#Trending – YA Trends I’ve Noticed Lately (Part 1)

Lately, when I’ve been looking both at my TBR and at the books I’ve been reading, I’ve started to notice a lot of common trends, especially in YA. I think part of the reason I started paying attention to this is because of my If You Like This, Try That posts, which had me really noticing similarities between books. I definitely find the trends most noticeable among YA books, although I’d love to do similar posts in the future for other genres. To be fair, I’m not really sure how to define the timeframe of what makes something a trend. Most of the books I’ve listed here are books that came out, or at least that I’ve noticed, in the past 2 years of so, but it may be a bit of a stretch to consider that a trend. Looking at some of the books I’ve read or added over the past year or two though, these are some of the common themes that seem to be coming up more often. For each item, I’ve listed several of the books I’ve noticed, some of which I’ve read and some I have not read yet, and I’ll give a very brief description of how they fit. Each book is also linked to the Goodreads page for more details!

1) Traveling to a new country/place – The main character travels to another country, often one that they have never been to before, and often with the purpose of meeting relatives they have never met and learn more about their family and their heritage.

  • The Astonishing Color of After – Leigh travels to Taiwan to meet her grandparents after the death of her mother
  • Summer Bird Blue – Rumi is sent to stay with her aunt in Hawaii after her sister dies in a car accident
  • Darius the Great Is Not Okay – Darius travels to Iran to spend time with his grandparents and meet his mother’s family for the first time
  • Love from A-Z – Zayneb travels to Qatar after being suspended over a conflict with her teacher, where she meets a boy named Adam  who has recently been diagnosed with MS
  • The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali – Rukhsana is sent to Bangladesh after her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend, where she finds support from her grandmother
  • I Love You So Mochi – Kimi receives an invitation from her estranged grandparents to spend Spring Break in Kyoto, and she decides to go to Japan to escape her mother’s pressures about college
  • Dear Haiti, Love Alaine – Alaine gets into trouble at school, and to make up for it, she agrees to participate in a spring volunteer project in Haiti, where her parents grew up
  • Loveboat, Taipai – Ever Wong’s parents send her to Taiwan for the summer to learn Mandarin, and finds herself with her first opportunity to break away from her parents’ strict rules

2) Tackling the patriarchy – Groups of female characters band together to tackle some of the unfair attitudes toward women that they experience. In some cases, the books focus on only one female character calling out the problems she experiences

  • Amelia Westlake Was Never Here – Two girls create a fictional person named Amelia Westlake to help call attention to their coach’s inappropriate behaviour
  • Moxie – Fed up with her school’s sexist attitudes and policies, Vivian Carter creates and distributes a feminist zine anonymously to classmates, which gets many more students on her side
  • The Poet X – Xiomara turns to slam poetry to help herself process and understand many of the issues she faces, including the way she has been treated differently since puberty
  • The Nowhere Girls – A group of girls decide to challenge the misogynistic culture of their school and form an anonymous group to tackle rape culture and sexism among their classmates
  • Rules for Being a Girl – When a teacher comes onto Marin, she works up the courage to report him only to find that no one believes her. Marin uses the school newspaper and forms a feminist book club to fight back
  • Six Angry Girls – When Millie is kicked out of the otherwise all-male Mock Trial team, she joins forces with Raina, who inspires her to start a rival team of her own along with four other girls, and challenge the boys’ team
  • The Feminist Agenda of Jemima Kincaid – Jemima, a feminist student who takes issue with many of the traditions at her private school, is chosen to be part of a team to organize prom, and sets out to change the system to use a website to match students instead

3) Hard-hitting contemporaries or books about real world issues – I’ve definitely noticed a trend lately toward more books that address real-world, difficult topics such as immigration, violence, and more. The main characters are people who are directly affected by these issues, and the books tend to be very impactful

