The Best of YALLFest 2014: 10 Blissful Highlights


YALLFest, a celebration of the vibrant world of young adult fiction, concluded its fourth, and biggest, festival on November 8 with an epic gathering of 60 of the world’s best young adult authors. Thousands of fans from all over the country, and abroad, capitalized on this unique opportunity to mingle and meet their favorite authors in charming Charleston, SC. Though the festival was compressed over the course of a just a day and a half, there were plenty of notable highlights to keep the buzz going until YALLWest (a new sister festival) launches in April 2015.

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Jonathan Sanchez, Margaret Stohl, Melissa De La Cruz

1. Margaret Stohl. Margaret Stohl. Margaret Stohl. Marget Stohl was hands down the hostess with the mostess and effortlessly and impressively led the festival with her energy and enthusiasm. How she was able to be everywhere at the same time, we’ll never know- but we’ll happily attribute it her superhero prowess and an abundance of coffee.


2. Jonathan Sanchez, owner of Blue Bicycle Books, was again crowned “the most beloved man in Charleston,” his dedication to literacy outreach is tremendous.  Mr. Sanchez, along with fellow board members Margaret Stohl, Kami Garcia, Melissa de la Cruz,  Brendan Reichs and Pseudonymous Bosch, hosted a remarkable event that cast a coolness on reading, literacy, and YA.



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3. For future reference, Charleston, South Carolina is the premier location for basically any event anybody is ever thinking of hosting. It’s charming, beautiful, walkable and filled with nice people.


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Margaret Stohl, Sara Zarr, James Dashner


4. James Dashner owes Sara Zarr some money. Maybe even a lot of money: “The original version of The Maze Runner deserved to be rejected; it needed a lot of work. But my wife loved the story. She told me it was the best book idea I’d ever had, and she made me dig it out and revise it. So I did. Even though I hate the revision process, I knew The Maze Runner needed it, so I rewrote the whole thing,” said James. “Then I signed with Sara’s agent, Michael Bourret, and fired my agent. Michael sold The Maze Runner to Random House in three weeks. Without my wife and Sara, The Maze Runner wouldn’t be where it is.”



Adam Gidwitz Reviews Taboo Rules with Veronica Roth and James Dashner

5. Adam Gidwitz hosted a game of Taboo with James Dashner and Veronica Roth, and as if the anticipation for this epic showdown wasn’t enough, Mr. Gidwitz slipped in some hilarity with his shamelessly competitive example slide, which set the tone for a shamelessly competitive, hilarious game of Taboo.


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Psuedonymous Bosch, Margaret Stohl, Stephanie Perkins

6. Pseudonymous Bosch wore a croissant on his head for a whole day. A croissant, people.

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My Name Is  <Writer>  And I Am A  Basketcase Panel

7. The “My Name is <Writer> And I Am A Basketcase” panel. Winston Churchill said, “The price of greatness is responsibility,” the writers on this panel who candidly spoke out about their journey with ADHD, anxiety, and depression deserve tremendous admiration for their determination to use their platform to inspire and encourage others.


Daniel Ehrenhaft and Natalie Sandiford

Daniel Ehrenhaft and Natalie Standiford

8. Natalie Standiford got dared by an audience member  during the “Middle Grade Truth or Dare” panel to conduct a school visit, and she agreed with zero flippancy and lots of class.


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Aaron Hartzler Hosts Hollywood Squares


9. Aaron Hartzler was brilliant as the host of Hollywood Squares Smackdown. Hartzler stole the show with his genuine enthusiasm and clever banter,  a classic demonstration of why these authors are so likable.


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Varian Johnson and Rita Williams-Garcia


10. Don’t mess with Rita Williams-Garcia. Reading from her childhood diary, Ms. Williams-Garcia recited one of her early letters to publishers – “You best publish me.” Glad they listened.

