In the first five months of this year, more than 2.4 million YA books were sold, compared to 981,000 in 2006, according to Neilsen BookScan.
“We are in the midst of a second golden age of young adult and middle grade literature. The numbers of titles and books sold prove the incredible success of the genre,” says L.A. Miller, author of the science-fiction and fantasy YA book series Quests of Shadowind, which includes “Sky Shifter,” “The Grounding Stone,” and “Veil.”
“The modern era started with the Harry Potter books,” says Mr. Miller. “This fantasy series generated a passion for reading in young children and teens, and many have carried that interest with them to other books.”
Quests of Shadowind is the story of a group of teens who are abducted to an alien world called Shadowind, which is inhabited by ghostly creatures, cyborg animals, and virtual humans—a land where anything is possible, including being downloaded into a cryptic, evil role-playing game. In order to survive, the youths band together as they search for a way back home.
Some young adult books are so engaging that adults want to read them too. To that end book publishers have targeted some of their young adult book marketing dollars and efforts toward adults. This crossover payoff is seen in best-selling series such as Harry Potter, Twilight, and, more recently, The Hunger Games.
“It’s no surprise that adults are interested in young adult books,” says L. A. Miller. “Today’s YA books remind adults of the more adventure-oriented and thrill-filled plots they grew up with.”
According to Scholastic, the largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, here are some current trends dominating the YA and children’s expanding fiction literature markets:
* Dystopian fiction (The Hunger Games series and “The Maze Runner”)
* Special-needs protagonists (“My Brother Charlie” and “Marcelo in the Real World”)
* Paranormal romance beyond vampires (“Beautiful Creatures”)
* Mythology-based fantasy (the Heroes of Olympus and Goddess Girls series)
* The rise of the diary and journal format (the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series)
* Multimedia series (The 39 Clues and the Skeleton Creek series)
“The growing popularity of the young adult genre can help to improve our children’s literacy, and its constant trend innovation can help to ensure teens stay interested in reading,” says Mr. Miller.
L.A. Miller has been writing for more than forty years. His backgrounds in science fiction, astronomy, technology, and classic literature inform his work, which has included novels, short stories, and music. He is the owner of Wood n Nails Music and lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with his wife and two dogs. He is the author of the Quests of Shadowind series, which includes “Sky Shifter,” “The Grounding Stone,” and “Veil.”