Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Trends I'd Like to See Disappear or Multiply

This awesome button was made by Lindsi at BSAOT.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's Top Ten is trends of which we'd like to see either more or less -- I'm doing a combination of both, focusing on the YA genre.

Trends I'd Like to See Disappear:

1. Love Triangles: You saw that coming, didn't you? It's just so overdone! Most of the time it feels forced, and you know from page one which fella is going to come out on top. The other "love interest" is just a plot device to cause drama.

2. Brooding Heroes who Suddenly Become Fawning Admirers: Girl meets guy, guy acts like jerk, girl swoons, guy suddenly becomes Best Boyfriend Ever. These abrupt personality changes give me whiplash. It's unrealistic and makes girls think that if a guy treats her like dirt, he must be REALLY into her. Um, no. (I blame Twilight for this. I loved it when I first read it and was a YA newbie, but I wonder how I'd feel now...)

3. Human Girl, Supernatural Guy: Why does it always work out this way? Why can't the girl be the scary supernatural who must protect the fragile human boy? These human girl scenarios just reinforce outdated gender roles.

4. Cliffhangers: I love a good series as much as the next person, but these days it seems like most series are just one book cut into three parts. Each book should be a self-contained story (a la Harry Potter) that feeds into the larger arc of the series -- not part of a story that abruptly cuts you off so you have to come running back for more. It makes me feel used.

5. Trends Themselves: For a while it was vampires, then it was fey, now it's dystopian and quickly heading into mythology. It's absolutely mind-boggling how many books of the same "type" come out at the same time. Seriously, what are the odds? Diversity, please!

Trends I'd Like to See Multiply:

6. Foreign Settings: I say this as an American who would like to read books NOT set in America. Usually the foreign country is its own character in the story, and creates a fantastic atmosphere that is like traveling the globe from the comfort of your living room. The prime example of this is, of course, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Paris) and also the OMGAMAZING Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Prague).

7. Boarding School: I know there are already a ton of these out there, but I love love love them. Throwing teens together in a space that small is bound to stir up plenty of interesting encounters. See: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, Wildefire by Karsten Knight, Anna and the French Kiss.

8. Best Friend/Nice Guy Gets the Girl: This isn't a trend, but it so should be. Seriously, why does the angsty, hot-and-cold swoon-bucket always get the girl over the tried-and-true, loyal and sweet boy who's been there all along?

9. Fierce Heroines: This is pretty self-explanatory. There are some killer heroines out there right now, and I hope YA authors keep 'em comin': Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games), Katsa (Graceling), Meghan Chase (The Iron Fey), Evie (Paranormalcy), Lexi Harris (The Near Witch), Karou (Daughter of Smoke and Bone), Ari (Darkness Becomes Her), Ellie (Angelfire), etc etc.

10. Alternating POVs: I love this method of storytelling, but it seems to still be pretty rare. It's so much fun getting more than one perspective, seeing the same situation through multiple eyes. Examples: The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater, Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton, Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers. Daughter of Smoke and Bone also uses free-indirect discourse to get into the minds of multiple characters, without explicitly alternating POVs.

11: College Students: I have an extra one. This is hardly a trend yet, but I would like to see more of it. Love Story by Jennifer Echols and The Ivy by Lauren Kunze both feature college-age students. It's kind of an in-between age that doesn't get much attention from either the YA or adult markets. I'm a college student and adult novels don't really appeal to me, but I'd like to read about someone closer to my own age than 16 sometimes.

What about you? Are you tired of these trends? Can you think of any examples of the good trends I might have missed?


Vy (Vy's Blog) said...

HAH! I am in total agreement about everything. Especially love triangles. Sometimes they feel so pushed that it becomes love squares and so on. I also agree that there should be more college students. :)

Laura (The Zealous Reader) said...

Great points! I picked foreign setting and love triangles too. I really like your point about college novels, I've only read 2 that were technically YA. The rest are always in the adult section. *sigh*

Here's my Top 10: http://bit.ly/qlepOJ

Julia said...

I love your MORE trends! Foreign settings! Nice guys winning. These would be so awesome to read!

Great number 11 too! I never really thought about how College age gets looked over... which is kind of ironic considering the blog I write for!

Thanks for participating in TTT!!
Julia from The Broke and the Bookish

Anne Bennett said...

I hadn't even thought of needing more college age protagonists! Good call.

Anonymous said...

In agreement on a lot of things here too! Supernatural guy/human girl is getting so old! I really like books that alternate POV, I've read a couple of good adult fiction books that have done this recently. Also would love to see more novels set in college - gives quite a lot more freedom than those set in high school but for some reason, they seem to be few and far between. Excellent list!

