How to Get Yourself Organised for YALC

How to Get Yourself Organised for YALC

Being organised for YALC is fairly important to making sure you see every panel you want to attend, meeting your favourite authors and getting all your books signed. Last year was the first year I was properly organised and for me, it worked incredibly well. It is fairly simple but quite effective and this year I’ve been trying to think of ways to improve it but genuinely, it’s a good system that I’m absolutely doing again this year and I’ve already began the organisation process.

So to help myself become more organised, I created three separate notes on the Notes app on my phone, each note representing the days of the con (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). I then pulled up the YALC site which has the programme for the weekend on it (you can find the 2019 programme here). The programme is split into Friday, Saturday and Sunday so using these, I then wrote on each note which author’s I wanted to see, including the times.

As you can see from the note to the left, I wrote in the books I wanted to take by each author. This is really helpful for in the evenings as it means I can organise myself really quickly for the next day rather than stressing or potentially forgetting which books I need to take with me.

I then wrote down the Panels that I wanted to attend. This year, I’m not sure I’ll be attending that many panels, if any at all, as I personally prefer browsing the stands and speaking with friends, but who knows!

Now onto the next section, ARCs. This isn’t a section that you can do every year at YALC. Last year I was able to do this thanks to this blog post put together by some fantastic bloggers (Check out Jenniely’s blog for it this year). I can’t even explain how helpful it was to have this available to us prior to the weekend. Having this list meant that I was able to get even more organised as I could make sure I was where I needed to be for when ARCs went out, or for when raffles and competitions were going on.

Thanks to the blog post, I was able to research many of the books that were being given out prior to the event so I could make sure I was only really going to the books I wanted. In 2017, I came back with so much stuff that I genuinely struggled to get it all home so I wanted to be more selective in 2018. I’m definitely going to be even more selective this year and make sure I only pick up books that I really want or I know I will definitely be interested in and pick up.

When organising myself for the ARC drops, I made sure to include the times, the booths and the book so that I was fully prepared. I actually copied all the information about the books I wanted from the blog post onto one big note and then separated that one out onto my individual day posts.

As well as ARCs on the blog list, there was also mentions of samplers that were going out. I’m not sure if I’ll be adding this section in for 2019 as I don’t really read samplers that often. They are nice to have and can be really useful if you’re unsure whether to buy a book and want a taster for it, but I do find that I end up picking them up and then not reading them and they do take up space in my case which I could be using for more books. But, just because I don’t really want to pick up samplers this year, that doesn’t mean that you can’t see how I organised for them last year.

As you can see for last year, I had a separate section for samplers and I did end up picking up quite a few. I mean, this sampler list is just from Friday. I do believe I picked up all the samplers on this list and (contrary to what I said earlier), I did actually read quite a few of them.

Throughout the weekend, you’ll probably pick up all of the samplers that you want, but it can be nice to spread them out which is what I did over the weekend so that I wasn’t carrying a tonne of samplers round on just one day.

As you can see at the bottom of this picture, there is a heading for Finished Copies and that’s because My Kinda Book were doing a giveaway for Three Dark Crowns which I was able to get a copy of. It’s useful to note down the times of when finished copies are being giveaway.

As well as the ‘Finished Copies’ heading, last year I also had a heading for ‘Other’. This is because My Kinda Book had a small event where you could have your lips done in a funky design and they were giving away cupcakes. If you know me, you’ll know I’m a sucker for just food in general, especially book themed food so I just had to note that down as something that was happening.

So that’s how I organised myself last year. This year, I am organising myself fairly similarly. I am aware that another YALC 2019 Ultimate Guide shall be going up within the week of YALC, so once that is up, my notes for each day will absolutely be updated to include any ARCs, samplers or other things going on.

To the left is what my Notes for each day currently look like. As you can see, I’ve separated out which books I need to take from the authors just because I do have multiples for some authors so it’s easier to look at it in a list like this. Other than that, my organisation system has stayed the same as last years.

I really hope that you’ll find this useful is you’re struggling to get organised for YALC. There’s still plenty of time to get organised and please feel free to use this system. It’s so handy as everything is on your phone which you’ll need anyway for any tweets that the publishers put out about any giveaways!

Don’t forget to check out my post from last week where I share my YALC top tips!


