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Top 10 Tuesday: Trend Watch

2010 Trends Poster
 So as you know, the yearly Top 10 Trends is kinda my “thang”.  For the 3rd year in a row, I am following trends and getting ready to put together my annual poster.  So join us, won’t you, in a little discussion we like to call Trend Watch.

Here’s what I am seeing so far this year . . .

Reality Bites
Finally, thanks in no small part to The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, contemporary fiction is returning in popularity.  Some of the hot titles include In Honor by Jessi Kirby, The Downside of Being Charlie by Jenny Torres Sanchez, Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson and Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams.  Dying, especially death by cancer, seems to be a prevalent theme in the current crop of titles that I have been reading. Keep your eye out for Ask the Passengers by A. S. King (October 2012).  What are your favorite contemporary titles for 2012?

Darkness Ruled the Land
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock presents a world where werewolves are known to exist.  In the Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin, perhaps the darkest book I have ever read (but in a good way), the threat of plague looms over the land.  Even some of today’s contemporary titles have a darkness about them.  Take, for example, The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison; this is an excellent read to be sure, but it is also a dark read about a young woman struggling with loss and OCD.

I’ve Got the Power
Today’s teens have amazing super powers! Well, at least in the current crop of paranormal fiction.  SPOILER ALERT! Some of the current crop of titles, including Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and Hourglass and Timepiece by Myra McEntire present a world in which teens find they exhibit extraordinary powers to do things like travel through time.  In Slide by Jill Hathaway our main character has the ability to slide into another person’s body and see things from their point of view. 

Under the Sea
Under the sea is where it is happening! Of Poseiden by Anna Banks, The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova, Fathomless by Jackson Pearce. This trend started in 2011, and it has not lost its momentum.

Coming Soon to a Library Near You: Sequels
Without a doubt the sequel reigns supreme right now in ya lit.  With releases such as Insurgent by Veronica Roth, Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver and Thumped by Megan McCafferty – we see that all of us seem to be reading or waiting for some kind of sequel.  This year Lissa Price released Starters and the companion novel, not exactly a sequel, Enders will be released later in the fall.  In fact, with the exception of the contemporaries listed above, almost all the titles in this post either are a sequel or will leave you waiting for one.

Steampunk Still has Steam
Steampunk has been on the trends poster since the beginning, and it definitely has some steam left.  The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross, epically good, is hitting shelves asap.  Running Press Teens has a series of Steampunk version of classics out or coming out including Poe, Frankenstein and H.G. Wells.  Steampunk also makes an appearance in Masque of the Red Death and The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry.

Stranded in a (mall/store/school)
In a twist on the popular dystopian tale, this year we see an explosion of titles where teens are somehow stranded in a small space.  In Quarantine by Lex Thomas, all the adults drop dead of a plague and the teens find themselves fighting in gangs over the occassional food supply as they are quarantined in their high school.  No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz has everyone trapped in a mall.  And Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne finds everyone trapped in a super store.

The Boys are Back in Town
Guys have always been present in teen fic; I mean, we did need to have 2 guys to lust after our main character after all.  But this year, strong male characters are making a comeback in teen lit.  From Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars to Jazz in I Hunt Killers (Barry Lyga), we are seeing complex male role models for our teen readers.  Even Timepiece, the sequel to Hourglass, is told from a male character pov.

Retro Reading
Suddenly, everything old is new again and the 80s and 90s are making a comeback in teen fiction.  The main character in The Catastrophic History of You and Me is obsessed with everything 80s.  The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler takes place before Facebook was invented.

3 is the Magic Number
Whether it be trilogies, the most popular book series format of today, or love triangles, which aren’t going away any time soon – the number 3 reigns supreme in teen lit land.

2011 Trends Poster
New Trend: Contagion (click to read the post)
Make no mistake, some of last year’s trends still have strong legs.  I see no end to the paranormal romance trend.  And dystopians?  Yeah, we’re still reading them.  And zombie fiction still seems to have some legs, even if they are some shuffling ones. (Admit it, you now have that LMFAO song in your head.)  So tell us, what trends are you seeing this year?  And what books exemplify them?  Leave us a comment and join the trend watch.
2012 Top 10 Trends in Teen Fiction Poster
You can download the poster at https://www.box.com/s/3ddeaacaa435fff16164


  1. I tuned into Cart's webinar on emerging trends for 2012/2013 and he said ghost stories are going to be pretty huge. Historical fiction in YA is kind of stagnant, but horror is definitely going to make a comeback.

