Now that 2019 is well underway, we’re thinking about which new trends the young adult literature space has seen this year and which trends might have the stamina to continue to 2020 and beyond. We are thinking about what we read obsessively, what we binged on our favorite streaming device, and what got us talking with our friends about our current read.
Across the publishing industry in general, there continues to be a huge demand for diversity. We are so excited to push for inclusive literature in the children’s market that features all types of voices and experiences! Diverse books that encompass underrepresented settings and marginalized cultures by #OwnVoices authors are on fire in every genre from contemporary to science fiction. This is something that many publishers, including BLINK, aren’t treating as a just a trend but something that is here to stay as we continue to push intentionally toward publishing diverse books. One title that we are very excited for is The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais (on sale in August 2019), an #OwnVoices novel featuring a Deaf protagonist with a gorgeous cover designed by Deaf artist Nancy Rourke. We are thrilled to have this representation both within the pages of the book and on the cover!
Movie and television adaptations of popular YA books have influenced trends that this space will be seeing in the future. The success of Netflix adaptions like The Kissing Booth, Dumplin’, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has brought romcoms back to the forefront in YA. And we are all the more excited if a love story is culturally rich and brings in diversity. On the flip side of this, the success of the show You, although not a YA novel, has many in the YA marketplace turning to it as a comp for psychological thrillers and mysteries in the YA space. Thrillers with a tightly-knit, well-paced plot, clever and nuanced characters, and a twist that readers will never see coming? Sign us right up! Kimberly Gabriel’s book Every Stolen Breath (on sale in November 2019) is one that we are eagerly anticipating. With the main character trying to solve the mystery of her father’s death while trying to take down a violent “flash mob,” this book has everything we love about thrillers!
We continue to see fresh and fascinating spins on familiar stories. Retellings are still trending in a variety of genres like contemporary, science fiction, and fantasy. Twisting well-known fairy tales and myths and turning them on their heads make this an exciting space that is ripe for creativity, and a space where authors have plenty of opportunities to play with their readers’ expectations. One of our favorite authors who writes contemporary retellings is Christina June, whose book No Place Like Here (on sale in May 2019) is a modern twist on Hansel and Gretel. The main character in this story works at a retreat center in the middle of nowhere and leaves trails of breadcrumbs—inspirational sayings and scribbles—that help her cope with her own family drama. Annie Sullivan is another one of our favorites in the re-tellings subgenre. Her upcoming fantasy novel Tiger Queen (on sale in September 2019), gives readers the answer to Frank Stockton’s cliffhanger of a short story, “The Lady, or the Tiger.” Taking the unnamed princess from this short story and turning her into a Wonder Woman-esque warrior who battles against suitors in the arena, Annie takes readers on a fun and unexpected adventure in this retelling.
And finally, in YA right now there seems to be a greater awareness of audience. While the primary audience of YA novels is still teen readers, there is a strong secondary audience of adults in their twenties and thirties. *raises hand* And so in many YA books, we have been seeing more mature and older protagonists with darker and grittier storylines, which seems to be very organic. This helps YA literature cross over to adult readers. However, no one is selling teens short here. In real life, authors know that teens today are grappling with heavy topics like internalized prejudices, sexism, a government that students might feel doesn’t match their beliefs, and mental health. Readers want to see teen characters dealing with these serious issues, finding their voice, and speaking up. Real life teens inspire us every day!
At BLINK, we are working to make sure we supply readers like you with books you’ll want to read. We are so pleased to release new #OwnVoices stories, fantasy, thrillers, and contemporary books for your enjoyment. Remember, your next great read is only a blink away!