The YALC Survival Guide: Tips and Tricks to Help you Survive the Convention

The YALC Survival Guide: Tips and Tricks to Help you Survive the Convention

YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) is fast approaching and I couldn’t be more excited. In case you don’t know, YALC is the biggest UK bookish event that takes place on the last weekend of July every year and is held in London, as part of LFCC (London Film & Comic Con).

2019 is going to be my third year attending YALC and with that, I’d consider myself leaning more toward Veteran status. I thought I would compile a handy little guide of tips and tricks to help you get through YALC. Whether this is your first YALC or you’ve been before, I hope you can take away something from this!

  1. Wear comfy clothes and shoes – This is a pretty standard piece of advice, but after the heat of last year, I feel like I should definitely stress the fact that you will absolutely want comfy clothes and shoes. I’m not sure what the weather will be like this year but definitely try and plan to the it because you don’t want to be too hot if it’s boiling again. Comfy shoes are also a must because you will be on your feet for so much of the day in signing queues and just walking round the convention floor.
  2. Be prepared for a lot of standing – I mean, you can sit on the floor too or try to finding seating but take it that you’ll be standing a lot of the time at YALC, which is also another reason why you should take comfy clothes and shoes with you.
  3. Take a backpack, especially if you’re there all weekend – I wouldn’t recommend taking a shoulder or cross body bag unless you aren’t taking a lot of books around with you. Backpacks are honestly your best friend at an event like this. The past two years I’ve taken a small backpack with me and then have ended up with tote bags full of books. My shoulders do start to hurt after a while and so this year, I’m taking a larger backpack (only a school sized one) and I think this will be much better for me as the weight of the books will be spread across my back rather than on just one side.
  4. Try to pack lightly before YALC, you’ll be taking a lot of books home – Both years I’ve come back with a LOT of books including the books I’ve taken down with me. When I say a lot of books, I mean way more than I actually intended to bring back. Both years I’ve taken a small suitcase with me and a holdall just in case and both times I’ve needed the holdall because apparently I have no self control. I’d suggest trying to pack lightly for your way there, but the other alternative is to just take a bigger suitcase. I’ll be taking a medium sized suitcase down with me this year just because I really cannot be bothered to try and cram a load of books into a smaller one. Plus I know I’ll probably end up hauling a load of books back with me. So your options on this one: pack lightly, or if you know you’re taking a lot of books down, just take a bigger case.
  5. Try to be organised – Organisation is your new best friend when it comes to YALC. I’ll be doing a separate post on how I stayed organised myself last year because it honestly did wonders for me at the event and helped me know exactly where I needed to be and when. I’ll be organising myself the same way this year so I’ll absolutely be sharing that with you guys.
  6. Twitter and battery packs – Sounds a little weird but make sure you have your Twitter notifications on for publishers whilst at YALC. I’m not sure how much they’ll be tweeting this year, but the past two years, they’ve been announcing when ARCs that they’re giving out will be dropping so its useful to have these turned on. If you do turn them on though, be warned because you’ll want a battery pack for your phone and you might also want to watch your phone data!
  7. Make sure you have snacks and water – The days at YALC can be so long and you’ll probably find that you’re inside all day. I’d absolutely recommend having snacks and water on hand at all times. Unfortunately with the heat last year, there weren’t any water fountains but hopefully YALC will make accommodate fountains this year but who knows? There is a small cafe in the venue and several other food vendors in LFCC but if you’d like the cheaper option (which we probably all do), there is a Tesco Express just across the road from YALC.
  8. Make sure you have plenty of money – Probably a bit late to give you this tip as we only have one more payday between now and YALC but I’d recommend taking plenty of money with you. The publisher stands at YALC have quite a few discounts that you may want to take advantage of but there’s also a Waterstones stand so if you don’t have a book for an author to sign, you can purchase it there. There’s also the opportunity to buy books that have been released early at YALC. My advice is to take more than you’ll need just in case. That way if you need it, you’ve got it and if you don’t use it all, then you’ve got money left over!
  9. Take a look at the map beforehand – You’ll want to have a look at the map beforehand as it’ll tell you where each vendor is. It’ll also help you get organised as if there’s an early copy of a book you really want, you don’t want to be running round like a headless chicken because you can’t find the booth you need to be at!
  10. Take a lanyard or some form of identification if you’re a blogger or booktuber – Lanyards are great things to take if you’re a blogger or booktuber. YALC is a great way to meet not only friends, but also publishers and it can give you the chance to really establish connections. I took one last year and whilst I consider myself fairly unknown in the book community, it was nice to be able to talk to publishers and say that I have a blog.
  11. Head down to LFCC – Not exactly a YALC tip but all YALC goers have access to the LFCC floor which I would definitely recommend going down to and checking out. There are loads more vendors down there and it’s just so fun seeing all the cosplays.
  12. Have fun! – YALC is the biggest YA convention in the UK and it’s also the convention that people travel from afar too. It has a great atmosphere and it’s so nice to see everyone without screens and the distance between each other. Don’t be afraid to be excited if there’s a book you want or an author you love because we all feel that way about another book or author and we’re all here because of our love of books. The most important thing about YALC is that you do have fun. Some of my best memories are from YALC and I really look forward to it every year.

I hope these tips are helpful and that they can help you get yourself prepared for the convention. Look at for my post on how I get organised for YALC which will be coming soon!

YALC 2019: The Books I Need to Read

YALC 2019: The Books I Need to Read

It’s coming up to one of my favourite times of year again…YALC TIME! This will be my third year attending YALC and while I have less authors to see this year in comparison to previous years, I definitely have a TBR list that I need to get through in the next 1-2 months.

This year, I’ll be seeing a total of 12/13 authors. I say that because I want to meet Samantha Shannon again, but I really don’t want to drag two copies of The Priory of the Orange Tree around because my body will definitely be aching after that.

There definitely aren’t as many authors for me to see this year in comparison to 2017 and 2018 but I am still excited nevertheless. These events aren’t just about authors and books for me but also about friends. Despite not having as many authors to see this year, I do still have a small TBR of books to read to prepare myself for YALC.

This list was a little longer until I read a few of the books on this list at the end of May/beginning of June, but I still have this little lot to read.

Here are the books I’m planning to read for YALC…

  1. Heartstopper Vol. 2 by Alice Oseman (This isn’t out until July and may even be a YALC purchase!)
  2. Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne img_8287
  3. A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Stevens
  4. S.T.A.G.S. by M. A. Bennett
  5. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  6.  The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
  7. The Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Here’s to hoping I get through all of these books in time for YALC! It’s a fairly short TBR but with working full time, starting my next qualification AND trying to maintain some social life too, I feel it will be a bit of a challenge!

Are you going to YALC this year? Which authors are you going to see? What books are on your TBR?

Five Years of YALC 2018: The Grand Haul

I was fairly sure that with the new system at YALC this year, I wasn’t going to come away with that many books. I had gone through the helpful master post that Jenn, Lydia and Lizzie had created and made my own list of all the books that I would like to grab a copy of after researching each book.

Well pals, I under estimated myself. I wasn’t picking up ARCs left, right and centre like the previous year, but I did bring back more than I expected after knowing that the system had changed. I did take 14 books down with me to YALC which is already a little over the top for me, but I managed to fit it all in one suitcase so that was fine. I did, however, come back with an additional 24 books taking my total books up to 38 for the weekend.

Twenty. Four. Books. I really don’t know how I managed to acquire that many and, truth be told, I am a little ashamed of how my control flies out the window when it comes to books. However, I’ve told myself that I now must not buy books (except for Kingdom of Ash) until at least December as I now have an even longer TBR list which doesn’t seem to be shortening any time soon.

The systems have changed this year but luckily for me, I was able to grab all of the books I wanted except for two. I definitely came back with more than I was expecting to get but that’s fine by me (even if it was a little bit difficult to navigate myself and two heavy and book-stuffed bags through London). I am super excited to read all of the books that I managed to pick up and I very luckily managed to pick up some 2019 releases!

So without further ado, I am happy to present to you the books that I got signed, bought and acquired. I’ve also decided to show you the samplers I picked up this weekend!


ARCs (in order of when acquired):

  • The Girl King by Mimi You
  • Damsel by Elana K. Arnold
  • Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
  • Sawkill Girls by Claire LeGrand
  • Class of 2018/19 Penguin Yearbook
  • The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox
  • Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
  • The Familiars by Stacey Halls

I am honestly so pleased with how many ARCs I managed to pick up. Two that I did want but I wasn’t able to get my hands on were Sisters of the Winter Wood and Beneath the Citadel. However, I am very grateful that I managed to snag the majority of ARCs that I wanted and I’m so excited to read them!

