The YALLWest Finale [Part 3] | Chat with JBelkBooks


Random Fact of the Day: The average American/Canadian will eat about 11.9 pounds of cereal per year!

Hello sunshines & Happy Friday! It’s been a while since I’ve done a discussion, and I totally almost forgot about Part Three of My YALLWest Experience! So, I thought it was about time to type this up so I wouldn’t be prolonging it for too long. If you missed my Sneak-Peek to YALLWest (Part 1) or My First YALLWest (Part 2), definitely check those out before continuing with this post! [WARNING: this post will be more lengthy than Part 2, so BEWARE!!]

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So I ended my last post with the Fierce Friday Event. After that day of festivities, my family & I decided to venture around and we ended up going to the Santa Monica Pier for a few hours. And then we started the next day of YALLWest — the first “official” day if you will…

The Saturday event at YALLWest was located at the Santa Monica High School, and must I say that high school is absolutely HUGE. The event wasn’t the entire campus, but it was enough of it, lol. Just like the FF event, there was a ton of traffic on the way, and to make matters worse, parking was RIDICULOUS to find!! I actually ended up getting out the car with my mom while the rest of my family found parking (I felt sort of…bad…lol).

The first thing I saw once I got there was the mass lines of people waiting at the large number of food trucks. Even though the alluring smells wanted me to get food, I persisted for I wanted to just venture for a little before I settled in any line. So I made my way deeper into the mass where I found several tents, music, and much, MUCH, more people. Since I didn’t have any signings at that hour, I decided to make my way towards the tents that featured different publishers and companies, such as Fierce Reads, Riveted, Penguin Teen, etc.

Unfortunately I was too late in getting the swag bags given out earlier in the day, but I still ended up picking up a few swag items from the tables.

After I saw what I could (I hope I’m a little taller by next year because I literally couldn’t see much in a big crowd, lol), I went towards more tents that were near the Book-Nerd Yoga section [shoutout to the people doing yoga in that semi-hot weather — you guys were all beautiful!!]. These tents were mostly giveaway-type tents (OwlCrate, FreeForm, First In Line,etc.), besides the Mysterious Galaxy tent, which was basically an outside bookstore, lol. My mother & I switched between different lines and eventually we went through most of them until it was time for some of the signings.

IMG_0341Both of these signings were pretty much back-to-back, but they didn’t take as NEARLY as long as the Rainbow Rowell line the day before. I met Erin Bowman first, and she signed my copy of Taken. Her line was pretty medium in length, so I was thankful to have been closer to the front. I had a wonderful time chatting with Bowman — she was extremely friendly and we were reminiscing on how this was both of our first times at YALLWest 🙂


IMG_0335After that signing, my mother had some bad news to share — we could not stay the weekend for the Sunday event because my father had to be back home in time for work that Monday. Thankfully I knew one other person there closely as an IRL friend, and that was Jess @ PrincessicaofBooks. She was so kind enough to get my copy of Hold Still by Nina Lacour signed the next day, SO THANK YOU A THOUSAND TIMES TO HER!! She was supposed to get my copy of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven signed as well, but the most amazing thing happened. Here’s the break down: 

So I was getting ready to leave because my copy of ATBP was back at the hotel. So I was going to go to my hotel real quick and drop off the book to Jess. But then my mom just told me that it would better just to buy it at the Mysterious Galaxy tent and give it to Jess while she was in line for a signing. I quickly went by the tent, purchased the book, and then all of a sudden this man comes up to my mother & I in line and says something like, “you know, the author of that book *points at ATBP in my hands* is right there…”. And you should’ve seen my face because then the man said that he’ll bring her over so she could sign my copy…I was so astonished and happy and uuuuuuuhhhhh — IT WAS A MIRACLE!!! So, yes, I ended up meeting her and getting the novel signed right then and there and it was just amazing. Niven was so adorable, her nails matched the book cover, and the purse she was carrying was twice as cute. Despite my hideous face in one of these photos, I was so, so, SO incredibly happy after that.


All in all, even though I didn’t get all the books signed that I wanted to, I think my first year at YALLWest was a success. I met Jennifer Niven, Rainbow Rowell, Erin Bowman, and David Levithan and I could not have been more happy to have done so. I had some amazing food, got even MORE books, and I was surrounded by people just like me. What more could I ask for??

Although this festival was a success, I will say that the people hosting YALLWest should take some precautions next year. This entire event was free (fortunately)– you did not have to buy any tickets to enter the event, except if you were planning to visit certain panels and such. And therefore pretty much anyone could get onto the campus. With that being said, remember when I mentioned the Mysterious Galaxy tent? It was an outside area of books laid out on tables…with hundreds of people crowding around to look at the books. While there were a few adults collecting books and purchases, there really wasn’t anyone standing near the books & swag making sure no one was…“taking stuff they weren’t supposed to”. Therefore anyone could have walked up to the tent, taken a few books or some of the YALLWest Swag, and walked away without anyone noticing. The bookish people are amazing all together, but you never know! My mother and I noticed this, and I don’t know. I think it’s just something to think about…

[I forgot to take a pic of the T-Shirts and totes that I received, but yeah, I got those too, lol]

OH, and did I mention that I received my first EVER ARC at YALLWest, too??? I didn’t even notice it was an ARC until I got home, but that was pretty awesome to discover xD

I had the opportunity to experience my first book festival in May of 2016 all because of my wonderful parents. So even if they never read this, I still want to give them a BIG shoutout for being the people that they are. This was a great convention to spend with my entire family, and next year I WILL meet some of you guys that go, while also attending some of the featured panels. Thank you to all the volunteers and all the people that made YALLWest happen this 2016! ❤



I know I’m kinda late, but how was your YALLWest experience? What do you think were some negatives and positives of the event? What authors did you meet?? Everyone’s opinions and thoughts are welcome down in the comments below!! 🙂

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time…




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7 responses to “The YALLWest Finale [Part 3] | Chat with JBelkBooks

  1. Aww I’ve always wanted to go to Yallwest but I have school, it’s probably something I will do once I’ve finished high school. But I’m so glad that you had a great time, got to meet some amazing people and got some awesome books and bookish swag.
    – Yasmin

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Bi-Weekly Wrap-Up | Joyful June | ---Blogging Everything Beautiful---

  3. Wouuuhh!! I’m so glad that you had a great time and even got your book signed out of no where. I swear, meeting authors out of the blue is just magical. 😀 😀 Sucks we couldn’t cross paths on that day, but I’m happy that you had a great time (with the extra help of your mom)!!

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

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