June 23, 2013

Cross My Palm 2013: Sci-Fi YA

Last year I did a series of posts called "Cross My Palm", looking at recent and potential trends in YA. It got a good response so I've brought it back for 2013! This is just based on my own observations of books and what I've seen publishers/authors/other bloggers talking about. Once again I'm divvying up the books by genre, and first up this time is sci-fi YA.

Trends that popped up in last year's post and seem to be holding steady:

- Let's not kid ourselves: dystopian (and dystopian-fantasy blends) are still going strong. Some readers, publishers and agents may think that the dystopian genre has been satiated, but there are still plenty of books on this bandwagon being churned out. What with the popularity of the Hunger Games film franchise, I can't imagine this ending anytime soon. We're talking books like The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau, The Program by Suzanne Young, Acid by Emma Pass, and Control by Lydia Kang. And those are just the new ones! There are also series still in progress, with their latest instalments having been recently released or soon to be: Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons, Champion by Marie Lu, Requiem by Lauren Oliver, Allegiant by Veronica Roth, Resist by Sarah Crossan, The Lives We Lost by Megan Crewe, Fractured by Teri Terry, Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi, Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi, Deception by C.J. Redwine... I could go on but you get the picture.

I'm not sure if apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic stories have managed to distinguish themselves yet from dystopian (they seem to get lumped into the same category in many Goodreads lists). Whether or not they're still hanging on the coattails of ever-popular books like The Hunger Games and Divergent, though, new ones are getting written and published. A couple upcoming books that look like they have less of a dystopian angle and more of a straight-up post-apocalyptic one are Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis and A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer.

- Hello, genetic and technological experimentation. Stories involving futuristic genetic abnormalities/mutations and experiments with technology seem to be enjoying a bit of a boost from the dystopian craze. (Makes sense: the society is controlling and dictatorial AND they want to put in a chip in your brain? Lethal combination!) If this is your style, you might want to check out books like Impostor by Susanne Winnacker, Uninvited by Sophie Jordan, The Rules by Stacey Kade, Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza, and Anomaly by Krista McGee.

- Spaced out from dystopian overload? Venture beyond the Earth's atmosphere. That's right, there's been a rise of YA sci-fi set in space, spearheaded chiefly, I think, by Beth Revis' Across the Universe series. Since then, we've had offerings from Amy Kathleen Ryan (the Skychasers series), Diana Peterfreund (For Darkness Shows the Stars), Anna Sheehan (A Long, Long Sleep), Johan Harstad (172 Hours on the Moon), Marissa Meyer (the Lunar Chronicles), Deva Fagan (Circus Galacticus), Janet Edwards (Earth Girl), and upcoming ones like These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner and Starglass by Phoebe North. (Plus, there's a Goodreads list that's dedicated to this YA sub-genre.)

 New trends:

- Seeing double? Don't worry, it's just the latest in sci-fi YA. Be it clones, twins, or doppelgangers, two (identical) heads are better than one: Twinmaker by Sean Williams, Linked by Imogen Howson, Plague in the Mirror by Deborah Noyes, Impostor by Susanne Winnacker, and 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil are a few examples.

- For readers who ponder the "what-ifs" and "if onlys", you're in luck: parallel lives and alternate realities are all the rage. An abundance of books in this sub-genre has burst onto the scene, including Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young, Parallel by Lauren Miller, Pivot Point by Kasie West, Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke, Tandem by Anna Jarzab, and Relativity by Cristin Bishara. (Happily, this matches one of the "concept gaps" in my "Find the Gap" series from 2011!)

- Now you see me, now you don't. Maybe it's just coincidence, but has anyone noticed that invisible protagonists seem to be gaining traction? There's Silver by Talia Vance, Transparent by Natalie Whipple, and Invisibility by Andrea Cremer & David Levithan. I'm interested to see if this is just a fluke of timing, or if something more will come of this potential trend!

Thoughts on these trends — are there any you love/hate? Any I've missed? What books have you read recently that fall into one of these categories?


  1. Interesting post. Thanks for showing some of the different categories. While I've been seeing them, I hadn't really thought about much about their individual sub-genres. :-)

  2. I really enjoyed Mila 2.0, reviewed it on my blog! I have to read Earth Girl, it sounds great. And I've ordered Divergent, but I have to get around to picking it up. Interesting breakdown!

  3. I am over dystopians, just because there are far too many now. I am keen for more space books because I really enjoyed the Skychaser series and can't wait for book 3!


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