I’m excited for all of them, of course, but I am really looking forward to A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, The Girl King by Mimi Yu and Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan.

Books I Acquired:

  • Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne
  • Replica by Lauren Oliver
  • Friendship Fails of Emma Nash by Chloe Seager
  • Fawkes by Nadine Brandes
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  • Golden Son by Pierce Brown
  • A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman

I ended up coming away with 7 books that I bought at the convention. I bought Friendship Fails of Emma Nash by Chloe Seager as it was available early at YALC and seeing as it was one of my favourite reads last year and it’s one of my favourite contemporaries ever, I just had to grab a copy. I was also able to get it signed when I met Chloe on Friday. I bought Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? with the aim to also get that signed.

I actually only bought Replica and Golden Son purely because Hodderscape were giving away ARCs as free gifts if you purchased two of their books. As I needed the next book in the Red Rising series and I had been tempted by Replica before, I thought what the heck? and purchased them which enabled me to grab the ARC of Girls of Paper and Fire. Three books for the price of two? Count me in!

I also picked up a Jurda Parem candle from the Bookish Burns stall which is absolutely divine. I think I may have found my new UK candle shop! It smells perfectly sweet, with a marzipan like scent. I honestly just love it. Plus, it’s glittery!

Samplers acquired:

  • The Good Girl’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
  • Queen of Air and Darkness
  • Enchantee
  • The Wicked King
  • A Map of Days
  • A Storm of Ice and Stars
  • Sisters of the Winter Wood
  • Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?
  • Restore Me

I also managed to grab this Hero at the Fall bag and as Alwyn was there, she very kindly signed it for me. This obviously means I can now never use the tote bag!

I didn’t know whether to pick up samplers this year at YALC. I have a bit of a tricky relationship with them in that I appreciate that they give us sneaks into upcoming titles but I also don’t want to read a sampler and then end up waiting months for the book to come out. I ended up picking up the samplers in the picture above anyway, but I only limited myself to samplers of books that I really wanted to read otherwise I know they’ll only go to waste and I won’t read them!

So there you have it! That’s my YALC 2018 haul. I am very lucky that I was able to pick up these books and I am really so excited to read them. I very much appreciate that I was able to grab so much, far more than I really anticipated.

I hope you enjoyed my YALC 2018 posts. I still can’t believe that it’s done for another year and that I have to wait 11 months until YALC 2019. It makes me so sad that it’ll probably be another year until I see some of my pals but I am already looking forward to it!

Five Years of YALC: Day Three

The last day of YALC is always a strange one as the convention starts to wind down and a lot of people are due to travel back home in the afternoon/evening. It’s bittersweet as it’s another day of YALC but it also means its getting closer to home time and you can tell that feelings of tiredness are starting to settle in amongst the crowds, but also stalls are getting low on products.

Despite being tired and my feet hurting, I powered through and somehow, Sunday ended up being my lucky day! I hadn’t had a lot of luck the past two days, with Kirsty managing to win me my copy of The Girl King and two days of mobbing Holly Jackson for a lucky ticket to A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, which only ended with me getting a sorry-you-didn’t-win-toffee, but it all seemed to turn around for me on Sunday!

The day started off with a mini shoot at the Ink Road Books booth and an Ash Princess themed lucky dip. For some reason, I thought the lucky dip was going to be for a copy of the book but it wasn’t, it was for a candle instead! As I hadn’t had much luck, I went into the lucky dip expecting nothing but I ended up with a candle, yippee!

I then headed over to the Harper/HQ shared booth for a ticket to enter the Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa raffle. There were 20 copies going of the bound script and so again, I went into it very negatively. As they were calling out the numbers, I kept thinking ‘I’ll never win, what’s the point?’ and said out loud ‘I hate this’ and then literally one second later, my number (which was 74), got called out. I was very happy as I had put this book on my list for books I wanted to pick up over the weekend so I was thrilled to have won a copy! You best believe I shouted ‘that’s me!’ and then wrapped that baby up in one of my book sleeves as soon as I had the chance!

My lucky streak didn’t stop there! Oh no, after mobbing Holly Jackson for the fourth time that weekend, which I still feel bad about, I finally managed to get my hand on a winning ticket. I was honestly expecting another toffee and even as I handed the ticket over, I said something along the lines of ‘well I know I haven’t won’ to have the lady behind the Electric Monkey booth exclaim back that I had! I had been after this book all weekend and I was desperate for it so I was even happier that I had been. I honestly felt triumphant, it was as if I had won a race, because I had been after the book all weekend and finally, it was mine!

I then continued my winning streak by winning a cute Hodderscape badge because I wrote who one of my favourite fantasy characters was on their wall! I chose Scarlett Dragna from Caraval but I do wish I’d written her sister, Tella instead.

I’ll press pause on my little winning streak story for the moment, as I did actually buy three books on Sunday. I bought two copies of A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, which is being published soon by Harper Collins. One copy was for Christine as she had bought Fawkes earlier on in the weekend but then found out she’d received an ARC of it at home, so we swapped! I also bought a copy of Are We All Lemmings & Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne. I’ve never read anything by Holly before but have wanted to for a while and seeing as she was signing at YALC on Sunday, I thought I would go for it and buy a copy of her latest book!

As well as book winning and book buying, I also did some celeb spotting – Sunday was very eventful if you couldn’t tell!

I tried to get a selfie with Jason Momoa and although it is blurry, you can see he is looking at the camera. After I’d seen him about 4 times over the weekend and I’d crawled across the floor in front of him, I’m pretty sure he may have recognised me and so when I was trying to take my selfie, he just looked at me with a smile but as if to say ‘really? 😏’ so I’d call my little selfie a success.

Whilst celeb spotting, we managed to nab a look at Paul Wesley, Daniel Gillies (honestly have never watched the programmes these two people are in before), then Matt Smith, David Tennant and Peter Capaldi. Peter Capaldi actually came over to our group and spoke to us and I honestly died a little inside because I was overwhelmed. Like, did he really come over and start to talk to our group? *screams internally about it forever*

Myself, Christine, Lauren and Amy all decided that as we didn’t have a lot to do on Sunday, we’d take the opportunity to head down to LFCC. Last year we didn’t spend a lot of time downstairs as there was a lot more going on in YALC but this year was more chilled so we were able to really take in LFCC! There were some fantastic cosplays and I even got to meet and take a picture with a Spider-Man which matched my Spider-Man themed top for the day!

I only had two signings on Sunday, Holly Bourne at 2pm and Sara Holland at 3pm but as I’d won my copy of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder earlier on in the day, I also wanted Holly Jackson to sign that. I managed to make all three signings which I was very happy about it.

I was most excited for Sara Holland as I read Everless in December/January and loved it. It was lovely meeting Sara but I do think she is a bit shy! We still had a nice, little conversation though and because she had a long queue, there wasn’t that much time to stand around talking to her. After I’d exited the line, Christine told me to check my phone…I’d only gone and won another book! When I was waiting for Sara, I entered a twitter comp for a copy of The Familiars ARC from Hot Key Books. I quickly made my way over there to scoop up my copy.

And just like that, YALC was basically over. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering round, taking in our last looks of YALC 2018 and saying goodbye to friends who would be going home that evening.

The end of YALC always makes me so sad because I’ve just spent an amazing weekend surrounded by books and people who love to read and I honestly never want it to end. I know it must end because if YALC were every day, then the magic would go. I just miss it every day but luckily this year, I didn’t actually cry or start to tear up. That’s definitely an improvement on last year!

My lucky streak continued into Monday morning when I won a print from Bloomsbury of the Gryffindor common room as I’d tweeted out a selfie with a copy of Chamber of Secrets in my house theme (Gryffindor)! It’s super pretty and I need to frame and display it properly because it’s what the art deserves.

And with that friends, YALC 2018 is over. We now have YALC 2019 to look forward too and you betcha, I’ll be going to that! I don’t think I can actually miss a year now, I absolutely love YALC and seeing old faces and new. It brings such joy to me and I look

For a quick run down, here’s what I picked up on Sunday:

Authors met:

  • Holly Bourne
  • Sara Holland

Books bought:

  • A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman
  • Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne

ARCs acquired:

  • Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
  • The Familiars by Stacey Hall

Five Years of YALC: Day Two

Friday was a great way to get a feel for YALC 2018 and really got my excitement up for Day Two of YALC although it’s not like I wasn’t extremely excitable anyway…

(Note: If you only want to see my loot from the day, scroll to the bottom for a TL;DR section)

I knew that Saturday was going to be a busy day as my schedule for the weekend was all planned out. I had 6 signings originally, one being Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season) but I didn’t have anything for her to sign and I was only wanting to go so I could be in with a chance of winning a copy of Priory of the Orange Tree, her new book coming 2019. With Samantha off my list, that left me 5 author signings. I felt like I was honestly running left, right and centre.

