Another YALLfest is in the books! While I didn’t get as big of a haul as I have in years past, I did get quite a few good books. I’ll list the top books I got and the honorable, but still exciting books. Let’s go!
1. Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland
I had no idea if this book would be at YALLfest, just a hunch. EpicReads was doing a fantasy ARC giveaway with 3 fantasy books to choose from. They were being a bit secretive about the books they would be giving away. But I felt that this could be one of them. So I made sure to be at the near front of the line for this. I waited for an hour and EpicReads started to walk down the line and pass out cards that had all three books listed and instructed us to pick only one. I did a full on happy dance when I saw this book on there. When the line started moving for us to pick up our books, I happy danced all the way to the front and continued until the book was placed in my hands. I proceeded to send a picture of the book so T. Mack and we did a happy dance from several hundred miles apart. Getting this book absolutely made my YALLfest!
2. Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed
I knew this book would be at YALLfest and I knew there would be very few copies available. I waited a long time, but I guaranteed myself a copy of this book. I love Becky Albertalli (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, What If It’s Us, etc.) and I knew I just had to have this book. Only about 50 copies were available and I got my hands on one! I’ve never read any of Aisha Saeed’s work, but I’ve heard wonderful things about her. I can’t wait to read this book. This book features a Jewish boy (Jamie) and a Muslim girl (Maya) who are working to canvas for an upcoming political election. People are calling Jamie and Maya “the cross-cultural crush of the century” and I’m so hype! I love diversity! And we need more of it! And a book about young adults getting involved politically? Yes, please!
3. We Were Promised Spotlights by Lindsay Sproul
PenguinTeen was giving out this book and several others to their newsletter subscribers, which I happily am. I chose this book out of the five they were giving away. The cover is sparkly and gorgeous IRL, btw. Here’s the GoodReads description:
“Taylor Garland’s good looks have earned her the admiration of everyone in her small town. She’s homecoming queen, the life of every party, and she’s on every boy’s most-wanted list. People think Taylor is living the dream, and assume she’ll stay in town and have kids with the homecoming king–maybe even be a dental hygienist if she’s super ambitious. But Taylor is actually desperate to leave home, and she hates the smell of dentists’ offices. Also? She’s completely in love with her best friend, Susan. Senior year is almost over, and everything seems perfect. Now Taylor just has to figure out how to throw it all away. Lindsay Sproul’s debut is full of compelling introspection and painfully honest commentary on what it’s like to be harnessed to a destiny you never wanted.”
It’s like this book was made for me! I love a good coming of age story and we need more of those stories that center around LGBTQIA+ youth. I can’t wait to read this book!
4. Dear Universe by Florence Gonsalves
I almost didn’t get this book. Shout to the book gods for being on my side and letting me get my hands on this book. This cover is so pretty. I love all the blue and purple. And the description is incredible. See for yourself:
Sorry for interrupting you with my presence, but I’m wondering if you could have my back for once. I recently had a massive chin zit and a period stain you could see from space and my boyfriend kissed someone else and also my dad is dying faster than usual. If you could show up during my last English class so I can graduate and like achieve my potential or something, I’d appreciate it. It’s senior year, and Chamomile Myles has whiplash from traveling between her two universes: school (the relentless countdown to prom, torturous college applications, and the mindless march toward an uncertain future) and home, where she wrestles a slow, bitter battle with her father’s terminal illness. Enter Brendan, a man-bun- and tutu-wearing hospital volunteer with a penchant for absurdity, who strides boldly between her worlds—and helps her open up a new road between them. Dear Universe is the dazzling follow-up to Florence Gonsalves’s debut, Love & Other Carnivorous Plants, hailed by School Library Journal as “a must-have sharp, powerful, and witty immersion into the complexities of…mental health.”
I love the narrator, Chamomile’s, voice already. And I adore books that take a serious/humorous take on mental health. Love, love, love it!
5. Camp by L.C. Rosen
Another gorgeous cover! YALLfest killed it with these covers this year! This is another book I almost didn’t get, but the book gods were on my side yet again! And the description is adorable:
“Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim – who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists.
This year, though, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’ – buff, masculine, and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish, and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him. But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself how much is he willing to change for love. And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?”
How cute does this sound? I can’t wait to read this adorable coming of age story.
Honorable mentions that I’m also excited that I got and can’t wait to read:
- Redemption Prep by Samuel Miller
- Look by Zan Romanoff
- Time of Our Lives by Emily Wibberley
- Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
- Together We Caught Fire by Eva V. Gibson
- The Summer of Impossibilities by Rachael Allen
- Brown Girl Ghosted by Mintie Das
- They Went Left by Monica Hesse
- What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter
- This Light Between Us by Andrew Fukuda
- Trinkets by Kirsten Smith
- The Deep by Rivers Solomon
- Sparrow by Mary Cecilia Jackson
- Between Burning Worlds by Jessica Brody
- Anna K. by Jenny Lee
Did you go to YALLfest? Did you get any good books? Let me know below!