Discussion

2016: in Words and Pictures

So, well, 2016 has been… Um… eventful.

I ended 2015 thinking, in the coming year, I was going to be SUPER OPTIMISTIC, and this was going to be THE BEST YEAR YET.

Well… It wasn’t. Okay, it was in a few aspects, but largely, on a personal level and a global level, 2016 will go down in history as the year from literal hell.

In a beginning annual tradition on this blog, here is how this year has gone for me, in words and pictures!


FEBRUARY

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My first concert of the year, and my second concert ever! I went to see Halsey on her Badlands tour, with a friend of my mum’s (a last minute decision that was quite fun). Still being a lil shy human, I just stood and watched the whole thing and took photos, but it was honestly such an awesome night.

APRIL

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My sixteenth birthday! Everybody bigs up the whole ‘sweet sixteen’ thing, but I really didn’t feel much different at all. I didn’t have a big party, or even go out with friends – I just stayed in with family given that I was in such a tired state from the slowly increasing exam revision. This birthday was notable because I ended up in the doctors because of a sudden freak acne breakout. Lovely. At least I had a pretty brilliant cake.

MAY

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Although I had done early entry exams for a few subjects, the middle of May marked the start of my GCSE exam season. From mid-May to mid-June, I was under so much stress and pressure that I was either frantically writing notes and making mind maps, or not revising at all and giving up completely. There was no in between. If you’d like to see how I (tried to) balance reading and revision, I wrote a post!

However, this stressful month was made endlessly better by my favourite person ever, who will know who they are when they read this! We met online at the beginning of the year through Tegan and Sara, a shared favourite band, but properly got to know each other this month and support one another through this hellish GCSE exam season! I cannot wait to meet them and all of the other friends I’ve made through Tegan and Sara very soon.

JUNE

Exams finished on the 17th of June, hurrah! considering I was staying at my school for sixth form, I didn’t feel even a little bit sad – I stayed to take some photos with friends after the last exam, then went home and literally slept for a month. When I wasn’t sleeping in the last half of June (and early July…) I was binge watching shows on Netflix. It was well deserved.

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On the 22nd of June, I had one of the most life changing and wonderful nights I could ever ask for. I saw Tegan and Sara live at KOKO London, one of the first shows for their new album. It was absolutely incredible, and such an emotional night for many reasons. I’ve been absolutely in love with Tegan and Sara for over two years now, and their music has been the soundtrack to the most important parts of my teenage life. Plus, this show was very shortly after the Orlando shooting, and Tegan and Sara made this evening such a loving, open and happy space in a time that was really dark. I’m so thankful I got to experience this concert, and I met some people who I’ve known online for months, which was so lovely. At this concert, the opening act Oscar dedicated a song to voting Remain in the Brexit vote (which was the next day) and well, it was lovely while that hope lasted, I guess. Sorry, EU. We suck as a country.

JULY

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After a month of sleeping and winding down from exam stress, I finally left the house! One notable day out was when me and my family went up to London to visit the MinaLima Harry Potter exhibition, which is just around the corner from where the Cursed Child is playing. I haven’t really been feeling the hype around the new film and play, but this exhibition was such a lovely, nostalgic look back at the props and artwork used in the films that were my entire childhood.

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At the end of July, of course, was the third annual YALC at London Film and Comic Con! I’ve been really out of touch with the blogging world this year, so I sort of just floated around this year, going to talks but not really speaking to anyone. The event this year was incredibly well run, though, so huge props to the team for another incredibly successful year. Thank you also to Macmillan for inviting me to the blogger’s breakfast, where I was lucky enough to get to talk to David Levithan and Nina LaCour. I may have been a tiny, quiet kid who just shuffled past with my signed books awkwardly, but it was so surreal to get to meet them! Levithan and LaCour have written the books that are most important to me.

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My leaver’s prom was also in July, and honestly, I didn’t understand the hype at all. People in my year have been squealing about prom since year seven, and I honestly couldn’t care less. I wore a blazer and skinny jeans instead of a sparkly dress, and worked the whole evening as the photographer! A pretty unconventional way to spend what was meant to be the ‘best night of my life’ or something, but hey, I prefer being behind a camera over partying.

