Are Trends in YA Fiction a Good Thing?

This is a pretty tough question to answer… 

Sometimes a book is published and its successful, and a few months later a similar book appears, then another and another, until it seems like nothing else get’s published.

It’s more common in YA these days. Probably the best example would be The Hunger Games. An awesome series that spawned a huge fan following, sold millions upon millions of copies and was adapted into movies that make hundreds of millions at the box office. Inevitably people will want to try and reach the same level of success. And that is when the similar books start creeping in. The similarities can be subtle…

A rebellion. A strong heroine. A corrupt government.

But then they become less subtle. Books start having a to-the-death or at least to-a-lot-of-pain style game or contest in which citizens compete. I’ve read several books that focus around the ‘games’ plot line and sometimes it’s hard to imagine how some books made it through to publishing without being called out for plagiarism. But plots can’t be trademarked (I don’t think) so other writers are free to utilize them, change them as much or as little as they like. Some of the similar books are pretty solid, some not so much. But when these ‘trends’ hit they seem to flood the YA market to the point that nothing else seems to get publish.

Dystopia was huge when The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner and Divergent became popular. I was a fan of the genre, still am if the plot is original and interesting enough. But is so many books being published in the same genre a good thing? Other things are being published, it just seems that most of what is being released has three or four or even a dozen things in common with another book.

Do trends kill originality? Or is YA fiction now at a point where everything has been done and there is little left that is original anyway?

After Games of Thrones became a TV show, the market, both YA and adult, was filled with high fantasy. After Marvel hit it’s stride, there was a fair bit of superhero/superpowers fiction. Some of it is good. Some of it is clearly an attempt to cash-in on the successful original ideas/books.

It also seems that genres that don’t comply with the ‘trend’ are lost or pushed into the sidelines. Good, old-fashioned fantasy like Potter could be said to have had it’s day. Most YA books are loaded with romance because that’s what the trends demand. Is that a good thing? Is the market catering too much for the many and forgetting about readers and writers who still want to read and write something that isn’t a ‘trend’?

It’s hard to say. I don’t know if trends are a good thing, or if they perhaps ruin the market for everything else.


Does anyone have an answer? Do you think trends are a good thing or not?

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About Sam Whitehouse

Sam spends most of his time in a different world to other people. If it isn’t one he’s created himself, it’s one he’s reading about. In the rare moments when this isn’t the case, Sam can either be found addicted to a sci-fi or crime show, re-watching Marvel movies, finishing up an assignment for his final year of studying Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, or trying to get the dozens of ideas for stories in his head under some kind of control. Sam has lived in the same small village in Yorkshire, surrounded by countryside on all sides ever since he could remember. His childhood saw him get into plenty of scrapes climbing trees and crossing rivers and generally believing he was Indiana Jones. Sam gives credit to his Grandad for him wanting to be a writer, and his bedtime stories for keeping Sam’s imagination stoked. But credit must also go to Steven Spielberg, J K Rowling and Stephen King, who have provided plenty of inspiration over the years, too. Sam writes what he reads, and that is pretty much anything—save romance. Fantasy, thrillers, or crime: once an idea takes root, he can’t stop until the world, characters, and plot are on paper. A huge Marvel fan, Sam one day hopes to pen a screenplay for one of their movies, or direct one, or do anything at all related to one. Until then, he’ll stick to his own fantasy worlds and wait for Marvel’s phone call.

Posted on 05/23/2015, in books, reading, writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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