When I heard about YALC a few months ago, I knew right away that I wanted to attend. I had wanted to attend BEA this year, but for the simple reason of the trip being too expensive for me, I decided not to go. London being much closer to the Netherlands, I started looking into it right away, hoping that I would be able to make the trip. Lucky enough, both my sister and I graduated from high school this year, so a celebratory trip was in order. July 11th, 12th, and 13th the long wait was finally over, YALC was happening, and both my sister and I attended!
There was a preview evening for YALC on Friday, and while I wasn’t really sure whether I wanted to go, my sister and I decided to check out the Book Zone for the next day. We both didn’t really know what to expect, only having been to some small events, but boy did it turn out to be so much fun. We ran into Malorie Blackman and didn’t even realize it at first (this is painfully hard to admit… I found out I am extremely bad at recognizing people), until she mentioned having published 60 books. At that a light bulb went on and I realized who I was talking with. Whoops.
They had this entire table full with swag, and did I mention the wall of books? You can see part of it behind us in the picture. It was just awesome, and all kinds of exciting. Oh and it was quiet. Which we would find out the next day was NOT how the Saturday and Sunday would be.
After a fun preview evening, having talked to some of the people organizing YALC and getting a feel for the Book Zone, we returned to our hotel. Set the alarm for the next day and turned on the TV. Yay for NCIS reruns, we watched about 2 episodes and called it a night.
Saturday was crazy! We had early-bird tickets, the doors would open at 9 am and we actually arrived 30 minutes early. Apparently people had started lining up around 3 am. Gasp. Around the time we arrived, the line stretched around the whole building already. I have never seen anything like it. While this was quite the surprise, the line did not lack entertainment. at all. Since YALC was held together with London Comic Con, there were tons of people dressed up, some spot on and others a little harder to guess… it was funny, quite hilarious, and made the time pass by much faster. An hour later we were inside the building. Inside it was packed, and while the book zone held quite some people as well, it was considerably less busy than the other zones (lucky for us).
Abrams & Chronicle arranged for Splintered inspired makeovers. I met Tina, who dressed up as Alyssa from the Splintered series and looked awesome! Both me and my sister did the makeover. I went for the look on the Ensnared cover (Splintered #3) and Merel (my sister) went for the classic Alyssa look (from the first book cover). The make-up artist did a great job, and somebody actually came up to me, asking whether it was a tattoo or not, and when I told him it was just make-up, he said that it would look awesome as a tattoo. Kind of a nice thing to say, but no thank you, needles do very much freak me out! haha.
Unfortunately, we were a bit underprepared, didn’t bring any food and ended up leaving earlier (the lines to get food were way too long and we were incredibly hungry). When leaving the building we were told that they’d actually closed the doors to keep people out, it was that busy!
The surprise of the day was that as a promotion stunt for the new Transformers movie, they shipped a few Transformer cars to London. Bumblebee and Optimus Prime were parked in front of the building. I’m pretty sure my inner geek held an impromptu dance party on the spot. Pictures taken and geeky dance party over with, we hopped on the train to a less ‘packed’ area and got ourselves some food.
I think it must’ve been around 4 pm, but we decided to go back to the hotel anyway. It was quite hectic and there were just so many people that we were both exhausted and we ended up falling asleep really early.
On Sunday we were 30 minutes early, again. The line was way better. Still long, but it moved faster and the wait was considerably less long. I picked up a few books, and met up with Lucy from Queen of Contemporary. It was great actually meeting her, and I am sad that we didn’t get the chance to talk some more. I also met Alice Oseman who’s first book Solitaire is coming out at the end of the month. I was incredibly lucky to pick up a Review Copy of her book earlier that morning (which I immediately started reading by the Book Wall, I was that excited about the book!) and when I ran into her we took some pictures and she offered to sign my copy. Yay!
We had a workshop about Finding Your Writing Voice by Alexia Casale (author of The Bone Dragon) on Sunday as well, which was incredibly informative and fun. It was a bit hard to hear her, since there were people everywhere, and had to shout in order for people to be able to hear her in the back. Her voice must’ve been gone at the end of the day! She was signing her book right after the workshop, so of course I had my copy of her book signed and took a picture with her. She’s lovely and really passionate about her writing, it was great to meet her!
I had so much fun that weekend. But there was one thing that really stood out to me. At the Hot Key Books booth, we talked to Sanne for a while, she works at the publishing house, and she turned out to be Dutch. Somewhere in our conversation I asked her where she’d gone to University in the Netherlands. Turns out she studied English Language and Culture in Leiden. Let chance be, that this is the city I’ll be starting University at AND the exact same study I’ll start in September. I just loved meeting her, because she has the job I want to work someday in the future, and it was somewhat of a confirmation for me that I am on the right path (cliché as it might sound).
You do not want to know how much books I ended up going home with… (I know you do want to know so let me clarify) Half of my suitcase ended up being filled with books. I am not kidding, literally half of my suitcase. I brought five to get signed, and left with about fifteen. I don’t know if that’s a lot for you? But it is for me… Five of those were review copies, and they were given to me, but the others I purchased. Its just, every time I passed a Waterstones, the Foyles, or the book stands at YALC the temptation was just so bad! Shiny, shiny, shiny books everywhere. It was heaven, and they needed a home!
So far my YALC recap! A recap post for my entire trip to London is coming up as well (625 words written so far) and a recap of THE Rainbow Rowell event. So, stay tuned for more!