YA Fiction in 2016

In terms of literary themes, 2015 was predominantly the year of fairy tale retellings (#ACOTAR, The Wrath and the Dawn, A Thousand Nights, Ash & Bramble, A Whole New World, Spinning Starlight – to name but a few) and mental illness, particularly suicide (All the Bright Places, The Last Time We Said Goodbye, My Heart and Other Black Holes, I Was Here…)

From the stirling family

As far as I can tell for 2016, a couple of themes seem to resonate:

Time travel

I noticed that time travel seems to be a pretty prominent element in some of next year’s releases, including:

  • Passenger -Alex Bracken
  • The Girl From Everywhere – Heidi Heilig
  • Into The Dim – Janet B Taylor
  • The Marked Girl – Lindsey Klingele
  • Future Shock – Elizabeth Briggs
  • Once There Was a Time – Leila Sales

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Fantasy

While dystopias are on their way out (thankfully, since there were only a couple of gems in this way-oversaturated genre), YA fantasy appears to be at an all time high. (Possibly spurred on by the success of series such as Throne of Glass?) Seriously. So many new fantasy series/standalones set for release next year – they’re outnumbering contemporaries on this list. Apart from releases from established authors, there seem to be a quite a few fantasy debuts as well.

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Diversity

Slowly, but surely, we’re starting to see greater representation of different races, sexualities, cultures, dis(abilities), genders, religions, etc. I used the word ‘greater’ to refer to volume, rather than quality, however, because of course there are and will continue to be books that attempt to be diverse but end up completely half-assing representation – you know – the MC is supposed to be Russian but apart from being labeled as such, there is absolutely nothing to distinguish them from the average white straight American teen, for example – or utilise diversity in the form of a token character with absolutely no fleshing out into a real person.

But we all continue to live in hope, and here are a couple of titles that look pretty interesting – while they may not be as hyped as other novels, it’s important to promote books that do diversity well, as well as books written by diverse authors themselves. (Note: there were quite a few that I wanted to include here, but didn’t have covers yet!)

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Thoughts, dear readers? What are you hoping to see in YA next year? What’s going to be the Next Big Thing?

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14 thoughts on “YA Fiction in 2016

  1. I’m really looking forward to seeing a whole lot more diversity in YA next year (and hopefully there will be quality with the quantity in the future). ‘We Are The Ants’ and ‘Love Blind’ look awesome!

    Loved your post.

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  2. I have to agree that this coming year, there are going to be so many of these genres set up for release. I’m so excited for the fantasy books that will be coming out — especially Assassin’s Heart and The Shadow Queen. I found lots of debut novels in 2016, and THEY ARE SO GOOD. Bless those authors ❤

    Jillian @ Jillian’s Books

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  3. Love this post! It’s so great to see that diversity is slowly but surely becoming more and more common in YA. 🙂 And I’m a huge fan of time travel and fantasy, so 2016 seems like it will definitely be great in that regard! Thanks for sharing and for putting this together. 🙂

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    1. Thank you for the lovely comment! I’m a big fantasy fan, so I’m hoping there will be some real gems next year. And as more and more diverse books do well, publishers will hopefully see that these kind of books can and do bring in the money.

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  4. When I first fell in love with YA fiction, stories were bolder, I feel. It was easier to come across something that would blow you away… This year more than ever I sensed a strong recycling thing going on – that is, not so much boldness as conformity and a desire to emulate success. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my playing field in terms of what I read has grown exponentially wider this year. So, to answer your question, I hope 2016 will make boldness sexy again 🙂 Well researched, comprehensive post!

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Ramona. I agree with you – there’s a lot that’s starting to sound the same to me, although that could also be because I’m no longer new to the genre. But yeah, I’m definitely on the lookout for more unusual, bold stories – I’ve really cut down on the amount of YA contemporary that I read.

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  5. I made a post noting similar themes a couple of months back on TSP as well, great mind thinks alike! The time traveling thing is definitely a very obvious trend, I can’t believe Outlander singlehandedly made it so popular haha. But I guess we should have known, given the wave of paranormal romance after the Twilight books came out 😄 Ah well, all the titles look great so I am not going to complain. I am also ecstatic that fantasy is making such a huge wave 😀

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  6. I’m definitely on board with the diversity, but the time travel and the fantasy, not so much…. Time travel can go really wrong for me — confusing plot lines and angsty love triangles — but I will have to give some of them a try, I guess. Looking forward to reading your reviews in 2016!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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