If you didn't know, YALLWEST was this weekend. I have been excited for this event literally ever since the day they announced it at YallFest (which was in November I think). It helps that it's really close by so our rides would have been fine with getting us rides (and if not we could have bussed it). Anyways, so Caitlyn, Olivia, and I attended both days (WE HAD SO MUCH FUN)
Oh god, Saturday was crazy, once they let us in, we had to sign in so we could be accounted for any of the keynotes and the Smackdown. The thing was that everyone was super confused as to what tent was for what but then word got around and everything worked out. From then on, Olivia and I bought some books (adding more weight to our ever so heavy tote bags). We had an average of 11 books each (not as much as other people but we were actually carrying them on our shoulders-->still sore shoulders). Caitlyn went to wait in the signing line for Marissa Meyer since that was the longest and me and Olivia headed to the Epic Reads tent and got an Epic Reads tote bag and an awesome Dumplin' sticker. Since we had 3 people it was easier to help each other out in the lines so we were able to get all our books signed. Lines were so hectic (they had to move Veronica Roth's signing to another place and Richelle Mead signed for at least 2 hours and even then she didn't get to all of them).
Left to Right (on the table)-Marie Lu and Ally Condie
Ransom Riggs and Tahereh Mafi <3
(Left to Right (on the table)-Julie Berry and Leigh Bardugo)
The line for Veronica Roth's signing (and that's now even the entire thing) and Veronica Roth herself
The gorgeous Richelle Mead
Left to Right-Brendan Reichs, Veronica Roth, Melissa De La Cruz, Greg Nerni, Tahereh Mafi, Lisi Harrison, and Coe Booth
Do you spot Ransom Riggs?
Once that panel was over, we stayed for the Strong Female Characters' Ugh panel. This was such a great panel and it seriously emphasized the different meaning of strong and how authors can't believe that "strong female characters" is believed to be a trend/style in YA. Also Shannon Hale was so funny and made such great points (I need to add that after a few minutes into the panel she kind of stopped and asked one of the volunteers to bring her son from the green room so he would know where she was because she forgot the bring him along and it was just great) I really loved that Stephanie Perkins was part of the panel because she writes contemporary romance and her heroines are different from the other characters but strong in their own way.
Left to Right-Veronica Roth, Shannon Hale, Stephanie Perkins, Kimberly Derting, & Victoria Aveyard
Morgan Rhodes was also part of the panel but I forgot to take a picture when she came on...
After this, I stayed to watch the Cosplay panel while Caitlyn and Olivia went to go to the Susan Ee signing. And oh my god I LOVED this panel! There was such great costumes and there was such a great conversation (but let's be honest anything with Leigh Bardugo is plain awesome). Each author talked about their home fandoms. Leigh's was Game of Thrones (she even got knighted by George R.R Martin), Andrea Cremer is everything Joss Whedon (Buffy and VMars FTW), and Morgan Rhodes has a Buffy tattoo on her hip. Oh all the things you can learn from a panel. I don't remember everything but I do know I laughed and loved this panel a lot (and there was talk/debate over Hulk reproducing with Black Widow I think).
Left to Right-
Morgan Rhodes as someone from Dr. Who (I FORGET. SORRY)
Andrea Cremer as Steampunk Andrea Cremer
Maya Van Wagenen as Starbucks from Battlestar Galactica
Leigh Bardugo as a Grounder from The 100
Gene Luen Yang as Superman
Margaret Stohl as Black Widow from Marvel/Avengers
Richelle Mead as Anne Bonny from Black Sails
We basically chilled after that. We finally got lunch (it was like 4) and then waited in line for the YA Smackdown at 5. We couldn't go to the Epic Reads pizza party because the Richelle Mead and Stephanie Perkins lines were sooooo long and they were signing at the same time and we didn't go to the Cupcake Hour because long lineeeeeees.
