Today, as part of he UK blog-tour I welcome author, Paula Weston to Bart’s Bookshelf to talk about Trends in YA literature, current and future.
So, what are YA readers going to be reaching for in 2013?
Some interesting lists of ‘most anticipated books’ have already popped up on blogs, and they’re a great starting point for testing the waters.
Adventurous readers will always set the trends, so their reading choices will be driven by fresh and new ideas. They’ll be the first to defy trends if something exceptional in a not-so-trendy genre comes along, which means that no genre or sub-genre is ever truly dead. It only takes one fresh take on a well-worn genre to bring it back to life (Julie Kagawa did it with her vampire/dystopian hybrid, Immortal Rules).
For a lot of readers, they’ll discover new books/genres through film adaptations. With that in mind, we can expect ongoing interest in dystopian/post apocalyptic stories, with Catching Fire making it to the big screen in 2013, and hype already building for Veronica Roth’s hugely popular Divergent, due in cinemas in 2014.
The rise in YA (and adult) fiction centred on post-apocalyptic themes remains steady. Is it a natural progression of reader trends, or does it reflect the deeper fears and concerns of current generations? Sure, it’s escapism, but some of the scenarios are not that far-fetched.
I agree with a recent post on The Hub (YALSA) about the importance of dystopian stories: ‘A good dystopia shines a light on things that are wrong with our society and where we could be headed if we continue down a certain path. You can see the future it describes growing naturally and plausibly out of the present we live in. It makes you think.’
Zombie stories are still emerging – Isaac Marion’s lighter touch with Warm Bodies also hits screens soon, which is likely to spark interest in more offbeat literary offerings in the sub-genre. No doubt there are still more angles on the brain-munching undead to be explored.
Angels, too, are going to feature prominently on the big and small screen in the next few years. Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones is not far away and Fallen (Lauren Kate) and Hush Hush (Becca Fitzpatrick) are in development, as is and the amazing Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor). Then there’s the TV adaptation of Jessica Shirvington’s Violet Eden series, optioned late last year by Steven Spielberg. So it’s safe to say reader interest should remain in that sub-genre for a while (which, of course, makes me happy ).
There’s also a new wave of darker gothic/folkloric tales (Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys being my favourite so far), and Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s Caster Chronicles series has held reader interest for the past few years (with the first instalment, Beautiful Creatures, now a new film). Again, I think readers are developing a new taste for this type of darker storytelling.
YA fantasy is long overdue for a resurgence. Daughter of Smoke of Bone fits more comfortably in that category than it does is paranormal romance (with the third book in the series still to come), and several well-received new series kicked off in 2012 including Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass, and Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina. Contemporary writer Melina Marchetta introduced a horde of non-fantasy teen readers to the power and depth of fantasy storytelling with the exceptional Lumatere Chronicles (which concluded late last year), and those readers will be looking for more quality stories. And, of course, there’s already buzz for Laura Lam’s Pantomime and Morgan Rhodes’ Falling Kingdom.
Steampunk is still somewhat on the fringe, but has its breakout titles: Jay Kristoff’s Stormdancer was well received in 2012 and Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices has a strong following. Expect more in this genre.
But whether any one of these genres will rise up to dominate the others will depend entirely on the quality of individual books and how readers respond to them.
As is always the case.