Yallfest 2016


Some of you may already know this (through my Instagram or from me just chatting with you recently) but I visited Charleston, SC for a bookish event on November 12th! My feet and arms are actually still a little sore from Saturday (lol) but the trip was so worthwhile because I got to meet many wonderful authors and hang out with the coolest bookworms.

This was my second year attending Yallfest, the biggest YA book festival and event in the southeast US. I want to say the level of excitement was about the same as last year, and the turnout of people attending and participating were a lot higher, which was to be expected since this event only grows each year.

Since I had already gone in 2015, I had the routine down to a tee this year. Driving and parking was so much easier. (Though I’ve been to Charleston many times before I had never driven there myself. So it was a bit of a struggle with the congested streets to find a parking garage last year.)

I also learned my lesson and didn’t bring a book bag. I do think it’s an absolute must that attendees bring something to carry their books in, such as a backpack, tote, or even suitcase (don’t worry people actually bring wagons of books to this event-it’s pretty intense). However, if you plan to drive there like I did and find a parking space near the venue, you can easily go to your car to exchange and get books throughout the day. But I must say this only works well if you can coordinate these mini runs. Personally, I really liked this technique because it really saved my back. I would only carry about five books at a time, which wasn’t any trouble at all, and after each signing I tried to use my time efficiently so that I could make a trip to the car to exchange it for another set of books for the next signings. I did this about twice in the day. Like I said, it may not be practical for some, but this method gave me a much better experience because I was more comfortable as I was walking around.

Oh! Plus, throughout the day it’s very unlikely for you to not get free totes along the way to signings and panels. So you’ll end up with more bags than books by the end of the day anyway. (I literally had a huge book bag and 5 totes to lug around last year hence the body aches the following days.)

Also, this year was much more meaningful with signings for me. Because I took a long hiatus from reading during high school and the beginning of college, I wasn’t up to date with new authors that wrote YA fiction. It wasn’t until I started blogging early 2015 did I come to learn about these authors (such as Rainbow Rowell, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas, etc). So the author line up from last year had a lot of familiar names but only a handful were ones that I had read books by them. And since I wanted to see as many authors as I could, all the while trying to avoid picking those that I read their books pre-2010, I decided on authors of books I’d already owned (regardless if I read their books yet) to get signed. (Man, what a wordy sentence. I hope I made my point…) I was somewhat greedy, and didn’t want to waste the opportunity of getting to meet those authors even if I hadn’t read their books. (Honestly, it was only three authors that I did this: Alexandra Bracken, Renée Ahdieh, and Victoria Aveyard. This proved to be a smart move since both Bracken and Aveyard became “wristband authors” this year where only a limited number of readers could get the chance to meet them if they had a wristband.) I was still able to make great conversation, but because this year I only chose to meet authors where I’ve read nearly all their published work (and quite recently)… I was able to have much more meaningful, memorable conversations.

Anyway, I don’t want this post to be just text… so like last year’s Yallfest blog post, I will continue to recount my fun day in pictures and captions from here on. Hope you guys enjoy!


To begin my day off right, I met one of my all time favorite authors (and absolute favorite YA contemporary author), Sarah Dessen. She said she loved my name, guys. T_T And that she liked it so much she was close to naming her daughter Summer. (Dessen’s husband insisted on a different name though so their daughter’s name is Sasha.) Also, she was the only author where I wrote an actual letter to. I made it the day before because I knew I probably wasn’t going to be able to adequately express how much I love her books in the short time I got with her. (And the other author also signing in the background is Adam Gidwitz.)

Unfortunately because I wanted to talk to Sarah Dessen, I wasn’t able to meet Adam Silvera which was a huge bummer. However, my friend who got her copy of MHTN signed was able to get mine as well. I foresaw the time conflict and potentially missing his time slot, so I did write him a small note saying that I loved Aaron’s story so much. And he took the time to write me a nice message which was so sweet of him. T.T I really wanted to attend his closing keynote but they wouldn’t let me purchase tickets at the door. They had to be pre-bought. >.< Though, I did get to see him later in the day from afar. (I really tried to be as un-creepy as I could, I promise.)


