It’s the most wonderful time of the year for fans of YA lit. That’s right, folks: It’s YALLFest weekend. And that means throngs of pre-teens, teenagers and — no judgment from this writer — adults will congregate on King Street and at other spots across downtown Charleston for book signings, author panels, and special events.

Authors Veronica Roth and Brendan Reichs are chairs for this year’s YALLFest, and festival founder Jonathan Sanchez said the pair has “worked really hard to put together a terrific list” of participating authors.

“We have a lot of new authors, a lot of diverse voices and backgrounds,” he added.

There will also be plenty of free swag and food for attendees this year. “We had to hire a warehouse just to process all the free stuff that the sponsors send down — your tote bags, your keychains, your ARCs (advance copies of upcoming titles),” Sanchez said. “This year, there are giveaways of coffee, cider, donuts, biscuits, Belgian waffles.”

Below is a selection of YALLFest happenings that caught our attention. All listed events are held on Sat. Nov. 10, except for YALLCrawl, held on Friday afternoon. Signings and panels are free and open to the public except for keynote talks and the YA Smackdown. For a complete rundown, visit

Friday, Nov. 9, 3-5 p.m.
Upper King Street

Some of the festival’s biggest names, including To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before author Jenny Han and Wonder author R. J. Palacio, will greet fans and sign books during YALLCrawl. Attendees can pick up select titles at Blue Bicycle Books (420 King St.). Other participating authors include keynote authors Natasha Ngan and Neal Shusterman, Scott Westerfeld (the Uglies series) and Nicola Yoon (Everything, Everything). (Additional signings are scheduled for Sat. Nov. 10, beginning at 10 a.m.)

Palaces From Paragraphs:
Worldbuilding Done Right

11 a.m.
American Theater – Ballroom, 446 King St.

Dhonielle Clayton, Lisa Maxwell, Veronica Roth, and Adrienne Young talk with Stephanie Garber (moderator) about how they approach creating a whole new world from scratch.

Fans and Fandom
Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St.

Attendees at YALLFest aren’t the only passionate fans of particular books, movies and TV shows; so are the authors. Alexandra Bracken, Soman Chainani, Jenny Han, Brandon Mull, Kiersten White, and Beth Revis (moderator) discuss what they’re personally fans of and how they navigate their own works being the focus of fandom.

Hits You in the Feels: Writing Emotion
1 p.m.
American Theater – Cinema, 446 King St.

Whether it’s anger, grief, surprise, love or fear, authors need to be able to channel various emotions and portray them realistically on the page. It’s harder than it sounds. Find out how authors Deb Caletti, Sara Farizan, Anna Godbersen, Neal Shusterman, Ashley Woodfolk, and Aminah Mae Safi (moderator) make it happen.

Blood is Thicker Than Water
2 p.m.
Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St.

Family: can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Authors Debi Calette, Adib Khorram, Tiffany Jackson, Courtney Summers, and Nicola Yoon chat with Morgan Matson (moderator) about exploring the ups and downs of familial relationships.

3 p.m.
American Theater – Cinema, 446 King St.

Making YouTube videos discussing the latest books you’ve read sounds pretty fun to us. Turns out there’s a name for that: BookTube. Hear from Christine Riccio (PolandBananasBooks), Jesse George (JesseTheReader), and Kat O’Keeffe (Katytastic) in this open Q&A session.

Pitter Patter: Writing Fresh Love Stories
4 p.m.
American Theater – Ballroom, 446 King St.

It’s hard to pass up a good love story, but how do you make it original? Jessica Brody, Kami Garcia, Stephanie Kate Strohm, Siobhan Vivian, Nicola Yoon, and Sarah Enni (moderator) will give you some insight as to how they avoid the cliched and overdone.