31 Authors Reveal How They'd Survive A YA Apocalypse

Which YALLFest authors will team up to kick the apocalypse's ass?

Every year YALLFest brings many of the most celebrated authors of young adult and middle grade books to Charleston, SC. But with all these beloved authors gathered in one place, what if something apocalyptic were to happen? Many of these authors write about terrible post-apocalypses their characters must survive, but how would they fare in a similarly perilous landscape?

With that in mind, in advance of this weekend's event, MTV News reached out to 31 authors appearing at YALLFest to ask: If an apocalyptic event were to strike during YALLFest (zombies rise from their graves, aliens attack, mega-extreme weather event, something awful from one of your books), which fellow YALLFest author would they pick to be their apocalypse survival buddy -- and why?

Scott Westerfeld


"I would definitely ally with Zac Brewer, because he could make the zombies into his minions. If the apocalypse was invading aliens, ditto. He could probably even make a hurricane his minion, so extreme weather would be covered too."

Elizabeth Wein

Black Dove, White Raven

"I want Veronica Roth to be my apocalypse survival buddy. She is pretty much half my age and I reckon I could use someone younger and fitter than me to watch my back. Also, she clearly has the imagination to second-guess apocalyptic disasters, the faith and determination to remain hopeful in hard times, and most importantly, I think she'd be loyal."

Carole Boston Weatherford

Voice of Freedom- Fannie Lou Hamer

"I'd want Kwame Alexander along. We'd pass the time concocting poems. And if we had to fend off aliens or zombies, I bet Kwame could handle it."

Margaret Stohl

Black Widow Forever Red

"Veronica Roth because Kickboxing. Per Zombieland, the key to surviving Zombies is cardio."

Brendan Reichs

Terminal- A Virals Novel

"When the zombies come, and believe me, they will — a lot of big juicy brains will be on display at this year’s festival — I’m sticking with confirmed zombie expert Carrie Ryan. Anyone with a zombie trilogy under their belt has to know where we can secure some bicycles, attach blades to metal baseball bats, and horde food. Either that or I’m finding Veronica Roth, because I’ve seen her elude ravenous hordes before, plus I may be slightly faster than she is. Maybe. (Probably not.)"

Danielle Paige

The Wicked Will Rise

"Could I have a squad? I’m pretty sure the only way I could survive any apocalypse would be with a few friends and some magic... Melissa Mayer because of Cinder. Melissa Del La cruz because of Mal. Kami and Margarat Stohl because of Beautiful Creatures’ Lena and Ridley and Margie’s Black Widow. Shannon Hale because of Princess in Black…I could go on…Also, Veronica Roth, because she knows a thing about overcoming fears...."

Meg Medina

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

"It’s a toss up: Jane Yolen because if she can survive decades in publishing, she can face anything. (Also, she takes no shit.) Kwame Alexander because the poets will always survive."

Mindy McGinnis

A Madness So Discreet

"Definitely Rae Carson! Between the two of us I think we have all our apocalypse bases covered: badass + smartass = survivors"

Katie McGarry

Nowhere but Here

"I would definitely pick Julie Kagawa. Julie has been trained in Kung Fu and Kali. This woman knows how to kick some butt!"

Carolyn Mackler

Infinite in Between

"David Levithan because he seems to have super powers in general. Susane Colasanti because we have so much in common that maybe the zombies would get confused and run away. E. Lockhart because she also went to Vassar and Vassar women can survive a lot. Okay, I’m taking everyone!"

Alexander London

The Wild Ones

"It depends on the disaster. In an Alien Invasion, I'd team up with Libba Bray, because she might indeed be their queen. In a Zombie Uprising, I'd join the zombies. I mean, at what other festival do you get to eat the brilliant brains of R.L. Stine, Veronica Roth, Zac Brewer, and Kwame Alexander?"

E. Lockhart

We Were Liars

"Scott Westerfeld knows what to do in case of all these kinds of attacks, plus he has gadgets, hoverboards and superpowers. So obviously him."

Mercedes Lackey

Closer to the Heart

"Jane Yolen. We old birds are tough, we've survived this long, we prepared for anything and we can improvise at the drop of a hat."

Curtis Jobling

Nest of Serpents

"I'm going with C Alexander London. He's good company at the best of times, so he'll be top value during the worst, right? Is that not how it works? If it's an alien attack, they'll probably want to experiment on him. He's smart as a whip and his brain will no doubt get them excited. Also, there'll be probing - I'm not one for probing. Mega-extreme weather events? If it's a flood, I could surf out of there on C Alexander - I'm reliably informed he has a stomach like a washboard. Mind you, it was C Alexander who informed me of this. As for a zombie attack, I clearly haven't thought this through. There isn't a scrap of fat on that man, and I reckon his cardio's pretty good. I however treat my body like a temple - it's a sacked, ruined temple, full of packs of hungry, half-starved dogs, but a temple nonetheless. If the zombie's didn't eat me, there's a good chance I might have to eat C Alexander to survive. As I say though, he's all sinew and gristle, not at all nutritional. A twig would probably make a more satisfying snack than that London bloke. Chances are it'd be him eating me. I might have to rethink this. Can I see the author attendee list again, please??"

Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf

"Let’s not forget vengeful pirate ghosts. (We are in Charleston, after all.) If I intend to survive said apocalyptic events, then my clear choice would be Mindy McGinnis. Not only has she written two excellent post-apocalyptic survival novels (NOT A DROP TO DRINK and IN A HANDFUL OF DUST), but she also has real life survival skills such as ax-swinging and farming. Combined with my home-grown knowledge of downtown Charleston, I think we’d make a great survival team."

Adam Gidwitz

The Grimm Conclusion

"So many to choose from. Margaret Stohl is not frightened of anything, as far as I can tell. Or if she is, being frightened turns her into a scarier badass than she normally is. So maybe her. But there are so many authors that depict insane survival skills in their books. Though Curtis Jobling, being the hairiest man I have ever met, would be most likely to keep the wolves at bay."

Kami Garcia


"That’s a tough call. If zombies attack, I want Carrie Ryan—an expert on flesh eaters—as my samurai sword-wielding Michonne. But if I have to cover all the disaster bases, I would choose Brendan Reichs as my apocalyptic wingman. His Virals series deals with everything from an experimental virus and genetic anomalies to practical survival skills like lock picking. He even grew up in a house with a skeleton in the attic."

Michelle Falkoff

Playlist for the Dead

"Too hard! Depends on the nature of the apocalypse. R.L. Stine for zombies--he's killed so many people in his books he must have some good strategies for killing zombies too. Rachel Caine for a mega-extreme weather event, because, you know, Weather Wardens. Libba Bray for aliens because from what I've heard everyone adores her, so she could just befriend them and end the catastrophe."

Daniel Ehrenhaft

Friend Is Not a Verb

"I'd pick the members of Tiger Beat, because musical instruments also make excellent weapons."

Melissa de la Cruz

The Isle of the Lost

"I would not like to survive the apocalypse, so basically I’d like to go out partying, with a glass of champagne and my YALLpals Margie Stohl, Pseudonymous Bosch, Kami Garcia, Marie Lu, Brendan Reichs, Veronica Roth, Leigh Bardugo, Sandy London and Aaron Hartzler all having the time of our lives as the world ends."

Susane Colasanti

City Love

"As we all know, a zombie apocalypse would require snacks. I'd better grab David Levithan and Carolyn Mackler cat quick! We are all vegetarians and will need to stockpile the cookies."

Soman Chainani

The Last Ever After

"Definitely Brendan Reichs. He's buff enough to handle all the violence while I pretend to be useful and make perfectly-timed quips. We'd actually be a good pair to remake the movie SPEED, with me in the Sandra Bullock role, except I can't drive stick, so Brendan might have to do the driving too."

Kiera Cass

The Heir

"Leigh Bardugo. Let's be honest, we'd both probably die, but at least it would be fun on the way out."

Rae Carson

Walk on Earth a Stranger

"Mindy McGinnis, author of A MADNESS SO DISCREET and NOT A DROP TO DRINK. Mindy knows her way around guns (and gun safety!) and can sanitize water. In fact, there is no apocalyptic scenario in which I do not try to join up with her."

Rachel Caine

Ink and Bone

"Tough choice! Since I'd be the plucky comic relief in this situation, I'd need to find someone who knows their way around a fight ... and I'll pick either Mercedes Lackey or Marie Lu, since I feel they both know a terrifying amount about swords and battles. I'll carry the packs and provide witty commentary during the fight scenes!"

Meg Cabot

Royal Wedding

"Obviously I'd pick RL Stine, author of Goosebumps, Fear Street, Mostly Ghostly, Rotten School, and numerous other series, because he's already written about every conceivable apocalyptic scenario, and so should have a good idea how to survive one . . .

And even if he doesn't, I can't think of anyone I'd rather hang out with during the end of the world, because he's got a great sense of humor and also always seems to know where to find the best barbecue (and bar). These are the most valuable skills in any crisis."

Zac Brewer

The Blood Between Us

"I would choose Jonathan Maberry, because the man has a plan. Actually many plans. And skills. And supplies. And everything that I do not have."

Alexandra Bracken

Through the Dark

"I'm grabbing Victoria Aveyard and we are hightailing it out of there. Not only is that girl crafty and could probably think us out of any nefarious, dire situations, she's one of the few people who could probably keep me laughing while a zombie eats my brains/an alien incinerates me/a tidal wave wipes out the eastern seaboard."

Gwenda Bond


"I'm torn, but I'm going to go with Carrie Ryan. For one thing, she's thought A LOT about the zombie apocalypse. And, really, when we're talking apocalypses, the zombie kind prepares you for anything. She also always stays up late when we're on retreat, so I feel like she'd make a good night watch partner (since I prefer the sleeping). Close second runner-up is Leigh Bardugo. I feel certain Leigh and I would have a great time, however long we managed to stay alive. And if it was the kind of apocalypse where banter can save you? We'd be gold. (I definitely prefer a banter-pocalypse, a plague of 1930s and '40s screwball danger where fast-talking is all you need to survive -- I would kill at that.)"

Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows

"Renée Adieh. Between her jewelry and my jewelry we could melt down our accessories and have bullet casings for days."

Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen

"Tough to say, but I think I have to go with Leigh Bardugo. She's always wearing really awesome jewelry that can double as weapons. Plus, we both wear mostly black, and will look like a killer warrior team."

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