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YALC Reading List: What To Read for YALC16

A ridiculously amazing selection of authors will be attending YALC in Hammersmith, London on 28-31 July. Now, there are some amazing authors attending, who have written amazing and inspiring novels – but there’s one problem. There’s so many of my favourite authors attending, how am I going to carry all the books?!

Obviously, the solution here is to buy more books, so I thought I’d write a series with the authors who will be attending and which book I will be/would be getting signed by each author.

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1. Malorie Blackman

Book to read: Noughts & Crosses

The pioneer of YALC will be returning for a third year – and admittedly, I still haven’t read any of her books! There was a time in high school when EVERYONE was reading this series (everyone except me, apparently) but I just never picked it up (I was either reading Harry Potter, dark romance or errrr…. Vanity Fair (the magazine)). I think I am well overdue a Malorie Blackman novel so I’ll either be diving into Noughts & Crosses or her brand new novel, Chasing The Stars (Out 21 April, 2016).

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2. Melvin Burgess

Book to read: Junk

Junk is constantly referred to as one of many Young Adult authors’ favourite books. Junk was released in 1996, before the advent of the YA genre, and follows two teenage runaways, as they squat, become addicted to heroin and embrace anarchism. A real YA classic, I’ll be sure to pick up a copy of this before YALC. This book won the Carnegie Medal and Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

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3. Alwyn Hamilton

Book to read: Rebel of the Sands

Rebel of the Sands has been one of the most talked-about novels this year – not only because of its frankly stunning cover. A retelling of Arabian Nights, every scene in this novel could be a direct scene from a movie. I’m sure there’s going to be a long queue to get this one signed! Read my review here.

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4. Frances Hardinge

Book to read: The Lie Tree

The Lie Tree has to be one of the hottest books of the year – it won the Costa Book of the Year Award 2015 (a HUGE achievement, especially for a children’s novel). The Lie Tree has also been shortlisted for the Young Adult Book Prize 2016. Definitely the book of the moment, I’ll be trying to squeeze this one in before July.

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5. Nina LaCour and 6. David Levithan

Book to read: You Know Me Well

Coming this June, You Know Me Well is a dual perspective novel (think Will Grayson, Will Grayson that David Levithan with John Green – which I’m about halfway through). This one is about first love, and at 256 pages, should be a quick read!

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7. Melinda Salisbury

Book to read: The Sin Eater’s Daughter/The Sleeping Prince

The recipient of some of the most glowing Twitter praise ever seen, Melinda Salisbury is one of my favourite people-I-follow-on-Twitter. I won both The Sin Eater’s Daughter and The Sleeping Prince in a Twitter competition, but haven’t picked them up yet – but I absolutely will have to before July.

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8. Maggie Stiefvater

Book to read: The Raven Boys series

I currently own one Maggie Stiefvater book and that is Shiver (the first book in The Wolves of Mercy Fall series), which I read years ago (probably around 2009). The Raven Boys series has been making waves in the book blogger community, especially recently as the final book in the series, The Raven King, was released in April. This is one series I don’t think I can hold out purchasing for much longer.

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9. Lisa Williamson

Book to read: The Art of Being Normal

Nominated for the 2016 YA book prize, The Art of Being Normal is an absolutely brilliant stand-alone debut novel, following a transgender teen, David, as he prepares to tell his family that he wishes to transition, and would like to be called Kate. One of the most important books of the year, TAOBN is a novel I genuinely enjoyed, and I can’t wait to read Lisa’s future novels.

That’s it for the first installment of ‘What to Read for YALC’ – I will be posting more blog posts with the rest of the authors who will be in attendance so keep a look out for that!

Which authors are you most excited about seeing? Which books are you picking up for YALC and/or hoping to get signed?

Comment below or tweet me at @annalisebooks!

Annalise x

YALC, London: Day 3

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Sunday was the last day of YALC (see Day 1 and Day 2 here!) and it did not disappoint. After packing up my stuff (which at this point had swelled to a very heavy backpack and a tote bag) and leaving the hostel, I made my way to Olympia for the third and final day of YALC.

The first workshop, Author and Editor, was presented by the amazing Non Pratt and A.J. Grainger. Both authors and editors, this talk gave a great perspective on the whole writing and editing process.

My only panel of the day was Bringing Sexy Back – a great choice if I do say so. The portrayal (or not) of sexual intercourse (of all kinds) is a controversial topic, but the panel handled it with grace, and brought up some important questions – again touching on the subjects of feminism, sexuality, and consent. I thoroughly enjoyed this panel, which was presented by James Dawson, and featuring Non Pratt, Louise O’Neill, Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison. James Dawson was a particular highlight, as he was sporting a wonderful ‘naked Daenerys Targaryen costume’, complete with ‘modesty dragons’!

After lunch, I went to two back-to-back workshops on Book Blogging – Book blogging for beginners and Taking your blog to the next level. Both were presented by Andy Robb, and featured some of the winners of the 2015 UK Young Adult Blogger Awards. All the panelists were informative and had some really great advice on how to start blogging and what to blog about (I’ll hopefully be using this advice!). A real surprise were the goody bags provided by Chelley Toy of Tales of Yesterday – which even included everyone’s favourite thing, free books! A huge thank you for the treats!

Before the last workshop of the day (and YALC), I headed into the main Comic Con area to get my photograph taken with the lovely Rose Leslie (Ygritte from Game of Thrones). The rest of the convention was exciting to look around – I bought some photographs and a graphic novel for one of my best friends but there was so many things that I was tempted to buy! It was great to see some cosplay from around the convention – even if I wasn’t sure what a lot of people were dressing up as!