AUGUST

I spent the beginning of August working at my school’s summer camp for the second time. It’s a huge stressful job that I take on by myself, photographing the whole camp and producing promo videos in a week’s space – but it’s incredibly rewarding and such great experience. I absolutely love the atmosphere and it’s my favourite job.

The week before results day, I did a week’s internship at a publisher in London. It was in non-fiction publishing, so quite different from what I usually read, but it was a really valuable experience (and also such a good way to take my mind off of results!).

At the end of August, I nervously went to pick up my GCSE results. I had made a tracker whilst revising, with all the grades I was aiming for, and somehow I got every single one – 4 A*s, 2 As, 2Bs overall. I was strangely dissociated from the ‘excitement’ of results day – people were congratulating me on my results, but I genuinely didn’t feel a thing? It was weird. I was happy, of course, and I should have been very excited and relieved but it just didn’t hit me! I signed up to sixth form at my school, then spent a relaxed afternoon with my friends in the park, which was us just basically flopping on the grass like FINALLY IT’S OVER.

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Right at the end of August, I did a thing. I’ve never been able to love long hair and all the things it entails. I’ve wanted short hair forever. So I finally got a pixie cut. Adios, seven inches of hair. If you want the longer story to this, it’s on my photography blog as I took many photos.

OCTOBER

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In October, I was unexpectedly given the chance to spend a week at Wieden + Kennedy, working with a team called The Kennedys to learn all about advertising. This company is so large, and do things in such a cool and creative way. It was an absolutely awesome experience, and gave me totally new ideas about my future career. I’m veering away from aspiring to work in publishing now, and I’m really interesting in film production and photography, particularly within advertising. Thank you, Kennedys! (It was in Shoreditch, hence the artsy wall above… more of my photos here)

NOVEMBER

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I won an award! Although I couldn’t make it to the ceremony, I was chosen as the winner of a UKYA Blogger Award, in the Champion Teen Blogger category. This trophy and book token arrived in the post a few weeks after it was announced, and I wasn’t expecting them at all – it was the loveliest surprise!

DECEMBER

So much tiredness. Sixth form has really caught up with me in the last two months of the year – I’ve been coming straight home to crawl into bed, doing just enough work to get by. I was doing okay at the start of term, but the exhaustion finally got to me. A sad way to end the year, but… Here’s hoping things are more manageable in the next term!


So… That was my year! Last year, I listed my five favourite posts from this blog, but looking back, I’m really proud of a lot from this year. So here’s a top… eight!

Cinnamon Girl Blog Tour: Review Graphic

GCSE English Literature | A Call for Diversity on the Curriculum

Cover to Cover: My Favourite Overseas Book Designs

Favourite Quotes: You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour

Book Review: As I Descended by Robin Talley

The Bibliomaniac: A Bookshelf Tour

GIRLPOWER: My Favourite Girls in YA

Life Online: Thoughts on Internet Personalities

If you’re still reading this very long post, then congrats, and thank you!

Watch this space… In a few days I’ll be posting about my favourite books from 2016 (and films and music… I have a lot of favourites, guys)

Discussion

Life Online | Thoughts on Internet Personalities

It took me a while to consider what blog I wanted to talk about this on. This one, my book blog?  Geetakesphotos, my photography blog? My Tumblr? Or should I just tweet about it?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to maintain a personality online. And I think there’s quick a lot of discussion around it too – especially with more visual platforms like Instagram and YouTube. I read a quote once about people “cropping out the sadness” on Instagram, and it’s totally true for most of us. Online spaces are where we can construct ourselves however we want to – we can choose how anonymous we want to be, and exactly what we want to share and keep private.

I have been blogging here on The Bibliomaniac since 2011, when I was eleven.I had a Facebook account even earlier (oops). Over the last two to three years in particular, I’ve subconsciously started to separate my interests, filtering them into different places on the internet. My bookish interests go here, on this blog. Last year, when I got into photography, I decided to not stray from the main topic of this blog – and created another site for that hobby. I’ve realised all my hobbies/interests are divided up onto completely different areas of the internet. Books – this blog and my Instagram. Photography – geetakesphotos and my personal Facebook. Artistic stuff – Pinterest. TV, film and music – Tumblr.

