This week in Teen and Young Adult there are several distinct niches and plenty of trends on show, even once you take out the overwhelming preference readers seem to have for both Magical Academy Books (which you can read about in more depth here) and tales of Dystopian or Autocratic (or both) societies. These books are more than half the chart, and it is clear that, as well as being the trends of the moment, the stories are also profiting from the large number of books in their series. The majority of them have lengthy series, sometimes making use of more than one author (ghost writers and fully credited) to increase the speed of the writing.
Books which give some insight into the life of teens, or at the very least show how much worse it could get, are very popular right now. Humour is one of the most important ingredients, but grief, jealousy, lust and love, there are plenty of others to be mixed in. The main characters are typically teens, and in this niche the adventures they go on are not filled with dragons or tigers or sinking ships, instead they are the difficulties of growing up in the US, UK, or a similar country, and interacting with the horror that is society.
Moving slightly further away from these books telling mostly realistic tales of living as a teen in the modern world, are those books where the world in general is still a fairly realistic one one, but the events that occur are anything but. This is where Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, and other books following the life of a teen who has experienced the unbelievable can be found. In this section there are murders that can only be solved by the teens of the local area, for example, and ship wrecks forcing people to live on a boat in the middle of the ocean with a tiger, and the people are recognisable, but what happens to them is anything but.
The third niche of the week is that of Fantasy novels. Many of these feature a Teen or Young Adult character, but it is not the rule as it is with the more realistic books that this must be the case. Magic and saving the world are common trends in these books, but some books manage without them, though they are in the minority. With Fantasy novels one of the most important things is to make certain that the internal logic of the story holds up, it doesn’t matter if the world outside it would look on what happens with complete confusion, because you have to make certain that you keep to the rules you make in the world. Some books losing places on the chart are doing so because they contradict their own rules and writers should take care to keep this in mind.
Science Fiction is also popular this week, tales of survival despite the world making it seem impossible are in ascendance. Young women in leading roles are particularly popular, especially if they are given the ability and the chance to save themselves and their loved ones without having to rely on other people.
Interestingly, one trend that is doing very well this week is that of stories about humanised animals. This takes a rather grimmer tone in the classics, Animal Farm, by George Orwell, and Watership Down, by Richard Adams. But a more modern take on the idea has also been published, The Bees, by Laline Paull, which confronts themes of fertility and the control of women by the community.
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