The last workshop of the day was Vlogging for beginners with Sanne Vliegenhart – I really enjoyed learning about BookTube and intend to at least have a go at it at some point (probably when I return to university). It seems like a really great community, and one that would be fun to participate in.

So that was YALC! I’m already looking forward to next year, hopefully as a more accomplished blogger and writer. I loved meeting and discovering new authors, and the panels and workshops were (and i’ve used this word way too much over the course of these last few posts) INSPIRING – so much that I started this blog, and NEED to be writing and working on ideas soon!

Hope you all enjoyed the weekend too! What was your highlight of the weekend? Comment below or tweet me at @annalisebooks 🙂

Annalise x

YALC, London: Day 2

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After a few hours sleep at my hostel (even though I was exhausted even after Day 1), I awoke on Saturday excited for another day at YALC!

I kicked off the day with an amazing panel – YA: The Next Generation. Moderated by Samantha Shannon, and starring Alice Oseman, Lucy Saxon (wearing an awe-inspiring Zelda cosplay), Helena Coggan and Taran Matharu, this was a real highlight of the weekend (although it did make me feel old at the tender age of 21!). This panel brought up some interesting discussion surrounding diversity in young adult novels, and the downsides of being published so young, and ultimately it was inspiring that people younger than me have both written and published novels – definitely got to get down to writing sometime soon! The panel also brought up the different routes into becoming a published author – Taran started posting on Wattpad before getting picked up for a publishing deal. The panel also reinforced the idea that you should write the book that you want to read – if you want to read it, others will too!

A highlight of the afternoon was the Editing Yourself workshop with Alexia Casale. This was my first real introduction into editing, something i’ve not really ever got to the point of doing (although I did write a 50,000 novel during NaNoWriMo last year which I might come back to at some point). The whole editing process became a lot less daunting and something I actually look forward to (although it is a lot easier to edit someone else’s work!). I’m really looking forward to the day where i’m confident enough in a novel and an idea that I get to edits! Alexia also gave advice on writing in general – something I took to heart was to start your novel at the last possible moment for everything to make sense and the plot to work – describing the mundane is generally boring to your readers.

The last talk of the day was on the differences between being published in the UK and the US – this was really informative about the different ways the markets work and what they look for. There was also some great advice about covers – something authors generally have no control over. It’s always exciting to see the ways different publishing teams take a novel and market it – so many different covers and titles for the same book inside (albeit a few language edits!).

On Saturday, there were also many amazing authors signing their novels – Judy Blume (a legend if I ever saw one), Cassie Clare (I didn’t take any of her books to sign because I already got two of them signed last year – and the queues were so long!), Malorie Blackman, Holly Smale, Arabella Weir, Patrick Ness… Great to see so many inspiring people in one place!

I grabbed a copy of Forever by Judy Blume, a book i’ve heard recommended for years, from the on-site Waterstone’s bookshop, and hopped on the tube after the convention to the Foyles store on Charing Cross Road. After many recommendations over the first two days, I picked up a copy of Stephen King’s On Writing, Louise O’Neill’s Only Ever Yours, Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse, and a book on writing New Adult novels (i’m planning on writing, honest!).

All in all, Saturday was an exciting day, with some great authors and inspiring panels and workshops. Were you at YALC? What were your highlights?

Annalise x

YALC, London: Day 1

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So I’ve had an amazing weekend at the Young Adult Lit Convention (YALC) (Part of London Film and Comic Con (LFCC)) which has inspired me to finally start this blog. So much happened that it’s probably best to blog about each day separately.

I’ll kick off with Friday (chronological order seems sensible!). I travelled down to London in the morning, reading a little of American Gods by Neil Gaiman then starting Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch on the train.The convention opened at 1pm, with YALC events starting at 2.30 – I arrived at 2pm and got stuck in! A real benefit of the YALC pass is that we got to use an exclusive entrance for the first hour of the convention, which meant skipping the queues (this came in extra handy on Saturday when the queues were round the block!).

This was my first YALC and I bought a weekend pass because the workshops and talks looked so good that I really didn’t want to miss out!

The first talk I attended was Publishing 101 with Gemma Cooper – this was a really good introduction to the publishing industry which I had had no previous knowledge about. I was already becoming inspired to write.

Next, I signed up for a trilogy of workshops. The first, Building worlds, was with Lucy Inglis, writer of City of Halves and Crow Mountain. Both these books have their worlds almost acting like a character, and so it was interesting to hear her methodology for planning out a novel and creating worlds unlike our own (no mean feat!).

The second, Cosplay for beginners, was presented by Lucy Saxon, who demonstrated some amazing cosplay herself (the panel were dressed as characters from Harry Potter, and historically accurate Ariel – inspiring!). The talk itself was really informative and encouraging to get up and just have a go, no matter what skills you have – good advice for any hobby!

The last, Creating characters, with L.A. Weatherly, was also really helpful – I learnt that knowing everything about your character (their background, their family, what they want, etc.), even if you don’t even mention it in the novel, can really help develop your characters (and your understanding of them). She also announced her forthcoming series, The Broken Trilogy, and unveiled the cover of the first book, Broken Sky! It was really exciting to be one of the first people to hear about a new series – definitely a highlight of the weekend!

Afterwards, I was so inspired I caught the tube to Waterstones Piccadilly to get a new Moleskine to develop some ideas for novels and characters – job well done YALC!

Was anyone else at YALC on Friday? What were your highlights? Comment below or on Twitter at @annalisebooks 🙂

Annalise x