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My Tegan and Sara collection – minus all the shirts and posters!

I’m not sure if it’s only me who does this, but I’ve noticed over the course of this year that I’ve created such a huge divide between all of my interests. At the start of this year, I got hugely into interacting with other fans of Tegan and Sara, my favourite band, online – but most people I know in the community of fans don’t know I blog about books. Vice versa, book bloggers I’ve known for years probably don’t know the level of obsession I have with Tegan and Sara (unless you’ve seen the occasional tweet on my main twitter).

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My main bookshelves, full of my favourite fiction

So, why do I separate everything? Why have I created multiple ‘internet personalities?’

The answer is, I don’t know for sure, but I do have a few ideas. Part of it is definitely down to my obsessive need to organise things. Part of it is also probably down to the ideas I’ve constructed in my head about blogging. On Tumblr, I post and reblog completely random things with no order, whereas on here, it’s practically business like, and sticks to one topic: books. I feel like if I were to start posting about Tegan and Sara, or my personal photography on this blog, it wouldn’t fit with the content people expect from this blog. Therefore, I’m hesitant to post anything here that can’t be attached to anything bookish. In the same sense, you can’t find a trace of my passion for reading on my photography blog!

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me snapping photos, as usual (also this is a photo from August aww r.i.p. my long hair)

Is it a good thing to separate your interests, though? No, I don’t think so. It was an automatic thing for me, something I did subconsciously and have only recently become aware of. I’ve noticed a huge gap in the way I post and interact, based on what topic it’s on. If it’s about books, I tend to be a little more articulate. If I’m talking with friends from the Tegan and Sara community, I’m incredibly informal (and everything is memes tbh).

I feel like my internet presence would be a lot more ‘genuine,’ most especially on this blog, if I put all of my interests together and in one place. Over this year, this blog has become more of something I feel like I have to keep going – whereas my interests in photography and music have been growing, and when I post about these things it’s more whimsical, whereas this blog is more structured. I feel as though I talk a lot more informally, and more genuinely, on platforms where I have different interests. It’s strange, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently! I do feel like I’ve accidentally constructed different ‘personalities,’ and that this does affect the way people see me online.

I have made lots of attempts to blend my interests – I use my original photography on this blog, and have also made posts such as Songs and Stories which quite a few people liked! I really want to try and integrate my interests more, so there isn’t such a huge gap in my interests online – I want my personality to seem more genuine across every platform, and not so divided.

What do you think – is separating your interests online a good thing or a bad thing? Do you do it yourself?

I’d love to see what other people think about online presences!

 

 

Discussion · tag

By The Book Tag | Questionnaire

The lovely Jess from bookendsandendings tagged me in this, and I don’t usually do book tags, but I thought I’d join in! 🙂 I needed something like this to get back into the swing of blogging. Tagging: Anyone who’d like to answer these questions.

  1. What book is on your nightstand now?

At the time of writing, it’s Lost Stars by Lisa Selin Davis – you might recognise the title as Lisa visited here for the blog tour a few weeks ago! I’m around a third of the way through, and I’m really enjoying it, but ohhhh my goodness the A Level homework is piling up. This weekend I’ve had about four essays to write. It’s ridiculous. So hopefully, when my workload starts to ease up, I can get back to it!

  1. What was the last truly great book that you read?

I had to consult Goodreads for this, and narrow it down, because I have read so many fantastic books this year. I’m going to have to say UNBOXED by Non Pratt (my review graphic is here!) as it was so beautifully moving and it’s been on my mind since I put it down, which was weeks ago. It had some wonderfully unique and original characters. The simple concept of the book was pulled off beautifully, and moved me to tears. Actual tears.

  1. If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?

I really want to meet Haruki Murakami. I’ve only read about three of his works, and they aren’t my usual genre, but I could honestly read exclusively Murakami books for the rest of my life. His writing is just so beautiful and his books have a tone that I just really resonate with. I got into his work just after he did a UK book tour – gaaah! I don’t know what I would like to know from him, specifically… I just think being in the same room as him would be pretty epic.

  1. What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

This is quite hard, because I own such an eclectic mixture of things! YA is what you’ll mainly find on my shelves, but I’d like to think I read quite widely, and I hardly ever cull books so you can see how my tastes have changed over time. Some random non-YA picks I own: Forensics for Dummies, a large collection of 80s Fighting Fantasy editions, and about twenty annuals of The Dandy comic.

  1. How do you organize your personal library?

Ooh, this is a long one to explain. I have two ‘main’ bookshelves in my room which are occupied by YA and classics that I’ve read, in colour order. I have stacks and shelves of books yet to be read. And a few shelves outside of my bedroom, which is where my signed books are, as well as various other books I can’t fit on any other shelves. IF you want a better explanation, plus some visuals… here’s my bookshelf tour post!

  1. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?

THERE ARE SO MANY. I have never read Pride and Prejudice, or many classics at all for that matter. I’ve also abandoned some very popular series and trilogies – mainly because I didn’t have the time and they’re big chunky books – like Dreams of Gods and Monsters, City of Heavenly Fire and Requiem.

  1. Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like but didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

I recently read The Great Gatsby as prep for A Level English, and I was honestly just so bored while reading it. I wasn’t processing it properly, and it just didn’t capture me. But, with a lot of classic fiction, I usually get more into the story when I’m analysing it in class, so, we’ll see! I don’t actually remember what book I just didn’t finish. I’ve hardly ever DNF’ed books.

  1. What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?

At the moment, I’m drawn to fresh and exciting contemporary fiction, predominately LGBT* fiction. I have so much on my to-read list. I’d like to read more widely and diversely. As for books I stay clear of – I just cannot get into books that are traditional romances – there has to bee something really outstanding about it.

  1. If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

Considering the current political climate, and the fact that the electoral college will probably stick with their selections – Donald Trump is going to be president. Ugh. UGH. UGH. I could write a thousand page book on my feelings about this.

I think I’ll recommend him Wide Awake by David Levithan, which is about a presidential election where a gay Jewish president is set to be elected. It’s been years since I read this, but from what I remember, it follows a group of diverse youth in a campaign to support this candidate, with a strong sense of community, strength and pride. So, yep, I’d very much like Donald Trump to read this book, partly to show him what America should look like, and partly to show him that he’s gone about everything wrong. And also I think making him read about a gay Jewish president would really hurt his feelings. (thumbs up emoji)

  1. What do you plan to read next?

There is so much on my to-read pile right now, and I’m really indecisive! I have lots of review copies that look great, such as Wide Awake by Angie Stanton and Wing Jones by Katherine Webber. I’m really excited to see what those are like.

Discussion

Ctrl, Alt; Delete: Social Media and Me

26085734If you’re wondering what Ctrl, Alt; Delete is, you’ve been living under a rock and/or haven’t used Twitter in a year. Emma Gannon, social media whizz, blogger and writer has written the memoir everyone from the Internet age needs to read. It’s a fantastic book – I couldn’t wait for it to come out, and I devoured it.

It’s a brilliant insight into Emma’s life, her online world, and how she’a turned her love for social media and online content into a highly successful career. She started off on Myspace, and now writes for huge media outlets, alongside running her highly successful blog and podcast.

Although I’m only 16, like Emma Gannon I have grown up with the Internet. I can’t really remember a time before it was a daily part of my life. So inevitably, I adored reading about Emma’s online experiences – so much of it was (sometimes painfully) relatable. Ctrl, Alt; Delete is hilarious and entertaining, but also raises some very interesting discussion points. Where do you draw the line between personal life and what you share online? How can you tell if people are real? How on earth do we discover small, talented bloggers when there are so many sites out there?

