Preuss Students Attend Annual Yallwest Book Festival


Stephanie Garcia

Preuss students attend Yallwest to indulge in their favorite authors’ work.

The Yallwest Book Festival is an annual book festival that takes place at Santa Monica High School, in Santa Monica, CA.. This year, Yallwest took place on Saturday, April 29th. The festival is primarily focused on middle school and young adult literature. Each year, the festival selects a large group of authors to feature on panels, book signings, workshops, and other events that bring together the authors and their readers.

In order to attend, Preuss students had to have their parent/guardian sign a permission slip and be one of the first thirty students to submit it to our librarians, Ms. Nance or Ms. Gonzales. Fortunately, Ms. Nance was able to get ten more tickets, allowing more students to attend the festival. Students were to be at Preuss no later than 6:45 AM to board the bus.

“My favorite part about the Yallwest Festival was getting my book signed by Victoria Aveyard,” stated Natalie Luna (23’).

Some of the authors who were present to sign books were Victoria Aveyard, Melissa De La Cruz, Dhonielle Clayton, Soman Chainani, and Nick Brooks. Many of the book signings consisted of treats being given out like coffee and donuts, ice cream, and tacos. 

The Preuss School has been attending the Yallwest Book Festival since 2014. The festival was brought to our librarian’s attention when a student from the class of 2016 mentioned it. For the first year, about only eight to seven students were able to attend. As the years went by, Preuss librarians were able to bring more students to fill a van, however, Preuss has upgraded to taking a school bus.

“The lines for everything were so long, I’m pretty sure that I spent half the day waiting for the Heartstopper event,” complained Sifan Hikssa (23’).

Heartstopper is both a graphic novel series created by Alice Oseman. It originally was a webcomic and followed the story of Charlie and Nick, two boys who attend the same all-boys grammar school in England. The series contained themes of identity, love, and friendship, primarily focused on the development of Nick and Charlie’s romantic relationship. The event consisted of trivia questions about the fandom. People who participated were able to acquire a coloring book, pins, and stickers, but only those who answered the question correctly would be able to receive a Heartstopper waterbottle. 

To end the festival, Preuss students attended the Yallwest All-Star Smackdown, which started at 6 PM and ended roughly at 7 PM. The Yallwest Smackdown is a show in which a cast of featured authors engage on stage. They do things like lip sync battles, mad libs, never-have-I-ever, and so much more. This year, the Smackdown was hosted by Dhonielle Clayton and Ryan La Sala. The authors followed the theme of horror and twisted tales. 

After the end of the show, students took their belongings and walked towards a small plaza where the bus was meant to pick them up at 8 PM. Students took advantage of the time to buy food, eat, and use the restroom. The bus arrived at Preuss at around 10:30 PM where students were picked up by their parents.

The Yallwest Festival is overall an amazing experience for book fanatics, given the opportunity to branch out of their preferred genres and meet new people whom they can really connect with.

“I just hope they have a good time, pick up some free swag and see their favorite authors,” expressed Ms. Nance.