Kids these days, they have it so good. With their fancy smart phones, instantly downloadable movies and books written just for them. When I was younger, we had corded phones, VHS tapes and the book situation … not so good. I distinctly remember going from the middle grade Baby-sitters Club and Nancy Drew series right into the adult romances of Jude Deveraux and Julie Garwood. There just didn’t seem to be much reading material for those “in between” years. But about a decade ago, this all started to change. The young adult genre, geared specifically towards teens, exploded with dozens of bestselling books that included real life issues that high schoolers face. Then the paranormal and dystopian phenomenons Twilight and The Hunger Games hit and there was no looking back for YA.
While everyone in the industry knows that these types of books are here to stay, this week The New York Times helped to solidify all things young adult when the newspaper announced that it would be splitting up its children’s chapter book bestseller list into a middle grade and young adult categories beginning on December 16th.
Interested in finding out which YA books are being bought up? Don’t wait until Sunday — I’ve got the inside scoop on the very first young adult bestseller list from the NYT and I've found some very interesting trends ...
Authors With Multiple Titles
The two big winners for the new YA bestseller list are John Green and Veronica Roth. Both of these authors currently have two bestselling books. Green with The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska and Roth with Divergent and Insurgent.
With exceptions few and far between, not many adult fiction books appear on the bestsellers list months, or years, after they are published. However, for YA titles, this doesn’t seem to be the case. John Green’s Looking for Alaska was first published in 2005, Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief hit shelves in 2006. And in one instance, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, the book was published last century! (Although it does help that this last title was recently made into a film starring Harry Potter’s Emma Watson.)
Contemporary, Realistic Settings
After witnessing the aggressive love that teens have for Stephenie Meyer’s and Suzanne Collins’ paranormal and dystopian books, I thought that young readers today favored supernatural and futuristic tales, however, this bestseller list proved me wrong. Both of Green’s stories as well as Chbosky’s book and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why are set in contemporary, or near contemporary, times and deal with some hard hitting issues including suicide, cancer and drug use.
Paranormals Are Still Hot
While almost half of the list is contemporary reads, the other half is made up of some very clever stories with unique paranormal spins including The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater with a clairvoyant protagonist and Every Day by David Levithan which is all about a character with no set identity begging the question what makes us, well, us.
Interested in getting an early peek at the young adult books that The New York Times has trending? Here is the list of this week's top ten bestsellers:
To learn more about fiction for teens, visit our Everything Young Adult Page!