It’s been more than a year (wow!) since I did my last post on trends in young adult fiction, so I think it’s time for update. As with other types of fiction, there is definitely a bubble-and-burst pattern happening in YA these days. As in, one trend finds massive success with a few key titles, picks up steam, publishers start buying it up left and right, the market gets flooded, quality drops, and then POP! Next…..
So let’s take a look at where we’ve been in 2011/early 2012, and where I think we’re going in late 2012/2013.
Where We’ve Been
Dystopians are definitely on the bubble right now, in serious danger of bursting. I don’t see publishers buying a lot of them in the coming months–at least, not unless they are really, really special. There have been several *huge* dystopians in the past year (for example, Veronica Roth’s Divergent–the upcoming sequel, Insurgent, is probably one of the most anticipated 2012 releases!), but they’ve been markedly different from the rest, particularly the more recent ones. For instance, Marissa Meyer’s Cinder takes the Cinderella legend and mixes it with cyborgs and deadly plagues, plus murderous, mind-manipulating baddies from the Moon. In a crowded dystopian market, you have to bring something fresh to the table.
Same with paranormal–it has to be something special. I think it’s going to be a tough sell for the usual vampire/werewolf/demon/angel/shapeshifter stories. Who knows how paranormal is going to evolve. What’s next? Psychics? Ghosts? Whatever it is, make it different (I know, easier said than done!). I think Megan Miranda’s Fracture is a good example of bringing something new to paranormal–it reads more like a contemporary psychological thriller with paranormal elements. Another stand-out paranormal was Myra McEntire’s Hourglass, which also had a strong contemporary feel, with characters who could “time slip” (Julie Cross’s Tempest was another popular, big-release paranormal dealing with time travelers).
I think we’re seeing a big upswing in contemporaries right now. As I predicted last year, we’re still seeing foreign settings (Jennifer E. Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight). There’s a huge range, with everything from light/fun (Stephanie Perkins Lola and the Boy Next Door, or Joe Schreiber’s Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick) to dark/heavy (Tabitha Suzuma’s Forbidden, or Gayle Forman’s Where She Went) represented. There’s also been plenty of what I call the more “classic” contemporary YA fare–Sarah Dessen, Lauren Barnholdt, Susane Colasanti, etc. The market seems wide open right now for all kinds of contemporary stories, and I don’t think that’s going to change.
As for fantasy and historical, they seem pretty quiet right now, with much smaller markets. But hey, it only takes one to make a big splash, and we might see a resurgence.
Where We’re Going
If I had to make my predictions for the two new “big things” in YA fiction, I’d have to go with Sci-Fi and thrillers. Right now these seem to be the two areas getting the “biggest” deals and the most attention, and I think there’s still room for more (maybe not much more where sci-fi is concerned, but definitely for thrillers). Genre-bending mash-ups (like, say, a psychic thriller) might also have an easier time finding a home. I also think we’ll see some cyber-punk sales in the near future.
Any market trends you’ve noticed that you’d like to share?[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://howtowriteshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/KristiColumn.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Kristi’s YA debut, HAVEN, was released by Simon Pulse in Feb. 2011. She also writes adult fiction (historical romance) as Kristina Cook and Kristi Astor. Visit her online at www.kristi-cook.com.[/author_info] [/author]