I had the chance to attend Pasadena Loves YA once again! This was my third year attending and I love seeing how much bigger the festival grows each year while still remaining a pretty small festival (especially in comparison to Yallwest). This year there was the added bonus of hanging out with both Christy and Jana from Bookcrushin!
The first panel of the day was “Out of the Ashes” featuring Nicole Mainardi, Demetra Brodsky, Clare Di Liscia, Mary McCoy, and Lauren Morrill. These lovely authors talked about the inspiration behind their books, how they got their first book published (Lauren answered a Craigslist ad!), query tips, and writing advice. I was looking forward to this panel as I was excited about meeting Lauren Morrill during the signing. We talked about her upcoming romcom, It’s Kind of a Cheesy Love Story, and her experience working as an extra on the Vampire Diaries and how that inspired her novel, My Unscripted Life.
Panel 2, “Against All Odds,” featured Catherine Linka, Julie Berry, Derek Milman, and Abdi Nazemian. While I haven’t read any of these authors’ novels yet, it was interesting listening to them talk about culture, love, barriers, music, and how all of those topics influenced their books.
We headed back downstairs for the third panel of the day, “Rebels and Rebirth,” with Jennifer Brody, Maura Milan, Alexa Donne, Andrew Smith, and Caitlin Seal. Again, I haven’t read any of the books featured on this panel, but Ignite the Stars and Brightly Burning have been in my TBR! This panel focused a lot on world building and characters.
The last panel of the day was my favorite, which would make sense since it focused on contemporary novels! “Expectation vs. Reality” starred Gretchen McNeil, Dana L. Davis, Maurene Goo, Christine Riccio, and Amy Spalding. They talked a lot about what inspires them, pulling stuff from their real life, and getting the chance to tell diverse stories.
The festival ended with a book blitz where I was able to pick up some exciting books! I also stopped by the Friends of the Library bookstore and found a copy of City of Ghosts! Thank you to all of the authors, volunteers, librarians, and Pasadena Public Library for another great festival! I’m already excited for next year’s event!