Thursday, 23 July 2015

YALC Recap: Friday

The second Young Adult Literary Convention (YALC) took place on the 17th, 18th and 19th July, as part of the London Film and Comic Con. I attended last year and had such an amazing time, I knew I would have to go again this year. I bought my YALC tickets as soon as the announcement was made, and then spent months and months impatiently waiting for July to roll around. 

All the books I took with me
over the 3 days to get signed.
The preparation for YALC actually started way before the event even took place. It started with me ordering the books I wanted to get signed, but didn't already own, in advance before I attended YALC. This was to save me money and also to curb my spending over the weekend while I was there (HAHAHAHAHA!!! Yeah, that did not work!) And then I had to look at the schedules for all the days and decide on what signing, workshops and talks I wanted to attend - it's impossible to do everything, so you have to plan in advance. Then the night before, which just so happened to be my birthday, was when I packed up my suitcase filled with books, got my packed lunch ready and got everything charged and ready to go for the morning.

This year, unlike last years YALC, was taking place over the entire three days of the LFCC. Friday is a late opening though, which meant that I actually got to sleep in before heading out to the Olympia. I was meeting my best friend at the venue, so it meant dragging myself and my ridiculously heavy suitcase all the way to Kensington. When I got there I had the unpleasant task of trying to locate the YALC entrance, which was quite the task indeed. I will admit that the organisation for actually getting people in the building wasn't that great. Half the people I asked who worked there directed me to the wrong place and the other half hadn't even heard of YALC. But, after circling the giant building twice, I finally found where I needed to queue. And the three hour wait began.

Finally, after three hours of waiting, and meeting some wonderful people in the queue...


YALC had begun and I was so excited. It was straight in the lifts, to the second floor where YALC was held. I had  a lot to get through that day because I had books for 11 authors to sign, and then purchased another whilst there and also had three panel events that I wanted to go to. Not to mention I wanted to check out all the stalls, and hoped to get most of my book buying done on that day.

I went and got my goody bag, which had the programme for the weekend in it, which was invaluable to me over the next few days. I then went and checked out the main YALC tables, with all the wonderful swag on it. I got some brilliant posters, sneak peaks, badges, bookmarks and, because I was luckily enough to get there early, was able to pick up some wonderful free books too. I took my best friend that day, he grabbed the freebies but then abandoned most with my suitcase and only ended up taking a few home to read.

Next it was on to the different publisher stands, where they were all promoting and selling some of their amazing YA titles - and all at incredible prices. I tried to be good and not spend nor buy too much, but I have never been very good at restraining myself. Me and book buying bans just don't go together. So, of course, I went crazy and bought so much. I regretted it when I had to drag it all home, but it's worth it now they are all home and waiting to be read.

Then I got to go to my first YALC panel of 2015: Thrills and Chills. This was chaired by Matt Whyman and on the panel were authors Darren Shan, Will Hill, Dawn Kurtagich and Lou Morgan. I really enjoyed this panel, it was absolutely hilarious at moments. I especially loved the story that Matt Whyman opened with. It was about the time he decided that The Blair Witch Project would be a great date night movie to go see with his wife. He was terrified. So scared that when he had to walk the babysitter home that night, he ended up getting her boyfriend to walk him back home. I could not stop laughing at that, especially since The Blair Witch Project was one of the least scary movies I have seen - and I am a complete wimp!

The panel was talking horror and psychological thrillers, and why these are still  popular. This is the first time I'd seen Darren Shan on a panel and the guy was so funny. They got into a discussion about the different between Horror and YA Horror, and they all seemed to agree that sex seemed to be the deciding factor. If it's a YA book that is explicitly dealing with sex, like Doing It by Melvin Burgess or something similar, then it seems to be okay. But mixing it in with another genre, like horror, and it doesn't go over so well.

One author, I think it was Will Hill, talked about how his US publishers weren't happy with the word naked being used. This was in a rather brutal scene, but the only thing they had an issue with was the fact that people were naked. Darren Shan commented on the fact the only time he'd been asked to tone it down was when he had a scene where a mother has her head cut off. The publishers asked him to change it to the father. They all agreed that British publishers are far more easy going and that the US publishers try to censor a lot more, especially in terms of sex in YA.

