Well, it is still kinda the beginning of 2014- there is still a TON of this year to go. With it are a whole list of exciting new titles for the young adult scene. But will they be dystopians? Vampires? Angels? Contemporary books? We asked a few of our favorite people in the book world to give us their opinions: Ali from Harper Teen, Andye from Reading Teen, Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner, and Alexis from Tor:
Ali: I think we've seen a little bit of everything in 2013, and it's important to have that variety. If I had to pick one trend, I'd definitely point to the reemergence of realistic fiction as a major YA genre.2013 was a big year for books. What trends did you see really emerge in YA fiction in 2013? (Dystopian, Science fiction, Vampires, etc)
Andye: There was a lot less paranormal romance and a lot more Sci-Fi, Post-apocalyptic (non-dystopian), and even an impressive amount of Fantasy, which I love!!
Jamie: I definitely think dystopian books were still on the rise this year but I also really saw a lot of more science fiction coming through which is pretty exciting!
Alexis: We’re still seeing a lot of dystopian YA, but I think publishers are making efforts to explore new genres. We had the start of a Greek mythology trend – with at least two books in 2013 – Antigoddess by Kendare Blake and Solstice by P.J. Hoover which both used the gods, goddesses, and myths in unique and fun ways.
Because of movies like The Hunger Games and the upcoming Divergent, some say that the dystopian genre has been oversaturated and is on the fast decline- would you agree or disagree with that? Why?I think there are always going to be good and bad books of every genre, and there's always a new twist that can be put on a genre, always a compelling story to be told. I also don't think the dystopian genre is something that will ever disappear completely. It's so universal, an integral part of our storytelling culture, and a smart way to explore issues and philosophies. For instance, I just got into the Welcome to Night Vale podcast. That's some very popular dystopian, and it's doing something no one really has before (seriously, try explaining what it is to your friends).Ali: Pssh. Let's see what Tahereh Mafi and Veronica Rossi have to say about that!
Andye: I don't feel like the genre has been over saturated per se, but it kind-of feels like it because some of the dystopians have been a little cookie-cutter. I read one this year that seemed like it took The Hunger Games outline and just added a few new details here and there(so annoying). I, for one, am still up for some really excellent dystopian reads...they just need to be original!
Jamie: I do think so in some ways but I also think no. I think, as book bloggers, we are reading a lot more books than your average consumer and so we are reading SO many dystopians that this trend has gotten old to some because of this influx. I don't know that it's oversaturated quite yet on a larger scale like the whole Twilight craze became to the general market. I think with dystopians there are so many more options for stories that they don't feel the same to the general consumer. I think with book bloggers, however, it takes something real special at this point to make a dystopian stand out.
Alexis: I don’t necessarily think it’s on the decline - I think there are still ways that books can explore the dystopian genre – but unfortunately, yes, those authors are always going to be compared to The Hunger Games and Divergent. However, I think dystopia can be a very good way to explore some of the issues – be they political/environmental/etc – that are going on today and for that reason it will always be a genre that can produce exciting and interesting books.
What do you think are the up and coming genres for 2014?Ali: Again, I think we're going to see a lot more realistic fiction. But by the logic of your last question, that market is already saturated with The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Spectacular Now, and The Fault in Our Stars. So maybe we'll be blindsided by something completely new! I'm personally pulling for more books that reference Alex Trebek.
Andye: I think that High/Epic/Historical Fantasy is making a slow climb, and I think it's time for it to really shine! (Ok, this is more a wish, but really, my favorite books are The Seven Realms, His Fair Assassins, The Burning Sky, etc.) GIVE ME FANTASY!!
Jamie: Honestly I think contemporary is going to REALLY grow in popularity. Take Harper, for example, typically when I creep their catalogs they have way more paranormal and dystopian sorts of things and barely any contemporary relatively and 2014 there seems to be A LOT more contemporary.
I also think the New adult genre (I still really don't know how to classify it at this point) is going to be even bigger in 2014 and I think we are going to see more than just the romance stories that we've been getting so far. I think we will get more diversity! With some big selling new adult novels this year I definitely think we will see more!
