Wrapping up YALC 2018

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Dear reader,

If you don’t know, I left for London two weeks ago to go to YALC, a book fair taking place at the London Comic Con. It has been one of my dreams for years to go to an international book fair as I only read in English and when I first heard of YALC last year I promised myself that in 2018 I would go – and look, I did it!

I still can’t believe that it’s now over and that I really went there – it was such a crazy experience and I can’t wait to do it all over again next year. Of course I took many pictures while I was there and even though I already posted my vlog on my IGTV I decided to wrap it up here as well! Without further ado, let’s jump right into my wrap-up of YALC 2018.


 July, the 26th

Roxanne and I arrived in London on Thursday morning as we wanted a day off before YALC started to see London a bit and mostly travel to the Harry Potter studios. It was quite a hard first day as it was so hot in England – I had to change of clothes while we arrived in our airbnb and my hair was full of sweat, not quite the glamorous first day I had in mind.

Despite the heat and our already super heavy suitcases, we made it to the Harry Potter studios early (here’s a tip: they don’t really care if you’re early or late, I did both and they always promised me that it was fine) and even though it was my fourth time visiting it, it was magical as always. This time they added the goblet of fire and there were so many new additions to the tour. It was amazing to do it all over again with Roxanne as we bonded over Harry Potter when we first met at university.

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When we left it was already 8pm and by the time we went home we were exhausted. We both didn’t sleep much the night before, both wake up around 4am to catch our trains and were both dead because of how hot it was. We just grabbed something to eat on our way home before finally sleeping.

 July, the 27th

And finally, it was YALC day 1! I was so excited for it but also very tired and it was still so hot. We didn’t arrive there when the doors opened because Roxanne had some shopping to do, so I waited for her in a café with my amazing typical vegetarian English breakfast. As soon as she was done we basically flew there and seeing the London Comic Con signs felt amazing.

I wouldn’t say I was disappointed when I arrived there but YALC is very small. I read so many blog posts before coming to prepare myself and most of them were called “How to survive YALC”. Trust me: once you’ve done Livre Paris or Montreuil in France, YALC is nothing. I am so used to gigantic book fairs with several floors, huge stalls everywhere and book signings taking place on opposite places, that YALC was a total piece of cake and felt like a real vacation! It felt so good however to finally be able to buy books (French book fairs only have French books, so I never really buy anything there) and to discover so many of my favourite publishing houses. All the books were so cheap (it’s crazy) and I found myself buying a lot of them (too many). Plus, I kept winning ARCS! YALC is basically a book heaven.

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While doing our first tour of the book fair, I went to the Oftomes stall to see Ben @benjaminoftomes with who I’ve worked for in the past (I spent month tweeting for his publishing house) and who I love dearly – it felt so weird to see him recognise me when I have watched his videos since I was in highschool and I still can’t believe how my life changed thanks to bookstagram. Honestly, all I could feel while I was there was love and I was so grateful to be able to live something like this, to meet amazing people I have admired for years and to see so many people recognised me, the oh so little me who just reads books and takes pictures of it!

Back to YALC! We had a lot of free time on our frist day since we only planned on seeing Alice Oseman and I was so excited – I couldn’t wait to talk to her about the demisexual rep in Radio Silence and of Jimmy from I Was Born For This to who I would give my life. Like, for real. Alice Oseman was a total sweetheart and she took the time to talk with us for so long. I even got to fangirl with her about Jimmy and to tell her everything I wanted – it was basically like meeting a friend! She even thanked me on Instagram for coming, reposted our picture in her IG story and everything felt like a dream. How crazy was it all?!

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Before leaving YALC that day we went to the Comic Con as we could go with our badges and it was insane. I even found a guy dressed as Spider-Man (his cosplay was amazing and he was so nice) and Roxanne asked him if he could take a picture with me (I’m that shy). It felt so magical and really made me feel good – I have been considered a nerd all my life and here I was surrounded by people who loved the same things I do. Next year I’ll make sure to go to the Comic Con more often and to see more of it – maybe I would even go there cosplaying Emma Carstairs, who knows?

When we finally left we were even more exhausted than the day before. It was now raining a lot, we were holding so many books and we have walked all day. We bought burgers on our way home (the best we had there!), took a long shower, made ourselves some tea and fell asleep early.

 July, the 28th

Our second day at YALC was the busiest one – I had four authors to see, and they were all big names: Tomi Adeyemi, Sasha Alsberg and Tom and Giovanna Fletcher. I was so scared to not be able to see them all and to not enjoy that day.