So I started my day by getting in line to buy a signed copy of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo from the TeamBkmrk stand. These were going like hot cakes and as Leigh doesn’t really come to the UK, I just had to grab a copy. After that, I hung around the book wall, taking pictures and all that (where Iwan Rheon, Ramsay Bolton on Game on Thrones, made an appearance) until 10am which is when I got in line to meet Alexandra Christo (To Kill a Kingdom). She’s very lovely and was very much dressed to the theme of her book. After that, I think I just hung about for a bit again as all of my signings were in the afternoon.

HOWEVER, as with my experiences of last year at YALC, celeb spotting inevitably happens and that’s when Jason Momoa appeared out of nowhere. And that was me gone for the day really. After I got a response from Benedict Cumberbatch last year, I was determined to get a response from Jason Momoa.

img_2993WELL friends, as I was waiting for Holly Jackson (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder) to leave the booth so I could bombard her for the first time of the day, Jason Momoa was coming towards me. This is now the embarrassing part. I wanted to get a good pic so crawled across the floor to get closer to where he may be walking, except he walked by where I was originally sat. So, I crawled back to where I was originally sat and then accidentally blurted out ‘oh my god, you’re so cool’ as he waved at me. He then did this cool gun point thing and then I called him a cool dude. Someone please stop me. I didn’t even get an up close picture because we were just looking at each other, him in amusement and me looking sheepish after what I just did.

After that happened, Holly Jackson left her booth and I joined others in running to mob her. I am a little surprised that this hunt was done, especially as there was a bigger focus on making YALC more accessible this year after last year. I am personally able to run, although I am a little unfit, but there are others who aren’t able to do that due to physical or health problems. This was something that I picked up on at the event, although I did find YALC was more accessible this year in comparison to last years convention.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a copy of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder that time, but I would try again later (and again, not win a copy).

img_3039After that little episode with Jason Momoa and Holly Jackson, I then meandered around the hall, grabbed my signing ticket for Gi and Tom Fletcher (which they had to ticket due to so many people wanting to meet them) and then headed on over to the Tomi Adeyemi signing. I had a ticket for this so I went to the My Kinda Book stall and grabbed a cupcake in between. Tomi Adeyemi has written one of my favourite books of the year, Children of Blood and Boneso I was incredibly excited to meet her. I may have called her a Queen and basically just babbled about how much I love her book and that I can’t wait for the next one! (Picture thank to Carys).

img_3056After I met Tomi, I grabbed my ticket for Sasha Alberg’s signing and then headed to the Harper360 booth to try and nab a copy of Sawkill Girls by Claire LeGrand which I did successfully. I then got straight in line to meet Sasha Alsberg (Zenith). Christine came along with me as she knows Sasha so it was nice for them to meet again. Sasha is really lovely and it was so nice to meet her after watching her on YouTube for a few years now.

After that, I headed to the queue for a copy of The Witch of Willow Hall which the HQ Stories booth was giving out. I loved the sound of this book and so just had to try my luck at getting a copy! I was panicking in this queue as my ticket number for Tom and Gi’s signing was getting closer but so was the time for when they were giving out copies of this book.


I had people in both queues, so Amy was saving our spot in Tom and Gi’s queue and Christine was saving our spot in the HQ Stories queue. When Amy got really close, I darted into the queue and got my book signed by Tom and Gi where I accidentally word vomited about Jason Momoa (not my greatest moment, I’ll admit). I then asked them how they were finding YALC and the heat and didn’t ask them any questions about their book as I had intended. Just why?

I then ran back into the queue to meet Christine. They gave the copies of The Witch of Willow Hall out about 5/10 minutes after I got back in the queue. There were a very limited amount of copies and I was luckily just in front of where they stopped handing them out. Score!