Alexis: I think mythology will continue to grow, I think we’ll see a rise in more books appealing to boys as well as girls, and I think fantasy is also on the rise. And horror is still a very popular mainstay for YA!I think mythology will continue to grow, I think we’ll see a rise in more books appealing to boys as well as girls, and I think fantasy is also on the rise. And horror is still a very popular mainstay for YA!
What genres will we see much less of in 2014?
Ali: Books with narwhals for main characters. 80s hair band fan fiction. Zagat 2013.
Andye: I think we'll see fewer dystopians and sci-fi. I think the publishers have backed off of buying them, so we won't have as many to pick from.
Jamie: Hmm that's a hard question. I don't know if this is true but I feel like I see less paranormal these days than I used to.
Alexis: Zombies and Vampires both seem to be on the decline.
According to a Publisher's Weekly article, contemporary reads are what will be hot next year- do you agree?
Ali: Yes! But my hope is that all well written books will be hot!
Andye: Probably. Which is sad for me. I like a contemporary here or there, but for the most part, I have no interest in being in reality, so contemporary just isn't what I choose to read most of the time.
Jamie: Absolutely! There are some big contemporary novels coming out in 2014 and I just think that it's going to be THE THING. This makes my contemporary loving heart VERY happy because that is a lot of what I read and I'm happy that perhaps more people will give it a chance!
Alexis: I did read and love some contemporary reads this year – and I think they will continue to speak to readers. It seems like every other year either speculative fiction is hot or contemporary is hot – so maybe it depends on how much of an escape readers are looking for from what’s going on in the real world at the time!
Ali: Please, please, please, give me books with diversity! I want to see more non-white characters. A push to make heteronormative plots (and subplots) not the norm. Books that reverse typical gender roles, that are set in different countries, that aren't categorized as "boy books" and "girl books."What do you think we need more of in 2014- or in the future of YA in general?
Andye: Originality! I honestly don't care what the genre is, just make it good and original! I read a book called The Winner's Curse (which you've probably heard of), and I don't really know what genre it falls into, but it was awesome! So different.
Jamie: I honestly think we need more diversity -- I want to see more POC and LGBT as main characters and not as an issuey thing. I want to see diversity in different genres like fantasy and science fiction and dystopian.
Alexis: I think publishers should look to put out exciting and thought-provoking fiction and not worry about what genre is the most “hot”!
What books are you most excited about for 2014?Jamie: OH man! Where could I even begin? I need to plug We Were Liars by E Lockhart. I've already read it but it is AMAZING and out in 2014 and everyone needs it on their radar! I'm also very excited for Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi -- it's a huge, favorite series that I love and I know that is going to end with a bang -- it's Tahereh and she will slay us all. I'm also very excited for Landline by Rainbow Rowell -- she's been huge in 2013 and I loved her books so I can't WAIT for this one. The other one I've been DYING for forever and is FINALLY coming out is Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins!
Ali: You want me to pick? This is a cruel question. I'm really itching for the rest of the world to read No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale, Panic by Lauren Oliver, and Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige, and I'm excited to get my hands on Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (speaking of different....these books are so awesomely different!)Ilsa and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie PerkinsThe Unbound by Victoria SchwabRuin and Rising by Leigh BardugoSea of Shadows by Kelley ArmstrongThe Forever Song by Julie KagawaSplit Second by Kassie WestRebel by Amy TinteraUnmade by Sarah Rees BrennanI could go on and on......haha!And two I've read already, but still want:The Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiInto the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
Alexis: One book I am super excited about Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell (due out April from Tor Teen) – it’s a touching and memorable debut that the editor actually found in the slush pile! But it is amazing and won all of us over—told in diary form by a young girl who lives in a world where some families, being unable to reproduce, adopt robot children—but they have to return them to the factory when they turn 18.Other highlights:Threeby Kristen Simmons (February)-- the conclusion to Kristen Simmons’s trilogy that began with Article 5The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp (September), a magical fantasy set in a different 18th century England, much in the vein of The Princess Bride or StardustAristeia by Kendare Blake (September), which is the next book in her Goddess War series that began with Antigoddess.