After that I went to the signing area, where the authors were all signing there books. I didn't own any by Darren Shan - something I think I am definitely going to have to change very soon - so I skipped him. But I did have books by Matt Whyman, Dawn Kurtagich and Lou Morgan signed by the authors - who were all so nice and friendly.

After this it was time to head straight back to the panel area, just in time to catch the Apocalypse Now panel. I had been so excited for this panel since I saw it on the Book Trust website. It was chaired by Gemma Malley - I absolutely adore that woman's books, I fell in love with her The Declaration series, and highly recommend it - and had authors Marie Rutkoski, Francesca Haig, Virginia Bergin, Moira Young and Teri Terry. Now that was truly a fantastic panel of authors and I couldn't wait to hear them talk all things dystopian. I missed some of this panel because it was quite soon after the first, and I was getting my books signed.

But I managed to catch a bit and am so glad I did. They discussed whether they believed that dystopia was a genre. They all seemed to agree that it was good from a marketing perspective, but it wasn't good for the author. Labelling the book could put off potential readers who haven't tried the genre before or are unwilling to try it.

I did leave a little early during the questions, so I could be at the front of the queue for Marie Rutkoski's signing, I knew it would be a mile long in no time. Thankfully, I managed to get there first and ended up being right about her queue... It was never-ending! Marie Rutkoski was unbelievably lovely, and oh so pretty too, and I asked her what made her hate her characters so much that she'd be that mean to them in The Winner's Crime. She assured me that, whilst she wasn't promising a sunshine and rainbows ending to the series, she did tell me that she wasn't going to kill everyone. YAY! I'm pretty sure it will have a happy ending though, she said she likes those kinds of endings.

Next up, I had to go see Gemma Malley because I am a little obsessed with her and her books. When I didn't think she was signing on the day, I freaked out!!! Thankfully I hadn't looked close enough at the schedule and she was signing. It meant I got to fangirl to the point of embarrassment and gush about her series to her. I also asked about her plans for future books, as I am itching to get my hands on them. It turns out she is working on a new book and I AM SO EXCITED!!! If you have never read anything by the author then you definitely need to hurry up and go do it.

Lucy Inglis was next, and I haven't read either of her books yet, but I plan too.

Then it was on to Moira Young, Teri Terry, Virginia Bergin and Francesca Haig! Yes, that's right, I managed to get to every single author signing during that time. And I felt rather proud of myself for actually being able to accomplish that. Virginia was so talkative, her queue took so long to get through because she'd have a proper, long conversation with everyone. She was still recovering from her nerves of being on the panel.

I then had another look around at the stalls and probably bought more books, knowing me! But I can't remember all too clearly. I then got to get two books signed by Lucy Saxon, two books that Bloomsbury sent me to take to YALC - they are the loveliest! And then I got straight to the front of the queue for the Derek Landy signing, whilst his panel was still running. He was another author who I knew would have a ridiculously long queue, and by this point I was exhausted and eager to return home. So I got to meet him and I have to say that he was so friendly, warm and kind. He was also absolutely hilarious and I got to talk to him about Demon Road, which I recently read and reviewed. I told him that I had loved it so much, that I was going to binge read the Skulduggery series next. He then proceeded to warn me to not get too attached to any of the characters, as he would kill them. I told him he sounded like the George R.R. Martin of YA fiction and asked whether he also bathed in the tears of his readers. He says he does... and I believe him!

I'd done all my signings for the day and, even though I was knackered beyond all belief, I wanted to go explore the downstairs of LFCC. So I met back up with my friend and we went for a little exploration of it, very little as I really was exhausted. I had a tiny look around some stalls, bought myself some Funko Pop Supernatural characters and then got on the train home. By the time I got home I was ready to collapse, and was not looking forward to my 5am start the next day.