Visit The Children’s Book Review for our full YALLFest 2014 Event Recap and read more about YALLFest at

Sixty Acclaimed Young Adult Fiction Authors To Attend Fourth Annual YALLFest This November


YA Fiction fans of all ages will have an amazing opportunity to meet and interact with many of their favorite authors at the Fourth Annual YALLFest, coming up this November. The talent and energy at this event is guaranteed to knock your socks off. Perhaps best and most generous of all, the majority of events at YALLFest are completely free.  Learn more by reading the press release, below, or by visiting


CHARLESTON, S.C- June 5,2014.-The fourth annual YALLFest, the largest and only author-run Young Adult (YA) book festival in the country, will bring 60 acclaimed authors, including 37 New York Times bestsellers to Charleston on Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8, 2014. An expanded format this year includes two days of interactive panels, signings and readings taking place at various venues in historic downtown Charleston.

The line-up at this year’s festival includes the best and brightest in the YA world. YA’s hottest author, Veronica Roth, whose breakout hit

Veronica Roth Image Courtesy of YALLFest

Veronica Roth
Image Courtesy of YALLFest

Divergent just hit the 20 million mark in sales, will return to YALLFest as a panelist. “YALLFest is a fantastic blend of raucous laughter, thoughtful discussions, amazing books, and of course, delicious pie,” said Roth.

An opening keynote conversation with internationally bestselling James Dashner (The Maze Runner, and forthcoming feature film adaptation) and friend Sara Zarr (National Book Award-nominated Story of a Girl) will kick things off Saturday, November 8, and a closing keynote will feature the internationally bestselling duo Sarah Dessen (The Moon and More) and Ally Condie (Matched trilogy).

Returning this year is the Middle Grade Storyball, where middle school kids will have the opportunity to write and publish their own story alongside renowned children’s authors. The festival concludes with the wildly popular YA Smackdown where all authors compete in storytelling games for the coveted “Golden Pie” trophy and the official YALLFest band, Tiger Beat, headlined by author Libba Bray, performs.

Psuedonymous Bosh Image Courtesy of YALLFest

Psuedonymous Bosh
Image Courtesy of YALLFest

YALLFest was co-founded by Jonathan Sanchez, owner of Charleston’s only locally owned and operated bookstore, Blue Bicycle Books, and Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia (co-authors of the Beautiful Creatures series). Melissa de la Cruz, (author of the Blue Bloods series) is the festival’s director of development,supported by fellow executive board members Brendan Reichs (co-author of the Virals series) and Pseudonymous Bosch (author of the Secret series.)

In addition to Roth, Dashner, Zarr, Dessen, Condie, Bray, Stohl, Garcia, de la Cruz, Bosch and Reichs, the festival is proud to welcome a diverse roster of bestselling panelists who include Ann Brashares (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants novels); Kiera Cass (The Selection trilogy); Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush trilogy); Gayle Forman (If I Stay, and forthcoming feature film adaptation); Marie Lu (Legend trilogy);Lauren Oliver (Delirium trilogy); Kathy Reichs (Virals and Bones television adaptation); Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park); Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy); Scott Westerfeld (Uglies novels) and fifteen-year-old Maya Van Wagenen (Popular).

Newberry Award-winning Rita Williams-Garcia is a special guest of the festival, alongside many bestsellers and authors of note including

Gayle Forman Image Courtesy of YALLFest

Gayle Forman
Image Courtesy of YALLFest

Kwame Alexander, Jennifer Armentrout, Leigh Bardugo, Alexandra Bracken, Matt de la Pena, Jim di Bartolo, Lauren Billings & Christina Hobbs (as Christina Lauren), Coe Booth, Jocelyn Davies, Susan Ee, Dan Ehrenhaft, Sarah Fine, Adam Gidwitz, Ryan Graudin, Adele Griffin, Nikki Grimes, Lev Grossman, Michelle Hodkin, Ellen Hopkins, Varian Johnson, Michael Johnston, David Levithan, C. Alexander London, E. Lockhart, DJ MacHale, Sarah J Maas, Barnabas Miller, Sarah Mylnowski, Lauren Myracle, Danielle Paige, Stephanie Perkins, Morgan Rhodes, Carrie Ryan & John Parke Davis, Kieran Scott, Jennifer E. Smith, Natalie Standiford and J.E. Thompson.

YALLFest’s mission is to improve literacy through great YA literature and it is quickly becoming the most highly anticipated annual event for booklovers of all ages. For more information visit

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