YA goes through cycles of trends. 2011 was no different. Here are common themes/genres I noticed this year.
1) The Dystopian genre reigned supreme-I think it's safe to say that Dystopian has become the new vampire. It's EVERYWHERE. Practically all the popular books from this year were Dystopian in some fashion. As someone who loves dystopian I am not complaining however I worry that it's becoming a tad overdone. I suppose we shall have to wait and see. I suspect after the release of the Hunger Games movie and with success of stuff like Divergent that we will be seeing lots more as publishers will want to get in on the cash cow.
2) The grand return of ghosts-Has anyone else noticed more ghost stories? Again I love ghosts, they are my favorite paranormal creature so I am not at all complaining even if some of them have been slightly bizarre.
3) The return of the girl sleuth-I've also noticed a increase in girl detectives or at least girls solving mysteries. The part of me that loves mysteries and grew up on Nancy Drew highly approves.
4) Time Travel-Good lord what was with all the time travel this year? I know of at least seven books at the top of my head that dealt with time travel in some way. Unfortunately they didn't really do it in a believeable way for me so I'm not very excited about this trend despite being a Doctor Who fan who loves time travel. Now if a YA book will do it in a way I can buy then okay bring it. But until then I'm going to remain highly skeptical of this trend.
5) Less Bella Swans. FINALLY authors have realized Bella Swan was NOT a good character and I've seen less and less whiny heroines who do nothing. Thank you.
6) More playing around with writing styles. Not particularly thrilled with this. Look, I've sort of had to come to peace with the whole present tense thing. Obviously it's here to stay. But there's a time and place for playing around with writing rules that have been around for centuries for a REASON and for the love of god, use proper grammer like quote marks (yes, I'm looking at YOU, Blood Red Road. Young is lucky her story and actual writing managed transcend that annoyance).
7) A emergence of steampunk?-I've noticed a few popping up here and there and I really hope it catches on. I LOVE steampunk. We need more of it.
8) Paranormal Romances like whoa-Okay I like PNRs, I do. But we're getting a little ridiculous with them I think. It doesn't help that they are all starting to look alike. Someone on Goodreads said that they felt PNRs were becoming the Harlequin romances of YA and I think they are absolutely right. I have had so much deja vu reading new books this year that is not funny.
9) Shifters like whoa-I guess with the sucess of Firelight it was bound to happen but geez.
10) The Bitchy Heroine-This is a common idea popping up that I severely dislike. Authors, just because your heroine is strong does not mean she has to be a jerk. Likewise having her strong does not automatically make her a femenist, especially if she bitches at every other female or male who doesn't worship the ground she walks on. Where on earth did we get the idea that if you make your heroine strong/able to take care of herself then she has to be a jerk?