The title sounds a bit harsher than this post is actually going to be (haha). The following is a list of trends in Young Adult Fiction, in order from Least Hated to Most Hated, and I will, of course, include the reasons why for each. These are obviously my >>OPINIONS<< and do not necessarily have to be yours. I also changed this from Top 10 to Top 5 because… it’s my blog. 😉
I understand why the idea of teens being separated into factions and/or houses has been trending for so long. It is easier to create a fictional world where clear lines exist between different “kinds” of people (people who like hunting are in the Hunting District, and people who are brave belong to the Red House, etc.). It has become a somewhat lazier way to build a new world in a reader’s mind. Instead of a complex, multi-dimensional economy, country, political system, and human being, you have boxes where you can just fill in a certain type of thing, like Farming, and be done with it. If your reader questions where food comes from in your world, you can just say, “Oh, the Farming District. They make all the food.”
Just think of how the real world works for a moment. Yes, you have a variety of occupations and means of production, and you have various religious beliefs and cultural norms. But since when were any of those things a part of your identity? How many people actually achieve a life-long career, where they work the same job for thirty years and then retire? What kind of a society would assign jobs to youth and expect them to quietly work in those occupations the rest of their lives without an uprising every other week? What if you were assigned a job or district based on the fact that you were an atheist at 16? Where might that place you? Why would you stand for it?
All I am trying to say is that society and people do not fit into cozy little boxes, especially not for entire generations. Things change, things are complicated, and people usually can’t stick to one thing for very long without losing interest.
I am taking a “What’s Your Divergent Faction?” quiz, and the first question is:
What if I prefer the suburbs IN a mountainous area? See how this idea can oversimplify things? 😉 Enough with the neat little boxes! Give me complex worlds and dynamic societies where people are more than a single aptitude and value. We are ALL divergent, as far as I can tell. (I belong to Erudite, by the way. Now you know everything about me.)
4. Twilight Copycats
I’ve never read Twilight, but I have read my fair share of Twilight-esque novels about a teen girl falling for a dashing vampire (or becoming a vampire and being immersed in their society). I just find vampires in general disgusting, and I don’t like reading books anymore where they aren’t absolute monsters. Maybe I just read about too many dreamy, boring vampires and grew tired of the subgenre. Theoretically, a book could be written well enough to pull me back into this trend in the future (if it’s still around by then).
3. Angels and Demons
I loved the book Angelfall when it came out in 2012. I’ve also read many paranormal romances about demons. One thing I don’t like about this trend is that angels and demons are pretty much the same level of evil, but one is simply more self-righteous than the other. In the books I’ve read that focus on demonic societies, demons are pretty much Just Like Us, but with powers. I thought these concepts were entertaining for a while, but I think they are a bit overdone at this point. And as a religious person, I can no longer stomach the idea of a warrior angel falling from grace for a teenage girl. In fact, YA paranormal romances in general (where a supernatural creature falls for a random girl) tend to repel me simply because my little sister is about 17, and the thought of her as the object of some hunky guy’s affection (demon or otherwise) makes me want to die. 🙂
I will say that I hope this trend doesn’t go anywhere too soon because there is still much that can be done with it. Authors just need to get a little more creative and resist hopping on bandwagons at every opportunity. Hopefully I can achieve something unique in this genre with Gray Haze. 😬
2. Teen Activism
This is a genre that I will happily ignore until the day I die. Reason:
1. Female Assassins
The best female fighter will never, ever be able to beat the best male fighter. Ever. That is just a fact of life. I realize it’s just a fantasy, but in real life, where men and women biologically differ, the best female assassin probably wouldn’t be able to beat the worst male assassin even if he was having an off day (unless the poor kid hadn’t hit puberty yet). I don’t understand why this is a thing. Women can be killers, sure, and they can be strong, capable fighters. But the best of the best? Maybe in a society of only women, or maybe if she possessed magical advantages over the men. This is why I will never be able to read Throne of Glass. Fantasy stories must contain some element of realism in order for me to enjoy them, and the idea that a king would even consider a teenage girl for his personal assassin when he could virtually choose any combat-trained man in the kingdom just makes me laugh.
Raise your hand in the comments if you were offended by this post! ✋ ALSO, if you have any recommendations of books you think I might like based on my opinions above, let me know! 🙂