Saturday, March 12, 2016

Trends in Young Adult Fiction: Plots

In January, I posted about this year's cover trends in YA fiction. Today, I want to talk about trends in plots of YA books.

Organ recipients

Last year, Jessi Kirby wrote Things We Know By Heart, a book about a girl who seeks out the recipients of her deceased boyfriend's organ donations. The trend of seeking out organ recipients after a loved one passes away is continuing this year, with Some of the Parts, by Hannah Barnaby, and The Way Back to You, by Michelle Andreani.


Retellings are always a trend, but this year, I've noticed a lot of Peter Pan retellings in particular.

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
Wendy Darling Volume 2: Seas by Colleen Oakes
Never Ever by Sara Saedi
Everland by Wendy Spinale

Books about sexual violence

I haven't figured out if this is trending again because of the Sexual Violence in YA Fiction series the Teen Librarian Toolbox did, or if it's trending for other reasons. Either way, books that are similar to Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, both in style and subject matter, started trending again last year, and it has continued into this year.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston
The Word for Yes by Claire Needell
Wrecked by Maria Padian
The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

Also in this category, reminiscent of Jennifer Brown's Thousand Words is The Best Possible Answer, by E. Katherine Kottaras.


Jinn seems to be the new trend for paranormal fiction, as vampires seem to be trending out.

Circle of Jinn by Lori Goldstein
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Mental illness

This is a big one. Part of the diversity people want to see included in YA fiction is mental illness, plus, the Teen Librarian Toolbox has done a series of posts on Mental Health in YA Fiction. What started as a trend last year is continuing this year.

The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
When We Collided by Emery Lord
Underwater by Melissa Reichardt
A World Without You by Beth Revis
Jerkbait by Mia Siegert
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Climate change/natural disasters

This is a slightly harder topic to pin down. There are some books coming out that are about actual natural disasters, such as hurricanes. There are also books coming out about water contamination, and I've noticed a few dystopian books coming out where society has changed as a result of climate change (e.g., in one of these books, the snow won't melt, so it's always winter).

Dig Too Deep by Amy Allgeyer
Even if the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia
Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy
Up From the Sea by Leza Lowitz

Time travel

Time travel is one of those topics that sometimes is a trend and sometimes isn't. It's not new to YA, but I've noticed several time travel books coming out this year. I use the term "time travel" loosely--the books in this category can be about characters who constantly travel through time, or they can be about a character who wakes up in a different year than that character would normally live in.

The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Once Upon a Kiss by Robin Palmer
Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

What trends have you noticed in YA fiction this year? Let us know in the comments!

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