Make no mistake, when I think of the latest out-of-this-world YA trend, I hear the phrase TEENS IN SPACE in my head, a la the Muppet's Pigs in Space sketch when Miss Piggy heads for the outer reaches of the universe (along with Dr. Strangepork). I surely can't be the only one.
I think one of the best things about YA fiction today is that there are no boundaries. Authors have a great freedom to write almost any kind of book. The young adult fiction scene doesn't have the same strict parameters that authors often bemoan in other genres, like romance, where sometimes it's harder to get a publisher to take a chance on something new. In YA anything goes. In part I think this is because all the YA books are shelved in the same place in the bookstore, and online. So if you write a book that's a little off-the-wall, it doesn't get shelved or tagged somewhere random where readers might never happen upon it.
Case and point: the latest trend I've noticed in YA: Teens in Sppppppace! (I can't stop.)
We first happened upon some teens in space last January, with Beth Revis' most excellent Across the Universe trilogy starter. As cryogenically frozen Amy awakens upon a ship — instead of at the promised planet she and her parents were supposed to help populate — she uncovers a murder mystery with the help of Elder, who is beginning to suspect that their journey isn't exactly going as planned.
And now there's even more space adventures on the way. In the April issue of RT BOOK REVIEWS, which will be with subscribers soon, we reviewed 172 Hours by Johan Harstad. This fascinating book received a Top Pick rating, and the reviewer, RT Editor Stephanie Klose, told us she couldn't sleep after finishing it because she kept looking over her shoulder, after teens Mia, Midori and Antoine land on the moon and discover all is not as it seems.
Then there's Losers in Space, also coming this spring. John Barnes' tale has kept me up late, dying to find out what happens to the nine teens, living in the year 2129 in a celebrity-obsessed world (hard to imagine, right?). The teens take off for Mars in a misguided attempt to spike their popularity rating, thereby guaranteeing themselves a ticket to easy street. Only one of the group is a sociopath, and no one's coming to save them ...
I mean, can you stand how good all these books sound? I say hooray for inventive authors and for all this great reading we've got coming our way.
And in case you'd like a Miss Piggy fix in the meantime: