YALLFest Day 2: Recap9:26:00 PM
Brace yourselves for a play-by-play retelling of my second day at YALLFest 2015!
YALLFest Day 2 started off bright and early when Lillie texted me about getting in line for Glass Sword. She had a friend who had gone down to King Street at 7 AM and said there were people already lining up for their chance to be one of the lucky 50 people to get a ticket to the Red Queen meetup -- and a coveted Glass Sword ARC -- later that day. In a whirlwind of getting dressed and eating breakfast, we rushed off to King Street by 8:00. Fortunately, we both made it in time!
We stood in line for about an hour as the Epic Reads booth finished setting up before they could begin handing out tickets to the event. Ecstatic over our good fortune, Lillie and I made our way over to the Train Museum and Charleston Music Hall. While Lillie got in line to see Marie Lu and Alexandra Bracken, my mom and I crossed the street to the Music Hall to our first panel of the day: the Opening Keynote, featuring Richelle Mead and R.L. Stine! When we had gotten our tickets scanned and were ushered inside, we were told there was seating only available upstairs. Once we made it up, however, we saw rows of empty seats right in the front of the auditorium downstairs! We rushed downstairs toward the empty seats we had seen and sat down just as Margi and Kami began to introduce the panel. It wasn't until we had settled into our seats completely that I realized there was a lady sitting in front of me with an icy blonde pixie cut -- it was Veronica Roth! Not long afterward, as Margaret Stohl finished her intro onstage and handed the panel over to Kami Garcia, she strode off stage and proceeded to plop down right next to Veronica! After my momentary lapse, sitting so close to such incredible authors, the panel kicked off with a clip from the recent Goosebumps movie.
Immediately after the Keynote was another panel in the same auditorium, called Harry Potter is Lyfe. It featured authors like Sabaa Tahir, Maya Van Waagnen, Leigh Bardugo, Brandon Mull, and Melissa de la Cruz; moderated by none other than Veronica Roth. My mom and I lucked out again and snagged second-row seats -- this time, behind R.L. Stine!!! It was such fun sitting in a giant room full of other Harry Potter fans as our favorite authors deliberated over issues like which houses they belonged in, what their opinions of Snape were, who their favorite pairings were; and most interestingly to me was seeing how the series had effected each author, how it impacted their writing and their lives.
Immediately afterward, I made my way over to Blue Bicycle for Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's signings. Margi was SUCH a sweetie, graciously signing all four books I had brought for her to sign, handing Kami my copy of Beautiful Creatures to sign so that I wouldn't have to get back in line. Margi and I geeked out over Orphan Black and her subtle "Sestra" references to it in Black Widow, and she signed each of my books with a really cute message.
As soon as I finished with this signing, it was time to hop in line for another! By this point, Lillie had been waiting in line for Alexandra Bracken's signing and saving me a spot right by her. She had also met up with our friend from the internet, Kat! After only ever speaking on twitter, it was so fun to finally meet her in person! Kat is truly one of the sweetest people I've met in the bookish community since I started blogging again. We also met a fellow blogger, Erica, who was super kind as well. They saved my spot in Alex's line while I went to get my books signed by Zac Brewer. I read his books while I was in middle school, and they mean as much to me now as they did then; affectionately letting his fans (or "minion horde") call him Uncle Zac, I was so giddy to finally have been able to meet him in person! He had even recognized me from our conversations on Twitter!
We waited and waited, eagerly anticipating the chance to meet Alex and the Passenger ARCs that awaited us. Finally, it was time! While we waited to see Alex, my mom waited in the neighboring line to see E.K. Johnston and get my copy of A Thousand Nights signed for me. Alex was such a cutie, wishing us well and hoping we liked Passenger, thanking us for waiting all day to get our copies!
Thinking this day couldn't get any better, Lillie and I got in line for the final event of the festival: Smackdown. I had no idea what to expect, which meant I was in for a surprise when they played games that involved audience participation; and in for an even bigger surprise when Veronica Roth chose me out of the audience to get onstage and play a game of Taboo with Leigh Bardugo on my team! I was so excited I was shaking, but I somehow managed to convey every single phrase I was given, from Hogwarts to Twilight to The Fault in Our Stars, and even Shadow and Bone, to which Leigh guessed each correctly! We wound up winning the game, too! Now if I ever play charades, I know who I'm calling to be on my team. The night closed out with a performance from Libba Bray and her band, Tiger Beat. They were so much fun to watch, playing classic hits to today's top 40 medley.
I crashed back at my hotel room around nine or ten that night, feeling like it was much, much later. I still haven't quite processed everything that was packed into yesterday, nor the fact that it's all over. It was all such an incredible and surreal experience, and I would do it all again in the blink of an eye. In fact, I'm already planning for next year!