As always, readers drive the trends of book sales and popularity, and it is the job of publishers, editors, and agents alike to follow the trend.
I have written a post similar to this and I have described what young adults are searching for in their books, but this article will go more in depth about why and how the current genre trends have emerged.
With the new boom of social justice calling back to the growth of the Progressive Era (1890-1920) in America, thousands of young adults crave diversity in every form.
Not only are they imbued by the ideals of social justice in equal representation of all races, creeds, sexualities, etc, but most are tired of watching the same old story with the same types of characters.
This is why writers such as Rainbow Rowell (x) and Marissa Meyer (x) are dominating Young Adult–they recognize and meet teen’s needs in featuring characters of varying race, sexuality, and nationality.
This is also one of the reasons writers such as John Green come under fire for writing books that are typically white and male-centered.
The attention towards the protagonists of these books has drastically increased, as well, as more young women call for stronger female characters.
With the burst of badassery among females in other genres–Black Widow in the booming Marvel universe and the various cast of strong females in George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series–YA readers demand that their genre reflect this new focus.
This has spawned books such as The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer,
which is a YA series dominated by women.
While most of these books still feature romantic aspects for the female lead, a lot of them now focus less on the romantic aspects themselves and more on the female’s development, much to the delight of female readers.
BROADENED OPPORTUNITIES FOR DIVERSE AUTHORS
Not only do YA readers enjoy these rapid changes in their fiction, but also in the author behind the words.
More than ever readers are focused on reading minority authors, such as the #readwomen and #YAneedsdiversity hashtags that ruled Twitter at the beginning of 2016.
This is a great opportunity for minority writers as the light finally sheds on them, but it may be harder for white male writers in this genre to garner any thriving fanbase such as Rainbow Rowell and Marissa Meyer have.
With the unpredictable events of the world these days, it will be interesting to see how this genre, and the publishing industry in general, adapt to these changes in the upcoming years; whether this call for diversity and social justice will only grow, or if some events that may occur have the opposite effect.
We may be at the peak of this trend, or it can only be the beginning, and only time will tell.