This Year's YA Trends
2012 & 2013 Trends (The Dead Ones)
- Paranormal - first off, I'm a die-hard supporter of the paranormal genre (and forever mourn it being overdone and abandoned!) I entirely wish paranormal books would be alive and well in the genre but alas, post-Twilight romances have killed that for the next few years. But if you write a werewolf book, I will probably read it.
- Dystopian - Any post-apocalyptic worlds or plots have been dealt with in high fantasy settings or in sci-fi feels that provide a different spin on it. I have a theory that dystopian will still be prominent but not so much rely on ambiguous "Societies" or "Councils" as menacing, coldly calculating forces to work against. Proper nouns, anyone? I doubt those will stay prominent since Matched and Divergent and all of those have already exhausted them.
Speaking of trends in 2014 and 2013, what happened to trends from this year?
- Magical realism - Authors like Nova Ren Suma and books like The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender brought magical realism to the forefront of young adult in the past year.
- Crazy twist endings - Okay, this has always been pretty common. Right? But it's really gone overboard in the past year. I read no less than three books with "they've been dead the entire time" twist endings, which I'm definitely tired of.
- Unreliable narrators - This is definitely a trend I could see spilling over into 2015, especially in "commercial" fiction like All Fall Down by Ally Carter. Before, it'd only really be in literary books but this is becoming more and more common and I LOVE IT.
- Thrillers - This kind of goes along with the previous vein but I've seen so many cold thrillers this year that I've actually really enjoyed. Lots of strong protagonists, lots of tangled mysteries with clean subplots and whopping amounts of backstory.
- Hard hitting contemps - I love John Green just as much as the next girl and I love myself a good romance but I'll admit that I'm a little bit tired of seeing the love-story-with-death. Yes, that happens a lot and yes, it's a classic, but can we chill with the doomed contemporaries? So many tears.
- Male protags - I personally love this trend. I like seeing the guy POV. I'm a seventeen-year old girl and I've enjoyed Andrew Smith's novels, Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne and others featuring guy narrators. There are a ton of women who are young adult authors so it's nice to see them tackle the other side.
- Sci-fi/Tech - I can definitely see YA making more of a transition towards "classic" science-fiction to stave off the dystopian aftermath. People still want to tackle post-apocalyptic scenarios, so they add a technological twist. Whether that's in the form of Dashner's The Eye of Minds or the cyborg-friendly Cinder by Marissa Meyer, the series' recent spike in popularity could be indicative of a surge in this YA subgenre.
- Hard hitting contemps - This one's going to stick around for a while.
- High fantasy - There have been quite a few high fantasy successes recently. The Girl of Fire and Thorns (a few years ago) and Shadow and Bone have set the stage for some elaborate, gorgeous high fantasy worlds. It's the perfect solution to the tired dystopians: each individual world feels so individually crafted that it doesn't feel quite as formulaic. I bet this one's going to get really big.
- Stand alones - The trilogy is dead. Personally, I'd love to have more series in YA still (I love 'em) but I entirely get why a bulk of 2015 and 2016 sales have been for stand-alone deals.
If you're interested in more of my publishing trend predictions, check out my interview with Bookish Serendipity.