One of the things I love most about the book is that it’s essentially a timeline of Emma’s online life.  It made me think a lot about how my internet use has changed over the years. I thought it would be quite funny to make a timeline:

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I think it’s so fascinating to think about how much of my life has been shaped online. I used to write and draw in diaries up until age ten, and now virtually everything I do is written on a blog, an online notepad, drawn with my graphics tablet, programmed onto a Calendar.

I think I’m very open on the internet, and there is quite a blurred line between my online life and my ‘private’ one. If I go out for a day with friends, I won’t necessarily talk about it online, but I will turn my photos into a blog post. If I’m struggling with school, I’ll complain on Twitter and Tumblr. I switch between talking to my friends to sending them gifs on Tumblr, when we’re both in the same room. Heck, even my Media Studies coursework is entirely virtual, written on a private school blog.

A lot of people probably view my largely-online life as a bad thing. My eyes are probably so bad because I’m on the computer all the time. I don’t really like socialising IRL. I’m not very good at holding a conversation, unless it’s through social media, and I probably should get out more.

But I love it. I love growing up online. The Internet has given me so many opportunities that never would have been presented to me otherwise. I’m studying Photography and Media because I’m fascinated by editing images and online culture. I’m gaining work experience and networking just by running my blogs. I’ve met the most incredible people in my life, whom I talk to every day. I don’t know how I’d live without all of this.

So, I want to know what you think. How much of your life is online? Do you control what people see on your social media, or are you an open book?

Discussion

THANK YOU | UKYABA 2016

So, a few weeks ago, I got a Twitter notifcation. I clicked on it, wondering why on earth I’d been tagged in a thread about UKYABA – and it turns out, to my disbelief, that I had actually been nominated for an AWARD.

I was convinced someone must have nominated the wrong person, but then the awards ceremony (which I sadly couldn’t make it to!) came and went, and people began tweeting me congratulations for winning. I was still convinced they had the wrong person when the lovely Andy Robb, founder of the awards, said he was going to send out my prize to me.

So this turned up today, and, whoa okay it’s real whoa whoa whoa.

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So. I won a UKYA Blogger Award, in the Champion Teen Blogger category. IDK HOW EITHER. My prize was this really awesome trophy, plus a lovely £25 personalised book token.

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I am so, so thankful to the people who made this possible – it’s such a surprising achievement for me, and the people running this award are the loveliest, kindest people in the publishing world for recognising bloggers. I’m so grateful people read and enjoy my blog, enough to award it!

This blog, The Bibliomaniac Book Blog started in 2011, known then as Book and Writers JNR. It’s been through many changes since – in a way, it’s grown up with me. This blog has enabled me to reach so many people and become interconnected with an industry that I adore. I’m very honoured to have even one person read a post – let alone hundreds.

So, to everyone who reads this blog, and of course to the lovely people who nominated me – THANK YOU!

Congratulations also to everyone else who was nominated for/won an award. You’re all awesome and the shortlists were full of so many wonderful people that I’m lucky to be associated with.

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Book Review · Discussion

Book Review and Film Discussion: The Drowning of Arthur Braxton

Today’s post isn’t a conventional review! I was kindly sent a copy of Arthur Braxton, a book I have wanted to read for months, and given that the movie adaptation is out soon (and that this new edition of the book has just published), I thought I would make this review a part-discussion, too!

I’ve been a fan of Luke Cutforth on YouTube for a long time, so when I discovered he was making his first feature film, I was jumping around in excitement. I can’t wait to see it.

Review and Discussion:

Written by Caroline Smailes, published by 4th Estate; adapted into film by Luke Cutforth.

Goodreads Synopsis: Arthur Braxton runs away from school.

He hides out in an abandoned building, an old Edwardian bathhouse.

He discovers a naked woman swimming in the pool.

From this point on, nothing will ever be the same.

My Review: It’s hard to put how I felt about this book into words. It is equal parts strange and wonderful and messed up, but that’s why I liked it.

Reading this book was an incredibly weird experience. Although I enjoyed it, it didn’t instantly blow me away, but it properly hit me after I’d put the book down and began mulling it over. The story, to anyone going in unknowing of the plot, is bizarre, but captivating; teenage Arthur Braxton finds his way into an abandoned bathhouse on a desperate night, and what he finds in there changes his life forever.

