Let's discuss... Trends in YA


Let's discuss... is a feature that you'll occasionally see here on my blog. 
Sometimes I read, see, or hear something that I just want to talk about and
get some feedback on to see what you all think. This is when I do that. :)

I recently read CNN's piece on the coming trends in young adult literature. You can read the full article here. There were a few things that I really liked or made me think and I'd like to know what you guys think. Here are my thoughts:

The talked about trends in ya... There are books like John Greene's The Fault in Our Stars that have pushed contemporary and realistic stories, focusing more on illnesses. Fantasy is being driven by some recent books, as well as horror. I liked that the article pointed out that the genre will never become stagnant. There won't ever be just a handful of subgenres because they are always in motion, rotating. I'm sure this has to do with what authors are writing, what publishers want to see, and what readers are reading, so I would think it would be an ever-changing market in some ways while also being consistent in all genres being represented in each year's publications. I also think that some subgenres aren't for everyone. I rarely read horror. I know others that rarely read fantasy and some that don't like contemporary. I love that ya is so diverse in that way and that everyone can find something that interests them.
The Fault in Our Stars
They also talked about ya being issue-driven. Bullying, single-parenthood, drinking, drugs, abuse... There are a lot of issues out there to talk about that definitely influence teens and adults. I think we'll still continue to see these types of realistic stories.

New adult is still gaining popularity. It mentions in the article that there will be more branching out into various subgenres, which I'm happy about. There has been too much focus on romance in these books for me (for the most part) and I'd like to see more plot-driven stories in other subgenres, such as in fantasy, sci-fi, and historical. That's just me. I know there are lots of people who have loved this genre.
Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements, #2) Never Too Far (Too Far, #2) Maybe Someday
Finally, diversity in ya was discussed and how there is a need for much more. I definitely agree with that. There should be a lot more characters, both main and supporting, that are from different backgrounds and cultures. I hope books reflect diversity better in the future.

My favorite part of the article is the quote at the end:
"Better yet, I'd love to see books feature these topics without making them the sole focus. A diverse book shouldn't be a 'Diverse Book'; it should just be another great novel that teens devour in hours and love for the rest of their lives."
This is my pet peeve with some of the illness/issue/diversity-driven stories I've read or attempted to read. I don't like it when the issue or diversity or whatnot is the sole focus of the story, or when I feel a book has become preachy. And preachy doesn't just have to do with religion. I have things that bother me and some that don't, but even the things that don't can bother me when I feel like someone is trying to force an issue or for me to think a specific way. I would think teens would like this even less. They tend to be more rebellious and emotional than I am at my age. :) The best authors are those that might guide you to ask questions and might even share their opinions through their stories (they all do that), but then let you come up with your own decisions and feelings about it. It's also best done through a deep connection with the characters and story so that you aren't actually told anything. The reader is shown and just feels it.

And why do they still limit voting for ya to teens? I get it, I do. Obviously that's the age group. Just wanted to point out that more adults read ya then teens. The Denver Post recently posted about this here. I don't know why it upsets people when adults read ya. Maybe those adults haven't read an awe-inspiring, amazingly-characterized story that happened to be in the ya genre that they loved or that made them think or feel something deeply. Maybe they think those don't exist in the genre, but those types of books exist in all genres and each book connects to each reader in an individual way.
Harry Potter Boxed Set (Harry Potter, #1-4)
Really, I think a good book is a good book regardless of what genre it's in. I also think that if you loved a book or enjoy reading something you shouldn't stop because others think it's not the right book for you. I don't believe teens should be relegated to just ya books either. There are adult and middle grade books that would be fabulous for them to read, or even some classics. The classics weren't ever put into genres. Everyone read them and learned from them and loved them. I feel the same way about middle grade books, which Harry Potter began as.

So, that's my very long two cents. ;) What do you think? I'd love to know!

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