Like all fiction, there are very distinct trends in YA, and even if you aren’t interested in “writing to” any particular trend, it’s important to know what’s trending at any given time. So here’s a breakdown of what’s currently hot in YA fiction:
1) Dystopian — Right now, dystopian is probably the hottest trend in YA, partly fueled by the massive success of series like Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy and James Dashner’s THE MAZE RUNNER and SCORCH TRIALS. In the past few months, several dystopians have gotten a lot of attention–particularly Ally Condie’s debut, MATCHED, and Lauren Oliver’s sophomore effort, DELIRIUM (both of which I read and really enjoyed–and both of which really reminded me of Lois Lowry’s classic, THE GIVER), and even Catherine Fisher’s dystopian/fantasy/steampunk mash-up, INCARCERON . There are also several 2011 titles following the trend–Veronica Roth’s DIVERGENT, Julia Karr’s XVI, Elana Johnson’s POSSESSED, and Jeff Hirsch’s THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE, just to name a few. Expect this trend to continue for quite a while, as many of these books have been optioned to film.
2) Angels — After the huge successes of Becca Fitzpatrick’s HUSH, HUSH and Lauren Kate’s FALLEN
(plus the sequels to both, CRESCENDO and TORMENT), it’s safe to say that angels are now trending heavily in YA. Titles like Alexandra Adornetto’s HALO have continued the trend, as well as Cynthia Hand’s recent debut, UNEARTHLY, and upcoming titles like Jocelyn Davies’ A BEAUTIFUL DARK.
3) Vampires — Yep, still trending, though definitely on the decline. Still, I don’t think vampires will ever die (pun intended). I probably don’t need to mention the TWILIGHT saga, or even Richelle Mead’s VAMPIRE ACADEMY series. There’s also some more “quiet” series, like Claudia Gray’s EVERNIGHT series, and Melissa De La Cruz’s BLUE BLOODS series. There will be more in 2011, I promise.
4) Werewolves — To go along with the vampires, of course. In addition to TWILIGHT’s wolf pack and Maggie Stiefvater’s excellent Wolves of Mercy Falls series (SHIVER, LINGER, and the upcoming finale, FOREVER), there have been several notable recent releases, including Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ RAISED BY WOLVES
(I loved this one–great insight on the pack mentality!) and Andrea Cremer’s NIGHTSHADE. A werewolf also played a big part in Kelley Armstrong’s DARKEST POWERS series. I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this trend yet–we’ve got the RAISED BY WOLVES sequel to look forward to this year, plus a 2011 debut that I won’t name because I don’t want to give away what’s kind of a plot “secret” at first!
Some books, like Kiersten White’s PARANORMALCY, manage to combine pretty much all of the above trends into one unique tale!
I can’t quite put my finger on any “trends” within contemporary realistic YA, but I almost want to say there’s a slight trend in “unsympathetic narrators” (aka “mean girls”) who are skillfully *made* sympathetic through the course of the story–books like Lauren Oliver’s wonderful BEFORE I FALL, or Courtney Summers’ SOME GIRLS ARE and CRACKED UP TO BE. I’m also noticing a recent trend in books set in France/Europe, and I think this one’s going to pick up speed fast, partly based on the huge success of Stephanie Perkins’ fabulously wonderful debut, ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS (if you haven’t read it yet, RUN to your nearest bookstore!!). Other titles in this trend include Maureen Johnson’s 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES
and the upcoming sequel, THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE, as well as the *fabulous* upcoming (paranormal) debut by Amy Plum, DIE FOR ME
(which will probably lead to a *new* trend, revenants!).
Any other trends in YA fiction that you’re noticing right now? Any predictions for what we might see trending next?