Tuesday, 21 July 2015

YALC Adventures!

On Saturday, I went to the Young Adult Literature Convention in London, and oh my gosh, it was amazing! This was the first convention I had been to, so I wasn't sure what to expect; a part of me was terrified that this event - the event I had been looking forward to for three months, the event that had made me happy when exams were bringing me down - would be a let-down. But thankfully, YALC surpassed my expectations and the trip was worthwhile.

My friend and I had to get up at 5:30 AM. I am not good on a morning. Really, I'm grumpy if I wake up at nine, let alone five, but then I remembered where I was going and my mood instantly improved! Our train ride was uneventful - apart from a woman complaining very loudly about croissants - and we arrived at Olympia in what we thought was good time: about twenty past ten.

Oh, how wrong we were! The queue just to get into LFCC (as the YALC was only open until ten) must have been at least two miles long, and we ended up stuck pretty close to the back in a leafy suburb of London! This made us both very worried, as one of the main reasons we came to YALC was to see the Shadowhunters talk with Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan. The talk started at half eleven; by ten past we were only just turning the corner onto a street where we could actually see Olympia. This resulted in a lot of frantic time-checkings, complaints (on my part, I'm not a patient person!), and about three extra runes on our arms and legs. There were some good things about the queue, though. For one thing, it was a lovely Summer day so we were nice and warm, and we moved quite quickly. It also meant that we could see some of the incredible costumes people were wearing, and every time we saw a fellow Shadowhunter we flapped a bit!
This outfit gets five stars at least!

We arrived at the YALC entrance at 11:24, but we sprinted up the staircase and managed to slide into some seats for the panel just in time. The actual panel was great, as you could tell that Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan were really good friends, and they kept making jokes. I liked how Sarah knew so much about the Shadowhunting world as well, and how she had opinions about all of the characters. The panel gave an insight into how co-writing works, and what lies ahead for the characters in The Dark Artifices and The Last Hours.
The Shadowhunters Panel

Then came the next problem. As we had literally just aimed for the panel, we hadn't found the person with the tickets for the virtual queue for the Cassandra Clare signing. This meant that when we did take our tickets, we were far behind. Like, really really far behind. 358 and 360 out of 400 to be exact. The end time of the signing came, but Cassandra Clare decided that she would take a break and then come back and sign one of everyone remaining's books! It was so kind of her, and I just hoped that I remembered to say thank you, as I think I was a bit star-struck and I can't exactly think of what I said! I know that I said Will was my favourite character, which resulted in the two authors joking about what Will and Jem would do if one was ahead of the other.

Apart from those two times when we were scared we would miss something, YALC was EXCELLENT with a capital everything! There was such a variety of books for sale at the YALC bookshop, and the publisher stands were well-stocked too. There was also two tables full of freebees, so now I have various samplers, badges, bookmarks, and lanyards! Near the line for the Cassandra Clare signing there were two Shadowhunters giving out postcards of the beautiful new UK covers of The Mortal Instruments, which I've stuck on my bookcase.
All of the free things I collected

Overall, the one thing that really made me enjoy YALC - aside from meeting Cassandra Clare - was the sense of community in it. When I was walking around, I just felt like, ah, I have found my fellow booknerds! I had a great conversation with one of the sellers at Hot Key Books about Vivian Vs the Apocalypse, and another about Shadowhunters with someone at Atom Books, and it was refreshing to know that everyone in the room shared a love of books. There were so many people buying books, talking about books, reading books, which was wonderful to see!

However, there were some things that could have been better. Personally, I feel like the YALC should be open until eleven, as some people (i.e. Me and my friend) live miles away from London and I don't think we could have gotten to London any sooner! Also, I think that the Reading Zone could have been a bit bigger; by the end of the day people were sat everywhere.
This bookhaul could have been a lot, lot bigger.

Next time, I plan on going for the full weekend, and I plan on being braver! There were so many times when I wanted to strike up a conversation with someone about books, but I felt too shy to do it. Were you at YALC? What did you think?

Overall, YALC was fantastic, and I couldn't stop smiling and talking about it until at least eleven! The next day, I read the tweets about Sunday and just wanted to be there. For those thinking of going next year, I would definitely definitely definitely recommend it, and I hope to see you there next year!
Thanks for reading(:

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