YALC 2015 Recap

I’ve been waiting for YALC for what feels like ages now (okay, so I had the tickets for a month and a half, but it feels like longer!) and yesterday was finally the day! For those of you who don’t know, YALC is the Young Adult Literature Convention which celebrates Young Adult Books and authors (most of whom are UK authors, but there were some American authors there as well and Derek Landy who’s Irish) and it runs over three days, with author events, signings, panels, book stalls, it’s basically bookworm heaven! I suppose this is kind of like the UK version of BEA but a lot smaller! I went with my friend Hannah, who loves books just as much as I do and we read the same sorts of books as well, ie mostly YA fantasy and dystopia.

I got up quite early yesterday morning and prepared my bag for YALC, which basically involved packing up all the books I was taking with me! I got the train from Royston, with my mum (who was working in London) to King’s Cross (which if you’re not English and/or have never been to London before is the station you’re probably guaranteed to go to if you ever do go to London, as you can get everywhere from King’s Cross). From King’s Cross, I got the underground to Paddington, where I met Hannah, my friend who I went to YALC with. We then got the underground to High Street Kensington and from there got the bus over to Olympia, where YALC was being held.

The queue when we got there was gigantic, but there were several queues, for general ticketholders (as YALC takes place at the same time as London Film And Comic Con), for those with gold passes for LFCC and those who had YALC tickets. After some initial confusion, Hannah and I found the right queue. Unfortunately, when we got to the queue, I realized that my water bottle had leaked in my bag, which meant that my books that I had brought for the book swap got a little wet! Hannah offered to carry my stuff in her bag, so she put some of her stuff in mine and I took some of her stuff. We had to wait for about an hour in the YALC queue (which was apparently the shortest of the queues even though it was very long and snaked around the side of the Olympia building), but it would have been longer, had I not noticed people with the same tickets as us being sent to the front of the queue and we just followed them, so we got in quicker!

Once we were inside, the barcodes on our tickets were scanned and then we were sent up to the second floor of the Olympia building where YALC was being held. We were given YALC goodie bags when we came in which had all sorts of free stuff in there. We looked around a little first, trying to find somewhere we could eat, but there was just the one cafe, Slice, where the food was really overpriced. I picked up a new copy of Noughts and Crosses at the Waterstones stand (they had a stall selling the books of YALC authors there) as mine was a little damp and dog eared. After that we went to Slice as we were hungry and I got a Tuna Melt Panini and Hannah got a chocolate muffin and a hot chocolate. The food was really overpriced but we were really hungry and we didn’t really want to leave the building, so we just ate there.

Once we’d finished eating, we went to explore the floor. We had a browse around the different stands, eventually stopping at the Red Eye stand. The lady on the stand was really nice and they had a great deal on their books, 3 books for £10 so I picked up three books from there, two horror books and one book about pirates. They were doing a photo wall with pictures of people holding horror related props so Hannah and I posed for a photo for the wall. After we did this, we went over to another book stand that was doing a 3 for 2 on books, which had The Assassin’s Blade, but I already had all of the other Sarah J Maas books on the stand and I didn’t want any of the other books, so I didn’t get it.

After that we wandered around for a bit, checking out all of the other stands. We both signed up for the YA Book Prize newsletter, in order to have a chance to win the shortlist. We also entered to win books at the Chapter 5 stand, by signing up we could win every book published by Hodder and Stoughton this year. We met Alwyn Hamilton, a new author whose debut novel is being published this year. Hannah managed to fish out the golden compass in the bucket of sand which means she got on the shortlist to win one of three copies of the finished manuscript of Alwyn’s book Rebel of The Sands. I’m hoping that if she wins one, then she’ll lend it to me so I can read it too!

For most of the afternoon, we just wandered around the stands. I spotted this book called The Accident Season on the Random House stand and I really wanted it, because I read the blurb and it sounded good, so I asked the lady on the stand where I could get it from. I ended up buying it from the Waterstones stand. I was running out of money after that, having only ten pounds left, so since I couldn’t make the most of the 3 for 2 deal, I went to the Gollancz stand, where they had a 2 for £10 deal and I dithered over which books to get for ages before eventually deciding.

