The fifth annual YALLWEST, the largest YA and middle grade book festival in the country, took place May 3–4 at Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, Calif. More than 25,000 fans attended Fierce Friday and the Saturday festival. YALLWEST bussed in 1,300 kids from local Title One schools, who were given a free lunch and books. The festival also arranged 20 school visits with authors, which included classroom book donations. We’ve gathered a selection of highlights from the events.

(From l.): Authors Brendan Reichs, Veronica Roth, and Margaret Stohl (festival co-director). Photo: Kyle Dare.

Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give; On the Come Up) surrounded by fans. Photo: Christian Galvez.

Seven authors discussed writing stories set in worlds of kings, queens, and princesses during the “Writing Royals” panel. (Back row, from l.): Emiko Jean (Empress of All Seasons), Mimi Yu (The Girl King), Makiia Lucier (Isle of Blood and Stone), A.G. Howard (Stain); (front row, from l.) Ellen Goodlett (Rule), Crystal Smith (Bloodleaf), and moderator Maya Motayne (Nocturna).

Festivalgoers browse the book offerings. Photo: Christian Galvez.

Alexandra Bracken (l.), author of the Prosper Redding series, and Susan Dennard, author of the Witchlands series. Photo: Kyle Dare.

Tochi Onyebuchi (Crown of Thunder). Photo: Kyle Dare.

Mary E. Pearson signs a copy of her new novel, Dance of Thieves.

Jay Kristoff and fans decorate bandanas at Camp Book Nerd.

Students from local Title One schools joined the festivities. Photo: Kyle Dare.

The Book Truck, a non-profit bookmobile dedicated to fostering literacy, is open for all. Photo: Christian Galvez.

Debut author David Yoon checks out the Frankly in Love Food Truck at lunch time.

Nic Stone, author of Jackpot. Photo: Kyle Dare.

Actor and author Busy Philipps with fans. Photo: Kyle Dare.

Amy Rose Capetta (l.) and Cori McCarthy, co-authors of Once & Future. Photo: Kyle Dare.

Sandhya Menon, author of There’s Something About Sweetie. Photo: Kyle Dare.

Wielding a giant Sharpie, Adam Silvera is ready to sign for fans.

(From l.): Maurene Goo (Somewhere Only We Know) and Sarah Enni (Tell Me Everything). Photo: Kyle Dare.

Nafiza Azad signs her novel The Candle and the Flame. Photo: Kyle Dare.

Victoria Schwab shared copies of her middle grade novel City of Ghosts, and posters for her forthcoming novel, Tunnel of Bones.

Married authors Tahereh Mafi (the Shatter Me series) and Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children). Photo: Kyle Dare.

(Front row, from l.): Authors Natasha Ngan and Brandy Colbert discussed their latest books and mingled with bloggers during a NOVL meet-and-greet at the Le Méridien Delfina hotel in Santa Monica.