  • Sadie – A teenage girl seeks revenge on the man who kidnapped and killed her younger sister, with her journey followed by a podcast host obsessed with finding out what happened to her
  • Internment – 17-year-old Layla and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim Americans, where she must fight for freedom and decides to lead a revolution against the camp’s Director
  • People Kill People – A young person buys an illegal gun, and by the end of the week, someone has been shot and killed. The book follows the perspectives of six characters, who each have a different perspective on gun violence
  • Light It Up – An unarmed teenage girl is shot and killed by a police officer on her way home from school, leading to protests in her community
  • Jackpot – A high school senior sells a jackpot-winning lottery ticket, and wants to track down the person who has not yet claimed the prize, and convince them to give her the ticket to get much-needed money for her family
  • Zara Hossain Is Here – Zara Hossain, an immigrant from Pakistan, tries to avoid trouble while her family waits for green card approval, until she speaks out against the star football player for threatening her. When his friends decide to take revenge by vandalizing her house, a violent crime occurs that puts Zara’s entire future at risk
  • This Is My America – Tracy Beaumont’s brother is accused of killing a white girl and labelled as a “thug,” and Tracy is also fighting to get her father off of death row for a crime that he did not commit
  • Accidental – A 16-year-old girl learns that she shot and killed her own mother with her father’s gun when she was a toddler, and needs to decide whether to trust her father who is suddenly back in her life, or her grandparents who raised her but lied about her past

4) Cultural divides – The main character tries to distance themselves from their family’s culture to blend in with peers, or balance their family’s culture and/or expectations with what they want for themselves. For some reason, this trend also often involves fake dating. Or, characters are thrust into a new country where they struggle to adapt to a culture that is different from what they expected.

  • Frankly In Love – Frank Li’s parents expect him to date someone Korean, but he has fallen for a white classmate instead. He meets another Korean girl in a similar situation, and they decide to fake date each other to get their parents to leave them alone
  • American Panda – Knowing how much her parents have sacrificed to secure her future, Mei struggles to tell them the truth about her lack of interest in becoming a doctor and her crush on a boy who is not Taiwanese, and soon reconnects with her brother, who was estranged for dating the wrong woman
  • All-American Muslim Girl – Allie has not told her boyfriend, whose father is a conservative shock jock, that her family is Muslim, but seeing a growth in Islamophobia, she starts to practice her faith for the first time
  • Other Words for Home – Jude and her mother move to Cincinnati to escape dangerous conditions in Syria, leaving behind her father and older brother. She soon finds that America is different from how it seemed in the movies
  • Rent a Boyfriend – Chloe rents a fake boyfriend from a company that specializes in providing people trained to impress traditional Asian parents, and Chloe is determined for her parents to accept him so they will stop pushing her to accept a proposal from another young man in their community
  • Almost American Girl – Robin is shocked when her mother suddenly announces that she is getting married, turning their visit to friends in Alabama into a permanent move, and forcing Robin into a new school where she doesn’t speak the language, and to lose her friends in Korea

5) Return of the favourites – Authors return to series that appeared to be over, either with new prequels/sequels, another trilogy, or a spin-off series featuring some of the same characters.

  • Slayer – Set in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe, but following a new character, Nina, who is a student at the Watcher’s Academy and is surprised to find herself Chosen as the last Slayer
  • The Shatter Me series – Originally published as a trilogy, with a second set of three books added to the series 4 years later
  • Call Down the Hawk – The start of a new trilogy featuring Ronan Lynch from The Raven Cycle
  • King of Scars – A new dulogy featuring Nikolai from the Grisha trilogy (ended in 2014, 5 years before this book) and Nina from the Six of Crows duology (ended in 2016, 3 years before this book), as well as Zoya who appeared in both series
  • New books in the A Court of Thorns of Roses series – Three more books are due out in this series, which otherwise ended in 2017 aside from the novella, and are set to be published beginning next year, which will be 4 years after the trilogy ended
  • Vengeful – The long-awaited sequel to Vicious, which as published 5 years after the first book
  • Wayward Son – A new book in the Simon Snow series, 4 years after the original Carry On, which follows Simon and Baz to America. I’ve also seen another upcoming addition to the series, Any Way the Wind Blows, which has no release date yet

One thought on “#Trending – YA Trends I’ve Noticed Lately (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: #Trending – YA Trends I’ve Noticed Lately (Part 2) | Abyssal Librarian

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