In order to maintain social distancing while building YA community, more than 70 authors came together for an online version of teen festival YALLWest on April 25–26. The inaugural YALLSTAYHOME featured authors Renée Ahdieh, Kacen Callender, Jay Kristoff, David Levithan, Angie Thomas, and others in panels, readings, and contests. Signed books were available for purchase from Blue Bicycle Books in Charleston, S.C. As a sponsor of YALLSTAYHOME, Macmillan’s Fierce Reads team hosted a series of Fierce Friday Virtual Author sessions on April 24. The preview event, which usually takes place at the Santa Monica Library in California, consisted of four interactive sessions, each including three authors and a digital ARC giveaway. We’re gathered a selection of highlights from the events.

During the “Create Your Own Romance Story” event on Fierce Friday, hosted by Macmillan’s Brittany Pearlman (clockwise from top l.), authors Adalyn Grace (All the Stars and Teeth), Maurene Goo (Somewhere Only We Know), and Tricia Levenseller (The Shadows Between Us) took turns crafting plots based on audience suggestions. Viewers had the chance to win a digital ARC of Shannon Hale’s forthcoming YA novel Kind of a Big Deal.

The “Opening Ceremony and Teanote” featured festival founders Margaret Stohl (l.) and Melissa de la Cruz (r.) discussing their forthcoming YA sequel to Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women, Jo & Laurie, over tea with moderator Raphael Simon (aka Pseudonymous Bosch). Simon said he furtively read Little Women in fourth grade, hidden under the cover of a Jack London book.

Sarah Enni (top), author of Tell Me Everything and host of the First Draft Podcast, and Veronica Roth (bottom), author of the Divergent trilogy, offered a writing workshop on Instagram Live, during which they answered questions about the creative process and publishing.

Brandon Sanderson, author of the Skyward series, delivered the afternoon keynote with his pet bird Magellan.

The LGBTQIA Q&A featured authors (top row, from l.) David Levithan (19 Love Songs), Tehlor Kay Mejia (We Set the Dark on Fire series), Sam Maggs (The Unstoppable Wasp); (second row, from l.) Alex Sanchez (You Brought Me the Ocean), George M. Johnson (All Boys Aren’t Blue), Kacen Callender (Felix Ever After); (bottom, from l.) Victoria Lee (the Feverwake series), and Charlotte Nicole Davis (The Good Luck Girls).

A fan drawing of the “Suckage Is Part of Writing” panel, about the struggles of being an author, including (moderator) Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (co-authors of Aurora Burning), Janella Angeles (Where Dreams Descend), Marisa Kanter (What I Like About You), Alex London (Black Wings Beating), Tara Sim (Scavenge the Stars), and Maggie Tokuda-Hall (The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea). Credit: Brighton Rose.

During “Worldbuilding Beyond Wikipedia,” authors discussed their approach to researching and writing historical fiction. (Top row, l.) Gwenda Bond (Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds), Jennifer Donnelly (Poisoned); (second row, l.) Bethany C. Morrow (A Song Below Water), Renée Ahdieh (The Beautiful); (bottom, l.) Marie Lu (Rebel), and moderator Roshani Chokshi (The Silvered Serpents).

Fierce Reads hosted a “Fandom Scavenger Hunt,” in which participants searched for pop culture items at home. Here, Ngozi Ukazu (top row, l.), Alex London (top r.), Macmillan’s Teresa Ferraiolo (middle row, l.), and Sam Maggs (middle, r.) are surprised by fan Kennedy DeVrie’s discovery. A digital ARC of Skyhunter by Marie Lu was given away during the session.

Angie Thomas (The Hate You Give; On the Come Up) dressed as “Dumbledope” while co-hosting the YALLSTAYHOME Smackdown, a finale of fun and games with an all-star author lineup.

Co-host Nic Stone (Dear Martin; Clean Getaway) appeared as “Snape Dogg” during the Smackdown.