Saturday, May 14, 2011

Reading Trends - Part I: Young Adult

As both a reader and a writer, I find learning about the latest trends in reading to be both interesting and useful. So, I'm going to cover this in at least a couple postings and start with Young Adult readers. This year continues the hot topic of fantasy/paranormal, mainly vampires and werewolves. However, the fantasy realm includes mythological themes such as the Goddess Girls. Multimedia series are also grabbing young readers where they connect online and in video. Two that fall into that category are 39 Clues and Skeleton Creek. Diary and Journal formats are popular as in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which by the way leads to the books where the main characters have special needs, such as Mockingbird and Rules. Graphic novels and Manga continue to hold their place in the top favorites, probably because of the timeless captivation of such stars as Superman and X-Men. And it should be mentioned that though these are Young Adult books, adults are reading them, too. In fact, this trend is on the rise, which I imagine pleases both author and publisher alike.

One more category I'd like to mention is books for reluctant readers. Teaching in this area has given me firsthand experience in the challenges of getting kids to read. I agree with those who say that reluctant readers are ones who just haven't found the type of book that interests them yet. Anyway, here is a list of the top ten picks:

  • Amason, Jessica and Richard Blakeley. This is Why You’re Fat: Where Dreams
         Become Heart Attacks.

  • Brereton, Catherine, Philip Steele, and Hannah Wilson. Warriors Versus Warriors:
         Ten Fighters, Five Battles, ONE WINNER.

  • Elkeles, Simone. Rules of Attraction: A Perfect Chemistry Novel.

  • Hasler, Nikol. Sex: A Book for Teens: An Uncensored Guide to Your Body, Sex and
          Safety.

  • Keplinger, Kody. The D.U.F.F.(Designated Ugly Fat Friend).

  • Neri, G. and Randy DuBurke. Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty.

  • Rainfield, Cheryl. Scars.

  • Summers, Courtney. Some Girls Are.

  • Volponi, Paul. Rikers High.

  • Von D, Kat with Sandra Bark. The Tattoo Chronicles.


  • I will end this post with a little anecdote. It addresses the reason why it's important to a hopeful writer wanting to sell his/her work. When I spoke with someone who owns a business and after complaining how difficult it is to find a publisher to accept my work, she asked me, "Well, have you asked them what they are looking for?" Such a simple question, but with not so simple an answer. It's very hard to find the right place at the right time, but knowing what the reader wants to read is what publishers want to publish is ultimately what the author should write ... at least is he/she wants to sell :-)

    For more information about Young Adult Readers, check out YALSA .

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