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Young adult fiction is undeniably one of the most popular genres of all time. It was first categorized around the 1930s with Lauren Ingalls Wilder’s series Little House on the Prairie. Teachers and librarians were slow to accept books intended for younger readers, but young adult books today focus on issues in society with such a passion that even older adults love to read them.
YA subgenres have ebbed and flowed over the years, and the two ever-reigning subgenres seem to be fantasy and contemporary fiction. You can always find a unique new release of a fantasy novel or a self-aware contemporary love story. But what genres are so dead that publishers in 2019 will rarely publish them and why did young adults stop reading them?
image via crosswalk.com
Ah, yes. Dystopian. Nostalgia for 2012, anyone? Maybe it was because everyone was talking about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world, but people were in a craze over dystopian society books like The Hunger Games and Divergent. Books about post-apocalyptic societies like The Maze Runner weren’t too far behind in the craze, either. Most dystopian subgenres are based on sci-fi and these particular subgenres started to oversaturate the sci-fi genre. Because of the immense popularity of books like The Hunger Games, every author wanted to replicate that fame and success. Understandably, readers got bored.
We became sick of tropes like “the chosen 16-year old who has a special ability that allows him or her to rebel and change dystopian society.” Readers began to pay attention to different genres and new authors, and the dystopian genre and its tropes slowly died out as YA readers found more relevant books. With the upcoming release of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, it’ll be interesting to see how this dystopian writer tackles this so-called “dead” genre.
2. PARANORMAL / URBAN fantasy
image via empireonline.com
When you think of paranormal YA, think vampires, werewolves, and zombies. So basically Twilight minus the zombies. For a while, the Twilight series was the reigning series for the paranormal subgenre. Teens were obsessed and buying t-shirts to show off their pride in Team Edward or Team Jacob. So what happened? Well, other authors tried to replicate the success of Twilight, and teens kept reading vampire and werewolf books until they wanted a taste of something different. Once the movies were released, Twilight stirred up even more controversy as readers began to release that Bella and Edward were an unhealthy relationship portrayal for young teens.
Still, it seems a bit disappointing that the whole vampire subgenre should die out because of one bad portrayal— especially when there’s so many amazing vampire stories, like Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire.But never fear for those readers who were into paranormal or urban fantasy books other than Twilight, or even those who were into Twilight (no shame here)— these subgenres are making a slow return, starting with Renee Ahdieh’s new vampire novel The Beautiful.
image via the portalist
Steampunk is one of a few YA genres that has never taken hold of a readership. Any successful steampunk books are technically classified under other YA subgenres and only have small steampunk elements. Those books that did attempt to focus solely on steampunk, an attempt that surged around the early 2000s, were usually adult books and were just too similar to each other to claim a place as a real subgenre.
image via CBR.com
Superheroes certainly have a presence in comic books and movies, but this genre just isn’t present in YA. There’s no clear reason why superheroes are more popular in movies than books— maybe viewers would rather see sexy superhero actors and actresses blow stuff up rather than reading about them. Or maybe, like steampunk, superhero YA books have just been too similar with dead YA tropes like “the chosen one.”
5. TIME TRAVEL
image via the next web
Time travel in YA sci-fi hasn’t been as successful as you might think, although time travel in YA fantasy has more of a presence. Maybe it’s because sci-fi books like H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine were written way back in 1895 and readers’ fascination with time travel has died out since then. Yet time travel is still popular in movies and TV, so it’s also up to speculation as to why this genre hasn’t taken off in YA.
If you’re interested in more about the book market or dead genres in publishing, check out this video by Alexa Donne, author of Brightly Burning.She explains all of these dead genres and tropes in-depth and also has some fascinating insights about the publishing world as well as advice for new writers.
Yes, it’s true! Suzanne Collins is giving the world a prequel to her multimillion-selling trilogy The Hunger Games.
Image Via IMDB
Collins’ trilogy started in 2008, only a year after she finished her 5 book series The Underland Chronicles, with The Hunger Games – where in the nation of Panem, established in the remains of North America after an unknown apocalyptic event, the wealthy Capitol exploits the twelve surrounding districts by forcing representatives from each district, one boy and one girl between the ages 12 to 18, to fight each other to the death in a televised event.
The novel follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers for the 74th Hunger Games in place of her 12-year-old sister.
Image Via Barnes and Noble
The novel received critical acclaim with Timecalling the novel “a chilling, bloody and thoroughly horrifying book” and The New York Times noting “the considerable strength of the novel comes in Collins’ convincingly detailed world-building and her memorably complex and fascinating heroine” before going to sell millions of copies.
During this heyday, Collins signed a six-figure deal for three books with Scholastic. She did, and Catching Fire came out the following year and Mockingjaycame out the next year in 2010. Catching Fire received praise for improving upon the first book and, like The Hunger Games, became a New York Times bestseller.
Each of the novels were developed into films starring Jennifer Lawrence with Mockingjay being split into two parts. The films are largely responsible for setting off a trend of teenage dystopian films, but after Mockingjay Part 2 released, it seemed like the end of the series.
Image Via CBC.ca
But come May 19 2020, Suzanne Collins will bring readers back to Panem in a prequel set 64 years before the beginning of her multimillion-selling trilogy, is coming next year. She said in a statement:
With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival…The reconstruction period 10 years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days — as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet — provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.
Scholastic Trade Publishing President Ellie Berger didn’t give us any new information, but he did tell fans that:
We are absolutely thrilled — as both readers and publishers — to introduce the devoted fans of the series and a new audience to an entirely new perspective on this modern classic.
Obviously, Lionsgate – who released the four Hunger Games movies – are already gearing up to adapt the prequel for a movie. Express.co.uk quotes studio’s chairman Joe Drake as saying, “We’ve been communicating with her during the writing process and we look forward to continuing to work closely with her on the movie.”
