“YA Comes of Age” by Sue Corbett
‘A few concerns are voiced consistently: YA’s transcendence may have come at the expense of middle-grade, which most believe is undersold. Picture books have yet to rebound. And within the YA category, there’s an industrywide case of paranormal fatigue.
“I was at a writer’s conference a few weeks ago and got four different pitches for an angel series in one day,” says Curtis Brown agent Ginger Clark, who was in London last month to shop her agency’s list to British publishers. “Almost all the editors I saw said they are not buying new paranormal. There was some agreement that readers might not yet have paranormal fatigue, but a lot of editors do.”
“Everything in my in-box is paranormal, but the problem is, I’m not interested,” Laughran says. “It can’t be just two shiny guys and a girl anymore.” Instead, the books that are going to be successful, she believes, are the ones that do something different with the paranormal elements. She cites Maureen Johnson’s just-released The Name of the Star (Putnam) as an example. “There’s a paranormal element, yes, but it’s super funny on one page and super scary on the next.”
But just as you’re about to classify paranormal as “done,” a press release from Sourcebooks announces Embrace, “the first in a multibook, paranormal romance saga debuting March 2012.” Another, from Bloomsbury, announces Diabolical (winter 2013), a paranormal thriller trilogy with “a dash of the creepy and supernatural on the side,” set at a premier ballet academy. Goldblatt teases that he can’t yet release the details of a sale he made recently (“waiting on the press release,” he says), but it involved a vampire novel that should have been “absolutely unsellable” these days. “And yet it did.”
With the forecast calling for hardcover YA fiction to continue selling strong, everybody’s on the hunt for the next book with potential to crack the toughest nut: the New York Times chapter book bestseller list.
Many believe (hope?) it will come from outer space; Clark of Curtis Brown has high hopes for a “straight-up science fiction” series she’s shopping titled The Julian Path by Washington Post writer Monica Hesse. But she gushes, too, over Code Name Verite by Elizabeth Wein (Hyperion, 2012), a historical novel about two girls working in Britain’s Royal Air Force during WWII. “Oh, it will make you weep,” she promises.
Historical fiction as the next big thing? Who knows?
“Who would have thought that the next big thing after Harry Potter would be Twilight?” Goldblatt asks. “Followed by… Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Followed by… The Hunger Games? All it takes is one book to start a new trend and no one will see it coming. That’s the fun of what we do.”’
Extracted from “YA Comes of Age” by Sue Corbett [bolding mine]