Less than 24 hours after booksellers left McCormick Place in Chicago at the end of BookExpo America on May 13, the convention center’s West Hall was transformed from trade show to literary amusement park. More than 7,000 people from all walks of life – but primarily females in their teens and 20s – walked the aisles and stood in long lines to meet their favorite authors and pick up the book swag that publishers could not hand out fast enough. Below are photos from this year’s BookCon.

HarperCollins’s booth featured a “Spin & Win” roulette wheel, which BookCon attendees could spin to win prizes of the press’s hottest ARCs.

Crowds of booklovers swarmed through the aisles of the exhibit area, swooping up the swag that publishers happily handed out to them. While Quarto’s giveaways were gone in 15 minutes, it took an hour for Hachette’s booth to be picked clean.

Dav Pilkey signed copies of Dog Man for eager fans.

YA authors Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass series), Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy), and Victoria Aveyard (the Red Queen trilogy) participated on the “Book Hooked” panel on how to keep readers engaged with a series while they wait for the next installment, with moderator Jeff Giles, whose debut YA novel, The Edge of Everything (Bloomsbury) will be published in 2017. The panel was standing-room-only – as were all of the panels PW looked in on.

YA author Danielle Paige autographed ARCs of Stealing Snow (Bloomsbury, Sept.) in the autographing area, accompanied by her editor, Cindy Loh, publishing director of Bloomsbury Kids. Stealing Snow is, according to the publisher, a “retelling of the legend of the Snow Queen.”

The crowds of BookCon attendees were, according to show manager Brien McDonald of ReedPOP, “energetic and engaged,” and the “positive energy in the building was undeniable” as authors were treated like literary rock stars by their fans.

Pierce Brown, author of the Red Rising trilogy, during the “Stories You Haven’t Written Yet” panel.

These young women – from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Canada – met one another that day, and quickly became besties while standing in a long line outside Disney’s booth, where Alexandra Bracken signed books as well as samplers of The Wayfarer (January 2017), a sequel to The Passenger.

Authors (from l.) David Levithan, Ann M. Martin, and Raina Telgemeier.

Author Zoraida Cordova signed an ARC of Labryinth Lost (Sourcebooks, Sept.) for a fan. The YA novel is the first in Cordova’s Brooklyn Brujas series of fantasy adventure novels, and is described by the author as “Beautiful Creatures meets Daughter of Smoke and Bone with an infusion of Latin American tradition.”

YA authors (from l.) Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy series), Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments series), and James Dashner (Maze Runner series) discussed the joys and tribulations of seeing their novels adapted into film. It was difficult for each giving up control of their intellectual property, they said, as well as surreal to see their characters brought to life.

Alexandra Bracken signing at the Disney booth.

One attendee snagged the sweetest swag of all.

The Cassandra Clare/Mortal Instruments swag at Simon & Schuster’s booth drew a steady stream of fans, some of whom also dropped off fan letters and gifts for Clare.

Scholastic’s Muggle Wall, where Harry Potter fans could write their thoughts about what the series meant to them, became a shrine of sorts, as the day progressed and the wall filled up with comments, which these two young Chicago residents enjoyed reading.

Kate DiCamillo chatted with Sherman Alexie backstage before their panel, “The Power of Storytelling.”

Readers chose their favorite Amulet title in the Abrams booth.

Leopoldo Gout signed his debut Genius: The Game for a young reader.

Jazz Jennings, teen transgender advocate, star of the GLAAD Media Award-winning TLC docuseries I Am Jazz, and author of the upcoming memoir Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen (on sale June 7), made her first appearance at BookCon for a fan meet-and-greet session.

Katharine McGee talking about her debut novel, The Thousandth Floor, with a table of fans at the Epic Reads meet-up.

Natalie Richards chatted with fans during her signing of Six Months Later.

Jenny Han (l.) poses with some friends in the S&S/Riveted photo booth. OMG, what an event!