My First Time at YALLFest: My Thoughts and Honest Review

I am loving these long titles recently. Sorry to anyone who can’t read the whole thing and is thinking, “what in the world?” at these. Next time I’ll make sure the title is an entire paragraph – that will be fun!

So, I went to YALLFest 2019 last week (more like 2 weeks now but whatever) and let me say, wow. It’s on the same craziness scale as BookCon with just a 1/50 of the booths and the people – also it’s outdoors. I went with my friend Grace and we were so excited. Grace is a veteran at this, having gone multiple years in a row, but this being my first time, I basically relied on Grace to lead me through the event with no issues. There were no issues thankfully.

Day One – Friday:

Friday is mostly a signing day so we went and got some books signed (to rephrase, Grace got some books signed and I stood in line for her) and then we wandered around Charleston. Grace had won tickets to the Red Carpet Preview hosted by Penguin Teen which we went to after meeting some wonderful authors. On our seats were these cute tote bags containing stickers, tattoos, a preview of 2020 books, and an ARC of They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman.

The event was a lot of fun and included authors such as Ally Condie, Renee Ahdieh, Tochi Onyebuchi, and other fantastic authors! If you ever go to YALLFest and want a fun panel to go to, Red Carpet Preview was awesome and I highly recommend it.

Day Two – Saturday:

The day started off at 4:30am when our alarm went off and we woke up for the day. We waited in the car in front of the museum (where the ARC square was located) at 5:30pm until we saw other people arrive. We parked and waited outside from 6:00am until 9:00am when the Fierce Reads booth opened for their ticket drop.  I grabbed tickets for Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan and Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust.

9:01am – after tickets were acquired, I went right to the Fierce Reads booth next door where they were selling finished copies of books. As they stated in their email, if you purchased certain books you got some ARCs included. So in addition to tickets to two ARC drops later in the day, I also snagged ARCs of The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi (The Gilded Wolves #2) and Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles.

After that, rushing over to Epic Reads to acquire another book, everything started to blur. For most of the day I ran around to different drops that were happening for books I knew I really wanted and occasionally stepped in line for mystery items. Besides running around to different drops, my friend and I also attended the I Love YA A Waffle Lot! event hosted by HMH Teen.

The event was a lot of fun and hey, free waffles! I took some photos at their Instagram station, pictured below:

Waffle photo.jpg

Towards the end of the day, Fierce Reads offered another promotion like the one from the morning, buy a book and get an ARC. I bought two books, Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan and Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok. Included with those books were the ARCs to the sequels of each, Ruthless Gods and Sensational. It was a nice surprise for everyone as they cleared out books and ARCs from other events.

The ARC square closed at 4pm, with raffle winners being announced at 4:30pm, for the most part. I didn’t win anything but that’s typical. Finally, after a long day of running and waiting in line, we headed for the car.

To sit down for an hour until our final event.

We went to the Smackdown event at the Music Hall and it was very interesting. I didn’t know what to expect at this event but I was still somehow surprised at the different segments they hosted. There was singing, dancing, shoving hand into mayonnaise, and a lot more.

It was a great way for Grace and me to relax and have some fun at the same time. The drive home was bittersweet because 1) the event was over which means we were going home soon but 2) yay for beds and sleeping!

After ordering pizza and marveling at our hauls, YALLFest was over!

Here are some crappy photos of my haul from this year, taken in the hotel after a 15 hour day! Enjoy!

Haul photo 1     haul photo 2

haul photo 3.jpeg     haul photo 4.jpeg

Overall, it was a fun festival to attend. It’s a bit annoying that the event is outside because rain or shine, you’re going to feel it, and with the cold it was brutal. The ARC square is also very close together so lines would often intersect or be side by side, which got confusing as the day wore on. The last real complaint is that there is absolutely no food nearby. If you are not prepared to bring some snacks or a lunch with you, and you’re trying to stay on top of ARC drops during the day, you are going to starve.

Besides the usual festival complaints, I really enjoyed meeting everyone at YALLFest and I am planning on going again next year for the 10th anniversary! Now that I know what to expect, and how to optimize my time, I’m excited to see what next year holds for us!

Did you attend YALLFest this year? If you did, what was your most exciting find?

If you didn’t go, what would you have been on the hunt for?

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