This week, it's paranormal YA. (For the previous posts on contemporary, sci-fi/dystopian, and historical YA, go here.) I was originally considering combining this with YA fantasy, since there is a lot of overlap and paranormal is arguably a sub-genre of fantasy. But this post would be absolutely mega-huge if that happened, so I'm doing the more paranormal side of things in this post, and the next post will be for other aspects of fantasy.
- Books with a multitude of different kinds of paranormal beings are gaining steam. The Hex Hall and Paranormalcy series, both of which have done very well, are prime examples. There's also the Shadow Falls series by C. C. Hunter and the Winterhaven series by Kristi Cook. (Boarding schools definitely seem to be a fad here too — a convenient way to get a bunch of different paranormal beings all in the same place at the same time!)
- Vampires and werewolves are still holding steady. Unfortunately. The genre is saturated with poor Twilight knock-offs (and Twilight is not exactly the highest quality literature...) This is not to say there aren't some well-written vampire/werewolf stories to be found, but rather, that there are enough, period. But they seem to keep on coming. 2012 releases include The Savage Grace by Bree Despain, Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa, The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead, Stolen Nights by Rebecca Maizel, and Rivals and Retribution by Shannon Delany.
- Angels and demons are battling...for the most shelf space. Be it pure angels, "dark" or "fallen" angels, demons, or a mixture, books featuring these messengers of good and evil are obviously being snatched up by readers. Angels are really "hot" right now, more so than vampires or werewolves, I'd say. We've got these 2012 releases to anticipate: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand, Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick, A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young, Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton, Angel Fever by L. A. Weatherley, The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff, and Last Rite by Lisa Desrochers. Plus, Australian author Jessica Shirvington's Embrace is being released this year in North America.
- Ghosts are kind of like jeans: tried and true. While they're not "trending" most of the time, there always seem to be a few ghostly stories you can pick up if that's what you're looking for. Upcoming releases include Arise by Tara Hudson, Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake, Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis, and The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers.
- Mermaids and sirens are doing just swimmingly (sorry, couldn't resist!) I think these have a similar draw for readers that angels do, but instead of floating around in the celestial heavens, they're submerged in deep waters. We're talking books like Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, Just For Fins by Tera Lynn Childs, The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova, Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown, Dark Water by Tricia Rayburn, Waking Storms by Sarah Porter, and Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs.
- Quoth the raven, "There'll be more." All right, so I'm paraphrasing a little. Nevertheless, Edgar Allen Poe seems to be the next literary great whose poems authors are retelling or incorporating into their YA paranormal stories. The second of Kelly Creagh's Nevermore series, Enshadowed, is releasing this year, as is Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin. Annabel by Mary Lindsey is scheduled to be published in 2013. Obviously we're still just at the beginning of a potential trend, but I think given the penchant for dark, creepy paranormal elements many YA readers currently have, that Poe will fit in very nicely here.
- Series are super popular for this genre at the moment. Just look at all the titles mentioned above. How many of those are second or third books in a series? ...That's right, practically all of them. Is it impossible to write a stand-alone paranormal? I don't know, but I'd like to see a few more authors give it a try.
What are your thoughts on trends in paranormal YA? Do you think the demise of vampire/werewolf stories will happen anytime soon? Will mermaids take over for angels? Are these Poe books just a fluke, or do you think they are the start of something big?