Hello, everyone. I went to Charleston, South Carolina last weekend with my friends. We went to YALL (Young Adult Literature Lovers) Fest, which is basically a book festival. I want this blog to be a virtual diary of sorts, so it makes sense to write a full recap here. I hope you enjoy.
5:30//Start Drive Down To South Carolina
I took a shower and literally packed in three minutes. I was only going to be there until Saturday night and I’m not an over packer. My mom dropped me off at my friend Stellah’s house where the four of us friends were meeting. Her mom was going to drive us to Charleston.
It was a five-hour drive and I didn’t have my voice for most of it. I wasn’t sick, but the temperature went from the 70s to the 30s to the 70s again the week before, so my voice just decided to die. If it were any other weekend, I would’ve taken a break from talking, but I was with my friends, so…
11:00//Arrive At Motel
We arrived at the motel around 11. We booked a non-smoking room, but the room smelled like cigarettes, so Shounima (the one who booked the hotel) and Stellah’s mom went to the front desk to change rooms. Meanwhile, the rest of us watched the new episode of Andi Mack, which is by far the most progressive kid’s show as of this point.
After that, we headed to the new motel room and got ready for bed.
12:00//Go To Sleep
Stellah and her mom were on one bed, while Shounima, Promy (The fourth member of our little party) and I shared the other. We fit on the bed surprisingly well.
7:00 AM//Wake Up Call
All of us set alarms for 7:00 AM. I got a bit more than six hours of sleep because I was up reading, but that was enough for me. I still didn’t have my voice, but I didn’t feel sick at all Thankfully. Everyone was ready and in the car by 7:30.
8:00 AM//Breakfast At Chik-Fil-A
After checking out of the hotel, we headed to McDonald’s, still pretty groggy. There are eggs in everything on their breakfast menu and my friend Stellah is allergic to eggs, so we headed over to Chik-Fil-A. I had a chicken biscuit and some coffee. It was the first time I’ve had coffee all semester, but I needed something hot to drink for my throat. I’m not really a coffee person, but it wasn’t half bad (after loading it with a bunch of sugar and creamer of course.)
We all ordered an extra chicken-biscuit so we wouldn’t have to buy anything for lunch later. It was a good idea because I saw very few restaurants in the area we were in and all of them were super crowded.
9:00//Explore A Bit
After finding parking and gathering enough coins for the meter, we walked over to the festival. We looked through the books and tried to figure out the map because we wanted to get our books signed. There were a bunch of BookTubers there. I don’t follow them, but my friend Shounima is a book blogger, so she knew who they were.
9:30//Angie Thomas And Beckie Albertalli Signing
We all waited in line to get our books signed. I got The Hate You Give and Simon vs. The Homosapien Agenda signed. The lines were ridiculously long, but I was in good company.
10:00//Authors As Fans Panel
(Moderator Veronica Roth with Leigh Bardugo, Renée Ahdieh, Sabaa Tahir, Stephanie Garber, and Victoria Aveyard. Cosplay is encouraged for this panel, which will explore what you loved as a kid and/or what you love now, and how that informs your writing and creativity. Spoiler: at least one author will come dressed as a Malfoy.)
Hint: The author dressed as Malfoy was Veronica Roth, the author who wrote Divergent.
This was a panel where the authors talked about fandoms they loved as kids and how they inspired their own books.
11:00//Sci-Fi Shenanigans Panel
(Moderator Cindy Pon with Scott Reintgen, Alexandra Bracken, Jason Segel, Kirsten Miller, and Veronica Roth. From space (the final frontier!) to parallel dimensions to time travel to robots, some of your faves talk all things science fiction, why they write it, and what they love most about it.)
I love Sci-Fi. It’s my favorite book and movie genre, so this panel was a must for me. Jason Segel being on the panel didn’t hurt either. (He had a Tardis built in his backyard)
On this panel, everyone basically talked about different sci-fi concepts like time travel, flying cars, etc. It was pretty informal.
12:00//Explore + Lunch
After the panel, we wandered around the festival and got a bunch of free stuff (book stickers, quote posters, etc. ). I even got a free signed copy of a book (Wonder Land by Emory R Frie). I’ll review it once I finish reading.
I never buy t-shirts when I go to events because they’re super overpriced, but I had to buy this one. It said:
“I’ve lived a thousand lives [through reading], and I was a feminist in all of them.”
It was $20 which is a steal when it comes to event t-shirts, and it’s really good quality. I would actually wear it on a regular day. It’s super comfortable. I changed into it immediately. I’m wearing it in the main photo at the top.
