In this week’s Teen and Young Adult charts, the eBooks are flying off the shelves, as long as they fit into one or more of about three or four trends and niches.
First up, like in so many other charts Harry Potter is still top of the class. This is indicative of not only the popularity of the series itself, but also the continued popularity of Magical High School Novels, such as Bella Forest’s, Harley Merlin series, K. F. Breene’s, Shadowspell Academy series, G. K. deRosa’s, Darkblood Academy series, as well as many, many other books and series. To put this in perspective, roughly 60% of the top fifty books in the chart this week featured high schools, and most of them were magical.
Ironically, Harry Potter is quite alone in it’s own niche, the majority of the other novels there feature female protagonists and are very heavy handed in doling out the romance (Bully Romances and Reverse Harems in particular), while poor old Harry did not have much luck with that until much later in the series.
Coming of Age Tales are proving as popular as ever, both in the realistic end of the spectrum, with books like Celeste Ng’s, Little Fires Everywhere, and on the Fantasy and Science Fiction side, with Michael Anderle’s, Witch of the Federation series both getting a lot of books sold.
Worldwide threats are often crystallised down to singular relationships and the threats against them, a good example of this is Chuck Wendig’s, Wanderers. This book, which has in fact come out today and it’s immediate place on the chart shows the love people have for the author and their belief in the story he is offering, features a young woman desperately trying to keep her sister safe in the midst of what many believe to be a terrible epidemic.
A massive threat against the world with only a few young people able to stop it, is something that the Teen and Young Adult genre cannot resist. It is almost as popular this week as High School settings. Charlie N. Holmberg’s, Numina series is an example of this. Holmbrg’s back catalogue is also a kind of education in the niche, showing that she knows what her readers want and is very happy to regularly provide it. Her characters tend to fall in love an be betrayed at least once a series, so pay attention to that trend.
Overall, I think Fantasy is winning out on the genre front, and even more definitively if you count Paranormal as a sub-genre of it. You can read about Paranormal Romance in more depth here. This is interesting, since on many of the best seller’s charts for older demographics, Science Fiction tends to win. But with books like Lois McMaster Bujold’s, The Curse of Chalion, to push the numbers up, that is perhaps not too surprising. The protagonist in this one faces a lot of the challenges we have already covered, he is up against a massive threat, but one that is focused at it’s crux on the people around him. He is also a tutor, which brings in elements of High School. There is of course, magic. And like a surprising number of books this week, past betrayals haunt the main character, Cazaril, and he must make life changing decisions.
A few last words. Magic is still hugely popular, as are High School settings. Romance is also a familiar part of the genre, it’s in practically every book on the chart in some way or form. Betrayal is nearly as popular, though if the characters are going to stick around afterwards as anything but villains, they must face a torturous redemption arc first. And, female protagonists are ruling the roost here, the obvious reason is to assume that the Teen and Young Adult genre is focused on the female buyer, and there is probably some truth to that. But, there are still some male protagonists on the charts. Interestingly, there are less female villains than one might imagine. Something for you to consider as you start writing.
But, I hope I have given you some pointers that you find useful in your own works. Leave a comment if you want, we’re always happy to talk to people!