These are all the books I bought on the day, or got for free, plus the ones I took with me to get signed and all the cool swag I got whilst there. So much awesome for one day. Now you can understand how I was so exhausted the next day. I hope to post my recap of Saturday and Sunday tomorrow, if I can get it all written up after work tomorrow.

Did you go YALC? What was your favourite part? Which author were you most excited to see? Who would you have loved to meet if you could have gone? 


  1. CHARNELL! How the heck did you manage to pack all those books in one suitcase???!!! Is it like Hermione's handbag in suitcase version or was the suitcase just the size of a car??!! xD Your poor arms at the end of the day!


    OH AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! *throws confetti and cake* 23 right?! Hope you had a lovely, lovely day! :)))

    1. It felt like Hermione's magical handbag. It took a lot of manoeuvring, plus many totes. My arms felt like death by the end. 24 now!!! :) I FEEL SO OLD!!!

  2. This sounds like so much darn fun! I'm so excited you were able to attend again and had a blast. If it helps, there is no way I would be able to curb my buying either at an event like this one. :P
    Thanks for sharing all the pictures and congrats on all the books and signatures, that is just awesome!!

    1. I loved it so much, can't wait to go again next year!!! :)

  3. I think most of all, I'm jealous of you meeting Derek Landy - it's like a dream of mine, and when I have the money, I'll be doing just that. Oh, and he's right, he does love fans being in pain, and he does kill his characters.. DO NOT GET TOO ATTACHED, he has no qualms of taking loved characters and destroying their lives. I really hope you enjoy The Rain and The Storm more than I did - we just did not get along at all. You seemed to have done amazingly well - I don't think I could get all my books personally signed to me, just for fear I won't like them, but hey, you like keeping hold! ;)

    1. I LOVED Derek Landy! He was absolutely hilarious and I adored him. I had to, I felt bad going up and not getting them dedicated to me. But who cares, I can still get rid of them if I need to.

  4. WOW! ALL OF THOSE BOOKS! Amazing, looking forward to reading your reviews of those as and when you get to them. I desperately wanted to attended but didn't make it this year, I'm hoping to go next year with a fellow blogger. Fingers crossed!

  5. Wow! I'm impressed by how many books you got signed!
    I went to YALC too. Would have been awesome to meet you :)
    I met Carrie Hope Fletcher who was lovely and Samantha Shannon who I've met before.
    I definitely want to go next year :)

    1. Me too, it's going to be so much fun and probably even bigger than this year.

  6. Awesome haul of books! I haven't been to any type of book con and would love to go. I'm going to my first comic-con type thing next month.

  7. Awesome! thanks for sharing your experiences with pictures ;-)
    Hey sweetie! I just awarded and tagged you here for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.

  8. Great book haul. Looks like you're gonna be busy reading; reading; reading! :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

  9. Sounds like you had a great time! That's interesting about the US publishers censoring more, especially when it comes to sex in YA. I have noticed that books published outside the US tend to be edgier.

    I still haven't read The Winner's Crime because I heard it was a brutal ending. I thought that I would try and wait until the third one comes out and just binge. ~Pam

    1. I think it would probably be best to just binge read it. I am going to probably binge read them all together when they come out.

  10. Oh wow! It sounds like you had a fab time and were able to meet so many different authors! Definitely wish I was there as well DD: I like the sound of the two panels and I would have to agree about the US publishers censoring more. They do seem to be the ones who ban a lot of books as well. You've got a lot of good books ahead of you as well ^^ I hope you had a good birthday the day before you left!

    1. I think it's because they are a lot more religious in the US. They censor so much and I hate that, I don't think books should be banned in schools.

  11. I wish Toronto had a book convention like this or BEA. We don't really have anything. We'll get author signings. I have meet some of my all time faves. And some pretty popular ones. But I miss not having a yearly event like this.
    As exhausting as it sounds it seems like Friday was fantastic. I would love to meet Rutkoski. I still haven't read Curse because I'm scared. But I will. I will.
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

    1. I KNOW!!! I WANT TO GO BEA SO BADLY!!! Ours are nowhere near as big as the US ones, but this is still really fun.


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