YALC, London

This weekend the Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) took place in London as part of the London Film and Comic Con. I didn’t go to the first YALC event in 2014, so this was my first year joining the fun (and my first ever convention!). And I just had the BEST day. I felt like I was in a little bubble all day, surrounded by things I love and people with similar interests and it was awesome. I left the event feeling so happy, having talked to and met so many people, got books signed, bought books, bought Funko Pop! toys, collected some book swag, listened to fantastic author panels, and I even saw Hodor…!
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My partner and I got up around 4:30 am (wah!) for a 6:00 am train to London. I read some DARKMERE by Helen Maslin on the journey, which I’m really enjoying. When we arrived we got the train over to the Olympia to find huge crowds waiting to go inside. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was amazing!! We found the YALC entrance and got our wristbands and were inside by around 9:30 am and exploring the floor. I tried to get a copy of THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich first thing, but it’d sold out the day before seeing as Dawn is so wonderful, so *sulks* but yay for Dawn!
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I ran my own little giveaway on the day too, tweeting how to enter. I received a limited number of THE WANDERERS ARCs from my publisher and decided to give one away at the convention…
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… and we had a winner within the first hour. The lovely Lize (Lize Bronwen Reviews), who asked me to join her circus and I said yes, of course.
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So that was a lot of fun! Lize also told me the floor below were selling the Harry Potter Funko Pop! toys (which I’ve been waitingggg to release so I can start collecting!), so I hurried off to find them. I got Harry and Voldemort to start (but have already purchased three more since!). No regrets.
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Now on to the books. First stop was the Chicken House stand at 10:30 am so I could buy a copy of THE BABY by Lisa Drakeford (who was at the stand signing at that time). It was great to meet Jasmine and Lisa and come away with a signed copy, postcard, and tote bag (I love tote bags).
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Next was a quick stop at the Walker Books stand to pick up a copy of FRAIL HUMAN HEART, the final book in Zoë Marriott’s THE NAME OF THE BLADE trilogy. I also picked up and bookmark for THE NEXT TOGETHER by Lauren James, which is out this September and I can’t wait to read it! Shadowhunters were also handing out packs of TMI postcards with all the new cover designs. Very cool!
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Which brings me on to my next stop… The Shadowhunters panel from Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan. This was the most exciting part of the day for me. I totally ditched my partner so I could sit on the front row. He understood, of course! And afterward we queued up together for the signing.
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Andy got CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE signed for my mum, who has read and loved all of CC’s books. And I got my copy of CITY OF BONES signed *happy sigh*.
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Then we needed lunch! The lines for food inside were really long, and so were the lines to get out of the hall. So we had the choice to join one or the other and decided to stay inside. While queuing I texted SEED author, Lisa Heathfield, who I’d been hoping to meet. She found me – yay! And I got my copy of SEED signed – double yay! I loved this book and it was wonderful to meet up! The Egmont Electric Monkey stand/camp was awesome! I really enjoyed chatting with Emily about some of their titles (particularly SEED and SUICIDE NOTES FROM BEAUTIFUL GIRLS). And thanks for the marshmallow!
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We watched more of the panels throughout the day, including Being a Girl: Hayley Long, CJ Daugherty, Holly Smale, Malorie Blackman and Laura Dockrill, and YALC Book Club: Carrie Hope Fletcher, Malorie Blackman, Holly Smale, and Samantha Shannon.
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Afterward, I joined Holly’s signing queue with my copy of GEEK GIRL. I was so happy to finally meet Holly – she’s such a gorgeous person!
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Somewhere in between all of that I visited the Hot Key stand to get a copy of Keris Stainton’s new book, which is out this September. Also, yay for tote bags!
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Keris was behind me when I bought COUNTING STARS so it was nice to see her again and chat. AND I got my copy signed too!
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So lots of goodies picked up on the day! By around 4:00 pm I was starting to wind down and decided not to stay for the Hunger Games quiz as I wanted to go into London before leaving.
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Our train home was 7:30 pm and I wanted to visit Lush Oxford Street before leaving to buy some of their exclusive products, as well as pick up some dinner.
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So big smiles for everyone who came to say hi this weekend, thanks to the authors who signed my books, thanks to the publishers and Waterstones for bringing the books, and thanks to the organisers for a fantastic day. Here’s to next year!