I think Intern Jenny and I have talked a lot about trends, and how it seems like we don’t ever get one query about a subject, but a deluge. And yet, if the comments on yesterday’s post have taught me anything (besides that you have excellent taste in Buffy episodes), it’s that sometimes what comes across to agents as overdone is still of a lot of interest in the world of readers.
So I’m turning the prognosticating over to you today. What do YOU want to see more of in middle grade and young adult literature? What are you hoping to find on bookshelves?
Who knows, you might turn ME onto the next big trend!
19 thoughts on “What are YOU looking for?”
Steampunk, romance, clever puzzles, old west, egypt, go!
I'm DYING for paranormal YA that's actually scary. Paranormal romance is doing great right now, but I'd love it if the next trend focused more on the thrills and chills than the hot supernatural boys. I'd love a great YA haunted house story, or a Southern gothic horror novel.
I'd like to see really, really clever protagonists: ones you'd see in mystery, but are in YA novels instead. Also, more non-traditional fantasy fairytale re-tellings (i.e. steampunk or dystopian would be nice).
I want YA contemporary… a realistic couple with non-cliche personalities who not only face some kind of life-changing obstacle together, but also challenge each other. I love realistic dialogue and organic growth. I want a steamy romance with a cute boy who I can swoon over.
I'm tired of reading depressing–realistic material… I want to laugh, even if it has deeper themes, I want more of "The Wednesday Wars" by Gary Schmidt and "Flipped" by Wendelin Van Draanen
I heard an agent say she'd love to see something in the steampunk realm that doesn't draw its setting from 19th-century England. She suggested 1st-century Maya (which sounds great), but any other time or place would do.
I'd love to see more YA about people who grow up in fringe societies, like Holly Black's WHITE CAT and Gaiman's MIRRORMASK (okay, a movie, but still.) I'd like to see stories about gypsies, rennies, carnies, circus people, missionaries, or other fringe folk. (And I want it speculative. 🙂 )
I always check the shelves for humorous middle grade. And not just boy humor. Something for girls that isn't just a girl moving to another place and her daily life. Girls like action and mystery too. I'd love a truly humorous tween mystery. Humorous but with depth.
Personally, I would love to see a broader range of historical. It seems like right now historical = Victorian England, period. And while I do love that time period and enjoy reading books set during it, a little more variety would be welcomed!
I'd like to see more YA about boys and more MG about girls. It seems like every YA MC is female and every MG MC is male.
I would also like to see more MG like the Bartimeaus Trilogy. Those books are just well written – the language and prose are phenomenal. I think we underestimate our upper elementary/middle school age group. I know I stopped reading kids books in the fourth grade because I was tired of being patronized. In the fifth grade I jumped into YA – but found the same thing. So in sixth grade I went to the adult section. I didn't look back until I was in college and saw that some good stuff was finally being published.
I would also like to see more high fantasy in YA and MG – like Tamora Pierce's books. It seems most "fantasy" YA and MG is paranormal, which is not my favorite. I want to see a unique world that isn't our own.
Maybe this is just me, but I'd really like to see a genuinely funny middle-grade mystery about the most prodigious mustache-growing twelve-year-old private investigator the world has every known. Heck, maybe even a whole series of them. And if they could somehow blend slapstick and noir, that would be even better. I'm mean, I'm just spitballin' here, but I think it would probably be pretty cool.
I'm always looking for truly funny (to me) books. I'm also very interested right now in YA adventures (particularly fantasy) with girl protagonists with no romance. I like romance myself, but I'm sort of astonished at how few of these I'm finding.
I'd love to see more contemporary urban novels. The majority of my students are African American, and I have a difficult time finding good books that appeal to them (besides Sharon Draper, the Blueford High series, and Walter Dean Myers). And when I say urban, I don't necessarily mean drugs, poverty, gangs and ho's. I'm talking love, life, school, family from a multi-cultural perspective.
I'd like to see more contemporary YA romance that's FUNNY! chicklit-esque rather than a 'woe is me' complicated emotional crisis kick.
I want more funny MG adventures that can also make me tear up here and there.
Hmm. I'm feeling better and better about having just written a funny MG urban fantasy adventure with a girl protagonist and no romance. 🙂
I really like dual MC perspectives like Bell's Knight and Rouge series and Stiefvater's Shiver. I'd like to see more of that, and funny urban fantasy. I'd love to read a teenage Harry Dresden.
I would love more YA horror that isn't paranormal romance. I want something that makes me afraid to read the story late at night!
Maybe I'm going through Lost withdrawals (still, I know!), but I'd love a YA book that has blink-and-you-miss-it clues or Easter Eggs that make complete sense in hindsight. With things that make me reach for Google and look into mythologies and philosophies and further readings after I'm done completely devouring the book, keeping the story alive in my mind and keeping me thinking about it well after I'm done. And probably a girl protagonist in a great story. I like scifi, too.