YALC 2018

Hi guys!
So it’s been a long time coming but my YALC wrap up post is finally here. This year, I went on the Friday and Sunday as I was at a wedding on the Saturday, but I had a great time even just attending for two days. I’m going to look at the good and bad points from this year, as well as my haul from the weekend!

I’m sure if you attended YALC last year, you remember the issues with getting ARCs. Most ARC drops were announced on publishers Twitter accounts and were basically a case of ‘run to the stand or you’ll miss it’. There was a very ableist attitude towards getting ARCs, and some publishers were even asking people to do embarrassing things or essentially beg for the ARCs. We also had an issue with a publisher making us wait for hours for a certain ARC, not telling us what was happening then smugly offering a different ARC. Luckily, our complaints were heard and this year the ARCs were given out in a much fairer way. Most were either raffled off, won in competitions or in the case of Harper360, a decent number of copies of ARCs were brought along. Some stands, like Hodderscape, were offering an ARC with every purchase. Although this did bring up questions of whether we were essentially paying for ARCs, it definitely meant more people could get them, and I was more than happy to buy a paperback to get an ARC that had been on my TBR for months. Here are the ARCs I got this year!

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold – Harper360 | Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand – Harper360 | The Girl King by Mimi Yu – Gollancz/Orion | Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao – Melia Publishing Services | Witchsign by Den Patrick – HarperVoyager | Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan – Hodder

So I definitely didn’t pick up as many ARCs as I did at YALC in 2017, however, these are all ARCs that I’m really excited for. As well as being fairer, the new ARC giveaway system definitely meant that I was only going for ARCs I knew I wanted to read, rather than just grabbing what I could before it went.

Finished Copies:
Partly because of the buy a book to get an ARC system, and partly because of the amount of early copies available, I ended up buying more books than I did at YALC last year. Here’s what I picked up!

Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne – early copy from the Waterstones stand | Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – bought to get the GOPAF ARC (plus I needed to add the paperback to my collection) | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – exclusive signed edition from the BKMRK stand | The Waking Land by Callie Bates – again, I bought this to get GOPAF but also because Hodder had sent me an ARC of the sequel | The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco – bought to get KOTBF ARC | A Thousand Beginnings and Endings – I’ve been wanting to read this for a long time and it was only £7 on the Harper stand!



I managed to take a lot less books to YALC to get signed this year. Luckily, I managed to not have much (if any) trouble meeting all the authors I wanted to meet, but I’ve heard some horror stories about other authors, especially on the Saturday. It seems that accessibility issues still haven’t fully been sorted, as even friends who had extra help bands were denied access to the front of queues. This, combined with a complete lack of chairs, the heatwave, and a few big authors signing all at once lead to a lot of stress for a lot of people, and I know some people had to go home early because of it. This was YALCs fifth year and you’d think that these issues would’ve been ironed out by now, but there’s definitely still a lot of work to be done as well as better communication to the staff who obviously weren’t told about how the extra help wristbands work. Like I say, I was lucky to not have any issues with the signings I was interested in this year, although I’m sure it would’ve been a different story if I’d been there on the Saturday.

Friday Signings: Alice Oseman, Louise O’Neill, Sarah Maria Griffin
Sunday Signings: Samantha Shannon, Alwyn Hamilton, Holly Bourne, Akemi Dawn Bowman, Sara Holland

I tried to pick up less swag this year, as last year I came home with so much stuff that I wasn’t too fussed about. I’m really happy with the swag I did pick up this time!

Swag: Feyre print and sticker by Jo Painter, Kingdom of Ash poster, Grishaverse pins, signed Samantha Shannon postcard, promotional pins and Frida Kahlo postcard for Feminists Don’t Wear Pink from Penguin, plus lots more bookmarks, badges and postcards!
Samplers: Penguin Class of 2018/19 yearbook (a bound collection of samplers of their upcoming releases) | Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman | The Navigators Touch by Julia Ember | What Would Boudicca Do? by Elizabeth Foley | Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin | The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman | Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies) edited by Scarlett Curtis | Fierce Like a Firestorm by Lana Popović | The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner | King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

…and everything else!

Although I picked up a lot of great books, samplers and swag as well as met a lot of authors, this year I really appreciated just spending time with bookish friends and being a part of the bookish community. So, here’s a few other things that happened throughout YALC that made the weekend really memorable!

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  • I got to spend the weekend with Lauren, Beth, Luchia and Charlotte! I love hanging out with these girls and we’re already low key planning for YALC next year (hopefully with Amy this time too)


  • I met Audrey and Clara – these two are reps for our candles and are both absolutely lovely girls. Audrey and I spent ages trying to work out where the other was until we had one of those “is that her?” moments, and Clara and I just happened to be waiting by each other in the line to meet Holly Bourne!

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  • Sarah Griffin remembered me from a photo I’d taken of Spare and Found Parts, and we had a lovely chat – plus I don’t think I embarrassed myself too much
  • Both Sarah and Louise O’Neill signed my Repeal anthology – I was hesitant to bring it with me but am so glad that I did

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  • I met Lydia, a publicist at Titan who I’ve chatted with a lot online and who’s sent me many books
  • I didn’t win it, but I held an ARC of Muse of Nightmares at the Hodder stand and it was beautiful!


  • We went to Sara Holland’s Everless mixology workshop, which was both a much needed time to relax as well as a chance to make some glittery mocktails

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  • I was the first person at YALC to win an ARC of The Girl King in Gollancz’s challenge to pull a red petal out of a box


  • Quite a few people came up to me and asked if I was one of Two Candle Thieves – it still always shocks me when people recognise me!
  • Jason Momoa walked past us. Enough said.

  • Lauren and I bumped into Alwyn Hamilton and Laure Eve at the Waterstones stand… just in time to witness Charlotte awkwardly asking Alwyn if someone else close by was an author…
  • I bought another fluffy alpaca from LFCC (which is apparently becoming a YALC tradition of mine)


    As with last year, YALC definitely had its ups and downs, but I still had a great time. It was great to see the positive changes that came from people’s criticism last year, so I’m hopeful that next year, more improvements will have been made.

    lots of love, 
    Beckynewlogolg copy

5 thoughts on “YALC 2018

  1. I absolutely loved reading this post! I’ve never been to YALC, so it’s always super cool to read what it’s like. Honestly, I feel like I would be really anxious going there because of all the heat + stress, though it would be so wonderful getting to meet all these lovely authors and bloggers. One day, HAHA! ♡

    The whole Twitter-based ARC drops thing also irked me when I first heard about it. I feel like that just induces a stampede to the publisher’s booth, especially when it comes to an ARC with a lot of hype. And I’m just curious, what were the accessibility issues that arose at YALC last year? Were publishers really asking YALC participants to do super embarrassing things to get ARCs, because that’s really not cool /:


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