Having asked earlier where the blind book swap was and being told that they weren’t doing one, we did eventually find it, so I switched out five of my old books for five new ones, I have no idea whether I’ll enjoy them or not, but I made the best of what was available and luckily they did take my slightly wet, but still completely readable books. They laughed because I asked Hannah whether I’d like each book before deciding whether I’d take it or not. What can I say? We have really similar taste in books and Hannah knows what I like!

We also met Anthony Ergo (confession-we had no idea who he was before we went to YALC), but he seemed nice so we talked to him for a while. We ended up pooling our money (the last of mine!) to buy his book Dystopia as it was only £4 and we had been talking to him for a while. He offered to sign it, so we asked if he could sign it to both of us as we’re going to share the book. He said he had never done a joint signing before, but he did sign the book to both of us which was really cool. By the time we had done all of this, our feet were kind of tired, so we went and sat down in the quiet zone for a bit so that we could rest our feet. By that time, I had collected a grand total of twelve books (that’s more than I’ve read this year!). We just chatted for a bit and wrote recommendations to pin on the recommendation wall.

Once we felt our feet were rested enough, we got back up again. We were out of money by this point (I was and Hannah only had her card, no cash. Tip, if you go to YALC take a lot of cash, because not many of the stands have card machines). We pinned our recommendations to the recommendation board and because we were out of money, we basically went around collecting freebies. I picked up all the badges at the freebie table at the front and then proceeded to go around all the stands, making sure I had all of the available badges. We had also picked up several wristbands throughout the day. There were several stands giving away free food as well, and I will admit, much to Hannah’s amusement, I went to the stand selling Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda several times, simply to get the free oreos! We ended up speaking to another author on one of the stands, she was very nice although her books were not the sort that either me or Hannah normally read.

By the time we’d picked up every freebie on offer, it was just about time for Derek Landy’s talk, so we went over to the man stage and waited outside for the previous talk to end. We meet this really nice girl Kaitlyn and talked to her whilst we were waiting for the previous talk to end. Once the talk had ended, we went in and sat next to Kaitlyn. Derek Landy was introduced and then he came on and talked about Skulduggery and what it was like to be a writer, his influences, a little bit about his new book Demon Road etc. He was so cool and funny, just like I’d imagined he was and he seemed like a genuinely nice guy. He answered a lot of questions, although we didn’t get the chance to ask ours in the talk. It was really enjoyable though, both Hannah and I were so glad we’d got to go to it.

Once the talk was over, we rushed out so we could get a good spot in the signing line. We ended up talking to another girl, Molly, whilst we were waiting and she was really nice, we basically had a fangirling session about our favourite books. When we got to the front of the line, he signed our book and answered our questions and he was so cool and funny and lovely and AGHHHHHH, I still can’t believe I met Derek Landy yesterday! Hannah even bought one of the Skulduggery short story collection books from the Waterstones stand so she would have something for him to sign. I think we kind of annoyed the people behind us, with all our questions and that we took a little while, but we didn’t care. We had our picture taken with him and then we left, still incredibly excited and fangirly over the fact that we just met Derek Landy!

We were thinking of going to the Harry Potter party, but after taking a look, we decided that it wasn’t really for us, so we left as it was already 7 o’clock by that time. We then got the bus back to King’s Cross, which in hindsight wasn’t the best idea as it took us an hour and a half to get across London, but it did give us more chance to talk, so we basically chatted about books the entire way back. Then once we got to the station, we went our separate ways and our amazing day was over. I thought I’d share pictures of the books I got at YALC so that all of you could see them. I guess this is my first real book haul! IMG_0181 IMG_0182 IMG_0183 IMG_0184 IMG_0185 IMG_0186 IMG_0187 IMG_0188 IMG_0189 IMG_0190 IMG_0191 IMG_0192 IMG_0193 IMG_0194 IMG_0195 IMG_0196 IMG_0197So from top to bottom we have:

-My signed Skulduggery Pleasant book (I chose Dark Days because it was my favourite of the series)

-A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan-A Sleeping Beauty Retelling-I was unsure of this as it sounded like it may have a lot of romance, but I do like retellings and I was intrigued by the blurb, so I wanted to try it.

