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Exclusive: YALLWest teen book festival announces 2016 lineup

YALLWest is coming, and if that doesn't mean anything to you, you're not a teen reader.

Now in its second year, YALLWest is a book festival targeted at teens -- although it won't turn away grownups who like YA books, and younger readers are invited too. Set for Santa Monica April 30-May 1, festival organizers have given us a first look at the lineup for 2016.

Rainbow Rowell ("Fangirl") and Margaret Stohl ("Black Widow") will give the Saturday opening keynote, while the closing keynote that day will be by Matt de la Peña ("Last Stop on Market Street") and Jason Reynolds ("All American Boys"). Sunday morning the keynote will be by Marie Lu ("Legends") and Tahereh Mafi ("Shatter Me").

A middle-grade keynote will be given by Soman Chainani ("The School for Good and Evil") and Melissa de la Cruz (Disney Descendants), and there's a Story/Maker keynote that will be given by Sana Amanat of Marvel Comics.

All told there will be more than 100 authors participating over the two days, on panels, in sessions, and, if last year is to be any measure, silly contests.

Some of last year's boldface names are coming back: Veronica Roth ("Divergent"), Libba Bray (The Gemma Doyle trilogy), Ransom Riggs ("Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children"), and Pseudonymous Bosch ("The Secret Series").

New luminaries include Scott Westerfeld (the "Uglies" series), Ally Condie ("Matched"), Kami Garcia ("Beautiful Creatures" with Stohl), David Levithan ("Will Grayson, Will Grayson" with John Green), Francesca Lia Block (the Weetzie Bat series), Leigh Bardugo (the "Grisha" trilogy), and Pulitzer prize-winning humor columnist Dave Barry, who is co-author of the "Peter and the Starcatcher" series with Ridley Pearson, who is coming too.

YALLWest is the California iteration of YALLFest, the Charleston, S.C., celebration of all things YA that began in 2011 and has attracted an audience of 8,000.

The YALLWest festival will take place at Santa Monica High School. The complete schedule will be announced in coming weeks.

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