Top Ten Trends I Would Like to See More or Less of
I'm going to limit this to trends in YA, as it's the only genre where I feel like I'm somewhat aware of/up-to-date on what the trends are. I'm dividing my Top 10 list into 5 'more' and 5 'less'.
I would like to see more...
1. Third person POVs
I understand why authors prefer first person: It allows the reader to get inside the character's head and understand them better and so much of YA writing is driven by character emotions. But reading books the way I do - picking up a new one as soon as I've finished the previous one - means the constant first person POVs start to get mixed up in my mind: "Wait, isn't 'I' Cammie? When did she fall in love with a vampire? Oh, right, this is a different 'I'." Third person not only eradicates this, but it opens up the world of the novel, allowing us to know more than only what the main character knows and feel more than solely what the main character feels. I'm not saying first person should be abolished, but I'd definitely like to see third person used just or almost as much.
2. Epic Fantasy
YA tends to stick to Urban Fantasy; characters that live in worlds that are basically the same as our own, but with an added supernatural element. I'd like to see entire worlds created, that are truly fantastical and alien to us.
3. YA Mysteries/Crime Fiction
I loved Nancy Drew mysteries as a kid, but as an adult, I'm quite turned off by a lot of modern detective/crime stories being far too violent for my tastes. I feel like YA mysteries would be pitched just right for me. Veronica Mars began life as a teen novel; can you imagine how great that book series would have been?
4. Less attractive leads
It's something that puzzles me about US TV - that everybody has to be so attractive when it's not even slightly realistic for them to be so. High schools, small towns, hospitals, crashed planes, are almost solely occupied by the thin and the pretty. OK, so I can see why casting directors for films and television would be swayed by good-looking faces. But in books, where we can't even see the person we're reading about, what's wrong with describing them as having a bulbous nose? Or spot-prone skin? Or extra weight around their middle? A character doesn't have to have to be Quasimodo, but most people aren't flawless - they have some physical imperfections and I'd like to read about characters who are real.
5. World YA
I'm not sure what else to name it. Basically, the vast majority of YA I read is American, some British and a handful Australian. But I have a real desire to read a story about being a teenager in, say, Peru. Or Zambia. Or Nepal. I love to travel and reading is the least expensive way to do it. I'm not sure what's already out there, but I'd love to see YA literature from other countries around the world become more prominent and accessible.
I would like to see less...
6. Paranormal Romance
I once loved this genre. Really. And I'm sure I will love it again, once I'm not so saturated with it. But at the moment I need a break; they are all starting to seem the same and I know exactly how each story is going to play out before I even read it. It doesn't need to disappear as a genre, but it needs a author with a fresh take on it.
Honestly? See my comments on 6.
8. Historical fiction that is set in 19th century England
I understand why this era is so attractive to authors: It was an important time for women and the novel, there's a wealth of material for research and it allows for a pretty frock on the front cover. But recorded history spans thousand of years, why set so many stories in only one part of it?
9. Americanism changed into Britishisms and vice versa
I remember hearing from US readers that some of the language in Harry Potter was changed from a British word or expression to an American one: "trainers" replaced with "sneakers" or "jumper" with "sweater". I would have hated having that in my copies. It's not something I ever noticed being done to American books published in the UK, but recently I've seen it. The Gallagher Girls series has characters referring to "rubbish" and "primary school" and I know Americans don't say that. It bugs me to hell - first of all, it's messing with what the author wrote and second of all, if I'm reading about American characters in America, then I want them to sound real and not use words an American would never use. I'm not an idiot and I can usually work out what things are without the word needing to be changed for me. I'm not sure if this is a trend yet, but I absolutely want to stop it in its tracks before it becomes one.
There are many stories that need to be told over several books. However, I'd wager that there are just as many that don't and are being needlessly stretched out. I would really like more books to be a complete experience in themselves and not to have to seek out 2-5 other books before I find out how the story is resolved. It feels like every YA book I pick up nowadays is only Book One. I want to be able to pick up a book, read it and know that that is that.