I couldn’t like Arthur very much at all, which was sad – but the characters I did adore were the ones that he finds in the swimming pool. Without giving away anything, I’ll say that their stories brought me to tears, and were told in such memorable ways. Lots of people adore Arthur’s character for how brutally honest the representation of his character is, but for me I couldn’t enjoy it too much. I’ll admit that I found it a bit crude in places (even though that is how it’s supposed to be!). Despite being an accurate depiction of a teenager, I just wished he had some qualities I could’ve liked.

I can’t wait to see how the film adaptation presents all of the characters on screen. I’m not sure how accurate they can be (given that there’s a lot of nudity and swearing, and I’m assuming the producers will be aiming for a 12/15 rating) but it’ll be really exciting to see how they appear. The casting looks fantastic so far, and features lots of upcoming talents, so I’m really excited!

The format of the book was really interesting, and not what I had expected! Different characters told their stories in varying styles – parts were in script, parts were conventional storytelling, and a couple of chapters were simply just dialogue. I adored the way in which the plot was told and presented – it felt very refreshing and kept me engaged. I’d love to read more books told in quirky ways like this.

What I also enjoyed about the book was the setting, and how there’s a lot between the lines to read into. Most of the book is set within the Oracle, an abandoned bath house set to be demolished and rebuilt. I envisioned it as a really haunting looking place, but the BTS photos of the set so far are very different – though it looks awesome!

If I am completely honest, I was not blown away by this book whilst reading it – not every aspect appealed to me, and parts were very unsettling. However, I think part of the reason I didn’t fall in love with it was because I wasn’t taking in the mythological aspects of the book – it flew right over my head! I read up on it after reading, and began to appreciate the story much more. There are many layers to this unique story, and it’ll be really interesting to see how Luke, director, translates these from page to screen.

Overall, The Drowning of Arthur Braxton left me in a very weird state after reading. It’s unlike anything I have ever read before; strange, haunting and weirdly wonderful. I’d recommend it to anyone who is looking for a very unconventional story; one that will make you laugh and cry.

I think Luke is the perfect director for this film. By looking at his YouTube channel, anyone might think he’s a strange choice – most of his videos are on the bizarre, funny side – not serious. But I think he’ll bring the brilliant crudeness to the film that the book has; and also, from his directing of various music videos on YouTube in the past, I can tell he’s definitely made for this sort of thing. It will be awesome to see his skills adapting to a much bigger project.

The new edition of this book (cover pictured at the top of this post!) also contains a new introduction written by him – so it’s definitely worth checking that out!

My Rating:

three and a half

I received a copy of The Drowning of Arthur Braxton from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Discussion · event

YALC 2016: Recap and Book Haul

YALC YALC YALC YALC YALC!! YEAR THREE!!

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I was so pumped for YALC this year, though admittedly, slightly less pumped than usual -I haven’t been to a book event in such a long time (was my last book event YALC 2015…? OH NO) due to exams and stress and life being ridiculously busy and draining. So I was pretty nervous about going and talking to (or not being able to talk to) the many lovely bloggers I know online but haven’t talked to in so long because, as mentioned, life is busy and draining.

BUT. To the fun stuff; let’s ignore my brain for a sec. I was very excited to go, and see how the convention is developing even further in its third successful year. So, onto a messy recap/book haul post!


I arrived at around 8.30 to YALC – earlier than the starting time, because I was very honoured to have been invited to this year’s blogger’s breakfast before the opening. I was really excited for this, as each year of YALC a few authors come and do a small, more intimate talk with bloggers and vloggers – this year, to celebrate You Know Me Well and #BookPride, it was David Levithan and Nina LaCour!

29848950Being me, I didn’t take photos, because I’m stupid. I was also a little in overdrive at the prospect of my two favourite authors in the same room as me. I adore their books more than anything, they’re all so important to me – reading titles from You Know Me Well, to Wide Awake, to Everything Leads To You have been pivotal moments in my life, no exaggeration. David and Nina discussed YKMW, then opened up to the bloggers for questions – and there was a short signing after, in which I was much too shy to say a huge thank you to them for such beautiful books.

