Books & Benedict: YALC 2017

Last weekend I attended YALC (the Young Adult Literature Convention) in London, which takes place as the same time as London Comic Con. This was my first time ever going to YALC and I ended up having one of the best weekends of my life.image1 (23)

Thank you to the stranger who took this picture of me, Nazima – readinghijabsy and Vicky – hunguponbooks_!

Friday the 28th of July

I arrived at YALC with Vicky (@hunguponbooks_) and met up with Nazima (@readinghijabsy) once we were inside. We spent the first while (I lost all track of time during the weekend) rushing around the place looking to see if any publishers were giving out arcs. I told myself I wouldn’t do that… but then I got there and was caught up in all of the excitement.

I had a lot of fun and managed to grab quite a few arcs, but in hindsight it was not organised well at all. Hollie Blog goes into detail about it, but basically if you weren’t able to run, constantly checking twitter or prepared to embarrass yourself then getting arcs would have been very difficult. I think if I hadn’t been so caught up in the excitement then I wouldn’t have enjoyed it quite so much.image9 (1)

I went to four signings that weekend, and on the Friday I met Alwyn Hamilton and Elizabeth May. They were both absolutely lovely and as my friend, Nazima, knew Alywn we actually stood and had a conversation with her which blew my mind. It’s always so odd seeing authors you follow on social media in real life!image1 (26)

I was so excited to meet Elizabeth May that I ended up a nervous wreck. I was pretty near the front of the queue and for some reason just had an internal meltdown. I ended up turning bright red, hardly saying anything and getting my friend Nazima‘s name spelt wrong in her book. Meeting authors I don’t really know is always fine, but then when I get the opportunity to meet my favourite authors I ruin it by being weird. The picture of me is so awful it gives me nightmares… but Elizabeth May looks wonderful so I”m sharing anyway.

Saturday the 29th of July

Saturday began with us almost being crushed to death waiting for an arc of Zenith (I’m only half joking). This is another instance where the arc drop was not well organised. Fortunately, I managed to get my hands on one as we were basically at the front of the queue from the start.image1 (4)

Nazima and Vicky spotted V. E. Schwab wandering through YALC and went running off to say hello. I joined them and she was kind enough to get a picture with me (in which I once again look awful). I asked her about her middle-grade book set in Edinburgh which she recently announced. I was sad to hear that the main female character will be from London (we never get Scottish gals in books) but she was so lovely about it. I hope I’ve somehow planted a seed and we will see one in book 2. We then met her later on to get our books signed.

On Saturday the 29th of July at 11:51am (thanks iPhone for noting the time) Benjamin Of Tomes and I spotted Benedict Cumberbatch. This is probably a good time for me to mention that I have been a Benedict Cumberbatch fan for years, likely beginning with Sherlock (2010). I am a huge fan of his work, with some of my favourites being Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)The Imitation Game (2014)Doctor Strange (2016). A friend in high school once bought me a Benedict Cumberbatch calendar…image4

So, Ben and I were just casually sitting on the floor (we were stalking Penguin Platform waiting for the arc’s of The Hazel Wood to drop…) when a door opened and Benedict Cumberbatch wandered through. We both shrieked so loud that he actually looked over, gave us a little wave and said hello. I’d kind of forgotten how much I loved was a fan of Ben C until he was IN THE SAME ROOM AS ME. I still can’t believe it.image1 (5)

I went down to Comic Con twice on the Saturday. The first time I went with Nazima and Vicky because we realised that the queues for the toilets there would be smaller (and we were right). The girls toilets at YALC were queued out the door whereas at Comic Con there was no queue haha! The average height seemed to jump from 5ft something to over 6ft. Comic Con was packed full of people, most of them giants, and it was 100% less relaxing!

I then went down again with Vicky and Ben. I hadn’t even realised that we could go to Comic Con, and as I’m a huge Marvel fan, I was so excited to be able to experience it. I never thought I’d be at a Comic Con!! We found a stall which sold £2 comics and each bought one. You can’t go to Comic Con and not buy a comic, right? I got a Wonder Woman one. It’s probably the 56th in a series or something but it was hot, busy and stressful so I just bought the first nice cover I found!

Sunday the 30th of July 

The first thing we did on the Sunday was join a wild queue to try and get a copy of Invictus by Ryan Graudin. It was a pretty tense wait but luckily me (and everyone I was with) managed to get a copy. I’m so excited to read this book as I’ve heard such great things about it + it’s a standalone which is always interesting.image3 (2)

Later that day I met Ryan Graudin at her signing and she was absolutely lovely. She had on the most gorgeous silver skirt (which, now I think about it, was probably to match Invictus). I bought her book Wolf by Wolf  in Foyles the day before meeting her and I am so excited to read both! She could tell that I was Scottish from my accent and was telling me about her trip to the Cairngorms.

