Sunday, July 2, 2017

Your Syllabus for: YA Before Twilight

As someone who has looked long and hard at publishing dates of things I've noticed something: there is a big difference in YA before the first Twilight book and after. Namely, the section was much smaller. I am the first to tell you, I do not like Twilight. But I'm also the first to tell you that yes, it did indeed have an impact in YA. Now, I don't think it is the sole reason for the big boom in YA that happened after 2005. There were a few factors that led to the boom:
-Harry Potter fans were growing up and the publishers realized they could cash in on this built-in audience.
-John Green started writing around this time, bringing in many new fans, a lot of them adults. 
-The Percy Jackson series also started and The Book Thief, Uglies series, and a lot of other highly popular YA books that gained the section a lot of new fans were published during this year. Any publisher worth their salt would have seen the sales coming from those books and realized there is money to be made here.

But no matter the reason, I tend to think of the changes in the YA section as waves, sort of like in feminism. From the 50s to 2004 is in my mind, the classic era of the YA section. The second wave (that I kind of just call The Boom Era) goes from 2005 to...around 2012 or so. I think we're currently in a new wave. I'm not sure what to call it exactly, but there definitely is a bit of a change from today's YA to the YA from five years ago. I'd actually go as far as to say, we may be entering a new wave now because even this past year there's been a shift in what's being offered in the YA section.
This syllabus is focusing on the books from those early years. Not everything is on here, because there was a lot published over those couple of decades, but I have managed to include the ones that have stood the test of time and that people still talk about to this day. 

YA Before Twilight:

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Pub. 1954, Survival fiction

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

Pub. 1967, Contemporary, considered by some to be the book that actually started the YA section. 

Forever by Judy Blume

Pub. 1975. Blume has written a few YA books over the years, but I'm going with this book that caused parents to clutch their pearls everywhere because it dealt with teenagers ;gasp; having sex. 

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Pub. 1978, Mystery

Beauty by Robin McKinley

Pub. 1978, also check out the Damar books, Sunshine, and others

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

Pub. 1982, Contemporary
Tortall series by Tamora Pierce

Started 1983, Fantasy series, several arcs within a series. Absolutely fabulous and still be added too this day (next book comes out in February!)

Also check out her Circle of Magic series started in 1997 and still going strong.

The Vampire Diaries series by L. J. Smith. Also look into The Secret Circle series 

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Pub. 1992, Contemporary. Also check out Saving Francesca, pub. in 2003.

Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix

Started 1995, Fantasy

The Once Upon a Time retellings series by various authors

Started around 1997, bunch of one-shots written over time that are various retellings of fairy-tales.

That Summer by Sarah Dessen

Pub. 1996, Contemporary

Dessen actually has a few she wrote before 2005: Keeping the Moon, Dreamland, Someone Like You, This Lullaby, and The Truth About Forever. Probably some I missed in there too.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Pub. 1999, Contemporary. 

Anderson also has many other books she wrote before 2005.

Pub. 1999, Contemporary

Started 1999, Contemporary

The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot

Started 2000, Contemporary, also look into The Mediator series, the 1-800-WHERE-R-U series, Teen Idol, and All American Girl

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Pub. 2000, Contemporary

Sweep series by Cate Tiernan

Started 2001, Urban Fantasy

Started 2001, Contemporary series (with magical realism type elements)

Rainbow Boys Trilogy by Alex Sanchez, pub. 2001, Contemporary

Feed by M. T. Anderson

Pub. 2002, Dystopian

Tithe Trilogy by Holly Black

Started 2002, Urban Fantasy

Matteo Alacran series by Nancy Farmer

Started 2002, Sci-fi/dystopian series

The Inheritance Cycle series by Christopher Paolini

Started 2002, Fantasy series

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Pub. 2002, Mystery

East by Edith Pattou

Pub. 2003, Retelling, Fantasy

Books of Bayern series by Shannon Hale

Started 2003, Fantasy Retellings. 

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger

Pub. 2003, Contemporary

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Pub. 2003, Contemporary

Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters (also check out Luna, pub. in 2004), both contemporary

Crank Trilogy by Ellen Hopkins

Started 2004, Contemporary, verse fiction

The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson

Pub. 2004, Contemporary, also check out The Key to the Golden Firebird released the same year.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Pub. 2004, Dystopianish

Is it YA? We Will Probably Never Agree on This (books that crossover into YA frequently but aren't always considered by some to be YA):

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Pub. 1868
I've seen this often shelved in libraries as YA. I personally think it's more middle-grade, but honestly is one of those rare books that can be all categories as it follows the March sisters from childhood to adulthood. 

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Pub. 1951, I've seen so much debate about whether this is a YA book or not. The publishing world seems very evenly split on this one. I think it is one of those frequent crossover books that is both YA and adult fiction. 

The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

Started 1996, Fantasy series, seen shelved as both YA and Middle-Grade and sometimes adult fiction. 

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Pub. 1997, Fairy-Tale Retelling. I personally think this is firmly YA, but for some reason the book world doesn't seem to think so.

Holes by Louis Sachar

Pub. 1998, Contemporary
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman

Started 1995, Fantasy trilogy, put here because I've often seen this also categorized as Middle-grade. I think it's both MG and YA which does often happen (see Harry Potter)

The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

Started 1997, Fantasy series, again it is both YA and MG. 

A Wrinkle in Time Quintet by Madeline L'Engle

Started 1962, Fantasy series, both YA and MG (I actually remember reading this one in elementary school)

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud

Started 2003, have seen shelved as MG and YA.

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