YALC. The most exciting event in any booklover’s calendar.
I’ve been going to YALC for four years in a row and I’ve watched it grow from a few talks and a Waterstones pop up shop, to a haven of books, bookish merch, talks, signings and celebrity spottings. As the years go on, the more books I get a hold of and have to drag from Hammersmith, on the tube to Paddington, and eventually on the train back to Wiltshire.
Next year I won’t be making it to YALC, so I’ve decided (along with a Twitter poll) that I’ll be milking YALC 2018 for as long as I can, starting with all the books I wheeled around London when trying to go home Sunday evening.
Books I Bought
Record of a Space Born Few by Becky Chambers
Coincidentally, Record of a Space Born Few came out just before I left for YALC, and I had planned to buy it the day before the Becky Chambers signing. I didn’t manage to get it whilst at YALC, and so I ended up getting to Waterstones Piccadilly half an hour before it closed and grabbing to only unsigned copy. The staff didn’t really understand why I wanted the unsigned version…I was too tired to explain.
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
I was able to make a trade for an arc of Furyborn a few weeks back and was ready to hunker down and read it. However, after seeing the hardcover, I knew straight away that I needed it. It’s gorgeous, so much more gorgeous than the arc. It made me think for a while about why I arc trade and why I enjoy receiving arcs. If I’m so fickle about arcs that I’ll get rid of one just because the hardcover is ‘prettier’, why do I give them so much value?
I ended up spotting the hardcover at Source Books’ stall for £8, so I went for it!
Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor and The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
A deal with Hodderscape meant that if you buy two books from their stand, you get to choose a ‘gift’ (an arc). I decided to pick The Rose and The Dagger because I sincerely loved The Wrath and The Dawn, and was planning on borrowing the sequel from my local library pretty soon. However, there is really no rhyme or reason as to why I picked up Night of Cake and Puppets, which is a collection of short stories about some side characters from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I haven’t finished The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, nor do I remember what happened in that series. This means I can’t read this book for a long time.
BUT LOOK HOW PRETTY.
Proofs I Recieved
Easy Prey by Catherine Lo
I won Easy Prey in a raffle held by Amulet Books. Yet another win that I couldn’t believe. Easy Prey is more of a contemporary thriller, with lots of twists and turns that I’m excited about trying to figure out. I loved books like One Of Us Is Lying and There’s Someone Inside Your House, and I think Easy Prey will be a sort of mixture of the two (without the horror aspects I assume).
The Girl King by Mimi Yu
I had never heard about this book until my friend Kate got excited that they were giving it away. The line was huge and the odds were not in our favour. You reached your hand into a box of feathers, inside were mostly white with some red feathers. I got a red feather on my first go, I couldn’t believe it! After that, I tried my best to win for Kate until she won by herself after a few tries. Woohoo!
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Now this was a book I was really excited about. At Hodderscape’s stand was a deal; buy two books, get an ARC. I had no plans to buy any books other than Record of a Space Born Few this weekend, but I really wanted to read Girls of Paper and Fire, so I complied. Recently, I also found out that Natasha Ngan is British and that Girls of Paper and Fire is BAME Own Voices, which is all the more exciting! I love supporting British BAME voices, as we often only support US authors (which is still fantastic), so now we have a highly anticipated fantasy story with an Asian girl on the cover. Yes!
Lifelike by Jay Kristoff
I love Jay Kristoff’s books. And Lifelike was coming out again, coincidentally around the time YALC was happening. They were available to buy at Harper Voyager’s stand, but they also had a lil’ raffle going, and I won! I heard it’s a sci-fi Nevernight. I’m not sure Jay Kristoff would write something exactly the same as one of his other novels but make it more sci-fi, but if it means anti-heroine kicking ass, then I’m down!
Witchsign by Den Patrick
Witchsign has been out for a while, but I cannot lie, that proof is one of most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. It’s a high fantasy published by Harper Voyager, which always end up becoming my favourite books. I entered a raffle where a bunch of different books at the Harper Voyager booth were up for grabs, and I never expected to win. But here we are!
Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
This was another book I knew nothing about. Harper Collins announced the night before that they would be dropping arcs at a specific time and that they’ll be handing them out (rather than a raffle). I thought this would then be a good chance to get a hold of something that was non-fantasy related, but by an author who I had heard of (Claire Legrand wrote Furyborn).
There I was stood in the queue to meet Becky Chambers, a while before they had begun ticketing. It really looked like they weren’t ticketing, and I was having a mini panic. I like the ticketing. I like knowing that I will get my books signed without standing in a queue for two hours and instead enjoying myself at YALC. It wasn’t looking that way, but turns out if was just the staff being a little bit late and not having tickets ready.
And of course, while I was waiting and panicking, Sawkill Girls ARCs dropped. 15 minutes early. At first I didn’t know what the queue was and got confused by the line right next to it for a workshop. When I saw it moving so quickly, the lady in front of me mentioned it was for Sawkill Girls. She amazingly saved my place so I can race out of one queue, join another, and then come straight back in.
Never underestimate the kindness of strangers!
Damsel by Elana K Arnold
This anecdote is kinda boring. I queued and was handed it. I’d heard it was a fairy-tale retelling and was pretty excited. However, after reading a review by Lydia (@SilverWolfReads) at how incredible yet triggering it can be, I don’t know whether I can read it any time soon. I really struggle with books with physical/sexual assault, and tend to avoid them while still understanding the reason behind the use of them. In Damsel’s case; it is a feminist look at rape culture and misogyny, all important themes in a book. However, just because something has an important topic, does not mean you have to put yourself through it when it could threaten your mental health.
I’ll wait for more reviews, but right now. I’m not going to be reading it.
Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson
I have a theory that Lies You Never Told Me is this year’s The Arsonist. Last year, I knew about every book I was trying to get. I was queuing, entering competitions, and running about to try and grab an ARC.
Except for one.
Nestled between two big publishers was Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House USA. Imprints are very confusing and I’m not sure how they had their own stall and why they weren’t with Penguin Platform. But they had a small table of books, and all you had to do was sign up to their newsletter and you got to choose an ARC. I have, still to this day, yet to receive a newsletter from Dial Books, but when I picked up The Arsonist, it was only by chance. I knew nothing about it, had never heard anyone speak of it, and received it as a coincidence. But it ended up being one of my favourite books of 2017.
I’m calling it now, this is what’s gonna happen with Lies You Never Told Me.
I had bought Furyborn for £8 (a steal) from Razorbill and was the offered an ARC of my choice. I picked this one, and that’s that. Let’s see if I give it 5 stars.
Books Handed Out During Talks
Ascension by Victor Dixen
Ascension was handed out during the ‘Among the Stars’ panel with Becky Chambers, Lauren James and Sasha Alsberg. This was a completely full panel, and everyone was given a copy of this newly released space story about a TV show filmed on a space ship.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Ah, Frankenstein. The book that I studied to death at GCSE without actually appreciating the work for what it is. Mary Shelley created the sci-fi and fantasy genre, yet many think they are genres that are by and for men. I’m sure if Mary Shelley was still alive, she’d kick some ass. I received this green and red edition during a talk on Frankenstein and how the story has shaped ‘monster books’ today!
If you were at YALC this year, what book were you excited about grabbing/buying? Let me know in the comments!