  2. Don't forget about the dragons. Dragons are the choice pet for the trendy teen. I guess I should say the Middle Earth setting is still pretty hot too –
    Examples: Game of Thrones, Ranger's Apprentice, Inheritance (how many boys came in and GRABBED that book like it was a life raft this year).

  3. I have some more to add to REALITY:
    The Disenchantments
    Hold Still

    both by Nina LaCour…

  4. Horror is definitely. Do you have any ghost story titles? I love ghost stories.

  5. Dragons, good one

  6. I just brought The Disenchatments home to read . . .

  7. Angels seem to be everywhere too. I can't go to the bookstore without finding a new angel book 😛

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mid Year Check – not as much steampunk as I'd expected but what's out there is quality. I'm seeing waaay more contemporary violence! And the “Thoughtful Dystopia” is starting to emerge. As opposed to the “Desperate Dystyopia”.

  9. I really hope horror becomes a huge trend in YA lit. There are ghost stories for kids and great creepy books for adults (Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill scared me half to death!) but the YA horror stories are few. The ones that are truly great, like The Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancy, could stand to have some contemporaries. I know lots of teens who love scary movies and are big readers – more horror stories!

  10. I think Rotters by Daniel Kraus and 172 Hours on the Moon would fit into this category. I put out a call on Twitter because you are right, it would be nice to see more of these titles. I wonder if The Diviners by Libba Bray fits in this category?

  11. Could weaponry be a trend? I just read Scarlet, Bitterblue, and Grave Mercy back to back, and all main characters wield signature weapons and have knives strapped to them at all times.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I agree with angels – there are so many angel books coming out now!

  13. Tiffany Stephens says:

    I feel like I'm seeing more with kingdoms, princesses, princes, etc, e.g. Enchanted, The Selection, A Grave Mercy, The False Prince, Bitterblue, Gilt.

  14. I like this: Kingdom Come. Nice one.

  15. Definitely strong female leads who take care of themselves and don't need a man to protect them.
    -Katniss (Hunger Games)
    -Tris (Divergent)
    -Allie (Immortal Rules)

  16. Great posters and article on trends! LOVE it! Like Kate, I'm noticing quite a few on angels. Where do you see them fitting? I see you have “Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, Oh my” in 2010, and “Paranormal Romance” for 2011. I'm seeing angels more and more.

  17. I agree. Having written a book on angels, not expecting such a huge trend, all I can say is Wow!

  18. Angels, Def!

  19. The angel books I have on my radar: Embrace by Jessica Shirvington, Illuminate by Aimee Agresti and Rapture by Lauren Kate. What else is out there or coming?

  20. I was told that futuristic thrillers are on the rise, or at least, will be soon.

  21. Halo and Hades by Alexandra Adornetto
    Fallen, Torment, Passion, Fallen In Love, Rapture by Lauren Kate

  22. And you and I just did quite the nice “Beyond the Grave” book list on Twitter. Yet some of them are kind of not quite dead yet? hmmmm

  23. Classics reimagined/reinvented. There were A LOT of them last year(e.g., Jane by April Linden, Falling for Hamlet, Shut Out/Lysistrata, Prom & Prejudice, JUliet Immortal, Flawless/Cyrano, etc.),and the trend doesn't seem to be going anywhere:

    -When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle (Romeo & Juliet)
    -Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin (Poe short story)
    -Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
    -Upcoming Dorian Gray and Juliet GN series

  24. SarahSparrow says:

    Alot of the ones I've noticed have already been said: angels, zombies, dystopia, rebooted fairy tales, superpowers.

    I've also noticed a lot of dystopias that are specifically about teenage girls having to marry or have kids early. Wither, XVI, Glow, and Bumped all seem to carry this theme.

  25. Chandra says:

    lots of murder!

    mister death's blue eyed girls
    name of the star
    i hunt killers

  26. You speak truth!

  27. I eagerly await Alice in Zombieland

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