Sunday, June 28, 2009

Young Adult Genre Revival

This will be a relatively short YAYA posting, but I wanted to get everyone, readers and bloggers alike, involved, so make sure to offer your opinions!

Lately, literary agents have been looking for steampunk and dystopian novels, implying that these may become 'the next big thing' so to speak (no guarantees!).

So here's the question: Is there something you'd like to see in young adult novels, something that was prominent in the lengthy history of world literature, that isn't there now? Some genre, or topic, that you just love, but isn't present in today's young adult lit just yet?

For example, maybe you have a secret love of biji (
筆記), a genre from Classical Chinese literature that was like a notebook, with short stories, anecdotes, quotations, etc. from the author (Biji). There are a few books like this in young adult right now, like CATHY'S BOOK by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman (Amazon), but maybe you'd like to see more. (Note: Cathy's Book is also an interactive mystery, so slightly different, but very similar in principal.)

Or maybe you reread Homer's THE ODYSSEY (
Amazon) every single year and would like to see more young adult that has a large body of water as its main setting. I'm not sure of any current young adult like this, so leave a comment with an example if you know one.

Perhaps you're just looking for a new type of fiction all together such as the slice of life, or
tranche de vie, where there is minimal plot, little character development, and an open ending. Something more true to life than any other kind of fiction. The YAYA bloggers discussed a desire to see more of this just the other day. This, of course, would be a more difficult endeavor because keeping someone interested with the daily happenings of life is difficult, but it has been done. Non-YA examples include James Joyce's DUBLINERS (Amazon) and John Steinbeck's OF MICE AND MEN (Amazon).

So let me ask again, in case you become distracted with filling your Amazon shopping cart...

What genre, topic, or literature form would you like to see more of in modern young adult literature?


hannah said...

I want more family sagas, like John Irving.

amy said...

I want more teen books with a dark, funny, smart, amoral worldview. Like Heathers or Brick -- I see this attitude in movies and music fairly often, but for some reason it seems taboo in literature for young people.

Also, maybe more nonfiction aimed at teens (beyond fakey musician bios)? Nonfiction is a huge market for adults, why not teens?

Summer said...

Uh... YA short story cycles! Wouldn't that be fun? Ask For a Convertible... it's kinda like that. All the short stories are about the same character or group of people. It could span a year or maybe all of high school!

Cat Hellisen said...

Ooh dark comedies in the vein of Heathers would be awesome. Preferably without a cop-out ending though.

I'd like to see more magical realism in YA. I love urban fantasy, but I'd like to see YA do something different with UF, take it places where it seems the adult ones don't go. (Adult UF seems to have fallen into something of a rut, unfortunately). I think there is so much potential to do really wonderful things in YA UF, and make it truly magical.

I'd also love to see more stuff set in places like Eastern Europe really incorporating the mythology in clever new ways.

liznwyrk said...

I'm actually working on something that could conceivably be considered biji- I am excited to see you express interest in that form.

Ann Elise said...

I'd like to see more epic fantasy series in a similar vein to Harry Potter, but obviously with a unique spin. I find it interesting that agents are asking for more steampunk and dystopian stories, since the novel I started writing a while ago is fantasy with dyspopian elements within.