After that, we walked to the car and ate our Chik-Fil-A sandwiches. Stellah’s mom was halfway through the book Simon when we arrived. (She graciously got it signed for me while I was in another line). After eating, we walked over to the next panel. (Stellah stayed behind to wait for her mom, who had left the car for something)
2:00//Page To Screen Panel
(Moderator Lauren Oliver with Rebecca Serle, Becky Albertalli, David Levithan, Nicola Yoon, and Jesse Andrews. YA authors dish on their upcoming or recent book-to-movie adaptations.)
This was a fun panel because I knew who everyone was and either read their books or watched their movie. I learned a bunch about the process of turning a book into a movie, and heard a lot of funny stories. (I also learned about Nicola Yoon’s next book).
3:00//Angie Thomas & Becky Albertalli Keynote
(One of the biggest young adult debuts of 2017 is Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give, a story about race and police violence told through the eyes of a teenage African-American heroine. The book has been on the New York Times bestseller list since February. Angie will team up with Becky Albertalli, whose debut Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, exploring the pitfalls of a first same-sex romance in its hero’s coming-out drama, is on its way to the big screen from 20th Century Fox.)
We bought tickets for the Angie Thomas and Becky Albertalli Keynote (The rest of the festival is free). I enjoyed it a lot. I found out that they combined their books so that they’re in the same universe (Starr and Bram are cousins). That was super cool to hear. I also learned more about the movies for their books and the name of Angie Thomas’s next book. It was awesome.
4:00//Ever Expanding Universes Panel
Moderator Leigh Bardugo with Cassandra Clare, Soman Chainani, Margaret Stohl, and Maggie Stiefvater. Spin-offs. Companion worlds. Shared universes. Authors create worlds and then spend an entire series exploring them. Explore the creative process that allows authors to keep it all straight, even as their worlds grow beyond what they first imagined.
This panel was about how authors keep track of the universes they create. It was really interesting. The real reason we stayed was because we were already there and my friend Shounima wanted to sneak into the Cassandra Claire Keynote that was sold out after.
5:00//Royalty And Political Schemery Panel
(Moderator Renée Ahdieh with Victoria Aveyard, Tomi Adeyemi, Danielle Paige, Sabaa Tahir, and Rhoda Belleza. When you play the game of thrones, you win or … well, you know. Royalty! Intrigue! Cunning! Power! These stories have it all.)
Shounima and Promy stayed in the auditorium, while Stellah and I walked to another panel. We chose to go to the one about royalty and political schemes because who doesn’t love that. In this panel, the authors talked about political points in history that inspired the governments or regimes they created in their books.
6:00//Going Through Furniture Stores While Walking To The Car
That was the last panel we went to. There was a book trivia finale, but you had to pay for that, so we decided to skip out. After the four of us found each other, we started walking towards the car. There were a lot of trendy furniture stores on the way, so we stopped at a bunch to look at the furniture and decor.
6:30//Grab Dinner + Hit The Road
Since Chik-Fil-A is the only fast food restaurant Stellah can eat at, we went there for our third meal of the day. I was sort of weary because I try not to eat too much fried food (my skin is still paying for it), but we all agreed. I found out that Chik-Fil-A had soup, which is delicious by the way. I had a bowl of soup with chicken nuggets (because you can’t order soup alone for some reason). It was delicious.
11:00//Denny’s Diner Break
Stellah’s mom got tired, so she decided to take a nap. While she napped in the parking lot, the four of us went to the Denny’s Diner we parked in front of. Shounima and I had never been to Denny’s, so we had no idea what type of food was served. Turns out, it has breakfast food.
We were in the mood for milkshakes but saw that the french toast was only $2, which was a deal we couldn’t pass up. Shounima and I got french toast and milkshakes (I got the birthday cake flavor because it’s almost my birthday) and Promy got pancakes and root beer. Stellah didn’t get anything because she’s allergic.
The portions were huge. I had a sugar-induced headache for the rest of the ride home.
Also, I thought I’d mention that we danced around the empty restaurant to Disney songs while we waited for our food. Stellah and I also danced to Apple Bottom Jeans, which is a song we got down to at high school dances. We looked ridiculous, but it was ridiculously fun.
1:00//Arrive At Home
After two more hours of driving, we finally arrived home. I unpacked and went to sleep. I woke up at 11 the next morning (I slept through my alarm).
My cousin from Tennessee had come to visit that weekend too, but I barely saw her. After saying goodbye to her and her husband the next morning, I called in sick from work because my voice was literally gone. I didn’t speak for two days and my voice came back on Tuesday.
Well, that was my weekend for you. I’m going to Disney World this weekend, so you guys are in for a few more travel related posts.
Do you have any trips planned? What is your favorite book series? Who is your favorite author?