April 13, 2015

YALLWEST - Santa Monica - Day 1

I am SO HAPPY that I went to YALLWEST over the weekend. It was most definitely a YA book lover's paradise! I met so many of my favorite authors and got enough of my books signed that it was worth the approximately 5 hours I spent commuting over the weekend ;).

Day 1 was held at Santa Monica High School and I wish the whole weekend had been held there. This was definitely the superior venue. Parking was easy, right across the street from the high school which was such a blessing being that parking in LA is rarely simple!

I instantly spotted Stephanie Perkins and got her to sign my Anna and Lola books (still waiting for Isla to come out on paperback to match my set! #OCD). I took a picture with her, but it's terrible of me so I'll save you. I also snapped a photo of her with Richelle Mead, Marie Lu, Maya Van Wagenen and some other authors, which I will show you...

The Book Rest - YALLWEST - Stephanie Perkins, Marie Lu, Richelle Mead

I proceeded to go to Ransom Rigg's Keynote which started with a message from the mayor of Santa Monica. He named Margaret Stohl the honorary mayor of YALLWEST. One of my favorite quotes of the day was from the mayor who said that reading helps us learn that "the way things are aren't always how they have to be." I absolutely loved that!

The Book Rest - YALLWEST - Mayor of Santa Monica

Ransom's Keynote was fantastic... although I had basically just heard the same speech a month ago at one of his signings, so I kinda wished I had jumped in Veronica Roth's signing line instead of attending since I would spend the rest of the weekend missing Veronica Roth over and over again. Live and learn!

The Book Rest - YALLWEST - Ransom Riggs Keynote

I did manage to get many books signed, though! Including my Marissa Meyer and Leigh Bardugo books. Out of respect for the hundreds of people in line behind me, I did not take posted pictures with the authors. I went to Day 1 alone and I feel like if you don't have a friend to snap a super quick photo and you don't have the nerve to do a quick selfie, you shouldn't hold up the line.

The Book Rest - YALLWEST - Marissa Meyer

Leigh Bardugo was by far the best person I met all weekend. She was nice without it being awkwardly fake (which "awkwardly fake" is fine, that's me most of the time! But it's nice when people are real!). She asked who my favorite character from her books is (NIKOLAI!) and we bonded over his one liners, which she wrote a different one in each of my books! I told her how I love embroidering Nikolai quotes and she said she'd love to see my work. I told her I had made something for Tahereh Mafi and Leigh had actually seen it on Tahereh's Instagram! If there was a fangirling moment of the weekend it was learning one of my favorite authors saw my craft that another favorite author posted on her Instagram. I mean, come on...

The Book Rest - YALLWEST - Leigh Bardugo

I also just observed signings since the lines were pretty ridiculous. I'm lucky enough that I've already met the authors I observed and didn't need any books signed. Except, of course, Veronica Roth... that elusive little author....

The Book Rest - YALLWEST - Veronica Roth

The Book Rest - YALLWEST - Marie Lu

The Book Rest - YALLWEST - Ransom Riggs and Tahereh Mafi

I sat in on a few panels, including "Strong Female Characters: UGH!" moderated by Veronica Roth and "Writers as Superfans: Cosplay Panel" moderated by Richelle Mead. I would have gone to a lot more, but it was kind of chaotic and I was happy just sticking to one room and watching panel after panel in there, ha!

The Book Rest - YALLWEST - Strong Women Panel

The Book Rest - YALLWEST - Cosplay Panel
The costumes were the best part of the Cosplay panel... to bad taking DSLR pictures from my seat was so hard!

I almost stuck around for the Smackdown at the end because it would feature all the authors, but I had an hour drive home, I was exhausted and I had come alone so there was nobody to entertain me.

Tomorrow I'll reveal my experience at Day 2 and later this week I'll tell you what I would have done differently now that I have my first YALLWEST/Book Fest under my belt! 

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