As the year comes to a close, I'm reflecting on the books that I read (and loved) this year, and I'm eagerly putting my TBR together for the next. In the coming weeks, I'll be posting about my favorite books of the year, what I'm looking for next year, and a deeper look into some of the statistics behind my reading. While I've been working on those posts, though, I've seen trends in books that I'm drawn to and underrepresented areas in YA that I want to see more of. This post is my ultimate future wish list as well as a call for other readers to speak out about the kinds of books they want to see represented more on the book shelves. Let me know in the comments if some of these are on your list, or if there's other books you want to see!
Almost every YA book has a romantic element. Whether it's a true necessity of the story or not, it's usually there. Sadly, this means that epic friendships tend to take the backseat. I want to see the dawn of a new era of Epic Friendships being just as common as Epic Love Stories. Even though the book came out in 2017, I read Radio Silence this year, and it made my heart ache with longing for a friendship like in this book (also, as a bonus, it takes place in England. It's super interesting to learn about another culture. I'll take more foreign YA too). As for sweet families, I absolutely loved the father-daughter relationship in The Way You Make Me Feel.
Searingly Honest Mental Health YA
This is a wish that I already know is getting fulfilled thanks to Kathleen Glasgow. Her prose are so quiet and almost unassuming, but they build like drips in a bucket until it all spills over in the form of tears in your eyes. Definelty look out for her book, How To Make Friends With The Dark in April, and read her debut Girl In Pieces now.
It was also great to see a shift in YA a bit with so many novels that look into abusive or toxic teenage relationships. While old YA had a reputation for promotion of unhealthy relationships and toxic masculinity, there were so many painfully amazing books counteracting these harmful messages. Broken Beautiful Hearts follows a girl who's soccer dreams are jeopardized when her boyfriend gets physically abusive and her transition to a new school and rehabilitation, Always, Forever Maybe cautions about how easy it is to fall into the cycle of abuse when cut off from everything you used to have, and Imagine Us Happy tells to story of how battling with depression made it hard to recognize a relationship gone wrong.
Recent Past "Historical" Fiction
There have been a few books that hit shelves this year as part of a new trend of books set in the not so distant past. The '80s, '90s, and early 2000s have all been settings for almost contemporary novels, and it's fascinating to dive into a time period and era of culture that you're familiar with but never really experienced. It adds an interesting thrill to a contemporary story and allows you to read something removed from the current time without having to totally "relearn" the rules of the world.
The category has also become an avenue for some amazingly compelling stories like A Very Large Expanse of Sea.
True Crime Stand-Alones
Links of Interest:
Always Never Yours: Review Here
Unbroken: Review Here
YA Movie Takeover: Here
Little White Lies: Review Here