Serena Takes YALLWEST!

6:00 AM Serena 2 Comments

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to YALLWEST with one of my BFFs.  YALLWEST is the sister festival to South Carolina's YALLFEST, and this is its first year. Day One was apparently really chaotic and unorganized, but I didn't see that in Day Two, and I had a great time. 

Let's take a look at my YALLWEST journey, shall we? Like my Ontario TBF post, this will be mostly photos because I only went to one panel. PSA: You'll probably be a little sick of my face by the time this post is over. 

We got to the event at around 10:30ish and were let into the venue a few minutes later. It took us a bit to get our bearings when we first walked in, but once we figured stuff out, we made a mad dash for Lauren Oliver's signing line. 

There was still lots of time before we got to the front of her line, so I went and grabbed our tickets for the Leigh Bardugo and Marissa Meyer Kickoff Conversation at will call. Somewhere in between, I met Margot of Epic Reads and we selfied. It was awesome.

I don't know what kind of face I'm making, but here's me and Margot!
After I had my minor freak out sesh about meeting Margot and the tickets were in my possession, I went back in line to meet Lauren. I didn't get nervous until I got closer to the front, but I think I managed to stay (relatively) calm and cool in front of her. We walked about the festival and theatre things (at one point she went, "So you're a techie!" and I smiled real big.) and how she's hoping to be back next year. She says she'll sign my copy of Requiem, which I couldn't get signed because of their three book rule, then if she's there. 

Heck yeah, that's Lauren Oliver. 
Also, somewhere between when we got there and when I met Lauren, I went to the book sale! They had tons of books from all the authors signing, and I picked up a copy of Aaron Hartzler's Rapture Practice and Jessi Kirby's Things We Know By Heart (a week early! *squeals*).

Then it was time for the Kickoff Conversation. I didn't take notes like I normally do at events because I forgot (oops!), but I did learn that Marissa Meyer and Leigh Bardugo are HILARIOUS. They talked about writing, plotting, and things they'd tell their teen selves, among other things. 

So awesome seeing Leigh and Marissa on stage together!
And then I got to meet Leigh! Her line was surprisingly short when I got in it which made me SO happy because I knew I had to meet her. I was kind of worried it was going to be miles long like Veronica Roth's line. Leigh and I also selfied, and she wrote one of my favorite Mal quotes in my copy of Ruin and Rising. 

Taking this picture was a struggle. BUT I LOVE IT. And Leigh.
After meeting Leigh came the moment I've been waiting for for weeks: eating food from The Grilled Cheese Truck. There was mac and cheese, pulled pork, and barbecue sauce IN MY SANDWICH. 
Pictures can't do this awesome grilled cheese justice. I think I'm in love.
Everything after The Grilled Cheese That Changed My Life was pretty much a blur of signings, awkward photo booth pictures, and fangirling over authors because DUH. 

I was super excited to meet Jessi Kirby because 1) I got her newest release a week early and 2) She was the first YA author I ever met, way back when I was in the seventh grade when she was promoting her debut. I can't explain how excited I am to dive into Things We Know By Heart!

Jessi was super sweet. 
I met Katie Cotugno next, but I didn't ask for a picture because her line looked long. She was very bright and smiley though, and she told me that How to Love has a Serena in it. I need to read it soon. Jennifer Niven was next, and I was so nervous to meet her because her YA debut, All the Bright Places means so much to me. I was worried I would forget to tell her some things when I met her, so I wrote her a letter. 

(I'm not looking at the camera, but oh well!) I almost cried meeting Jennifer. So many feels. 
I got to see Aaron Hartzler next, and he signed my pretty new paperback of Rapture Practice. I also told him that Edelweiss approved me for an eARC of his upcoming novel this morning, and he looked excited and that made me happy. I rushed to get into Robyn Schneider's line right after Aaron's so we didn't get a picture together. But it's okay! We'll always have Teen Book Fest. Robyn was a sweetheart, but she seemed very rushed, so I didn't ask her for a picture either. 

Our very last signing of the day was Morgan Matson, who I love dearly. My buddy Becca and I were so lucky she got in line early because Morgan's line got super long. Morgan was awesome, as per usual. I made her a little bookmark with lyrics from New Romantics by Taylor Swift on it, and she loved it which made my day. 

Becca and I with Morgan! Photo creds to a really funny girl we met in line.
And then we were done for the day! We went to go find Becca's mom in the library and headed out. On our way out, we saw a little bit of the StoryMob, moderated by Pseudonymous Bosch and Alexander London. 

You can't really tell, but this is probably the closest I'll ever be to Veronica Roth.
YALLWEST in summary: I got a lot of books signed, got lots of swag, met/saw again some cool authors and bookish people, and ate the best grilled cheese of my entire life. 

The beauties I got signed.
The cool free stuff I was given. ARC courtesy of Epic Reads/ Harper Collins. :)
It was pretty well organized and a ton of fun. I can't wait to see what next year's event is like! I'm already excited for YALLWEST 2016. 


  1. Looks like you had a lot of fun! The event looked awesome as well. I live in Cali but all the way up in San Fran. :( Hopefully next year I will be able to attend the event! Thank you for a great recap post! :D

    ~Kaitlin @ Next Page Please!

    1. It was such a blast! I hope you'll be able to come down next year! And thanks for stopping by and reading my rambly recap post, Kaitlin! :)