I DID IT. I WENT TO YALC THIS YEAR! *the crowd goes wild*. Unfortunately, I’m the worst person ever and I didn’t take any pictures of the actual event whatsoever. However, I can still talk about my day at YALC through the books I bought, as well as provide some new reading inspiration to anyone looking for some TBR ideas. Put the kettle on, it’s a bit of a long post!
Lacey Chu has big dreams of working for the company behind the ‘baku’ – a customizable smart pet that functions as a phone but makes the perfect companion for its user. The only problem is, she’s just been rejected from Profectus Academy – the elite academy for cutting-edge tech. Then Lacey meets Jinx… Jinx is an incredibly advanced cat baku who opens up a world that Lacey never new existed, including entry into the hallowed halls of Profectus. But what is Jinx, really? His abilities far surpass anything written into his coded. He seems to be more than just a robotic pet. He seems … real.
I enjoyed The Potion Diaries trilogy when I read them last year, so when I heard Amy McCulloch was writing a new book featuring a girl interested in STEM, I knew I had to read it. MORE BOOKS ABOUT GIRLS IN STEM PLEASE AND THANK YOU. I was delighted to see that early copies of her latest book, Jinxed, were available to buy at the Simon and Schuster stand and it was included in the 3 books for £10 offer too. It was like it was meant to be.
It’s 1918 and Stella has lost her suffragette mother to the terrible flu pandemic that is sweeping Europe. The Great War is finally coming to a close, and women are going to be able to vote for the first time. Stella wants to change the world – but she can’t do it by herself. Just as stars come one by one to brighten the night sky, so history is made person by person, girl by girl, vote by vote.
For the first few hours of YALC, I was a bit of a Billy No Mates as I was too shy to say hello to anyone I recognised. It’s worth noting that I’m also a massive catfish so no one recognised me either. I thought I would sit in a talk called “Centenary of The Women’s Vote” as it sounded right up my street. The panel consisted of Alwyn Hamilton, Katherine Webber, Sally Nicholls & Sheena Wilkinson. The topic turned to Suffragettes as Sally and Sheena both had books set during this time. As I had already read and loved Things a Bright Girl Can Do, I decided to buy a copy of Sheena’s book, Star by Star. After the talk, I toddled over to the Waterstones stand and bought a copy. Luckily, Sheena was signing books after the panel so I got my copy signed and showed her my Girls Just Want to Have Fundamental Human Rights tote bag which she really liked!
Griffin has lost his first love in a drowning accident. Theo was his best friend, his ex-boyfriend and the one he believed he would end up with. Now, reeling from grief and worsening OCD, Griffin turns to an unexpected person for help. Theo’s new boyfriend. But as their relationship becomes increasingly complicated, dangerous truths begin to surface. Griffin must make a choice: confront the past, or miss out on the future…
At the Simon and Schuster stand, with Jinxed in my hand, I wasn’t sure what other books to buy. I decided to try something by Adam Silvera, as I haven’t read any of his books yet. As I wasn’t sure which book should be the first, I asked the lovely ladies manning the stand, as well as a fellow book lover who was also at the stand for their opinion. It was a tough choice, as they all promised me any of his books would leave me an emotional wreck. However, in the end, we agreed I should buy History is All You Left Me, and I am saving this book for the day I need a good cry.
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League – but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighbourhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out. Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up – way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty police officer beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.
Finally, the last book I bought at the Simon & Schuster stand, helping me get to 3 books, was Dear Martin by Nic Stone. The lovely Zoë from No Safer Place did a fantastic review of this book on her blog, and her recommendations are usually spot on, so I decided to make it mine. From reading the synopsis, it reminds me slightly of The Hate U Give.
Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at “normality” for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for the new friends who are all dealing with their own battles. But as Olive settles in, she starts to wonder – maybe it’s this messed up world that needs fixing, and not then. And so she comes up with a plan. Because together, snowflakes can form avalanches…
The first book I bought at YALC, but certainly not the last (as evidenced by the other books in this post), was Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne. I’ve read and reviewed this book in detail, so please pop over and have a read of my review. It would make my day!
Tangled tales of earth, salty tales of water. Bewitched retellings of thirteen classic fairy-tales with brave and resilient heroines. Tales of blood and intrigue, betrayal and enchantment from a leading Irish YA author.
Still toddling around YALC like a loner, I thought I would go to a workshop. The workshop was with Deirdre Sullivan, and it was about using tarot cards to encourage creativity in writing. I had meant to bring one of Deirdre’s books with me to get signed, but I forgot it at home. Whilst I haven’t written the next bestselling fantasy series (honestly, my attempts were hilariously awful), I left the workshop loving Deirdre more than I already did. I went back to the Waterstones stand to buy a copy of Tangleweed and Brine so I could get it signed and talk to her again. I’m expecting the restraining order any day now.
Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins. Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you’re a woman. Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write. For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning…
I was desperate to buy a copy of Vox by Christina Dalcher, but as HQ Stories were running a raffle competition for a copy of the book and some other goodies, I thought I would try my luck with it first. I didn’t win the raffle, but I bought the book anyway. Pitched as a reimagining of The Handmaid’s Tale, I can’t tell you how excited I am about this book. I even managed to convince Ellen from The Star Jar to buy a copy too.
When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard. So it doesn’t matter that he’s twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she’s sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him. Sarah’s friends are worried. Her father can’t understand how she could allow herself to be used like this. And she’s on the verge of losing her job. But Sarah can’t help it. She is addicted to being desired by Matthew. And love is supposed to hurt. Isn’t it?
Finally, yet another book I picked up at the Waterstones stand. I was chatting with the girl in front of me in the queue (I’m sorry I didn’t ask what your name was, Mystery Girl!). I told her that I was a big fan of Louise O’Neill, but I didn’t think I would be able to meet her. After talking for a bit, she encouraged me to buy one of Louise’s books to get it signed. I already had Only Ever Yours and Asking For It, as well as The Surface Breaks on loan from the library, so that left Almost Love. Thanks to Mystery Girl, Louise O’Neill knows I exist and I have a signed book to prove it.
As I had never been to YALC before, I decided to go just for one day, which was the Friday. I had such a fantastic time being surrounded by fellow book lovers, and authors I admire, that I’m determined to go for the full three days next year – someone hold me to this promise! Considering I bought eight books in one day, I better start making some room on the bookshelves in readiness for next year’s haul…
What is new on your bookshelf?