And then came the Smackdown. This was the BEST thing that wasn't a signing and that says something considering the fact that I loved the cosplay panel. It was so hilarious. So much that all 3 of us were giggling and replaying it on the way back home. Shannon Hale and Brendan Reichs were fabulous hosts (both of whom rocked their outfits). Authors read stuff they wrote when they were younger and it was just too funny. The one that stuck the most was E. Lockhart's juvenalia. She couldn't even start reading without laughing and really did try. She got Alex London to sub in for her but when he attempted to start reading, he fell into hysterics and everyone was just laughing. They finally got through it but it was just great. Morgan Rhodes read out part of her teen self's romance novel ("If only he wasn't so handsome!") And then Marissa Meyer read from this thing about what her and her friends would want their life to be like (which, of course, goes from a guy who's her older brother's best friend to her older brother in the hospital with a bloody gun shot wound).
Some authors played Hollywood Squares. Leigh Bardugo and Veronica Roth faced off in a game of Taboo. They ended up tying but Veronica would have won if she got Percy Jackson (and her hint was Camp Halfblood) Leigh was like "Even I want you to get this". Leigh ended up winning with Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. We had to unfortunately leave right when they were starting the Tiger Beat performance because our ride was waiting for us for at least 30 minutes and I was extremely late to a family barbecue.
Books & Swag:
These are just my books (won a copy of The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly!) and the swag each of us got (Epic Reads was awesome) and I WASN'T ABLE TO GET AN ARC OF ILLUMINAE*CRIES*
Sunday was a lot more chill. Everything was closer together so it was nicer. There were less authors but you could also easily see authors walking around (it helped that they had their name tags on) and talking with other authors. Margaret Stohl (AKA Mayor Margie) is the one in the hat and she was basically riling everyone up. We got awesome seats for the Marissa Meyer and Leigh Bardugo conversation. And again anything with Leigh Bardugo is amazing (plus Marissa Meyer!!!!!) These two are hilarious and perfect together in a kickoff conversation. It was established that Thorne has been created ever since Marissa was 3 since she wrote (or well told her mom to type) a story about rosebush world--> THORNE.
Left to Right: Marissa Meyer and Leigh Bardugo
After that was just panels (in the sun). We were originally going to meet Sara Raasch but she unfortunately couldn't come because she was sick :( So it was just panels for us (Olivia did go to the Ranson Riggs signing though). And then there was this whole thing with the Grilled Cheese Truck that basically led to free tater tots but I wasn't able to spin the wheel at the Epic Reads tent (I GOT A TICKET TOO) But alas nothing can be done. We watched the Bad Boys, Manic Pixies, Love Triangles: Tropes We Love and Hate, One Quick Question: Lightning Round, and the Sunday Storymob.
I for one loved the trope panel because I know there are so many people who dislike tropes (especially love triangles) and I love seeing authors say why they personally either love these tropes and how fun they are to write and why readers are attracted to some of them.
Left to Right: Morgan Matson, Leila Howland, Katie Cotugno, Anna Carey, Robin Benway,
Colet Abedi, and Melissa De La Cruz
The Lightning Round was quite fun! Leigh Bardugo (as you can see we saw her a lot through out YallWest) and Marie Lu asked questions to authors. Questions I don't remember because I forgot to take notes.
Left to Right (excluding Leigh and Marie): Abigail Haas, Jessi Kirby, Morgan Matson, Elisa Sussman, Sonya Sones, and Lisa Yee
Alex London and Pseudonymous Bosch hosted this storymob in which Veronica Roth, Marie Lu, Ransom Riggs, Leigh Bardugo (each armed with their own fan) essentially wrote crossover fanfiction. With Tris as the hero, Commander Jameson (I think) as the villain and the Darkling as a sexy point in the love triangle set in Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children. By the end I think there was an apocalypse, Tris who loved Commader Jameson who we find out is her mother and Darkling who loves Tris and sexily makes broth in the kitchen. There's a mysterious lemon that gives canker sores and something with a lizard tail that has Mitt Romney's face.
Before the storymob, we were checking out the Epic Reads tent and they offered to let us chalk up some of our favorite quotes so we did...
I did the first 2 and Caitlyn did the last one.
Can you guess who said it?
Photo creds to Epic Reads for this photo:
Left to Right: Caitlyn, Olivia, and me
To all the authors, librarians, and volunteers who helped make this event possible:
YOU ARE AWESOME