What’s hot to trot in teen fiction?
Sunday 23 October 2011 ~ Romance Matters Autumn 2011
As YA novels go from strength to strength with publishers and booksellers, what are the teen trends for the coming year? Without the aid of a crystal ball, it’s hard to predict what the next big thing will be but dystopian novels - set in a future where a great catastrophe has befallen society and the world we know is fractured - are currently big business. The bad news is that unless you have a novel on this theme written and ready to submit, you’ve probably missed the boat as the market is becoming saturated.
The outlook isn’t great if you’re working on a YA paranormal novel, either (vampires, angels, werewolves) as these are definitely on the wane, although editors stress there is still a market for a well-written, unusual take on a paranormal theme. ‘Friend-lit’ continues to be popular for teen girls – as the name suggests, these are heavily based on friendships, romance and day-to-day dilemmas but they must have a fresh voice and a USP to stand out in a crowded market. Lia’s Guide To Winning The Lottery by Keren David is one to look out for on this theme.
So what’s hot for the near future? Action-packed adventure stories have always been popular and are seeing a resurgence, with author Anthony McGowan being commissioned to revamp the Willard Price novels for a modern teen audience. YA fantasy could be primed for a comeback, Gillian Philip’s Firebrand and Bloodstone are great examples. Teen horror and thriller novels could be the next golden goose as these genres seem to be under-represented at the moment.
Overall, publishers say they want what they’ve always wanted – a stand-out story with great characters. Luckily, you don’t need to be Mystic Meg to predict that.