Then I got to see Nicola Yoon (again)! I got Everything, Everything signed last year, but I recently finished and loved The Sun is Also a Star so I had to tell her how much I adored that book.


And to make up for my disappointment with not being able to meet Adam Silvera in person, I did get to meet his writer best friend, the equally sweet Becky Albertalli. She was incredibly nice and even drew an oreo with her autograph. I was first taken aback by her voice though; it’s a lot deeper than I expected with her baby face. (Maybe she had a cold. It was freezing that day so I wouldn’t be surprised.) Also, I told Albertalli I couldn’t bear separating MHTN with Simon hence why she asked to take a photo with both books. :’)


At the same time with Albertalli was Lauren Oliver. I’ve only read Before I Fall. And it was back when I was a preteen and a faithful library goer. BIF was featured on the “brand new books” shelf, and I picked it up. I do remember really loving it, too. Anyway, during the signing, I felt so bad for her. She stayed 40 minutes past her allotted signing time because her lines were that long. I was the second to last in the line (I joined so late because of my meeting with  Becky Albertalli) and she was still so bright despite that she hadn’t ate (she had her barely eaten sandwich next to her) and needed a restroom break. Mad respect that she went through and met all her loyal fans.


Then I had to meet the brilliant Victoria Schwab because as you guys know the second book to A Darker Shade of Magic series, A Gathering of Shadows, is a favorite of mine now. It was that satisfying and entertaining. My favorite reader/author conversation was certainly with her. We talked about her love for K-pop and how it inspired her characters (I saw this tweet that’s why I instigated such a talk-don’t worry, I don’t force K-pop on everyone I meet). I love that her editor is equally immersed in the fandom and sends Victoria K-pop MVs. She actually opens them during her writing breaks. Gah, I still can’t believe I got to gush over Big Bang with Victoria Schwab. Like what.


Last author of the day was Ryan Graudin. I also was able to meet her last year (but I was only halfway with Wolf by Wolf at the time). Little did I know that that duology would destroy me this year. I recently buddy read the sequel, Blood for Blood, with Lois (more like I abandoned her-I felt so bad for finishing that book so fast. Sorry Lois, I just couldn’t put that book down!) And I wanted to meet her again so that she could apologize for a certain scene (DO NOT OPEN this link if you have NOT read Blood for Blood-it’s a MAJOR SPOILER).

Oh and Ryan Graudin also created a fantastic guide for people that have never visited Charleston before. It’s just a snapshot of what you could do while you’re there. You can take a look here:

The top books that are standing were ones I brought with me to Charleston. The bottom left with were three that I purchased at Blue Bicycle Books that were already signed (but I didn't get personalized). And the bottom right were two books I got for free.

Vicious | A Gathering of Shadows | A Darker Shade of Magic | Blood for Blood | Before I Fall | Replica | More Happy Than Not | Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda | The Sun is Also a Star | Just Listen | Along for the Ride | The Truth About Forever | Blue Lily, Lily Blue | The Raven King | Gemina | By Your Side | Court of Fives
These are the books that I brought home from Yallfest! The top ones that are standing are ones I brought with me to Charleston, so I had already had them prior to the event. The bottom left were three that I purchased from the Blue Bicycle Bookstore. All three were already signed when I bought them. And the bottom right were two books I got for free.

All the freebies and swag I got from the booths. I didn't really go crazy because I tend to not use much of this stuff anyway and it's probably better left for superfans or others that would appreciate it a lot more than me. Temporary tattoos have become a big thing it seems. XD

All the freebies and swag I got from various booths. I didn’t really go crazy because I tend to not use much of this stuff anyway and it’s probably better left for superfans or others that would appreciate it a lot more than me. Temporary tattoos have become a big thing it seems. XD And how cool is that Something in Between lollipop?