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As soon as we arrived, later than we should have because apparently strikes are now everywhere, Roxanne went to ask if anything special was organised for Tom and Giovanna’s signing. She got me a ticket for it (I was in the first ones!) and one for their panel (but I couldn’t go as I was queeing for the others). We also got an early ticket for Tomi (we were so happy as many readers didn’t have the chance to get one or to see her) and have been able to got another one for Sasha. In the end all went well and I loved how YALC organised signings – it was way better and easier than in France!

Tomi Adeyemi was the sweetest and asked us to come back to see us if she ever comes in France. She was so nice and we have been able to talk with her for so, so long. As for Sasha, I didn’t expect her to be so sweet! We laughed a lot and she kept complimenting me. She even told me a secret for her next book and it got me even more excited. Talking with her was like meeting a friend for the first time and I was the happiest – I have been watching her videos for ages and I still can’t believe that I got to meet her. As for Tom and Gio‘s signing, it was all a dream – I have been a McFly fan ever since I was 13 years old and have been admiring their couple ever since. I was shaking a lot but managed to tell them everything I wanted. They were both so nice and caring – how did little me got so lucky to live something like this?

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When we left we decided to wander in the city for once, go bookshopping (again) and we also went to see Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. I was so happy to discover what it was like to go to an English theatre (don’t judge me, it is quite different and I adore going to the movies) and it was so much fun – this movie definitely is one of my favourites of all time! We laughed a lot, cried also and even screamed when they showed the French flag at one point. It definitely was a day to remember.

 July, the 29th

On our last YALC day, we woke up with the rain and it felt so nice to not die from the heath for once! I decided to wear my favourite sweater, my Spider-Man: Homecoming one, and everything was perfect. We woke up earlier than the other days because I really wanted to have a chance to get the Grisha trilogy signed by Leigh Bardugo and to apply for the Holly Bourne workshop in which only 25 people could go. Everything went fine and we both got our signed copies as well as our names in the list for the workshop. Such a great way to start our day!

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The workshop was amazing – we got to make origami with positive messages in it, so we could then spread them around the book fair. It was organised by an association working to spread awareness towards mental health and it’s such an important matter to me, so I was really happy to be there and actually do something. We then got the meet Holly Bourne at her signing (we were third in line!) and I talked with her a lot about OCD, which felt so nice. She was so sweet and wished me luck for my recovery, which really made me feel better and gave me hope for the future. After that we were pretty much done for the day (we got to chat with Alwin Hamilton to get an autograph for a friend and she was the sweetest! we stayed with her for so long and she gave her gifts, how crazy is that?) so we wandered one last time before saying goodbye to YALC.

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Once we were home we counted all our books (they are too many), started to pack (thank god our suitcases were big enough and everything fit in the end) and left for Notting Hill. We bought some more books and comics, walked for hours to find a restaurant and then went for a drink to celebrate those amazing last few days. I have to say that I was a tad anxious on this last day as I didn’t get the ARC I truly wanted (now it’s all good since the publishing house decided to send me a copy! *dies of excitment*) and I knew Tom Holland was around in London (I didn’t want to meet him, I actually hate meeting celebrities I truly care about and he was in the exact same metro only an hour later) but Roxanne made me feel so much better and I slept with a peaceful mind.

 July, the 30th

And just like that, we had to leave. We couldn’t do much on our last day because we had to leave our airbnb quite early and none of us wanted to let our suitcases outside of our room, so we had to carry them with us and it was way too heavy for us to do anything with it. We just decided to sleep a lot for once and to have a big one last English breakfast. We then headed to King Cross Saint Pancras, bought some more books there and waited quietly for our train. Soon we were home with our big, big suitcases full of new books and our minds full of new incredible memories.

 Let’s talk about books

I was supposed to film a video to present all the books I got there, but it would honestly be too long. I hope you won’t mind me doing it here! I’ll only list them as it would make this blog post too long to add all the summaries, but you can still click on the titles to see their Goodreads pages (I added the link for the editions I got).

What I bought at YALC:

What I won at YALC:

What I bought outside of YALC:

What I got signed at YALC:


Well, that is it! It has been a crazy weekend and wrapping it up was really hard, but I hope that you loved it! Now I can’t wait for our next big book fair in France, Montreuil. It’s going to be amazing!

Have you ever been to YALC? or to a book fair? Tell me more about your experiences!

Love always,

Clara

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8 thoughts on “Wrapping up YALC 2018”

  1. This was a great wrap-up, Clara, I’m so glad I got to read about your YALC experience and that it was such a positive one. I’m hoping to make it there maybe next year! I’m also thrilled to hear they are a bit more organized than here in France, I have only done Livre, Paris once, but well, it wasn’t that well-organized I guess, haha. I’m so happy you got to meet so many authors and got so many books – and congratulations on that publisher sending you the book you didn’t manage to win! That’s great! 😀 ❤

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