish and US authors attend as well). It runs over three days (and I went to two this year as opposed to the one day I went to last year) and has panels, signings, book stalls and an agent’s arena where you can meet with agents and authors and publishers and get tips on getting into writing, publishing etc. As with last year, I went with my friend and fellow book addict, Hannah.
I had mostly prepared my bag for YALC on Thursday evening (as I had a family thing on Friday) so Saturday morning was just spent getting ready and making sure that I had all of the books I wanted to take to get signed. My dad took me to Cambridge station where I got the train at King’s Cross. I spent most of the journey down to London reading, but when I heard the people in the seats in front of me talking about Harry Potter (I guess you could say I have kind of a Harry Potter radar!), I couldn’t help but join in. The girl in the seat in front of me was a Hufflepuff like me so we kind of bonded over that (unless she thought I was creepy which I hope she didn’t). The family sitting opposite had been to the Harry Potter Studios and I’m going later this month (AHHH!) so we talked a little about that.
When I got to King’s Cross, I got a phone call from Hannah saying that she had missed her train and was going to be late, so we agreed that I would make my way to Olympia and she would meet me there later. I needed to get on the Circle & District line, so I took the Underground from King’s Cross to Victoria. I wasn’t entirely sure which way to go from there, last year Hannah and I went to High Street Kensington and got the bus to Olympia but there is a train that goes direct to Olympia. Luckily I found some people who were also going to Olympia who knew better than I did how to get there! They told me to get off at Earl’s Court and when I arrived at Earl’s Court, I found some more people who were going to Olympia so I got on the train with them.
When we arrived at Olympia station, I followed them out and up to the YALC entrance (which thankfully was better signposted this year!) and waited in the queue with them. It was a large queue but it moved remarkably quickly, so I arrived at 9.30 and was in the building by 10. I got my wristband and then headed up to the YALC floor. The first panel, Rebellion In YA had just started and Alwyn Hamilton was on that panel so I decided to go to it. I ended up sitting directly behind Malorie Blackman and her daughter, which made me very excited and I sent a very fangirly text to Hannah saying that I was sitting right behind Malorie Blackman. I got a call from Hannah towards the end of the panel saying that she had arrived, so I slipped out of the panel and directed her to the right floor. Once she got up to the YALC floor, we went back to the talk.
After the talk was over, we headed to the Waterstones stall which was (as last year), selling books from the authors appearing at YALC. I was really impressed with it this year, it looked like an actual bookshop rather than just a stand and they had a fancy till and everything so I could get points on my Waterstones card! Hannah picked up a load of books that she wanted to get signed over the next two days by the authors we wanted to meet (I convinced her to get both Rebel of The Sands and The Raven Boys, I am such a book pusher of the books I love what can I say!). We then went over to Alwyn Hamilton’s signing queue but it was so big that it was curving around, so the lady in charge of the queue told us to come back later. We wandered around the stands for a while, (mostly picking up free food and badges!) and then went back to check on Alwyn’s queue but it was still huge so we went away again.
I spotted VE Schwab talking to some people at the Waterstones stand and because I’d heard she’d be there all weekend, I’d brought my two Shades of Magic books to get signed, so Hannah and I went over there and waited until she was done talking to the people. I asked her to sign my books, she was so lovely, she personalized both of them and asked what I thought of the books. I said I’d only read A Darker Shade of Magic but that I loved it and couldn’t wait to read A Gathering of Shadows. She said that after page 300 or so it everything goes downhill but I said I liked the pain, which made her laugh.
After we finished talking to her, I managed to convince Hannah to buy A Darker Shade of Magic (basically a lot of this weekend involved me convincing my friend to buy books that I love so I can fangirl with her about them!). We checked back on the Alwyn Hamilton queue but it was still really long so we took the opportunity to sit down for a bit and have something to eat (as it was around lunchtime at this point). We also found a stand giving away free ice cream, so naturally, we went there and got the free ice cream.
Eventually, we went back to Alwyn Hamilton’s queue and it was finally short enough to join (though it was still a pretty long queue)! We were a little worried that the queue would take a while, because we wanted to get in Malorie Blackman’s signing queue as we knew she would be very popular, but we stayed and waited and just kept an eye on the people queueing up for Malorie. When we finally met Alwyn, she was so lovely and much to our surprise, she actually remembered meeting us last year (before her book was published) which we found really sweet! She talked to us for a while and I told her how much I loved her book and that I had convinced my friend to read it and how excited I am about Traitor To The Throne which she appreciated. We also fangirled a little about books we liked. Hannah and I both agreed when we left her queue that she was one of the loveliest people we’ve met!
After that we went straight into the Malorie Blackman queue and it was already pretty long (ie curving around). We knew we were going to be in for a long wait, so we talked to the people behind us in the queue (who were lovely and one of them was a Fairy Loot rep and gave me a free tote!). We wanted to go to Derek Landy’s panel but as it creeped closer to three o’clock and we were getting close to the front of the queue we decided that we would rather get our Malorie Blackman books signed than go to the panel. Once we reached the front of the queue, we talked to Malorie for a bit, I had all of the Noughts and Crosses books and she asked which one my favourite was and I said I couldn’t choose between Noughts and Crosses and Checkmate. My copy of Checkmate was clearly very well thumbed and she seemed to like that! Considering the size of her queue, she talked to us for longer than we were expecting (and we got more than the usual hello and sign, goodbye) so we really appreciated that. She also personalised all four of my books, which I really loved.