I almost forgot! I got this pretty cool metallic poster (it looks better in person) from the EpicReads booth.

I almost forgot! I got this pretty cool metallic white/gold poster (it looks way better in person) from the Epic Reads booth. You can see that I’ve already hung it up on one of my walls. XD (My walls aren’t pink, by the way, my blue filter just looked so wonky with the later-in-the-day natural lighting, haha. >.> )

I wasn't going to get one of these posters because I've never read any Jennifer L. Armentrout's books. But the lady at the booth insisted I take one since it's signed.

And one more poster. I wasn’t going to get one of these because I’ve never read any of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s books (and don’t use bookish posters-aside from my Harry Potter and The Mortal Instrument ones), but the lady at the booth insisted I take one since it was signed.


Here was my partner in crime that day! Amy actually tagged along with me last year as well. She’s a few years younger than I am but we have identical reading tastes (maybe because she is a YA, haha). Anyway, this photo makes me laugh so hard because my face and eyes just screams #iamsodone. It was at the end of the day and we did wake up at 6:00 am to make the drive so I was pretty tired by then. XD


Before we headed back home, we did hit Paolo’s, a gelato shop, after dinner. We went last year but I opted to not get anything since I was so full for dessert. This year I chose chocolate covered traditional filled cannoli with nuts along with a pistachio gelato waffle cup. 😛

And that sums up my 2016 Yallfest experience! As you could probably tell, I had a blast. I highly recommend you guys to visit downtown Charleston, SC (a gorgeous town full of history) and attend Yallfest if you ever get the chance. You’ll have the opportunity to meet amazing authors, get your books signed by them, attend fun panels, and obtain free stuff galore. The only downside is that it’s difficult to manage doing everything in one visit, but that’s why it should be a thing where you attend multiple times if possible. Personally, I don’t mind not getting to go to panels and snagging free stuff, since my main priority is always just meeting authors and getting my books signed. ^.^


Lastly, I’ll end this post with a some tips that I think would be helpful for those that plan to make a trip to Yallfest someday!

  • plan ahead and make a schedule by looking at the scheduled events and author lineup prior to going
  • check the updates from Yallfest for any lineup changes (sometimes authors can’t make it), ticket sales for panels and keynotes, signing information (like how you can only get three books per author to get signed and that you need to leave a sticky note with your name (or whoever you want the author to personalize the book to) on the page where they’ll sign. This makes the signing process faster and more efficient.), and special restrictions (some popular authors require that you have a wristband to meet them and there are only a limited number of wristbands that are given out at a certain time and place).
  • bring warm clothes and have an umbrella handy (SC weather is super unpredictable and we get chilly Novembers)
  • don’t forget portable chargers because you may be taking a lot of photos, which can totally eat up the battery
  • keep in mind, that you shouldn’t expect that all things will go as planned (for example, sometimes signings can take a little longer than expected), just enjoy yourselves and have fun!
  • Not a tip but do remember to support Blue Bicycle Books by buying/ordering their books at the tent or in the store because they’ve done so much to make this event successful. The store is the hub of where Yallfest mostly takes place. Plus, we should #keepindependentbookstoresalive.

And that’s all I have. Thanks for reading and/or taking look at the pictures, everyone. 🙂

36 thoughts on “Yallfest 2016

  1. Lois says:

    I LOVE THAT APOLOGY!!!! It doesn’t make the hurt fade but its a nice touch haha.

