Librarian's Corner Article

Teen Trends
Keeping up with the latest teen books is almost as hard as keeping up with teen technologies, but it can be done, especially if you look for trends. There are always going to be breakout unusual new books, but some trends I see lots of teens asking for now include:

Nonfiction! The Young Adult Library Services Association (www.ala.org/yalsa) has a new nonfiction award. Many teens, especially boys, like to read mainly nonfiction.

Awards: YALSA also has the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in YA Literature, a Best Books for Young Adults list, Great Graphic Novels, Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and more, including awards by teens for teens.

New Paranormal Creatures: Move over vampires, get ready for Werewolves (Think Maggie Stievater’s Shiver series), fairies (Melissa Marr), Angels (Lauren’s Fallen has the most holds of any teen book at my library now) and psychics. Lisa McMann’s teen dream reader thriller series (Wake, Fade, Gone) has huge interest, for example.  Vampires are still popular (Melissa De la Cruz and Cassandra Clare), the readers are just branching out now too. Lots of these are popping up in graphic novel form now too.

Thrillers: If adults haven’t read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire yet – they really should. Futuristic thrillers are thrilling teens and adults alike.

Mysteries for Teens: More series for boys are coming, like Chris Grabenstein’s Crossroads and Hanging Hill. There are some girl sleuths, but most teen series have paranormal elements, like James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series or Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies.  Spies abound both for girls (Ally Carter) or boys (Anthony Horowitz). 

Dark and Deadly: If someone is narrating a teen book after they died, they can rest assured some teen wants to read about them. Think Lovely Bones, though not always with serial killers.

Steampunk: Give teens a little history with their time travel thrillers or romance. Think League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Horror: Monstrumologist was gothic horror at its fascinating historical best. It was a Printz Honor this year, too.

Diversity: Promote the diverse teen books in as many ways as possible, including GLBTQ titles. Because – there aren’t enough to meet demand. Alex Sanchez’ Rainbow Boys series is still popular. Only a few Latino authors (Sandra Cisneros, Marlene Perez) and Indian teen authors are published. A few African American authors include Jacqueline Woodson, Walter Dean Myers, Sharon Draper, Sharon Flake.

Where to look for more? Try your local library site, magazine sites like this one, or www.teenreads.com or www.graphicnovelreporter.com.

- Amy Alessio

Amy Alessio is an award winning librarian who has been enjoying the constant input from teen groups at the Schaumburg Twp. Library in IL for over 10 years. She is active in the Young Adult Library Services Association, and reviews and speaks nationally on teen trends. Her next book, A Year of Programs for Teens 2, co-authored with Kimberly Patton, is to be published in June 2010. She maintains a blog about her Vintage Cookbook passion at http://vintagecookbooks.blogspot.com or www.amyalessio.com