The time it was about YallWest {4}

Posted May 7, 2018 by Stacee in Signings | 14 Comments

Going to YallWest is always a sure thing.  It’s a fun event and we’ve been going since it started four years ago. The last couple of years, we’ve had a fairly relaxed schedule.  I applied for and was accepted for press and nearly lost my mind when I was granted an interview with Becky Albertalli.

Before we get into all of it, I feel like there should be a couple of warnings:.

  1. I usually type up my recaps while the event is happening.  I realized about halfway through Saturday that I hadn’t typed a thing, so I’m pretty sure this will be a hot mess.  Anyone who consistently reads the blog should be used to it.
  2. I had all of Friday typed up and a portion of Saturday when the body of my draft was somehow deleted and then saved when there was only one letter left.  So there’s that.



Michelle, Keiko, and I headed up to Santa Monica mid morning on Friday.  We had a hotel for that night and debated going to check in early, but we ended up scouring the area for bookstagram props.  We ended up at Lemonade for the most delicious lunch.

M and K both ordered healthy things like fish and soba noodles and I ordered grilled cheese with a side of mac and cheese.  I thought it was a bit expensive, but then I fell into a cheese coma and I’m fully prepared to eat there again without complaint.

From there, we headed to Santa Monica Library for Fierce Friday.  This was an event that we never really stayed at, so we didn’t know what to expect.  We got there just after 3 and got into the line.  Eventually people from the library came through the lines, doing check in and making sure everyone had tickets.

Once we got to the registration line, we were told that we could pick one wristband for a 6pm author and one for a 7pm author.  Michelle and I got wristbands for Marissa Meyer and Maurene Goo.  They had us line up by number on our wristbands and after a quick hello, welcome message from the authors {who were too far away for me to take a clear photo with my phone}, we were led inside the library.

There were a lot of rad things in the library.  They had a photo spot and a place to vote for covers and some super mega awesome window coverings made out of post-its.

Michelle got things signed by Marissa and I got a couple of things signed for a stranger who had more books than were allowed.  We wandered a bit and saw Richelle Mead before heading over to where Maurene would be signing.

We were able to line up for Maurene 15 minutes before the signing started, again in numerical order.  We chatted with people in line and then it was time to meet Maurene.

I got up to her and gushed over her new book, which I loved.  She asked if I was a blogger and I told her about the blog and how my user photos are always David Tennant.  And then I thanked her for the gorgeous enamel pin and for coming to the event.

We were all done after Maurene and from there we ended up at Target before checking into the most bookstagramable hotel I’ve ever seen. Michelle immediately set up a photo on the nightstand and I ran back to the elevator area to take a photo.


Saturday morning had us getting delicious bagel sandwiches on the way to Santa Monica High School.  Michelle got approved for press as well and we headed up to a different entrance on the side of the school.  The publicist came through the line, checked everyone in, and gave us our lanyards.

We started making the rounds of the booths to see what was going on and I was really into collecting the pins.  We headed over to Scholastic so I could squeeze Kasie West and then over to the book buying tent to squeeze the lovelies from Mysterious Galaxy. There was a ticket handout at 9:30 for an arc drop of Kiersten White’s upcoming book Bright We Burn, so we did that.

During all of this, I was wearing a red hoodie for part of the #findsadie campaign.  People could take a photo and upload it, then show the people at Wednesday Books for an arc of Sadie by Courtney Summers. So as we’re walking around, people kept stopping me.  When it got close to the time that I needed to check in for my interview with Becky, I had to hand off the hoodie to Keiko so she continued to take photos and I ran.

The publicist brought me in and introduced me to Becky.  I was trying to keep it together and {I think) I introduced myself like a normal person.  She said she knew exactly who I was and when she saw my name on the list, she was excited.  She asked if we could hug and I said yes, then she introduced me to her assistant who was sitting at the table with us.

And then the interview started. {If you’re not interested in reading the interview, continue after the block quote}

Please give the elevator pitch for Leah’s book.

Leah’s book is the sequel to Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, but it’s from the point of view of Leah and it takes place about a year and half after the events of Simon. In Leah on the Offbeat, the characters are all seniors in high school. It’s spring, it’s going to be the end of the year, and they’re coming up on prom and graduation, and some big milestones for them. It’s causing some upheaval in their friend group.

Why do you love Leah and why should we root for her?

I personally love Leah because she is a hot mess. She is just — I think some readers and me as an author — it can be hard to let a character kind of screw up or say the wrong thing. There’s a part of me that wanted to tone down Leah’s…abrasiveness, I guess, but I didn’t. I remember so vividly just how messy I was as a teen. I wasn’t rebellous, but emotionally like Leah, I was…I just said the wrong thing a lot. And did the wrong thing a lot. I didn’t take risks that I should have taken sometimes. I resented certain things and got angry at people. Some teens are like that and Leah is like that and I was too.

