Find YA fiction favorites and fellow fans at the YALLWEST Book Festival

Get your book geek on

Born out of a love for YA, or young adult fiction, the YALLWEST Book Festival returns to Santa Monica this Friday and Saturday (May 3 & 4) with panels and discussions on everything from how to publish your own YA novel to how to create the next great superhero, video game or comic.

While the festival is focused mostly on teens, fans of all ages can hear from their favorite young adult writers and content creators such as New York Times bestselling author Sarah Dessen, “Divergent” series creator Veronica Roth, and even actress, author and late-night talk show host Busy Philipps. Topics to be explored during the festival include: “If Nobody Dates IRL, Why are Romcoms on the Rise?,” the “Mechanics of Magic + Power,” and the lure of space in fiction writing.

YA author Sam Maggs, a panelist for “DIY Storymakers: How to Make the Next Fortnite” and the live podcast recording of “Storymakers: The Women of Marvel,” explains how YALLWEST is now one of her favorite conventions.

“Everybody involved with YALLWEST thinks that teens are one of the most important book markets ever,” she says. “We love writing for teens and it’s exciting to be able to meet the fans face-to-face.” She’s excited to meet both fans and fellow authors between speaking on panels and signing copies of her books “The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy,” “Marvel Fearless and Fantastic!” and “Girl Squads.”

The festival kicks off with an evening of madcap fun called “Fierce Friday” from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Santa Monica Public Library, where fans can get copies of their books signed and walk away with some awesome literary swag. The rest of the festival continues with food trucks, games, giveaways, an open mic and even more signings and panels at Santa Monica High School starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. Some events are ticketed, but the majority are free

— Tygre Patchell-Evans

The YALLWEST Book Festival happens from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 3, at the Santa Monica Public Library (601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica) and continues from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday May 4, at Samohi (601 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica). For the full YALLWEST festival schedule and to purchase tickets, visit