Reviews of bucket-list-worthy things to do all over the world


~ A photo essay by J.W. Lynne (California, USA)

YALLWEST is an annual book festival for people of all ages who love young adult and middle grade books. YALLWEST 2015 and 2016 were amazing, and so I couldn't wait to go to the 2017 YALLWEST!

When YALLWEST 2017 opened its gates, we found numerous booths stocked with free ARCs of soon-to-be-published books, along with treats ...
... like gourmet donuts (under the blue drape) ...
... and cool swag!
Many booths offered free tote bags to carry the loot.
I picked up some awesome free stuff, including an ARC of Ringer by Lauren Oliver, an ARC of Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart, an ARC of Generation One by Pittacus Lore, a copy of Red Rising by Pierce Brown, a Deep Blue beach towel that folds into a tote bag, a book of sticky notes, earbuds, a Black Widow pin, a Warcross keychain, sparkly blue Deep Blue nailpolish, a Dumplin' pin, a Ramona Blue pin, and unicorn poo (aka: rainbow-colored bath salts).
Epic Reads offered two complimentary book-themed yoga classes during the day. As a bonus, the first 40 people in line for each class got an Epic Reads yoga mat to take home!

After a refreshing yoga class, I began my mission to see some YA authors.
 I spotted Leigh Bardugo, Jennifer E. Smith, James Dashner, Kiersten White, Jessica Cluess, and Nicola Yoon waiting to attend First in Line's author meet & greet pizza party.
I found Lauren Oliver at her signing table ...
... where she signed my copy of Before I Fall!!

Then it was off to watch some author panels.
In the main auditorium, Margaret Stohl, Veronica Roth, Melissa de la Cruz, Marie Lu, S. Jae-Jones, and Maurene Goo discussed fandoms.
Then Renee Ahdieh, Claudia Gray, Marcus Sedgwick, and Neal Shusterman joined Veronica Roth and Marie Lu to discuss the dystopian genre.
In the grassy area behind the cafeteria, I enjoyed an intimate Bookstagrammer meet up, featuring Jordan (@pagetravels), Jesy (@jesyelyse/@jesysbooks), BookCaden (@athousandbookstoread), and Kaitlyn (@bigscreenbooks) who take amazingly beautiful photos featuring YA novels, sometimes with as little equipment as a cellphone and some sunlight!
After the panel, Kaitlyn, Jesy, Caden, and Jordan posed for a group picture with some of the meet-up attendees.
The final event of the festival was the "Smackdown," hosted by a now-pajama-clad Veronica Roth and Alexander London.
Embarrassing childhood photos of some of the authors were shown ...
... and fun facts were revealed in games like Never Have I Ever.

As YALLWEST 2017 drew to a close, I felt a twinge of sadness. It will be a whole year until the next YALLWEST ...
But when a book fest ends, a new book begins!
Jen (California, USA)*

YALLWEST 2017 was held on April 29th at Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, California, USA.


Heading to Los Angeles for the next YALLWEST?
Check out Jen's Los Angeles Bucket List for great ideas of things to do while you're in L.A.!

Find Jen's photos of YALLWEST 2016 here!
Find Jen's photos of YALLWEST 2018 here!

*Jen attended YALLWEST 2017 as a member of the press