After getting a copy of Invictus we had a wander around the stalls and, much to my delight, spotted Benedict Cumberbatch again. The green room for the actors attending Comic Con was beside my wonderful friend Josephine Boyce’s stall and so we unashamedly (that is probably not a word) hung around there while we had lunch. The waiting was worth it.

It was pretty obvious that the five of us were waiting for him to come out of the door, so when he did he said hello to us, said “good thanks” when Vicky said how are you and (most importantly) gave me a little “helloo” at the end. It was probably a “I hate these stalkers, maybe if I speak they’ll go away” kind of hello… but it completed my life. As you can see in the photo on the left he looked right at me. I’m pretty sure I had an outer body experience because I hardly remember anything.image10

This tweet from Hollieeblog on twitter sums it up well. I just can’t believe it. What are the chances of me being in the same room as my favourite actor in the world + them saying hello to me?! If you’re not really a big fan of anyone then this is probably just annoying… but it was amazing to me.


YALC 2017 Book Haulimage1 (25)

Here is my book haul from YALC. My shoulders were aching every single day and, thanks to us having to wake up at 6:30am every morning, I was exhausted by the time I got back home to Glasgow! I will tell you the books I got in order of when they are being released (I hope to read them all before they’re out):

Already released:

  • Resistance by Josephine Boyce (which I’ve read before and gave 5 stars!)
  • Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin (which I bought in Foyles)
  • Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody (it was on sale for £1 on the Sunday!)

September 2017:

  • Alex & Eliza by Melissa De La Cruz (I ran and got the last early copy they were selling for a fiver!)
  • Invictus by Ryan Graudin
  • There’s Something Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
  • Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
  • House of Ash by Hope Cook
  • The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo (We each found a golden coin which got us an exclusive sampler containing one story! I got sampler 2 of 30!)

October 2017:

  • Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

November 2017:

  • The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty (we ran out of the middle of a talk to try and get an arc and managed to get the last three!)

January 2018:

  • The Fandom by Anna Day
  • Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings
  • The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
  • The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart

I think this might be the longest post I have ever written, so congratulations if you made it to the end. I had a wonderful weekend at YALC (despite it being exhausting and wild) and I really hope to go back again.

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You can add my first book, The Changeling’s Journey, on Goodreads here!

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16 thoughts on “Books & Benedict: YALC 2017

  1. I looooved reading this Christine, it made me feel like I was back at YALC again! I’m so happy I got to meet you and that we all got the ARCs we were hoping for, but you’re definitely right about some ARC drops being poorly organised. I think some publishers did it a lot better than others, and those who didn’t do it well could do with thinking up some new ideas. Your reactions to Benedict were hilarious, and I’m thrilled you guys got to say hello to him. Also you’re photos are soooo much better than mine, my phone camera is nowhere near HD enough! Have you decided which ARCs you’re going to read first? Great post, hope to see you at YALC again next year!

    1. It was so so lovely meeting you as well! Yeah, I think they should have ticketed the arcs or something? A lot of them just left us hanging waiting for times etc. I just took my pictures with my phone as well! I can’t decide which to read first, do you know which you’re starting with?

      1. Hopefully we can meet up again before next year’s YALC! Yeah ticketing is a good idea, or potentially they could have given people raffle tickets when they came up to the stall and then drawn them out of a hat at random? Ah wow, your phone camera must be much better than mine then! (My phone is over three years old and on its last legs to be honest!) Out of my bought books, I’ve started Daughter of the Burning City, but out of my ARCs I think I’m going to start The Arsonist first because that comes out this month. I may well change my mind though!

  2. Such a lovely post! YALC looked like loads of fun, and I’m so glad you and your friends had a great time. I STILL can’t get over how you met Benedict Cumberbatch and HE LOOKED AND YOU SAID HELLO OMG. And the all of these ARCs! So amazing. I love all of this. ❤️

    1. Aw thank you!! I’m 100% still not over it either!! So many ARCs but unfortunately a bit of stress haha, hopefully next year will be more relaxed! Thanks for reading!

  3. *steals the arc to The Hazel Wood and runs* 😛 I’m fairly certain you would have been on cloud nine even without all the books.. but they certainly make it slightly better! All you need is Benedict.

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