Must Love Books said...

I would have to agree with all of these. I love when the nice guy gets the girl, sort of like the Body Finder series. I also love the college aged books just because it is a little closer to my age.

The only human guy/supernatural girl book I can think of is the Beautiful Creatures series. Hmm....

Ashley @ Book Labyrinth said...

YES x a zillion to 4, 8, and 11.

I hate it when a book just feels like the first half or third of a story. IMO you can't just stop in the middle of a story arc and say "THE END, now wait for Book 2 for a year." You can leave major things unresolved, but at least have some self-contained story. Gah!

I'm so much a fan of the nice guy. I just don't see why someone who is a JERK gets the girl. It's different when the guy is kind of bad ass and still treats the girl well. That is completely okay. But the bad boys who treat them like dirt? Uh, no way.

And I totally agree about college age stories. Have you read 'Flat-Out Love' by Jessica Park? It was the perfect YA/adult crossover.

Nancy Kelley said...

I'm pretty sick of love triangles myself. The only (ONLY) exception would be a situation where there's actually a possibility she might choose either of them.

Or (now hey, here's a thought!) why couldn't it be one guy, two girls? Why does it always have to be the girl at the center of it? Once again, that just emphasizes the thought that the only thing on a girl's mind is love. The only girl-centered plot we can think of is a love triangle, oh dear!

Callie Kingston said...

Yes! College age protagonists. I've heard from multiple agents and editors that they can't sell books with college age characters. Frustrating. Obviously, somebody wants to read them.

Book Crook Liza said...

The words of my heart! I agree with absolutely everything you wrote! Fierce heroines and college students especially!

Sikká said...

Great list! I completely agree with you about... well, everything.

Here's my Top Ten

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

So true about the brooding hero! Very wise.

Here's my Top Ten list for this week:
Top Ten Trends You'd Like to See More Of
I hope you will stop by and join in Readerbuzz's August Giveaway!

VABookworm87 said...

I agree with all of these!!! I used to shop around in the teen read section, but now it's a wall of paranormal books with about 2 shelves of other content. It sucks!!!

If you like foreign settings, I highly recommend Someday My Prince Will Come by Jerramy Fine :) It's one of my favorites! It's hilarious!!!

Lisa said...

I agree with so many of your comments, in fact you whole more of list! I think college students often don't have much literature to read about their age. It seems to jump from 16 to 30.

Anonymous said...

Definitely more foreign settings are needed. Or at least cool and unique places instead of the usual big cities like New York.

Anonymous said...

I love the things you mentioned. Foreign setting is awesome too!

Lauren M said...

I agree with all of these! Especially the trends you'd like to see multiply. I love nice guys! YA needs more of them. :)

Andra said...

Urgh I HATE cliffhangers...seriously they make me want to throw the book across the room. There is one series where each book is around 250 pages, and it always ends without tying up loose ends...it's like...just write longer books lady...I don't even want to read your books cause I never know what happens!

Books4Learning said...

Insightful list! :)

Allison said...

New follower!!

Interesting point about the Human Girl, Supernatural Guy trend- I've never really thought about it, but it's so common- and even if the girl is supernatural, she doesn't know how to use her powers and needs to be protected (Starcrossed)!

I also love boarding school books. I'm teaching at a boarding school this year- not quite sure what to expect from that dynamic!

Dead Trees and Silver Screens said...

I agree with you about college age books. The adults books weren't really that great and hard to relate to and the YA books about 16 year olds are hard to relate too as well. There should be more books about college students. You would think high school students would want to read them? The only ones I've seen have been poorly done.

I always root for the best friend to win in the love triangle. By the way if you are looking for a supernatural girl/ human guy book check out Unearthly. She is angel and saves her man.


Bailey said...

I hate brooding heroes! Why do all the girls fall for them??? I agree that I love when best friends fall for each other. That love feels the most genuine. =)

danya said...

I'm with you on so many of these, Casey! Foreign settings and college-aged protags both made my list of trends I want to see more of. The love triangles, on the other hand, made my "trends I want to see DIE" list, as did the whole series-in-3-parts thing. GRRRRR I hate it when a book just cuts off right in the middle of the story arc, and you have to wait for the sequel to get things even semi-resolved!

And good call on the brooding guys with mood swings. Why must they always be so broody, and why must the girl always find it so darn attractive? (I make exceptions for classic brooders like Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre, though :D)

Anonymous said...

While I'm not so sure about the alternating POVs (I tend to avoid books that have them, because it can get difficult to relate to *any* of the characters when there's an overkill), I completely agree about everything else ... it's like you read my mind ... BRILLIANT!! :D

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