With the new year, the young adult literature space is likely to be seeing new trends and also a solidification of some previous trends. As we kick off 2019, we think back to what worked so well in 2018—what we read obsessively, what we binged on television, and what got us talking with our friends about our current reads and the books in our TBR piles.
One trend that we hope never goes away is the importance of #OwnVoices novels and the diversity they bring to readers. Books that are issue-driven and socially conscious that start difficult conversations about relevant topics like The Hate U Givewill always have a space on our shelves. Feel-good books that are lighter with clever and fun romances like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Beforewill always make us swoon. Diverse characters in YA literature are spanning the genres, and we are absolutely loving it.
In 2018 there was a groundswell of YA authors who responded to real-life teen activism in their books. Inspired by teens who express frustration at the current political climate and their deep desire to affect change in a difference direction, 2018 saw many books, both fiction and nonfiction, about issues that teens care about deeply from gun control, climate change, and racism. Immigration has become a mainstay in the news, and accordingly, many YA books tackled the topic in new and creative ways. We are so proud of the YA community for the attention that is being paid to diverse voices, which positions YA literature to respond to events and emotions that are happening across the world. As readers, we are always on the lookout for authors from diverse backgrounds who tell stories that reflect the world that we live in and who use their own experiences to inform their stories.
The last year also saw a rise in YA thrillers, which might be thanks to very bingeable shows, podcasts, and adult books turned movie blockbusters. It seems natural that young adults who are enjoying these high-stakes television shows and movies and engrossed by these types of podcasts would look for something in the YA space. And it makes sense that authors would be inspired by these titles in their own thriller stories. Deep down we all love a fast-paced story with an unreliable narrator that keeps us turning the pages with dread as we wait for that final dramatic twist!
Fantasy, too, is a trend that ended strong in 2018, and we predict it will keep up its momentum this year. Fresh takes on classics myths and stories that show the genre in a new way are particularly in demand, and you have to look no further than your local bookstore to see the creative ways that traditional fantasy tropes have been reinvented. From high fantasy to contemporary fantasy and magical realism, one aspect of this genre that we love is the prevalence of female protagonists who are constantly defining and redefining the meaning of strength. In light of the #MeToo movement, we love that YA fantasy shows such a variety of ways that girls can be strong and save the world.
Ultimately trends are cyclical and there is no concrete way to predict what might really take off in 2019. One thing that seems certain though is that authors will continue to write for an audience who is craving engagement and response to current events through a variety of genres, and YA readers are eager to jump in.
At BLINK, we are working to make sure we supply readers like you with books you’ll want to read. As we get into 2019, BLINK is pleased to release new #OwnVoices, fantasy, thrillers, historical fiction, and contemporary books for your enjoyment. Remember, your next great read is only a blink away!