Google+ YA Romantics: Trending Thursday: Trendspotting in Some Recent Buzz Books

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Trending Thursday: Trendspotting in Some Recent Buzz Books


Welcome to Trending Thursday, a weekly post in which I pick a trend and we discuss.

Today I'm looking at a few of the 2014 YA BEA Buzz Books to see how they might fit into -- or create -- YA trends. 

The Jewel
by Amy Ewing
(HarperTeen, September 2014)
Synopsis, adapted from Goodreads: The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty––because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring. Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.  Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence . . . and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.
 Trends:  Royal Romance -- Many girls love their princess stories, and Royal Romance has had a fairly constant presence in YA, with books like Princess Diaries, The Selection, Throne of Glass, and Cinder I looked a bit at this trend in a prior Trending Thursday post on (Almost) Famous Romance.  Thus far this year in that category, we've seen All That Glows Royally Lost and The Ring and the Crown.

Surrogate/Doppleganger -- plots in which the protagonist has to play the part of an more elite or powerful person have been a growing trend recently in books like The Lost Girl, Tandem, Pawn, and The Ring and the Crown.

The Walled City
by Ryan Graudin
(Little, Brown BFYR, November 2014)
Synopsis from Goodreads: There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run. Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there run drugs or work in brothels—or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.
Trends: Crime Lords as villains have recently played a part in books like The Bone Season and Avalon. There have also been plenty of YA books about mafias of various kinds, books like the Birthright series and the Curseworker series.

Books With Rules. Okay, this is partly tongue-in-cheek, but I feel like I've seen a lot of blurbs with rules in them recently -- in books like Dear Killer, The Project Paper Doll books and NIL. I think this has to be because Rules are Made to be Broken, right?

This book also features The Ticking Clock, a staple of thrillers, and a technique that has been recently used in YA books like NIL, Unraveling, Countdown and Fire and Flood.

And before we move on, can I just comment on the cover, which features my favorite new cover trend, Head in Profile -- a trend we discussed a couple weeks back.

Lies We Tell Ourselves
by Robin Talley
(Harlequin, September 2014)

Synopsis from Goodreads: In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever. Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily. Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept “separate but equal.”
Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

Trends: I'm hoping this one is a trend-setter -- books that tackle race issues head-on seem too rare recently in YA. Plus, in my opinion, YA always needs more books about female friendship.

There's another upcoming book that deals with race issues and is set in the 1950s, Girl in Reverse by Barbara Stuber (Margaret K. McElderry, May 2014).

What do you think? I'm definitely in for all these three :)

32 comments:

  1. I have bookmarked this page, so I can update my TBR list later.

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  2. How do you pick up on these trends. I'm hopelessly obtuse. Great post!

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    1. I don't know -- I guess I think a lot about books and when a topic strikes me, I write it down. Then it becomes a game for me to think of as many titles as I can that fit the topic.

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  3. I'm so impressed with your trend posts. I'm terrible with thinking up books like that, on the spot. So not my thing. Great job! I'm surprised that I haven't read many of the books that you've mentioned above. I do love my princess stories, but I haven't read many. Of the ones you mentioned, Cinder is the only one that I've read, and that was just this past week. I do have The Selection and Throne of Glass, and that cover for The Jewel is gorgeous!! :)

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    1. Of those, my favorite is definitely Cinder. I like my princess stories to be a little gritty and romantic!

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  4. Weirdly I haven't found myself falling into many of these trends for some reason though I'd love to explore the royal romance one. Especially since Throne of Glass and Cinder were ones you mentioned and I've been meaning to read them for forever at this point! I love seeing what new trends develop!

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    1. ToG and Cinder are definitely more action-filled, but there's some romance as well.

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  5. The Jewel cover is just a rip off of The Selection cover and this just makes me angry. It's like everyone is copying The Fault In Our Stars now. I went into Waterstones yesterday and picked up 4 books by 4 different authors, John Green included (but not TFIOS) and they looked like a set. My partner couldn't believe it. Where did the originality go?

    ★ Under The Mountain ★

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    1. Funny -- I thought that Jewel cover looked like Winner's Curse -- with the overhead perspective. I feel like so many bloggers have written about the girl in the dress that I didn't want to go there. Two points: I think the girl in the dress does at least fit on a Royal Romance book more than a paranormal romance. And even though many of us say we're tired of the girl in a dress cover, someone is buying them!!

      As for the John Green covers, I'm curious if the UK covers (as you were shopping at Waterstones) are the same as the US ones. If you mean the"graphic bubble" covers (as I call them) then I definitely agree that seems to be a trend. It does also seem that when an author is really successful, other covers suddenly start to look like that author's covers...

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  6. Thank you for linking to the Lies We Tell Ourselves and the Girl in Reverse. I wrote a YA set in the early '60s that also deals with segregation and civil rights so I am always on the lookout for books like that. Three years ago I wasn't seeing much mid-century set YA (the books I found were all middle grade) but slowly I've seen more.

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    1. Is yours the astronaut story?? I think I read about it on your blog. The early 60s was such a turbulent time in the US and I think there are some great YA stories to be told from that time period!

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  7. Cool feature idea. I will admit, I do love the Royal Romance plotlines. However, as you mentioned, it has already had a pretty large number of books dealing with that. I think one of the reasons that as a trend is so predominate right now is because of the revival of fairy tales (and their various retellings).

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    1. That's a great point. I think fairy tale retellings have really increased in popularity lately!

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  8. I agree. I love those high fantasy royal romance. Especially if the girl is no one special. Well, she is special but she is lower class. Ya know.

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  9. I totally agree, I really do hope that The Lies We Tell Ourselves becomes a trend setter because we need more books out there that tackle race issues.

    Also I love how you pick up on all these trends. I can never connect the dots so well :P

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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  10. The Jewel sounds interesting, but the cover reminds me too much of The Selection. I really wish I could go to BEA, but I'll have to wait till next year. The Lies We Tell Ourselves sounds really different from what's out there and I might give it a try. Great post, my TBR list just grew a bit. Haha.
    -Marianne

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    1. To me , it's The Selection crossed with Winner's Curse! Hope the story's good!!

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  11. I'll say it again...I love this series Jen. I'd not heard of the last two books on here so I'll have to keep my eye out for early buzz/reviews.

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  12. I haven't even heard of Lies We Tell Ourselves. *dashes straight to goodreads* That one looks great! I'm kind of excited for The Jewel too, although I think it looks SO much like The Selection cover. Mm, hopefully it's a completely different feel. ;)

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    1. Argh, I should have put "add to GR" buttons on there. I forget something in every post!

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  13. The Walled City sound good, but I'm not so sure about other two books.

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    1. I also think that one sounds really interesting!

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  14. Yes, YA definitely needs books on female friendship! It also needs more on race issues, so I hope that will be a future trend too. The Walled City looks really good--I love those trends it has. I'm excited to read The Jewel because of the "Surrogate/Doppleganger" trend. I really like books with that in them.

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    1. I feel like the "doppleganger" thing may be peaking, but we shall see...

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  15. Geez, Jen, you just want to explode my TBR list don't you? I haven't heard of many books here but you've mentioned potentially awesome ones (don't know if they're awesome yet ;P I have to read them first). Bookmarking as well! Thanks for the informative post!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

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    1. Yes, that is my master plan *rubs hands together*

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  16. Haven't heard of these books either, so thanks for bringing them to my attention. I need to check them out. Great post!

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  17. Oh now The Jewel screams for me! I haven't heard of it before, but it has my full attention now. Thank you for sharing these, Jen :)

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