This first post focuses on contemporary YA. Check back in a week for the next post in this series!
- Books about sisters, especially serious, complicated sister relationships. These seem to be popular at the moment and will likely continue to be for the foreseeable future. We're talking Without Tess by Marcella Pixley, Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott, The Space Between Us by Jessica Martinez, Losing Faith and Never Enough by Denise Jaden, and Irises by Francisco X. Stork. I enjoy a good complex sister story, but it would be neat to see some more brother/sister or brother/brother relationships.
- Stories involving trips, road or otherwise. Books like Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern, The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour, Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard, Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole, Thou Shalt Not Road Trip by Antony John, Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson, and Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham. This looks like it's emerging as a trend in YA, and I'm glad, because it's a lot of fun to travel vicariously!
- War/PTSD stories. These seem to have surged in number recently. Something Like Normal by Trish Doller, While He Was Away by Karen Schreck, In Honor by Jessi Kirby, Personal Effects by E. M. Kokie, and A Brighter Fear by Kerry Drewery all fit in this category. In fact, there's even been a Goodreads list started specifically for YA and New Adult books with characters in the military!
- Amnesia. Amnesia seems to be super popular right now in YA. I can't really figure out why, since most teens don't suffer from amnesia as far as I know (I never did!). Recent and upcoming books include: Forget You by Jennifer Echols, Forgotten by Cat Patrick (admittedly this has a paranormal element as well), Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler, Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom, One Moment by Kristina McBride, and Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf.
- Car accidents/crashes. These tend to go hand-in-hand with the amnesia, but not always. In addition to Forget You, Where It Began, and Breaking Beautiful, there's If I Stay by Gayle Forman, The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle, The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes, and My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend. I'm kind of hoping that this trend will end soon, as it's getting overused. Surely you can introduce drama or tension into the characters' lives in another way?
- Books about grief/death/the afterlife. Given all the accidents and war, I guess this makes sense! Think Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, Losing Faith by Denise Jaden, Saving June by Hannah Harrington, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, and The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle. And there are plenty more in store — Before You Go by James Preller, The Catastrophic History of You & Me by Jess Rothenberg, Devine Intervention by Martha Brockenbrough, and Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini — so it doesn't look like this angle will be fading anytime soon.
So, to sum up:
What you won't be seeing: books for boys and books with PoC characters.
What you will be seeing: misunderstood, grieving sisters who go on road trips, get in car crashes, and end up with amnesia and/or PTSD. You are in for a morbid ride. Enjoy! :D
So, what do you think: am I on the mark about this, or way off? What trends are you seeing in contemporary YA?