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BEA YA Editor Buzz Panel

STATUS: Post-BEA madness. Seriously, I have a TO DO list 3 pages long.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? DANCING QUEEN by Luke Bloom

I’m back! I had the worst internet connection at my hotel. It made trying to be online beyond frustrating. I ended up only responding to emails via my iPhone and forget about blogging! Yesterday was a bit of a crunch as well so sorry about that.

So let me start filling you folks on BEA tidbits. Most of it is relevant post-show so not to worry. I think the YA editor buzz panel tends to be a nice barometer of what editors will think is “hot” in the fall. In a sense, the editors may be highlighting trends that they think will continue to be strong. Whether that’s true or not I really can’t say. I have followed the “big” books highlighted in past buzz panels and some have gone on to be huge and others have caused just a faint ripple.

So, here are the titles from the panel. Links to them online if you want to read short plot synops:

PLAIN KATE by Erin Bow—Fantasy
INFINITE DAYS by Rebecca Maizel—Vampire/Paranormal
MATCHED by Ally Condie—Dystopian
FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan—Dragon/Paranormal
THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger—Contemporary YA

I could be totally wrong but my general sense of the crowd’s reaction was one of ennui. I also asked a bunch of other people I knew there and they agreed with my assessment so it wasn’t just my imagination. The crowd was listless and didn’t perk up until THE DUFF was mentioned (which by the way, my latest NYT bestselling author Simone Elkeles read for a blurb and loved it so maybe put it on your Wish list).

I think booksellers and librarians are kind of tired of paranormal novels (TWILIGHT but with….). Now having said that, I don’t think teens are and I do think these books are worth watching and may hit solidly this fall. If you were also there at the panel, feel free to chime in on your own assessment of the crowd’s reaction.

I have not read any of the above except for MATCHED as we saw that one on submit, offered rep, and alas were one of 7 agents who offered for it. Needless to say, didn’t land with us. Sold for big money so we were rather sad but hey, went to a great agent that I like so at least we were in the game.

So now y’all can watch the releases this fall and see how they play out. Is the paranormal trend over or still going strong? The next couple of months will be telling for that. I’ve noticed some strong non-paranormal contenders hitting the NYT list as of late. That could be a sign as well.

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28 Responses

  1. Remilda Graystone said:

    I can’t wait for THE DUFF to come out, but really, I’m excited to get my hands on all the other books you listed too. I think the paranormal trend is beginning to fizzle, but it’s not out just yet. However, everyone seems to be into dystopians now, from what I’ve seen. Can’t wait until the fall!

  2. Karennina said:

    My own feeling is that the paranormal trend is slowing down and readers will start to look around for something else. The market is just so saturated. Shelf upon shelf of paranormal titles in bookstores. Overload is the word that comes to mind. We want something new, something fresh, and paranormal has ceased to be that (in my mind, at least).

    As these things go, I expect to see the trend swing the other way, and contemporary realistic titles will have their day. To cleanse the palate of the paranormal overload, so to speak.

    But, of course, if there is a paranormal twist that hasn’t been done yet, it could give the trend another boost.

  3. Krista V. said:

    Yep, the author of MATCHED is Allyson Condie. Which I’m very excited about.

    And I’ve heard fantastic things about THE DUFF, so that one’s going on the list, too.

  4. miss ali said:

    I personally quite like a bit of the paranormal (i don’t write it, but like to read it) although it’s true- the shelves are so stacked, I stare and feel overwhelmed. And there are still so many aspiring and emerging authors trying to pitch their piece of the para, and it’s awful but most of the time i’m thinking ‘really? more?…’ however good fiction is good fiction, and i’ll never tire of good fiction

  5. Mary Brebner said:

    My students (13, 14, 15 yo) and I watched a whole bunch of book trailers in all genres and, judging by their reactions, I’d have to agree–there is a growing boredom with the paranormal genre. Every time we watched one with werewolves or witches or fae or whatever, there were plenty of eye rolls, “Reallys?” and “Another ones?”.

    They did perk up for the dystopian trailers (and LOVED the dystopian books we read in class!) and the contemporary YA.

    I have to add that my most avid readers (the book devourers) are getting kind of aggravated with all the series–they’re dying for more stand-alone. It may be partly because they’re impatient and want to read the whole story all at once. Whatever the reason, they have little tolerance for cliffhangers. (But at least they’re reading!!)

  6. Sarah Skilton said:

    THE DUFF was also recently optioned by director/producer McG (“Charlie’s Angeles”) for a film adaptation so I think the buzz is paying off.

  7. elfarmy17 said:

    Yeah, I was about to say…isn’t Julie Strauss-Gabel is an editor? I recognized her name from John Green’s books.
    I am a teen, and I’m pretty much over the whole paranormal thing (I’m still reading the House of Night books, but only because I want to finish the series- they’re not doing much for me anymore). I support the statement that Dystopians are becoming popular. I’ve read a bunch over the last year, and have really enjoyed them (and although The Giver is technically Utopian…I consider it Dystopian, for obvious reasons.)

  8. JJ said:

    I might have been nuts, but I think I sat in the same row as you for that panel–just a few seats to your left?

    I’ve felt paranormal fatigue for a very long time, but then again, it was never really my thing. Right now, my other agent and editor friends seem to be buzzing around dystopian/post-apocalyptic although we’re starting to see a lot of dystopians cross our desks that sort of start looking like each other.

    I’ve read MATCHED and PLAIN KATE. I adored both, but I especially loved PLAIN KATE. I got a chance to chat with Arthur Levine and I love that he chooses books with a timeless quality to them and PLAIN KATE certainly had that in spades.

  9. April Henry said:

    I have heard really good things about Matched and DUFF. As an author who has a contemporary realistic thriller – Girl, Stolen – coming out in the fall, I hope kids will be looking for something besides paranormals.

