It wasn’t a dark and stormy night. The sun shone on a big white tent next to Blue Bicycle Books. Long tables were stacked high with copies of Beautiful Creatures, School of Fear, and countless other bestselling titles. King Street was swarmed by hundreds of Young Adult readers in a mad rush to collect the signatures of their favorite authors.
This was the scene on Saturday of the second annual YALLFest, an event where authors from all over the country came together to talk with fans and each other about books, craft, and more. Every hour multiple authors spoke on panels, discussing everything from chocolate to fairy tales. Throughout the day, lines stretching halfway down the block were full of teenagers and the occasional adult aspiring to YA authordom, all of them anxiously awaiting their chance to meet the writer of their most beloved book.
The first event of the day was the keynote address featuring authors Cassandra Clare and Holly Black (who was celebrating her birthday, by the way). Later, Pseudonymous Bosch and Trenton Lee Stewart participated in a showdown, which included beards, impostors, and more.
The YA day ended with the grand finale, the YA Smackdown, a hilarious display of literary games. The authors were broken up into teams by genre (Supernatural, Mystery, Contemporary, Dystopian, and Romance) to compete in three vicious head-to-head improv games filled with laughter. The team’s first task was to create a story in their genre using two props as prompts and to assist in the acting-out portion. Next, the teams had to create a story based on a title selected from others collected randomly throughout the course of the day. In this case, the tale was entitled, “Not Another F***ing Elf.” In the last task, the teams were instructed to create a story based on a topic suggested by an audience member, in this case, “My Last Impression.” The only catch was that the teams ultimately had to piece it all together to create one story. The final concoction started with magical frogs and ended with all the authors (except David Levithan) sprawled around the stage in fake comas. When the results were announced, the Romance genre came out on top, but only Trenton Lee Stewart claimed the Golden Pie.
All in all, it was an amazing day full of entertainment, reading, and pie. Even in the internet age, I guess no one ever truly loses their love of books.
Olive Gardner is an eighth-grade student at the University School of the Lowcountry.