After we’d seen Malorie, I saw that Sarah Crossan’s queue was quite short and since I had brought a couple of my books with me just in case I did get to see her (I didn’t think I would because we had planned on being in Derek Landy’s panel at the time) we got in the queue. We didn’t spend as much time with her as we did with the other authors, but I told her that I liked the books that I had brought and had given them positive reviews on my blog and she was also really nice (Authors are honestly not scary people, they are lovely people!) and as soon as we had finished talking to her, we got in line for Derek Landy. The line was huge, so again we made friends with the people behind us and talked to them the whole time we were waiting in the queue about YALC and what we’d been doing and about Skulduggery Pleasant.
When we finally got to the front of the queue, we asked Derek Landy all sorts of questions about his new Skulduggery Pleasant series, which we had just found out about earlier in the day and are already so excited for (you are a crafty guy Derek, we all thought you were done after nine books. I bet when you started the new series you were just laughing at us all) and then held up the queue once again with me finding the books I wanted to get signed in my bag. We both got our books signed and then we got a picture with him, in which we also managed to embarrass ourselves because he asked us to go elbow to shoulder and we started by leaning in with shoulders together. He made this into a joke though and had the whole queue laughing! Me and Hannah both swear that one day we will go to YALC and not embarrass ourselves in front of Derek Landy but I don’t feel it’s going to happen anytime soon!
After we had seen Derek, my friend wanted to go and see Alex Scarrow. On the way there we spotted VE Schwab over at Waterstones again, so Hannah got her copy of ADSOM signed and I got something very special for a friend of mine, not saying what it is though in case she’s reading this (and don’t guess in the comments, again, just in case she’s reading this). I’m really excited to give it to her though now. We then went to see Alex Scarrow and my friend pretty much geeked out with him, talking about coding and programming and his books and I got a picture of the two of them together.
Once we were done there, it was around 5 ish and there weren’t anymore signings that day (though the Derek one was still going on!) so we decided to do a last quick round of the stalls before leaving. I had been to the Chapter 5 stand earlier in the day and picked up some books from there (and fawned over their pretty Caraval proof that they had on their stand) but now we went round some of the other stands. I picked up a copy of The Witch’s Kiss at the Harper Voyager stand and talked to the people there. I signed up to their mailing list and told them about my blog and they said they would check out my blog and might send me some ARCs (cue inward squealing!).
We walked around some of the other stands and ended up talking to Josephine Boyce at her stand for a while. Her book is self-published so we asked her about that and about the book and it sounded really good, so both me and my friend bought a copy and she signed them for us. I said that I was a blogger and that I would happily review her book (hopefully I enjoy it) and she asked me what my blog was and I said it was linked to my twitter, so she is now following me on twitter! She was really nice and her publishing story (because she’s self-published was really interesting) so we ended up talking to her for a while.
We decided then as it was getting close to YALC being over for the day that we were going to head out but we ended stopping at the Accent YA stand and talking to Sofi Croft, who told us about her book Indigo’s Dragon and Hannah and I both liked the sound of her book so we bought it and she offered to sign it for us so we happily agreed. Once both of our books had been signed, we were very tired and YALC was basically over for the day so we headed out back to the station at Olympia.
We ended up getting a bit lost on the way back and getting slightly diverted on the underground, we ended up doing a bit of circle and coming back to Earl’s Court so we could do it again properly! We excitedly chatted all the way back about all the books we’d got and what a great day we’d had but little did we know then that our day was going to get even better…..
We eventually got on the right train, got to Paddington, then got the train to Slough and then from Slough we went to Windsor where Hannah lives. We went into her flat and sat and just chatted and relaxed for a little while before heading off to her student house in Southampton where we were spending the night.
Whilst we were in the car, we talked about maybe going to a Harry Potter and the Cursed Child midnight release party but we didn’t know where we could go. We had very spotty reception whilst driving, so we waited until we got to the services to search. We couldn’t find one in Southampton (at least not one in the Southampton in the UK, though we found a few Southampton US midnight launches!), but we did find one in Basingstoke, which was on our way back, so we decided to go there after we had finished our food.
When we got to Basingstoke, it took Hannah a while to find somewhere to park but eventually she did and we walked over to the shopping centre in which the launch was being held. We got to the Waterstones with two minutes to spare, quickly paid for our books and then joined the queue to receive them. We counted down to midnight with everyone in the queue to get their books and then chatted to some people behind us in the queue as we waited. The queue moved pretty quickly and we soon had our books. We were very excited and got one of the security people outside to take a picture of us with our books before leaving. We finally got back to Southampton at about 1am and after getting ready for bed, basically flopped down as we were exhausted and had a very early start the next day!
Here are some pictures from day 1 of YALC:
Us with Derek Landy. He looks so unimpressed!
Hannah with Alex Scarrow
My signed copy of Rebellion.
My signed copy of Indigo’s Dragon
My signed copies of Derek Landy’s books
My signed copies of VE Schwab’s books
My signed copies of Malorie Blackman’s books
My signed copy of Rebel of The Sands.
My signed copies of Sarah Crossan’s books.
My book haul from Saturday
In Malorie Blackman’s signing queue!
At The Cursed Child midnight launch!
That’s it for Day 1, stay tuned for Part 2 of my YALC 2016 Recap!