What's Next in YA? Tell me what you think. (And come see me live.)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Yesterday, my gorgeous niece Claire called, as she will, from time to time.  She had a school project on the docket, questions for my husband about his life in architecture, but I got to talk to her, too (it was part of the deal).  Claire is the niece who shares her love of books with me.  The sixth grader with a huge vocabulary and a very empathetic heart.  She'd just acquired a handful of new titles from Borders.  I sat on my deck, phone pressed to my ear, as she read the jacket flaps to me.  Together, and quite craftily, we speculated.

Not long ago, at a cocktail hour, someone said, indicating me, "Oh, don't talk to her.  She just writes kids' books for a living."  It was half a joke, but I suspected it wasn't really.  It was a prejudice I thought we'd snuffed, this ghetto-ization of YA writers.  I think of dear Claire whenever I think of those who want to make YA books a lesser category.  I think of the giants of the craft.

I'm going to be thinking out loud about the YA genre—the rise of fantasy, paranormal romance, dystopia, and steampunk, the ever-continuing importance of contemporary realism when handled by those who care about kids and about craft—during a few upcoming appearances.  I'm going to be talking about what I think is next.  In the meantime, I'd love to know what you think is next.  What you think is necessary, what is called for.  What trends are over and done for you?  What stories do you miss?  What books would you give my bright, loving, beautiful niece Claire, if you had the privilege of being her aunt?

Please let me know here.  And please come, too, to one of the following events, where I'll be talking about all this and more, while also reading pages from You Are My Only.  I want to see you.  Live, and in person.  It's about time for that. 

Wednesday, October 26, 4 PM - 6 PM 
Rutgers-Camden Visiting Writers Series
Young Adult Lit: It's Not Just Kids' Stuff Anymore
(details here)

Thursday, October 27, 7:30 PM
You Are My Only/Book Launch Party
Radnor Memorial Library, Radnor, PA
(details to come)

Monday, November 7, 6:30 PM
You Are My Only/Lecture and Reading
Haub Executive Center, St. Joseph's University
(details here)

Wednesday, November 9, 7:00 PM
You Are My Only/Reading and Signing
Chester County Book & Music Company
975 Paoli Pike
West Goshen Center, West Chester, PA


bermudaonion said...

You and your niece are lucky to have each other! My first thought was to give her some of A. S. King's books, but I know you already know about them. A YA book I read and loved recently was Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr.

Melissa Sarno said...

When I was Claire's age I loved The Tillerman Series by Cynthia Voight. (Starting with Homecoming and Dicey's Song) I highly recommend them. I think it would be interesting to read a new series about a family like that. I don't understand why all series seem to be about sassy girls clubs or vampires or dystopian worlds. I think there is room for a different kind of contemporary series.

Bee said...

I wish I could go see you but I'm halfway across the world.
I want to see more of magic realism. That's missing.

A.S. King said...

*Raises hand* Bee! Magic realism isn't missing...it's just not pushed to the front of the shelf. I write it!

I can never tell what's next and I can never understand trends. It seems to me one or two books do something great with a subject, and then many books come after it that aren't nearly as good just to get on the wagon. And though those books sell tons and get a lot of attention, I can't say I want to be on a wagon.

I like my wagon.
It's weird, but it's mine.

I want agree and say that Sara Zarr is a great YA choice. As is Matt de la Pena. Oh! I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan--perfect for Claire's age group.

Lilian Nattel said...

YA is a happening genre. But even if it wasn't, I'd say that you can be grateful that person didn't think you worth talking to. Someone like that is even worse to be around when they think you are.

Saints and Spinners said...

I wish I could come see you live! Regarding "What's next" and what I would like to see happen next in children's and YA... I started out as a fan of science-fiction, and continued on through teenhood. As an adult, I find that while there are adult science-fiction books I really like, the ones I often reread have children and teens as protagonists. If they have humor, so much the better.

Mandy said...

You and your niece have a wonderful relationship. What fun it would be to talk to you about books all the time?! :)

I really love Joseph Delaney's The Spook's Apprentice series. It doesn't get much love outside of the UK but it's wonderfully spooky, perfect for fall reading. Also, Laini Taylor's Dreamdark series would be good.

Beth F said...

Your niece is so similar to mine. By the time my niece was in 5th and 6th grade she was suggesting books to me! She like the Angie Sage books and the Inkspell books at that age.

Georgie K. Buttons said...

To be honest, I'm kind of tired of the whole vampires, zombies, werewolves, and recycled super hero trends that are prevalent in entertainment today. Not just in books, but in movies, too. Time for new ideas, methinks!

I just read a book called "Dragonfly" that was very good. I loved the dialogue, the way the characters grew and changed, and the feeling of realness that I got from the story. Yes, it was fantasy, but it rang true with the way people think and feel and act. It was definitely an enjoyable read, from start to finish.

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