After that, I headed over to the queue for Dhonielle Clayton, grabbed my ticket and then waited. Again, more views of Jason Momoa happened while we were sat waiting for Dhonielle. YALC was fairly quiet whilst we were waiting for our last signing so it ended up being a pretty chill end to the day. Dhonielle was really lovely and I’m glad we got to get our books signed by her, even if I am yet to read The Belles!

After we met Dhonielle Clayton, myself and Christine headed back to our Airbnb to dump our stuff. We then headed out to Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush to meet Lauren, Amy, Connie, Beth and Kell for food at Zizzi’s! It was a really great to end the day in good company where we could talk about YALC day two among other things.

Too long, didn’t read? Here’s who I met and what I picked up:

Authors I met:

  • Alexandra Christo
  • Tomi Adeyemi
  • Sasha Alsberg
  • Gi and Tom Fletcher
  • Dhonielle Clayton

Books bought:

  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Signed Edition

ARCs acquired:

  • Sawkill Girls by Claire LeGrand
  • The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Five years of YALC 2018: The Night Before and Day One

I travelled down to London on Thursday afternoon to attend the YALC, which I have been looking forward to all. year. I have been on a countdown ever since my ticket was purchased in February and the accommodation booked. I hope you’re all ready for some majorly long posts (I’m really sorry in advance..) about YALC 2018. I wasn’t planning on these posts being as long as they are, but I also wanted to make sure I wrote out as much as possible so that I don’t forget anything about this years convention.

(Note: This post is quite long so if you just want to see what I got at YALC on day one, scroll down to the bottom!)

Before I get into everything, I headed down to London on Thursday afternoon after a morning at work that would just not pass by quick enough. I stayed in an Airbnb with Christine which was in a really great location. I’m hoping that it’s still available next year for us to stop at!

The Night Before

I had work on Thursday morning before I travelled down. I had a connection at Birmingham which took me into London Euston. I met Christine, Lauren and Amy at Euston station and then we caught the tube before we split off to find our accommodation. Christine and I wandered over to the convention centre on Thursday as they were allowing people to collect their wristbands the day before.

Before YALC kicked off on Friday, I was lucky enough to be invited to Penguin’s Secret Society event (I can’t believe I can now actually say that the publisher Penguin invited me (me?!) to a party) on Thursday evening which had four authors in attendance. These were Melissa Albert (The Hazel Wood), Elizabeth Klehfoth (All These Beautiful Strangers), Sally Green (The Smoke Thieves) and Emily Barr (The Truth and Lies of Ella Black). The event featured some themed cocktails to do with the authors new books and a few snacks. There was also a polaroid picture area which myself, Christine, Amy and Lauren had our pictures taken at. We were able to pick up the new books to get signed and there were a few goodies dotted around. I was able to collect all of the cards for The Smoke Thieves which made my very happy as I now have the complete collection. It was great to hang out with other bookworms too.

I had an absolutely wonderful time at this event, albeit it being a little bit too hot due to no air con at the venue but other than that, I really enjoyed getting my book on before YALC really started and I am so grateful to the people at Penguin for inviting me. Following the event, the four of us headed off to Wagamama, which happened to be my first time trying their food and I really enjoyed it. It was nice to be able to relax and cool down ready for the busy weekend ahead.

Day One

Day One of YALC kicked off with a bang and seemed a lot busier than it was last year. In fact, this years Friday attendance seemed more like YALC 2017’s Saturday attendance. I know that YALC is getting bigger every year but as I only went last year, I wasn’t quite prepared for how much it had grown in just a year.

We got to the queue at about 9:15/9:30 after we’d grabbed our lunch from the Tesco express opposite the centre. The queue wasn’t that long when we got there which was surprising. We thought there may be a separate queue for people who had picked up their tickets the day before but there wasn’t so it almost seemed pointless to pick up our badges on Thursday.

The floor lay out hadn’t changed that much this year in terms of where the main things were. There were some booths that were in relatively the same place with Penguin’s and Waterstones booths being in the exact same spot as they were last year. The floor had been opened up more though and so the convention space was bigger. The largest publishers were mostly clumped together in one area with smaller publishers being popped into the new area. I did already know the layout prior to the event as I had seen the map but it was still worth the walk round the floor that we did straight away to get our bearings.