    It sounds like you had an absolutely wonderful time and I love that you got to bond over K-pop with Victoria Schwab. 😉
    I’m also impressed with your level of organisation. I would have done the same with having the car on hand to store the books.
    I’m also very happy to see Blue Lily, Lily Blue in your possession now so we can fangirl over Blue and her Raven Boys haha.
    Also your outfit was on point, love it. 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nerdybirdy @ Daydreaming Books says:

    Looks like you had a lot of fun! And sooo many books, oh wow! I soo hope I can attend these bookish events one day and meet aaaall the authors and my blogger friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. amortalreader1 says:

    Sounds like an amazing experience and your system sounds great as well. I can’t imagine being stuck lugging so many bags around when your trying to keep an excited spirit for each author!
    I have to say i’m so jealous of that Jennifer Armentrout poster, i adore her writing. The Problem with Forever is a great book so I highly recommend it if you do attempt her writing soon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Thanks for the recommendation, Hannah! I was undecided about placing The Problem with Forever on my TBR list (because that thing is infinitely long as it is), but The Lux series is already on there. In fact, I already own those so it’s just a matter of picking them up to read.

      Ahaha. Even with the system, my whole body was still sore the next day. But, I have no regrets. ^.^

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Liam @ Hey Ashers! says:

    Aaaaah, I’m so excited for you! Thanks for letting us live vicariously through your experience, after the fact. Here’s hoping I’ll make it over there one day, and that I have half as great a time as you did. All those tips will sure come in handy for me, so thank you! =)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lais says:

    I absolutely love reading this type of recap! Yallfest looks like an amazing event and I’m glad you got to meet some fantastic authors.
    Becky Albertalli was in my country a few months ago for a book convention, but sadly I didn’t get to meet her. Because these events are quite rare around here, they’re very, very crowded. I’m still happy that you had great experiences!
    (I didn’t know Victoria Schwab was a KPOP fan, hahah. I’m more intrigued about her characters now that I know her inspirations!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      That means so much to me, thank you, Lais!

      I had an incredible time that day in Charleston, and I highly recommend that other bloggers take advantage of the bookish events near them if they can. It’s too bad you got to miss Becky Albertalli though, but I totally get your qualms with battling the congested crowds.

      Hehe, yes! I only knew that because she posted about K-pop a few times on Twitter. She was such a Big Bang fangirl, haha.


  6. Shoto says:

    I’m so jealous of you! Looks like you had a great time. The gold YA poster is gorgeous and WOW you have A LOT of signed books 😛
    Lol, the lady insisted you take a poster just because it’s signed? xD

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Marie @ drizzleandhurricanebooks says:

    What a wonderful, wonderful post, Summer. I’m so happy you had such a great time, you’re SO lucky to have such an event close to where you live. At least I could live it through this post ahah. You met so many great authors, and I am impressed to hear about some of them being so loyal and staying so late to sign books. I love Lauren Oliver and this makes me love her more haha. I hope you’ll read more of her books 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      The authors were real sports for sticking it out for us fans. Hehe, I do know how much you love Lauren Oliver’s books. I did think of you (and other other bloggers) when I was in line waiting for her. And thanks so much! It was such a fab experience. I hope that your city starts curating their own bookish events because they’re missing out. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence says:

    OMG I love this post so much Summer! Thank you so much for sharing your day with us, it sounds like it was super busy but you got to meet lots of fantastic authors – I’m dying at V.E. Schwab and Becky Albertalli and Sarah Dessen of course! Sounds like you had a fantastic day and really fit lots in!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Oh, thank you so much, Jeann! That day was so, so fun even if it was little hectic getting to each signing. Getting to meet the creators of my favorite books was the best part and definitely worth the wait of the long lines. 🙂


  9. cw @ readthinkponder says:

    WOW. Yallfest sounds amazing.
    I hope I can fly to the US and see it for myself one day. We have no such thing in the NZ – we’re too small! – and I think the closest thing would be an Australian Writers Festival. But, a festival dedicated to YA?! It’s on my bucketlist.

    It sounds like you had so much fun! I would love to meet some authors that I love one day. That’d be so amazing. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      It was incredible, Chooi! The positive energy there was contagious (which says a lot since this took place a couple of days after the US election results), and it was hard to believe that that many fans of YA existed.

      If you ever do decide to attend Yallfest (or a US book event on the east coast) someday, do let me know so we can meet up and go together. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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