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…)
As far as I can tell for 2016, a couple of themes seem to resonate:
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
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.
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!)
Thoughts, dear readers? What are you hoping to see in YA next year? What’s going to be the Next Big Thing?