I didn’t have that much to do on Friday. There was one panel that I was interested in and I had four signings that I wanted to go to. The main things for me were the books I wanted to snag. Prior to YALC, I had gone through the very helpful posts that Jenn, Lydia and Lizzie had constructed which detailed all of the books and swag that would be available over the weekend. This really helped me to plan what I was going to be doing with my days. I used all of this information by putting it into my phone notes under a schedule for each day. Having schedules on my phone notes was so useful for the weekend – I’m already planning a post for next year based on YALC organisation.

I had three signings at 2pm, one at 3pm and none in the morning so I really used that time to walk the floor multiple times and to scoop up goodies and ARCS. The first thing we did after we wandered the floor, picking up a sampler of Enchantee along the way, was head to the Atom Books booth to grab a raffle ticket for a copy of Sisters of the Winter Wood. We then got in line for Gollancz to try to win a copy of The Girl King. This was one of the books I wanted to grab over the weekend and Friday was the only chance to try and win it. To get a copy, you had to pick a red petal out of a load of white ones. Obviously I had no luck because this is me.

After my failed attempt, I then headed to the Harper booth as they were giving out copies of Damsel. I’d seen Shrina from Harper talking about this one and it sounded like an exciting read so I thought I’d go for a copy. The system with Harper was that you got there a little before the designated time and then you queued. It was first come, first served and we weren’t queuing long. I didn’t think this was a bad system and with enough warning this year, people knew what time to get to the booth for. I also managed to pick up a sampler of A Good Girl’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy.

We then headed back round and circled the floor a few times. We saw Naz, who was helping man the Scholastic booth and I grabbed a sampler from there of A Storm of Ice and Stars which was nice as last year I won a copy of the first book.

I then headed back to the Gollancz booth a few times to try my luck on winning The Girl King and it just wasn’t happening, however later on Kirsty came to my aid to try and grab me a copy. She had won her own copy earlier in the day. I unluckily pulled out a white petal again but Kirsty pulled out a red petal for the second time and so I finally got a copy! I proceeded to jump up and down and hug Kirsty as I was so grateful to get my hands on the gorgeous proof!

I then headed to my signings with Sally Nicholls who signed my copy of Things a Bright Girl Can Do, Matt Killeen who is the author is Orphan Monster Spy and the author of one of my favourite contemporaries ever, Chloe Seager, author of Editing Emma and Friendship Fails of Emma Nash.

Meeting Chloe after almost a year since I first read Editing Emma and promptly bombarded Chloe with my tweets of praise was a treat. She is so lovely and she even recognised me which makes that my first author recognition moment! She even posted me on her Instagram and I was screaming inside. We talked and I told her how much I loved Editing Emma and how it made me laugh out loud in so many places. I now can’t wait to read Friendship Fails of Emma Nash!

I whizzed round those signings quickly as I had another at 3pm with Louise O’Neill, author of The Surface Breaks. I already had a signed copy but I wanted to get it personalised.

After we were done at YALC, myself and Lauren had organised a meet up on Twitter for the Friday evening. The plan was to meet outside the Cursed Child theatre and then head over to Foyle’s bookshop, Waterstones Piccadilly and for some food. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect regarding the turn out as it ended up tipping it down with rain after it had been nice weather all day. Typical! We had to very quickly move our meeting location to inside Foyle’s bookshop which worked out well. There were 11 of us in total that came to the meet up and we spent the evening talking about books before heading from Foyle’s to Pizza Hut. I loooove Pizza Hut and it was nice to go back as we went there for food at my first YALC.

After that, it was getting late and Christine and I wanted to head back to organise ourselves for Saturday so we skipped out on Waterstones to head back to our Airbnb where I took a look at my loot for the day and prepared my Saturday books for day two of YALC.

My Friday was very successful and I’m super happy that I was able to pick up pretty much everything that I wanted. I had a wonderful time being back in the company of so many readers and I’m glad i had the chance to meet the author of one of my favourite contemporary books.

Too Long, Didn’t read? Here’s the run down…

Authors met:

  • Chloe Seager
  • Sally Nicholls
  • Matt Killeen
  • Louise O’Neill

Books bought:

  • Friendship Fails of Emma Nash by Chloe Seager
  • Replica by Lauren Oliver
  • Golden Son by Pierce Brown

ARCs acquired:

  • Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
  • The Girl King by Mimi You
  • Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

So that’s my YALC 2018 first day post! Keep an eye out for YALC Day Two as I’ll be posting that one shortly!