July 1, 2013
looking at trends in sci-fi YA. Now it's time to put contemporary YA under the microscope! This is just based on my own observations of books and what I've seen publishers/authors/other bloggers talking about.
Trends from last year's post that are still holding steady:
- Car accidents. Somehow, inexplicably, either teens love reading about car crashes or YA authors love writing about them, or both. I don't fully understand the obsession, but there you have it. With books like Golden by Jessi Kirby, Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne (admittedly, it sounds like the crash in this one was no accident), Far From You by Tess Sharpe, and The Truth About Alice Franklin by Jennifer Mathieu making their way into the reading world this year and next, it looks like there will be plenty of fuel for this trend for a while yet. (There's even a 2015 release already in this category: Rearview Mirror by Rachel Harris!)
- Road trips and other travel journeys. There are some coming up – How My Summer Went Up In Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski, When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney, Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt, Open Road Summer by Emery Lord – but not quite as many as last year, it seems. Hopefully there will still be more to come, because I think travel stories offer so much fodder for creativity!
Trends that seem to be on their way out:
- Books dealing with war and/or PTSD. There were several of these published last year, but it doesn't look like that's continuing into 2013 and 2014. Although I'm sure that several of the abduction stories (see below) will probably involve PTSD, and I know for sure that the recently published Bruised by Sarah Skilton does.
- Sister stories. I thought these would keep on going for a while when I wrote up last year's post, but now it doesn't look that way! Deviant by Helen Fitzgerald just released last month, and there's Jennifer Echol's Dirty Little Secret and Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, both of which sound like they deal with sister issues to some extent, but apart from that I haven't seen a lot of upcoming contemporary books focusing on a sister relationship. (Am I just blind here or what?!)
- Teens undercover and/or on the run: you might consider this Road Trip Trend's darker, wilder cousin. Examples of books falling into this category include Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook, Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston, Fake ID by Lamar Giles, Being Henry David by Cal Armistead, Leap of Faith by Jamie Blair, and Pretending to Be Erica by Michelle Painchaud.
- If I had a million dollars... (I'd buy a monstrously large library, of course, but that's besides the point.) It looks like several YA authors are exploring the dynamic of rich and not-so-rich teens. If you've ever wondered "how the other half lives", you might want to check out these books when they're released: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick, The Distance Between Us by Kasie West, All the Rage by Courtney Summers, Crash into You by Katie McGarry, and The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow.
- Girls in sports: I think we have Miranda Kenneally's Hundred Oaks series to thank for this trend, at least in part. In addition to the next upcoming book of hers, Racing Savannah, there's also Played by Liz Fichera, Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles, Out of Play by Nyrae Dawn and Jolene Perry, Riptide by Lindsey Scheibe, and Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill. While I'm personally not a big sports enthusiast, it's nice to see YA offering these sorts of protagonists and stories, especially since this used to be viewed more as "boy book" territory.
- Abduction, because amnesia just wasn't good enough. There seem to be a slew of abduction stories permeating the contemporary YA section these days! From Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley, Panic by Sharon M. Draper and If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch to Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller, Stained by Cheryl Rainfield and Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway, apparently kidnapping is where it's at in YA.
There's even Leap of Faith by Jamie Blair, which as a twist features the teen protagonist as the abductor. And if you think girls are the only ones who get kidnapped, think again: Pointe by Brandy Colbert makes this very point (pardon the pun) by making the abductee a teen boy.
If you want to get caught up on the offerings in contemporary YA for 2013 and 2014, you might want to check out these two Goodreads lists. (Note that not all of the books on that first one are actually 2013 releases.)
So, what do you think of the trends in contemp YA? Love them? Hate them? Tired of them? See something I've missed? Let me know!
(P.S. To all my Canadian blogging friends: Happy Canada Day!!)