As a children’s librarian, I hear a lot of what young people are looking for when they come to the library. And there are many young readers out there who are transitioning from Middle Grade books to Young Adult—and not finding an easy middle ground. If you read a lot of Middle Grade, there are the usual trends: monsters, fantasy, fairies and Greek Gods. So why don’t these types of books make it to YA?
Here is my wish list for what I’d love to see trending for YA in the next year:
- Monsters. Any kind. Creatures from space, the ocean, deep inside volcanoes, lost lands. It doesn’t matter to me where they come from. Boys like monsters, and teen boys are no exception (even if they say they don’t).
- Pirates! Of course!! Girl pirates, boy pirates, teen pirates of all makes are just not out there in abundance right now. But why not? It’d be great! (And while you’re thinking about writing that great YA pirate novel, sail on over to YA Buccaneers to see what’s going on this week. We always have great prizes up for grabs and lots of exciting things to participate in. Respect the Patch!)
- Greek Gods and Goddesses. In Teen form!! C’mon, these guys had to go through the pimples and awkward phases just like the rest of us. Write about them! Girls and boys can’t get enough of these tales, trust me!
- Westerns. Okay, maybe not the first thing you think of when you think YA and teens, but there had to be teenagers in the Wild, Wild West, right? Make them accessible and you’ve got a hit, I think.
- Funny/Graphic YA. There are plenty of funny YA books. And plenty of YA graphic novels. How about combining the two, more along the lines of Wimpy Kid or Big Nate so that the boys who read this type of book aren’t limited to superheroes once they get into the YA shelves. I think this type of book could transition well.
I’m just a librarian. I can’t preview the future, but I know what kids are reading in my library, and I know what they’re asking for. Hopefully, we’ll start to fill in the gaps for early YA readers who don’t want a lot of love stories, but love adventure and humour. Go for it. Start writing it now!