Thursday, October 14, 2010

I’ve Got a Little List…

I read a lot of YA fantasy and science fiction. And because I read a lot of YA, I’m usually on panels about YA at sf and fantasy conventions. And, because I’m a librarian in my day job, I have a habit of creating lists of new YA, which turns into handouts that I can pass out at panels (which people tend to like because that way they don’t have to scramble to write titles down). Anyway …

Since I have a list, I’ve noticed a few trends over the past year. Mythology is a big one. Greek/Roman mythology-based tales are still being released, probably because of the popularity of the Percy Jackson series. But the mythologies of other cultures are starting to appear. One example is Christine Norris’ The Ankh of Isis, out before Rick Riordan’s new Egyptian series beginning with The Red Pyramid.

Princesses are popular (I’ve found at least seven this year), as are fairies.

Fairy tale-based stories are another trend. These can be set in the past as well as magical preserves in present day. Michael Buckley’s Sisters Grimm series is still going. Roberta Olsen Major has a fun take on her fairy-tales (the series is called Royal Pains, which should give one a hint). Polly Shulman's The Grimm Legacy is a bit different, as it has a lending library of magical artifacts.

Magic schools have branched out to include schools for monsters and schools for witches and vampires. I have a particular fondness for Jennifer St. Clair’s series, where wizards, vampires, dragons and members of the Wild Hunt can all take classes together without trying to kill each other. And, although it’s older than last year, Gloria Oliver’s Cross-Eyed Dragon Troubles is a great magic school/dragon-riding academy tale.

Psi powers are another popular theme – complicating high school life with the added angst of having to hide from your classmates the fact that you can read people’s minds or hear interfering ghosts needing help. Some of those have the added adrenaline dash of hiding from secret organizations looking for those with psi powers.

I'm still looking for good YA science fiction stories. Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Saltation is a great example. More on the science fantasy side, Nina Kiriki Hoffman's Thresholds is a delightful 'aliens living next door' tale that reminds me of another of my favorites, Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, which also has a new book out, A Wizard of Mars.

What trends have you noticed this year? And what are your favorites of those?


  1. I'm waiting for the angel epidemic. I've heard of a few angelic YA and MG books either in progress or under consideration. I'm pretty sure they'll be flying in soon.

  2. I'm seeing more YA dystopia books and darker paranormals. I review for YA Books Central and also I'm a reader for an agency. I've been seeing the above trends along with more historical YAs like FORGE and the amazing REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly.

    I also agree with Lee's comment on the angels. We'll be seeing more of them too.

  3. I have a griend who is writing one where one of the characters is on the cusp between angel and ghost.

  4. There isn't much SF for YA, but steampunk is making its way into the circuit of themes. Which I think is a little more SF than F, but that could just be me.

  5. I hope more angel stories are on the way.

  6. I must admit, I love the Greek mythology trend in books--for reading AND writing. (What can I say? Those mythos have been a sweet spot for me ever since I was a kid!)

  7. I'm with Lee and Beverly- angels! But I love any fantasy! Trying to like steampunk. :-)

  8. One of my critique buddies, Beth Revis, has a YA Sci-fi coming out on 1/11/11. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. We're all very excited for her.