Monday, April 1, 2013

Read Any Good Young Adult Books Lately?

Photo by Peter Mazurek

All signed up and no place to go. That was me a couple of weeks or so ago.

I was signed up to take a Young Adult fiction writing class, but the school, after deciding they were not ready with the technical aspects of running it in online format, cancelled the class. So I did the next best thing; I agreed to run a Twitter chat about YA.

Since I was scheduled to volunteer at the book fair at my daughter’s middle school, in order to prepare for the chat, I asked the librarian which books were in the highest demand at the sale.

During normal school hours, the kids are required to read and test on a certain number of books for their Accelerated Reader points. Accelerated Reader is a reading program used by “tens of thousands of U.S. schools.” It encourages students to read and then tests them on comprehension. As they meet each goal throughout the year, their point goal is (usually) raised the following semester.

The librarian at the book fair said that kids buy about 50/50 - half for fun and half to help with their AR scores.

Popular Young Adult Books

At this particular sale, these were the top sellers (in no particular order):

  • Stranded by Jeff Probst - Adventure
  • Matched by Ally Condie -  Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Legend by Marie Lu (both Matched and this set in Dystopian settings) – Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Beware the Ninja Weenies: And Other Warped and Creepy Tales by David Lubar - Fantasy
  • Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl  -  Mysteries and Fantasy
  • Cinder (Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer – Fantasy

Yeah, yeah, I snuck that last one in. My source, the librarian, said that Cinder is popular in the library, but not so in terms of book sales at the fair.

Please note that the categories I listed with each book are from Amazon’s site. Scholastic’s flyer from the book fair was slightly different, where, for instance, Legend is listed as Adventure.

So it seems kids are most interested in Fantasy while Stranded is a no-brainer, having been written by the charming Survivor host, Jeff Probst.

All of this talk brings me to one question:

When thinking of a storyline for your YA writing project, do you take popular genres into consideration? Or do you just write whatever comes to mind, regardless of genre?

Well, okay, that was two questions.

If you would like to discuss this subject with a (fun) group of writers, I invite you to the April 11 Twitter chat at 12 p.m. Pacific time.

Go to Tweet Chat and put #WSChat in the hashtag search box to be taken to the chat room.

Thanks for reading! And I hope to see you there!



  1. I think it'd be neat to write a YA story, but I wouldn't just go with the crowd and mimic what's popular. Plus, by the time, you actually write that type of story, it'll probably be out of style. On a side note, the next YA book on my to-read list is Delirium.

  2. I agree, though there are writers who seem to be able to slam out a quick book branching off of a popular theme. It's interesting to me to hear varying opinions and styles.

    Delirium. I'll have to look that one up.

    Thanks for visiting, Jennifer!