The film rights to Sarah Davis-Goff’s dystopian novel Last Ones Left Alivehave been acquired by Irish production company Treasure Entertainment, which means we’re getting a film adaptation on the way!
Image Via Goodreads
Last Ones Left Aliveoscillates between a young Orpen training as a child on her peaceful island-home of Slanbeg and Orpen as an adult traveling towards the mysterious Phoenix City.
Add in a four-legged companion and her wounded, wheelbarrow-bound guardian and you have a harrowing journey made all the more despite, and thus dramatic.
Image Via Irish Times
The Timeswrites that “[Sarah Davis-Goff] sees it as a wasteful dismissal of ‘the experiences, viewpoints and brilliant work of women’. Her enjoyable debut novel suffers from no such deficit,” and that might be the best summation of this novel.
Feminist, kickass, The Guardiannoted that the novel “runs compellingly enough to an irresistible internal logic of violence,” with the The Irish Timeswriting “Davis-Goff blends narrow and wide lens writing to good effect”.
Image Via Amazon
Perhaps it’s shouldn’t be as astonishing for the novel to get a film adaptation, but I can’t help but be blown away considered it was published by Tinder Press just a month ago on March 7, 2019.
Image Via Cinando
Screen Dailyreports that Treasure Entertainment has bought film rights. Producer Rebecca O’Flanagan said in a statement that:
From my first read, I was struck by the visual nature of the book and could immediately see that it was a story that has huge potential to hit international screens with iconic and far-reaching success.
So far it’s not known who will be involved in the project. Davis-Goff is said to be “creatively involved” but will not write the screenplay. That makes sense, considering that Totally Dublin reports that “Davis-Goff has signed a two-book deal with publisher Tinder Press, so horror fans can expect another page-turner in the near-future”.
What are you more excited for: the film adaptation or the sequel novel?
Since everyone figured the world would end in 2012, what did writers and directors care if their 2019 predictions were incorrect? Clearly, the logic was this: if everyone’s dead in the Mayan apocalypse, no one can tell us that vampires DON’T farm humans for blood in the year 2019.
However, now that we’re in 2019, we can definitively say there’s been a delightful lack of blood farming, but that doesn’t actually mean this year won’t be apocalyptic. (After all, there was also no blood farming in 2018, which is about the only good thing we can say for it.) These four futuristic worlds got a lot wrong about 2019—that is, unless some serious shit goes down:
Gif Via Giphy.com
Katsuhiro Otomo‘s 1982 manga Akira, as well as its groundbreaking 1988 adaptation, depicts a colorful yet violent futuristic Tokyo in the distant aftermath of nuclear conflict. Set in 2019, the city has recovered mostly in the sense that everyone isn’t dead of radiation poisoning. The government is deeply corrupt, and gang violence prevails. While of course the world is substantially more violent, this isn’t true of Japan-Japan actually has fewer violent crimes in modern times than it did in the 80s. Given that the nation typically has fewer than ten gun deaths per year and one of the lowest murder rates in the entire world, this vision of the future has not yet come to pass. While the lack of aggressive Japanese biker gangs is probably a good thing… we’re a little disappointed there’s no telekinesis.
2. The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys & Danger Days
Image Via Darkhorsecomics.com
Killjoys, make some noise—even if the noise is distressed yelling. My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way‘s comic series, The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, tells the story of the concept album Danger Days. Set in the California desert, a ragtag group of rebels tries to stop a totalitarian corporation… and fails? As Better Life Industries exerts increasing control over peoples’ lives, the rebellion simmers into nothing in the desert heat, and only the most mysterious surviving Killjoy can do something about it. The album takes place in 2019, while the comics take place a short while later. This is the most realistic of the dystopian futures—evil corporations aren’t exactly a stretch. But even the more futuristic elements—think laser guns and robot prostitutes—are less wild than you think. In 2018, China declared that it had invented an actual laser gun, though it’s uncertain whether or not this is true. And a sex robot brothel has actually already opened, though it was closed down two weeks afterwards.
3. The Island & Spares
Image Via Imdb.com
Michael Bay‘s 2005 movie The Island, believed to be loosely based on the M. M. Smith novel Spares, features a world that seems too contaminated to inhabit. Survivors of an unnamed disaster live in a grim compound, knowing they may never see the outside world. They have only one chance at freedom—a lottery which sends the winners to survive on the island. Does this premise sound flimsy? That’s because it is. An evil corporation has lied about the contamination in order to farm the survivors’ organs. And they’re not survivors either-instead, they’re generations of clones born to be harvested. While evil corporations really are behind pretty much everything, they haven’t grown thousands of clones to force into pregnancy for them… yet.
4. Blade Runner & Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Image Via Mentalfloss.com
Ridley Scott‘s 1982 film Blade Runner, an adaptation of Philip K. Dick‘s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?is famously set in 2019—so famously, in fact, that My Chemical Romance set Danger Days in the same year as a reference. In futuristic Los Angeles, mercenaries hunt and kill bioengineered beings called ‘replicants,’ some of whom believe themselves to be human. The city is devoid of nature, with artificial animals standing in for their extinct predecessors. While there’s no direct discussion of environmental destruction, the complete absence of nature is more subtly chilling. The world is subject to heavy corporate influence and an invasive, omnipresent police force—details which seem more relevant to 2019 than robot murder and animatronic squirrels. (Just kidding; robots will probably become human soon.)
And though it isn’t based on a book, the movie Daybreakersis also set in the year 2019. After vampires take over the government, a blood scientist discovers that… surprise! Blood comes from harvested humans who live in a horrible factory compound and have their organs stolen. Let’s not make 2019 the year of organ harvesting if we can help it.