Santa Monica is known for its beach, pier, and seaside amusement park. On Saturday, May 4, however, the coastal city was home to the popular young adult and middle grade book festival known as YALLWEST. As the sister festival to the east coast’s YALLFEST, the event was full of games, panels, book signings, giveaways, and many more exciting activities.
This was my first year going, so it was hard to stick to any form of plan. There were so many things to see and do! My sister and I tried to visit every booth, but that was quickly proven to be impossible. Each booth was unique and had their own goodies to offer. Some had bookish merch giveaways, while others had ARCs. There was even an ice-cream truck to celebrate the release of a new summer read.
A lunch break was a must during the all-day event. There were so many options when it came to food trucks, but the In-n-Out booth was the winner. After grabbing our burgers, my sister and I found a table in the shade to enjoy our meal. It was there that we got to chat with another local book lover. We gave each other book recommendations and talked about which booths to visit.
Amidst all the chaos (the beautiful, totally amazing chaos), my sister and I were able to make it to one panel: How To Actually Write A Comic, The DC Way. It was definitely the right choice. The all-female panelist group included Danielle Paige, Gwenda Bond, Melissa de la Cruz, Lauren Myracle, Marguerite Bennett, and Shannon Hale. Full of honest advice and lots of laughs, it made me feel comfort that one usually only feels from talking with old friends.
The rest of the afternoon was spent on author signings. Luckily, I was able to personally meet Danielle Paige. She was so sweet and kind. I even got her to sign my copy of Mera: Tidebreaker!
Although we had to cut our day short due to a school commitment, my sister and I decided to make YALLWEST an annual tradition.
I loved the atmosphere and the kindness of everyone attending. If you get the chance, definitely take the time to experience YALLWEST. It just made my love for the book community grow. ♡