Discussion: YA Book Trends 2016

Posted February 24, 2016 in Discussions / Leave a comment!

Today I wanted to discuss the trends in young adult books we started seeing last year and the beginning of this year. I’m thinking that some of these trends will last the whole year and some might even move away from being trends and become the norm. We’ll have to wait and see! Here are some trends that I’ve noticed recently.

Current & Upcoming Trends

Multiple Universes / Time Traveling

I didn’t really notice this one until recently. Maybe it’s because I started reading some of the more popular books and then I began to notice the similarities in them. So far, I haven’t found a book in this trend that I really liked. I think that maybe these just aren’t my kinds of books.

Books that I’ve seen in this trend:

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Fairy Tale Retellings Continued

This isn’t a new trend but more of a continuation of a trend. I’m actually 100% on board with this trend. I love everything to do with fairy tales and these retellings are no exception. I will say that if you easily get annoyed with reading similar books all the time then maybe you should skip out on this trend. It get’s really repetitive, really fast.

Books that I’ve seen in this trend:

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WAIT. Before you all go and write nasty comments saying “Diversity shouldn’t be a trend, blah blah blah”, let me explain. I am 100% aware that diversity shouldn’t be a “trend”, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t. Yes, I agree that diversity should just always be around in books but as of right now, it hasn’t been see in books often enough to be a norm yet. So in my eyes, it’s currently a trend. I do hope that it proves to be more than a trend but we’ll have to wait and see.

I’m also going to share another opinion of mine on diversity so please don’t hate. It’s an opinion, and that doesn’t mean you have to agree. I honestly don’t care about diversity in books. To me, when I’m reading, I honestly can’t remember what a character looks like because I’m already picturing them differently in my mind. Unless an author is constantly talking about how creamy white their skin is, then I don’t care. I do understand how some people would want to see more diversity though, and that’s great! Just don’t expect to see me commenting/writing/tweeting about this diversity problem because it doesn’t bother me.

This next one is a theory. I believe that we DON’T see diversity often is because there are a lot of white, American authors. They’re all going to write about characters they can mostly identify with and that just happens to be white characters. I’m not saying this is the way to go, but I think that’s just how it works. Maybe we should encourage other author from different cultures to write book. I’d like to read those book even more.

Books that I’ve seen in this trend:

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Royal Fantasies

This isn’t a very new trend but I’m finding it became a lot more popular over the last year. While some people hate reading about any sort of royalty, I personally love it and can’t wait to get my hands on any books about kings, queens, princess, or princes. Maybe that’s partially the fault of the little girl in me.

Books that I’ve seen in this trend:

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Historical Fantasy

It’s becoming more and more popular to mix fantasy with historical settings. This is a trend I really don’t mind because I’ve always loved fantasy. I never read much historical fiction because I prefer the action and magical elements in fantasy books which we now have mixed together! It really is a great combination!

Books that I’ve seen in this trend:

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Trends I’m Glad to See Go

Contemporaries with Suicide/Illness

I know this is a popular trend but I honestly hated it. I found they weren’t always done very well and a lot of the time emphasized too much on suicide. Sometimes, in the case of mental illness, they almost made it out to seem like the cool thing to do. I think that this trend was probably not a great one for the middle grade / young adult genre because younger minds will suck all that in much easier. And honestly? They were just plain sad to read about. (I’m not saying the following books are bad or  portrayed mental illness wrong but these are some examples of books that incorporate mental illness.)

Books that I’ve seen in this trend:

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I’m actually getting really tired of seeing dystopia books. Of course I’ll still end up reading them all, but they’re starting to all become the same. There’s always some sort of cast system or something that people aren’t happy with and there’s always a rebellion and then a war starts. They’re all exactly the same! I’m hoping this trend either goes away completely or transforms into something newer and better.

Books that I’ve seen in this trend:

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14 responses to “Discussion: YA Book Trends 2016

  1. I quite like reading #YA even though I’m above the intended audience age range, not too violent or too much sex or gory horror, but I must say I haven’t read any of these. I have read some #YA Dystopia and I agree, the ones I’ve read all end up with a war or a fight for freedom. I read a good #YA #UrbanFantasy recently (One Way Fare by Barb Taub) but even that had a war. I also tried a #YA #Horror series, I read the first 2 books in The Ghost Files by Apryl Baker because I like ghosts. For diversity perhaps we need to look further a field like Europe and India, I read somewhere recently about The African Reading challenge too, it’s about trying books from many parts of Africa, but it didn’t have to stay within #YA. Good post to think about, thanks.

    • I think you probably have to read tons of different genres to really see these trends in play. Or maybe you need to read a lot of the “popular” books to see them. Either way it’s kind of nice that you don’t see these trends because you’re probably not tired of them. That’s good!
      As for diversity, I think we do need to be looking at authors that aren’t American. That challenge sounds like fun!

      Thanks for stopping by!!

  2. I agree with soooooo many things in this post!
    I’m totally loving the historical fantasy. I don’t really enjoy historical fiction in general, but it’s awesome to see an extra element added like fantasy. (I especially love when the character time travels to another time, it’s cool to see it from a modern perspective).
    In terms of diversity, I’m glad people are stepping out. It doesn’t make much of a difference in fantasy and genres like that, but in contemporary books it does change the characters experience and how they view life, and certain books make it obvious that the character is not white, which is usually important (such as in More Happy Than Not). But I agree with your point!
    I’m also glad to say goodbye to contemporary with mental illness, to me it feels like people are just riding off the success of The Fault in Our Stars, so it doesn’t feel genuine.
    And I’ve been over dystopian for awhile, so I definitely agree there!

    So overall, I LOVED THIS POST! I agreed on so many points! Thanks for writing this 🙂

    • Thanks for loving this so much! I’m glad it’s not just me noticing these trends. I know I’m getting really sick of some. And I’m glad you understand what I was trying to say about diversity. A lot of people get offended when you call it a trend I guess. Thanks for stopping by!!

  3. I agree with what you said about diversity! Although I think t’s about more than just ethnicity – sexual orientation, gender (YA books from a male POV?), and disabilities. I don’t think I’ve ever read a YA book, particularly a contemporary, where the main character is actually disabled or close to it!

    • I agree! There should be diverse books about all sorts of people! But I think it all goes back to what authors are comfortable with. Like I would never be able to write about (in any detail anyway) a book with a LGBT romance because that’s not what I’ve experienced. Maybe once our societies are more open about diverse people then we’ll get more diverse books!
      Also check out Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern. The two main characters are both struggling with a disability. 🙂

  4. Lauren Becker

    I do like fairy tale retellings. I don’t read a lot of them, but I’m almost finished with The Lunar Chronicles and I LOVE them. Have you read Kill Me Softly and Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross? I really loved those as well, and I feel like not a ton of people read them!


  5. I can definitely see why you’re getting bored with dystopia. Personally I still enjoy reading about those worlds but I do agree that they’re all starting to feel the same. And I also hope the suicide/illness YA books disappear soon! I’ve never had the emotional response to those that everyone else seems to have.

    • I wish there were more unique dystopia books because I really do love the genre. Also I’m so glad people agree with me about the suicide/illness books. I haven’t heard many people complain about them but I really hate reading them. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Even though each YA book is different, I totally see ALL of these trends now that you mentioned it. I think my favorites that you mentioned are time traveling and retellings! I actually haven’t read that many diversity books myself but I’m still glad that they are becoming more apparent and popular. I’m getting bored with dystopia as well. I feel like every plot is the same /: which is why I’ll probably take a break from it for a while.

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