YA Book Trends in 2014
Stay on top of YA book trends in 2014! Whether you love ’em or hate ’em, trendy books and themes have their moments in the spotlight. Past trends, such as vampires and co-authored books, are out and new trends are in. Of course, that’s not to say that these types of books did not exist before and won’t exist when their trends die out, but these trends represent the “hot” books being pushed by publishers and booksellers in 2014.
New Adult is an emerging interest level for books that we first covered here at Bookkaholic in 2013 (check out the article). More and more 20-somethings and adults are reading Young Adult literature, which led to the formation of the slightly more mature category of “New Adult.” Criticism of these books, though, has targeted their focus on the romance genre and unhealthy relationships between lovers. Writers and publisher have started to see the potential in this market, though, and have slowly been releasing more books with more complex plots to please fans of new adult fiction.
Just about every YA reader is tired of trilogies. The trend caught on somewhere around 2008, and it seemed like everything had to be a trilogy. After the first round of trilogies saw their conclusions, the next rounds just seemed daunting. Readers started to catch on that stories were being stretched to fit the three-book model, often resulting in slow second books and gimmicky cliffhangers. Complaints started to rise about trilogy fatigue in 2012. Readers didn’t want to invest in the first books because finishing the full story just became a three-year saga of hype. Enter: the duology. I like to think of this as a nice compromise for the publishers. They still get a two book deal, but readers can read two books and move on.
For the same reasons we are seeing more duologies, there has also been a spike in stand-alone novels in genres where we would normally see trilogies. For example, Lynne Matson’s Nil is a stand-alone dystopian/survival story. How refreshing it was to sit down and finish a dystopian tale in one sitting!
Another way for publishers to combat trilogy fatigue is to release the novels more quickly. Rather than having readers wait at least 365 days between books, some trilogies are releasing just six months apart. Joelle Charbonneau’s The Testing trilogy has released on this schedule. The Testing came out in June 2013, Independent Study in January 2014, and the third and final book, Graduation Day, will hit shelves in June 2014. We can blame this little trend on the rapid release of the Fifty Shades of Gray novels and the success of this model in the world of erotic fiction. The immediacy of ebooks has apparently made readers very impatient for the next installment of their favorite books. For more on this trend, check out this article from The New York Times.
Chalk this one up to the success of John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars. Readers loved that TFioS didn’t sugarcoat childhood cancer. Instead of being a book about the sadness of sickness, the book was smart, funny, and romantic. And sad, yes. But it is a book that created characters with robust personalities who also happen to have serious childhood cancers. Several new titles follow this similar trend, focusing on the wit and humor of teens with various mental and physical illnesses. 2014 titles of note would be Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy and Noggin by John Corey Whaley. Both feature characters with cancer, but cancer is not the focus of these tales – in fact, both protagonists are “post-cancer” in these novels. Cammie McGovern’s Say What You Will follows in the footsteps of The Fault in Our Stars by presenting a love story between a girl with cerebral palsy and a boy with OCD. “Sick lit” seems to be covering both physical and mental illness, but it does seem that there is an emerging side trend of romance featuring characters with disabilities.
John Green’s success has also inspired more smart contemporary novels. Dystopia is on its way out, and the contemporary is back in. But readers are tired of slow stories and “coming-of-age” tales. They want witty banter, nerd-culture references, and lots of snark. Many of the “sick-lit” titles listed above would also fit into this category.
Aliens are a new micro-trend in YA, possibly due to the popularity of the Ender’s Game movie, released in late 2013. More books are taking place on foreign planets and on spaceships. Sometimes these aliens are the enemy, but more and more they are friendly…sometimes even serving as love interests in novels. Yes, that’s right – Alien Sci-Fi is merging with contemporary fiction to bring us “fish out of water” and “I-hate-him-but-I-love-him” style romance. You can read more about this trend and see some featured titles in our article on The Space Alien Book Trend in YA.
Title fonts on YA covers have become increasingly important. The latest trend seems to be the bold and the beautiful: fonts that take up most of a book’s cover and catch the eye. Case in point:
Several covers in the past two years have been particularly eye-catching, so it seems that publishers have caught on to what has visual appeal for YA readers, especially when it comes to contemporary novels.
So now we want to hear from you: which trends have you been noticing? Which do you love? Hate? Which trends do you wish would become a thing? Share your thoughts in the comments and vote in our poll below!