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.
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...
IT WAS TIME!!!
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.
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.
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.
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?