-Three Days To Dead-Kelly Meding-It’s like an Urban, paranormal fantasy, it was one of my free books from the blind book swap, so we’ll see what it turns out to be like.

-Noughts and Crosses-Malorie Blackman-My new copy! This warrants a reread! For those of you who haven’t read it, basically it’s set in a world where racism is reversed and the Crosses (who are black) are superior to the Noughts who are white. Sephy and Callum grow up together and become best friends, eventually falling in love, the only problem being that she is a Cross and he is a Nought and their love is forbidden. I loved this book so much, seriously, if you haven’t already, read it!

-Die For Me-Amy Plum-Another of my freebies! I wasn’t sure about this book because it does sound very romancey, but the blurb intrigued me, so I decided I would take it. I think it’s a paranormal book, so that could be interesting. Basically this girl and her sister become orphans, they move to Paris and meet this guy called Vincent who isn’t normal. I don’t know, it sounded alright, so we’ll see. –

Sentinel-Joshua Winning-This is the first book of a trilogy, so we’ll have to see if I like this one and then I may read the others. It sounds interesting, an underground society guarded by Sentinels but then these Sentinels start being murdered by an evil force. Out of all my freebies, this is the one I’m most looking forward to.

-Matched-Ally Condie-I know! I said I would never read this one, but I didn’t have much choice (the blind book swap wasn’t completely blind, I basically knew what everything in the box was and none of the other books were appealing to me). Anyway, I’ll try it and see, but I’m not holding out much hope for this one.

-Unbreakable-Kami Garcia-I’m not sure about this one, because from the blurb, I get the sense that the main character may end up in a love triangle between the two twins, but it has a secret society responsible for protecting the world and all it’s members are murdered and I have to say that hooked me, so I’m interested to read more about that. I just hope romance isn’t the main focus! It was another of my freebies.

-Graceling-Kristin Cashore-This sounds like a dystopia! Basically it’s a world where some people are born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace and the main character has the Grace of Killing. I’ve heard that the heroine of this book is awesome and the blurb intrigued me, so although I’m slightly worrried about the romance aspect, I’m going to give this book a go and hopefully I enjoy it!

-The Accident Season-Moira Fowley-Doyle-I literally just bought this on a whim because the blurb sounded interesting, basically the premise is there’s this month of mysterious injuries and tragedies and no one knows why. It sounds intriguing, so hopefully my instincts are right and I do enjoy this one!

-Phoenix Rising-Bryony Pearce-I was told by the lady on the stand that this was like pirate dystopia and that sounded really cool to me, so basically that’s why I bought it. I know nothing about the book or the author, but it sounded like it would be a good story, I don’t think I’ve read anything with pirates in it before, so I’m really excited to try this one.

-Frozen Charlotte-Alex Bell-This is a horror story, set in a boarding school and I think it has something to do with ghosts and dolls, but to be honest I don’t know much more than that. I love a good creepy story though and I was assured that this was sufficiently creepy, so let’s hope it’s good!

-Sleepless-Lou Morgan-This is another horror story, about students at a school who start taking a mysterious study pill to get through their exams, but then the awful side effects start to kick in. It sounded really good from the blurb, so I think I’ll enjoy it (well I hope I will anyway!).

The pictures afterwards are all my YALC swag, you have the programme, the contents of my goodie bag and the goodie bag itself, covered in all the badges I collected. YALC was so much fun this year, so I seriously hope I get to go back again next year.

What do you think of my book haul? Any that you’ve read? What should I read first (aside from Noughts and Crosses which I’ve already read?) Would you like to read any of the books in my haul? Anyone who’d like to go to YALC next year have any questions? Basically just talk to me! I love to hear from you guys!

I will have to do my Sidekick Showcase post for you tomorrow (I’m getting far too good at not doing these posts on their respective days, we need to change this!) as it’s late here in the UK! I will have that and my Swoonworthy Sunday post. Tomorrow is your last chance to vote for what I read in the Make Me Read It Read-A-Thon, so make sure you check out that post and vote for what you think I should read!