  10. Lisa Desrochers said:

    Thanks to Kody, I got a look at The DUFF this winter, and it definitely lives up to the hype. It’s nothing short of amazing! Absolutely a must read.

  11. Some Screaming Fangirl said:

    Hmmm, how interesting. Personally, as a YA reader myself, I just take whatever I get my hands on. 🙂 Though the Duff novel description seems a little corny (hot popular guy falling for a nobody? please) and the vampire novel is just…yeah. No explanation necessary.

    At least my own YA urban fantasy series is somewhat original. No fangs, fur, scales, wings or…uh, ghostiness…whatsoever!

    Out of those five though, I’d probably pick Matched. Just for the cover and the fact it’s Dystopian. I’ll take another “Uglies” trilogy anyday, even if it isn’t a Westerfeld book.

  12. Shelley Watters said:

    I honestly don’t think paranormal will ever die. Literally. I’ve been a paranormal fan since I was a YA myself, devouring everything paranormal that was worth reading. I’m still on the lookout for another great paranormal series to sink my teeth into.

    Paranormal is what I love, paranormal is what I write. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there…

  13. tessaquin said:

    Thanks for the inside scoop!

    I’m also in love with the paranormal, but I must say that except for Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series (which is in no way YA), the vampire theme is getting a little old. I’ve been a vampire fan since I was a teenager, but it’s just getting a little too corny in YA books for my taste (maybe because I’m too old for that category, ahem).

    I enjoyed reading Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instrument series, it’s different, not corny, and fresh.

    I write paranormal myself, but I don’t go for what everyone else is writing and try to keep it original. I also try to limit the whole magic so that it isn’t overwhelming, because those kind of stories often leave me confused. There has to be a delicate balance.

    In the end I just like a good story, with a strong plot and good characters – paranormal or not.

  14. JEM said:

    Interesting stuff. I found myself feeling vaguely bored about these titles as well, even though I think paranormal is still great. It adds an extra element of danger that ratchets up the tension in any story, but I think the key from now on will be finding new and interesting ways of going about it. Vampires and werewolves and ghosts, oh my? Maybe not…

  15. Jason said:

    I’m with Shelley. Paranormal will NEVER die.

    After reading this entry I sat down with my GF and asked her to go through the books she and her brothers and friends used to read. I made a list of my own. I spoke to my parents and friends. Paranormal has always been there.

    I do agree that some of the books written lately are getting a little…corny? Not sure how to describe it. But good paranormal will always be around, and always sell.

    Kids love fantasy 🙂

  16. Anonymous said:

    I have to admit – I was excited for Infinite Days. As long as there’s a switch on the paranormal and the authors keep it interesting – I’ll read it.

  17. Anonymous said:

    Yeah, I was there and rolling my eyes… A dragon girl in love with a dragon-hunter in high school? An ex-vamp in love at a boarding school? When will the madness stop?

    But I picked up MATCHED and it’s better than I hoped — sort of the GIVER with a romantic angle.

    And PLAIN KATE is ridiculously, fantastically good. LAST UNICORN good. BEAUTY good. You’ve got to try it.

    Jenn H

  18. Caroline said:

    Actually, Infinite Days is quite good. I’m in the UK, and I’ve read the galley here. Quite literary.

  19. Michelle Madow said:

    I read Matched a few days ago and loved it!

    It’s always seemed like there’s been more paranormal novels in YA than other genres, and I’ve always believed that’s because young people are more open to paranormal ideas. Plus, the whole “normal person discovers they’re extraordinary” plot appeals to teens who want to be different and have crazy adventures in their own lives. It’s always fun to expand the imagination into things that can never happen in this world.

    Firelight’s next on my reading list, and can’t wait! Surprisingly, DUFF was the one that least intrigued me (and at 23, I suppose I’m still part of the YA demographic 🙂

  20. Natalie Aguirre said:

    Thanks for your scoop. I’ve heard good things about Plain Kate. I like that type of fantasy and Arthur Levine is such a good imprint. It’ll be interesting to see what’s hot this fall, like you said.

  21. vcmw said:

    I would say that paranormal as a huge front-leading trend in YA is starting to fade. My main marker for this is that I’m starting to see copies, even multiple copies, of Twilight books in used bookstores, and they’re not turning over quickly. So the part of the market that was centered around Twilight and romance-driven plots is probably going to soften. I wouldn’t think this would negatively affect fantasy or sf – there might even be increased readership from those who are bored with the romantic stuff but discovered a taste for the fantastic elements. But I do think the dark brooding romantic paranormal stuff will drop off a bit.

  22. Donna said:

    I’m a YA book blogger and from what I’ve been seeing in the community, paranormal is not dead but I have seen an expansion. I know personally that I’m starting to read more and more things like The DUFF (which I’m desperately trying to get my hans on!) just to break the monotony of paranormal. Yeah, there’s still good stuff being written but at this point they’re all starting to blend. People are ravenous over Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare and the final book in The Hunger Games Trilogy, Mockingkay, by Suzanne Collins but those are both established authors already.

    People are still very willing to read paranormal and are doubly excited over some of the releases at BEA but I think everyone is kind of branching out to greater territory as well.

  23. Kimber An said:

    The thing to remember with trends, cliches, and fads with Young Adult is this basic, biological fact

    Children Grow Up

    Fast

    This means anything which is a cliche to a grown-up is brand new to a 13 year old

    right now.

    This means everything that’s gotten boring for a 17 year old

    is brand new to a 13 year old

    right now.

    This is why I think it’s more important to get behind the eyes of young people, enjoy being with them, and learn to live

    right now.

    J.K. Rowling nailed this and now she has her own theme park.

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