I loved being in her head. I loved Simon, but I think I loved Leah more.

That’s really exciting to hear. My biggest fear is that I’ll never publish a book that people will love as much as Simon. The reaction I always expect is “oh, it was good or it was okay, but it’s not Simon.” Even before Upside came out, I had so many people tell me “I’m excited, but it’s never going to be like Simon.” Angie gets that all the time.  People tell her that nothing will live up to The Hate You Give.  I’m always like “Don’t tell her that”, but also, I’ve read part of On the Come Up and you’re not ready.

Was Leah easy or hard to work with?

She took a little getting used to as far as finding her voice. She is probably the most different from my voice of my main characters. The way I describe it is Simon and Molly are painfully Hufflepuff and Leah’s our Slytherin. With that being said, I loved being in her head. She was really fun. To some extent, Leah gave me permission to say things about Taylor where Simon wouldn’t go that far. Although you know the one who really can’t stand Taylor? Abby Suso.

Without spoilers, what was your favorite scene to write?


What was your last 5 star read?

Well, the last thing I finished, it was last night and it’s not even out yet. I wouldn’t say it’s a five star read, I would say it’s an infinity star read. I read it in manuscript form and I’m going to blurb it. He doesn’t even know I’ve finished it yet. It’s a perfect book. {I’m purposely not naming the book or author here because I don’t know if I can and I don’t want spoilers. I may come back and edit this at a later date.}

If you could collaborate with any author, alive or dead, who would it be?

Adam Silvera.

Anyone else?

Adam Silvera. Adam Silvera. Adam Silvera.

Okay.  Always Adam.

Always Adam.

I just downloaded it, I’m really excited to read it.

I hope you like it.

Oh, I will, it’s you.  You could publish your grocery list and I would think it was great.

My grocery list is terrible, but thank you.

You get the news that Leah is #1 on the NYT list. Describe the next 5 minutes.

The phone call with my editor was the best. She called and said “Leah’s number one” and she’s like breathless. I was sort of like “Whaaaat?” That I didn’t see coming. I didn’t even see it within the realm of possibilities.

She says again, “Leah’s number one” and I’m silent.

She says, “On the New York Times list.”

I say, “Oh?”

She says, “The New York Times Best Seller’s list of books, you know?”

Donna’s here trying to explain to me what the NYT Best Sellers list is and I finally said, “No, I know, it just hasn’t clicked.”

I was so silent that she thought someone else had told me. When I told my kids, they wanted to know why mommy was crying. I told them, that it was good tears. I told him, “You know, mommy’s new book it’s a best seller. A lot of people bought it.” He said, “I’m going to watch Voltron tonight.” And it’s like okay, good talk.

After I was done asking questions, I asked Becky if she would sign the books I had.  She so nicely said yes.  I think I thanked her a couple of times and I definitely asked if we could hug again.

From there, the three of us headed to Kiersten’s arc signing to line up.  The sign said that there was going to be special swag from Kiersten’s other upcoming book, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein.  We were expecting pins or bookmarks…turns out if you were one of the first 20 people in line, you got the actual arc.  After we freaked out a little, we kept watching the pile they had and we were lucky to get a copy.

I got to Kiersten and said hi.  I asked her to just sign Bright We Burn, but to personalize Dark Descent.  She confirmed the spelling of my name and then asked if I wanted fake tattoos from the book.  I said that I had enough tattoos and she had me show the two women working the booth my Chainsaw/Sir Bird mash up.

From Kiersten, we headed over to line up for Kasie.  We actually got there at the perfect time because they were already letting people pre-line up.  We stood in line for about 20 minutes before I got to Kasie.

We hugged again and chatted about her upcoming book.  She asked if I had read it and I said not yet, but I was excited and new I would love it.  Then I picked up the apples that were sitting on the table because I thought they were fake, but nope.  They were real.

She talked about needing to come up with a line for signing the new book, that she didn’t have one yet.  We discussed what it could be and then she decided on something.  I asked her if I could get another hug, she said yes.  I thanked her and then said I would see her next year.

After Kasie’s signing, we were free for a while.  I went to the car and did a drop, Michelle got in line for wristbands for Becky, and Keiko went to see an author she was excited for.  We got back together and everyone picked up wristbands for Becky.  I didn’t have anything to get signed, but the rules said that you couldn’t even stand in line unless you had a wristband, so yeah.

At 1:15, Michelle went to ask someone where Becky would be having her 2pm signing.  One of the YW volunteers showed her where it would be and there was already a pretty good sized line, even though we were explicitly told no lining up until 20 minutes before.  We followed the line to the third floor of the high school and settled in to wait.