It was incredibly cool of them to do the press junket the day after their big YALC appearance, especially as they must have been a lil jet lagged. Thank you to the both of them for the great morning, and to the YALC team for organising the press junket and inviting me!

The first things I did when YALC started officially was sit in on the first two panels. The first was a range of authors mostly with their debut novels releasing this year, celebrating new talent in YA. It was really interesting to hear from a lot of them, as I don’t think I would have otherwise. Claire Hennessey was on this panel, and Nothing Tastes as Good is set to be an awesome release –  in fact, I read an early manuscript of this so can vouch for it!

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The second panel of the day was ASK YALC, with Holly Bourne, Juno Dawson and Rosalind Jana, hosted by Gemma Cairney of BBC Radio 1. I loved this panel so much! It was probably my favourite. It had a little twist to it, as beforehand audience members wrote down questions they wanted advice to – and the panel members answered them on stage. I loved hearing all of the advice – they’re all such brilliant, intelligent and funny people. I was also introduced to Rosalind Jana through this panel, whom I hadn’t previously heard of (ok I probably have, I just have an awful memory). I rushed to buy a copy of her book afterwards!

As I went to Juno and Rosalind’s signings after the second panel, I’d missed a lot of the next one, which was a fantasy one including Philip Reeve. I was a little sad about that, but I decided midday to take a lil break from YALC, and hop down a floor to LFCC to see what was going on there!

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Having spent most of my money on books, it wasn’t the best use of my time; LFCC is mainly a place for buying merch from stands, and queuing for paid autographs and photos with Sci Fi icons. (Very cool, but less so for a broke student like moi)

I did enjoy wandering around a lot, though! It was so different to YALC. The cosplay that I was was amazing (note: a small six y/o-ish Harley Quinn that outdid EVERY other Harley Quinn I saw, like, whoa) and I loved looking at artists’ stands of prints and comics.

I then went back to YALC, to watch the Morally Complicated YA Panel. Even though I was basically winging the whole day, going to panels on a whim, I knew I had to go to this one. It was set to be fantastic – Louise O’Neill and Melvin Burgess, two authors very well known for their controversial but life changing fiction, were joined by Monsters author Emerald Fennel (which I am still yet to read!) and Girl, Detached author Manuela Salvi (this looks SO GOOD).

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So many interesting points were raised about censorship in young adult fiction – from where we draw the line, to banning books, to comparisons with movies. This is a topic I’ve been quietly interested in for a while – and, as I’m currently looking for EPQ ideas (an essay project for extra UCAS points in sixth form) this has actually inspired me to consider writing about YA and censorship for my project!

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The only author photo I got at YALc was with Louise O’Neill, but that was incredibly cool – I’ve been to one of her signings before, but I only bought Asking For It today and I cannot wait to read it. I have a feeling I’ll have an in-depth discussion blog post following reading.

I didn’t actually spend as long at YALC as I did the last two years – I left before the last panel (a Harry Potter Party!) had ended. But I still had a fantastic time!

Similarly to my smaller amount of time at YALC, I also got surprisingly few books (I mean, look at 2014…). However, they’re some pretty awesome books. I can’t wait to delve into them asap. Also pictured: a tote bag and poster from the lovely Hot Key Books, and some postcards of books I must keep and eye out for!

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Books purchased:

-Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Finally, it’s here! I can’t wait to go back to my childhood again.)

-The Yellow Room by Jess Vallance (Loved Jess’ debut. This looks very mysterious.)

-Notes on Being Teenage by Rosalind Jana (Rosalind was fantastic on her panel and this sounds nice!)

-Asking For It by Louise O’Neill (I’ve needed this book in my life for. so. long.)

-[FREE PROOF:] Girl, Detached by Manuela Salvi (This sounded very interesting, and I don’t read much translated fiction)


A HUGE thank you to the organisers behind YALC for putting together such a fantastic event – the whole weekend looked amazing, and the day I visited was really enjoyable. Thank you also to the authors and publicists for putting together such cool panels! Bring on next year 🙂