One week from tomorrow, I will be heading to Charleston, South Carolina for YALLfest (Charleston’s Young Adult Book Festival). Have any of my fellow English teachers or book-lovers heard of this?
Now in its fourth year, YALLFEST has become one of the largest gatherings of young adult writers and fans in the United States. The two-day event – hosted by Blue Bicycle Books on King Street downtown – will host sixty of the country’s top YA authors, including 25 New York Times bestsellers in panel discussions, presentations, and informal “coffee chats” about craft, story… I’m SO excited.
These are the books and the authors my students are devouring at night and coming to school talking about in the morning. There are whole fan clubs online devoted to these characters and counting down the days until the next book in a series comes out. And, in recent years, with the popularity of books like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and The Fault in Our Stars (as well as their subsequent movies) even adults have jumped on the YA bandwagon and started getting excited about this literature written for and about teenagers.
Despite all that, I’m admittedly behind the curve on this trend. Back when I was in grad school and in my early years of teaching, I was all about reading “what my students are reading.” But, lately, I’ve barely been able to squeeze in the latest cult classic before it hit theaters… I’m really hoping that this will be a jolt to my system and introduce me to some of the newest and greatest in the field. I’m confident that it will.
In the meantime, I’m doing a little – what they call in my profession – cramming. 😉
At the recommendation of my girlfriend Courtney – who recently earned her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and is currently writing her own YA novel – I’ve chosen a book (one of their most popular) written by each of the event’s key note speakers to try to read between now and next weekend.
*So far, I’m halfway through Matched and pretty into it. It’s a little Giver-meets-Hunger Games, but it is keeping my attention, and it’s an easy read. I’ve also heard great things about The Maze Runner, so I’m planning to start that one next… There are SO many other books I want to read too, but this seemed like a manageable way to narrow it down, and I think it will be the most beneficial since I’ll definitely hear each of these writers speak. Hopefully, when I come back, I’ll have LOTS more to share with you!
In the meantime, have you read any of these? Are you a YA Lit fan? What are some of your favorite titles and authors? Who should I look out for next week?
More to come,