Becky got there right before 2 and started signing…by 2:30 we had moved, but not much.  I decided to leave the group and head down to the Scholastic booth to see about the 4pm arc drop for Victoria Schwab’s new book.  The ladies who were working showed me that there was already a line up, pointed it out, and assured me it was the official line…so I waited.

And maybe took a few time lapse videos…and waited some more…

I kept texting Michelle and Keiko to see how they were doing in the line and they were moving quite slowly.  Around 3pm, they were finally in the stretch before Becky.

They got back to me just after 3:30 and joined me in line.  The ladies from Scholastic kept coming by the line {which went on foreeeeeeeeeeeeeeever} and taking video and getting everyone excited.  At 3:55, they started unpacking the boxes and setting the arcs on the table.  It was amusing to see people walk up to the completely uncrowded table and ask for a copy.  The booth worker would then point to the line of ravenous people waiting and the inquiring person would walk away.

The arc drop was quick and easy once it started.  We got copies, flailed, and thanked everyone at the booth.

Sandhya’s signing was also at 4, so we were rushing to get to the signing area because we wanted to make sure we got to see her.  There were a few people in line and the cutest little girl in front of us.  I think her name was Sandhya as well and it was sort of adorable to see them interacting.

When I got up to Sandhya, she had a finished copy of Twinkle sitting on her table, so I asked if I could touch it.  As I pet the cover, Sandhya told me that she had just gotten a box of them before she left.  We then talked about the event and she asked what I was doing wearing a hoodie the entire time.  I told her about the #findsadie campaign and how I only had to wear it for a bit in the morning.

I felt like I had been up there for a while, so I told her I would leave her to her other fans.  She laughed and said I could stay, that her book had been out for so long, she wasn’t sure there would be a crowd.  I told her that I still pimp out Dimple and that it’s the book I throw at people.

Seeing Sandhya was the last thing on our “agenda”.  At some point, I had seen that a publicist I’m email friendly with was actually at YW from NY.  We were able to meet up and we hugged a million times and each of us gushed about how fantastic the other person was.  Getting able to meet her in person was actually one of the highlights of the trip for me.

From there, we stopped at the MG tent to tell our favorites goodbye and ask how they were doing.  We chatted for a few minutes before making the ridiculously long trip back to the car.

As we were walking out, we saw Jennifer Niven.  I had been trying to see if she was going to be at the event since her BFF Angelo was on a panel, but I didn’t know for sure.  We hugged and she said that it was officially YW since we had run into each other.  She asked if we were going to be staying for Angelo’s panel and I said no, that we were heading out.  There were a few more hugs, a couple of selfies, and a promise of more foreign copies.

Annnnnnnd with that it was a wrap on YallWest.  As I’m typing this up, I’ve been checking my phone and realizing that not only did I not recap while it was happening, I just didn’t take as many photos as I normally do.  I apologize for the massive blocks of text and incessant rambling.

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a hug and a cookie and I’ll give you a heads up: there will be a giveaway for signed copies of Becky’s books on my instagram page.  Be on the lookout.

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14 responses to “The time it was about YallWest {4}

  1. Tanya Cruz

    sounds like it was tons of fun! I really wanted to go, but I’m going to a concert tomorrow in LA, I can’t travel that often :c but I really hope to attend next year :)
    I love your recaps ♥ and all the pins you collected are so pretty!

    • Stacee

      It’s definitely one of my favorite festivals, I hope you get to go next year!

      thanks for reading and commenting and have fun at the concert!

  2. Danielle Hammelef

    Thanks for sharing! I haven’t had the chance to attend and I enjoyed your photos very much.

    • Stacee

      Becky was amazing and definitely my highlight of the month. I couldn’t believe I actually got to meet with her.

      Thanks for reading this hot mess and for commenting!

  3. It sounds like you had a wonderful Yallwest!! I absolutely loved your interview with Becky – I’m on the waitlist for Leah on the Offbeat at my library, but I’m really looking forward to reading it. :) I live in NC, so I’ll be living vicariously through you when it comes to YW!

    • Stacee

      Yay! I’m so happy you enjoyed the post and interview. Becky is an absolute delight. I hope you love Leah!

  4. Eee, your recaps are THE BEST :D I am so so glad you had an amazing time at YALLWEST lovely. <3 Thank you the very most for sharing about it :) Hugs. And ahh, losing your post is the worst thing :\ You are awesome for doing it all over again. <3 All the hugs. Love all the pictures, eee :D And all the books! And Kiersten! And Marissa! And so so many awesome authors :D Sigh. I'm completely jealous about all of this, haha. But so so thrilled for you :) Glad you were able to go. <3

    Carina Olsen recently posted: Review: Angel and Bavar by Amy Wilson
    • Stacee

      YW is always a given and I hope they keep doing it. I love going.
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Stacee

      Thank you! I hope you do get to make it to one, they’re a lot of fun!
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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