February 8, 2014

Rising Trends in YA Fiction

Trends in young adult fiction pass quickly but last for awhile.  Does that make sense?  After the whole Twilight/paranormal and The Hunger Games/dystopian epidemics, their popularity has faded quickly but paranormal and dystopian books are still published and do moderately well.  YA has a fickle audience.  Teens grow bored quickly; we're more intelligent that many people think and aren't satisfied very easily.  We're perhaps the generation that is most receptive to the latest "thing."  So what does the publishing industry think we want right now?  What are YA readers interested in, and what are the latest trends in YA fiction?


Super Powers
Between books such as the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi and Pivot Point by Kasie West, superheroes and special powers seem to be on the rise.  I attribute this rise to Marvel's popularity and the success of The Avengers and other such movies.


Other books that involve special powers include Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones, The Young Elites by Marie Lu, One by LeighAnn Kopans, and The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (although their powers are more like enhanced human abilities).

New and Different Retellings
Fairytales and Jane Austen are tried and true retellings, and while many readers still enjoy new twists (The Lunar Chronicles' popularity speaks volumes), they can get a bit boring.  Other retellings or books that play with a certain legend/story are growing popular.

Think Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen (Robin Hood), Splintered by A.G. Howard (Wonderland), Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (Beauty and the Beast mixed with Greek mythology), Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige and Prophecy of Oz by Megan Shan (The Wizard of Oz), Hook's Revenge by Heidi Schulz and Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Peter Pan), Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan (A Tale of Two Cities), and Lock & Mori by Heather Petty (Sherlock Holmes).

Aristocracy and Nobility
Ever since Downton Abbey arrived on the scene, there's been a rise of books springing off the popular idea of the British nobility in big houses (or just the aristocracy and nobility in general).

If that interests you, check out Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed, Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore, Gilt by Katherine Longshore, A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller, Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross, Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel, and Landry Park by Bethany Hagen.

Assassins and Serial Killers
Teens seem to be extremely fascinated by death and murder.  Surely you've seen a picture of a conversation on Tumblr floating around on how to kill someone and bury the body and so forth.

So for the teens who love assassins and serial killers, there are choices such as: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Graceling by Kristin Cashore and Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan.

Cancer
I have no idea what's so appealing about cancer, but I'd say ever since The Fault in Our Stars, YA cancer books have been downright popular.  Maybe it's the fact that they make us cry?


Recent examples include: Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor, Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson, The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder, and Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Reality TV and Celebrities
Reality TV has become a big part of American culture, so it's no surprise that fictional books about reality shows are growing in popularity, along with books about celebrities and Hollywood, to boot.



If those type of books interest you, then you should check out Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody, Something Real by Heather Demetrios, Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan, and Starstruck by Rachel Shukert.

Technology
Technology, too, is a large part of American culture, especially for teenagers.  It's fun to imagine the future of phones and the Internet, especially in fiction.

See The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise, Free to Fall by Lauren Miller, and Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam.

So what other trends have you seen in YA fiction lately?  Any that you think will do well?  How about trends that you aren't a fan of?

4 comments:

  1. I've definitely noticed all these trends, though I haven't read many books that fit into most of them.
    I think that assassins have been a thing for a while, though. Or maybe that's just the books I read. *shrug*

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  2. I don't have much to say, but I do love how you wrote this post! So many trends, I can't compute. I hope authors write the RBWL ideas and publishers see that there are MORE out there!

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    1. Thank you! :) And thank you for helping with book ideas!

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  3. Great genres! We met Joss Stirling (Storm & Stone) & Nikki Sheehan (Klaris Cliff) at 1901 Art club last weekend, their books draw respectively from Detective genre (Joss did great quiz on famous past fictional characters who fit the 4 varieties trained at YDA!) , and Nikki combines Paranormal genre with good old Interpersonal (non-romantic) dynamics - getting on with family and friends, to most of us! All 3 of these genres are ones which appeal throughout adult fiction, not just YA, so hopefully will be more enduring (though the strong teen/boarding school setting setting does place Joss's novel more in YA marketplace)

    Both really great reads, recommend!!

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