Tuesday, 20 November 2012

What's Next in Teen and Young Adult Fiction

Over the past few years, teen and young adult readers have been inundated with books featuring vampires, zombies and werewolves, and paranormal, dark romance and dystopian series. Twilight and The Hunger Games were money-making, money-spinning phenomena. Many publishers are still on the look-out for the next big phenomenon in those genres, as I’ve heard first-hand. Bookshops are still overflowing with paranormal dark romance and dystopian series, leaving very little room for contemporary teen and young adult fiction, for the real stuff that many teens also like to read.

Result: Readers’ choices have dwindled.


Publishing Perspectives is an online magazine featuring international publishing news and opinion. It’s interesting if you want to get a global flavour on what’s happening in publishing, including the children’s, teen and young adult fiction markets. (If you want to check it out, here’s the link: http://publishingperspectives.com/) On November 28th they are holding a conference which will discuss: What’s Next for YA and Teen Publishing, in New York. The speakers will be drawn from publishing houses, writers, booksellers, and include editors from Simon and Schuster, Scholastic, St. Martin’s Press, Oetinger Verlag and the books editor at the Huffington Post. If it was being held in the UK I would definitely go...

So what is next for YA and teen publishing?

Well, apparently it’s realism.

Hurrah! *jumping for joy* (I was seriously considering delving into the realms of epic fantasy and re-working a long series that I wrote many years ago when I finish the current WIP)

Although people and creatures of the night and the fractured future are by no means on their way out, an increased demand for realism in teen and young adult fiction has been identified. Writers such as John Green have become increasingly popular. Lots of market research has been carried out and it seems that teenagers and young adults do like variety in their reading.

I love werewolves, fantasy and dystopian fiction. I read and enjoyed The Hunger Games. I also read Looking for Alaska by John Green, and loved it, and I read thrillers and lots of other genres. Just because I like one genre doesn’t mean that I’ll read it to the exclusion of all else. I’ve been reading everything from fantasy epics to crime thrillers since I was very young. It’s all about choice – and, yes, even teenagers and young adults need choices.



13 comments:

Maya @ What Should I Read Next? said...

Great post! I'm a teen book blogger, and I've read so many dystopians recently that I've decided to take a break from them and read more from other genres. I like historical fiction and contemporary, so I'd love to see more of that published.

Nicola Morgan said...

Well, I hope you are right because last year I wrote a very gritty very realistic London-based contemporary thriller and it was rejected by the admittedly fairly few publishers we went to, mostly because it was too gritty and real. We are not sending it out any more. Yet.

Lucy said...

I hope you're right too, as my 'real' YA novel has also been rejected a few times. Now I just have to get my timing right...

Savita Kalhan said...

Hi Maya, thanks for commenting! I too have to take a break from reading too much from one genre. Variety is the key, so let's hope that the powers that be see it that way too!
Nicola - I like the sound of your gritty thriller! From what I've been reading recently, realism, in any form, is all set to be 'the next big thing', and Europe is already leading the way. Get ready to send it out...
Lucy - I'm basing it on what some publishers and industry people seem to be saying, so fingers crossed that it will transfer to the rest of the publishing world...

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Linda Strachan said...

I agree everyone needs a variety of choice in what they read and I do hope you are right about the next thing being realsim - my new YA novel Don't Judge Me is just out this week and it is another gritty crime novel, so fingers crossed!

Savita Kalhan said...

Linda, it might have been wishful thinking on my part if I hadn't seen 'realism' being the next big thing being discussed on the internet, but of course there are no guarantees... Look forward to reading Don't Judge Me, and best of luck with it.

Kate said...

Both my teenagers want contemporary reality and we struggle to find it in the bookshops. Not always 'gritty' reality, either, but humour and relationships and school and some of the ordinary issues that make up their day. Yes, they loved the Hunger Games but they also want something that touches base with their own lives.

Savita Kalhan said...

Kate - my teen is the same, and I've heard that many other teens feel the same way too. Hopefully, realism, in any form, whether it's gritty, dark, light, funny, will make a comeback and find a place on the bookshelf.

Nicky Schmidt said...

There certainly needs to be more variety. The bookstores here are overflowing with paranormal and dystopia to the exclusion of everything else. I go online to buy books, and curiously, I've been hunting out realism more and more. Am hoping that between the paranormal and the real there'll be room for a bit of magical realism - she said hopefully.

Savita Kalhan said...

Nicky, i think there's room for everything - or there should be! I'd be interested in what conclusions they come to at that conference in New York - and how many publishers take note of it!

David Thorpe said...

That's great, if true, Savita. I write dystopias, but do try to ground them in gritty reality. But is this view really coming from the kids themselves? previously many have said they read to escape, because reality is too much! I wish I could go to that conference. If anybody reading this is going, perhaps they could send a report....

Savita Kalhan said...

David - apparently the studies asked lots of teens. I've asked lots of teens too, and they say a similar thing. They want book shelves full of variety, not whole bookcases of paranormal dark romance.
Yes, it would be great for feedback from anyone going to the NY conference...