f0zKg0J4zFLYz-Yq0aednQVqREE Once Upon a Prologue: Discussion Post - #2: Trends I'd Like to See More of in Literature
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Discussion Post - #2: Trends I'd Like to See More of in Literature

Trends In Literature I'd (and We'd) Like to See MORE Of!

{ | } As a reverse to my last discussion post, this week I'm going to talk about - and ask for input from you guys, my amazing followers - trends or plot devices I would like to see more of in literature, specifically YA literature, since in YA, it seems to be one sweeping trend after another, but as we've already talked about, sometimes those fads get old and worn out, and need revamping, or sometimes, totally done away with.  

So like always, I'll tell y'all what I think and am wanting to see, then it's YOUR turn in the comments.  And remember - I reply to each and every comment, so check back here to keep the discussion going.  : ) 

{ ++ } Stand-alones, or companion novels (less series.)  Sometimes a good stand-alone novel can be as, or more, powerful and meaningful than the best, most amazing series.  Examples of great stand-alones I've recently loved are The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab (creepy and awesome), Saving June by Hannah Harrington (emotional and poignant), Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry (just...there are no words.  READ.  IT.)  My Sweet Audrina by V. C. Andrews (I read it back in the day but OMG it was and is still squee-worthy), The Catastrophic History of You & Me by Jess Rothenberg, and as recently as last night, Welcome Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriel!    In my experience, you can still get attached to the characters over the course of a good stand-alone and an author can still tell a satisfying story enclosed in one novel, instead of ten.  That said, I am also enjoying the more recent companion novels, which still give you more time with the characters you met in book one, but don't linger on and on past the their prime. 

{ ++ } Romances where the two parties have shared history.  It doesn't have to be the childhood-best-friend-turned-love-interest plot, though I am sort of a sucker for that.  I just don't always want to see the two characters meet and fall in love.  Sometimes it's nice - fascinating, even - to see two characters with history, be it good OR bad who end up coming together and falling in love. Those are the sweetest romances for me sometimes, because the couple MADE it - they beat the odds - and sometimes, every once in awhile, I love those romances more than I love watching someone fall in love.  Some authors struggle to SHOW that instead of just telling us; some authors get it absolutely right, but the couples with a past tend to pull at my heart in the most wonderful way.  One of my favorite review books from 2011 was Take This Regret, about a couple who came back together after years of regret.  It was beautiful in so many ways!

{ ++ }Taboo subjects.  One of the reasons I like Jodi Picoult so much is that she's absolutely unafraid to write about subjects she wants to shed light on, and I feel like YA needs more of that.  (Note: Jodi Picoult writes...women's fiction, I guess you would say.)  All too often subjects like substance abuse, physical abuse, mental issues, etc - any hot button topic - are glazed over in YA fiction, or the surface is only scratched.  I think there are some amazing authors out there who are completely capable of really delving into these sort of subjects, and who knows - doing so might reach someone who has needed help!  I really adored Hushed by Kelley York because it was just so fierce and bold.  Kelley absolutely just didn't hold back and yes, Hushed was somewhat disturbing but it was also brilliant.  I really adored that it featured a male/male romance that was just so heart-achingly beautiful.  I hate to call LGBT books a "taboo" subject but I'm afraid they still might be, but I have seen how well it CAN be done.  I want more!

{ ++ } Gothic novels.  Now this one is probably just me but I LOVED the older, Gothic style novels from authors like Barbara Michaels, V.C. Andrews, etc.  I think this could be an awesome thing for YA - the spooky, family house, dark secrets, forbidden romances, etc.  For some reason, I kinda sometimes crave that sort of read.  It's probably why I loved The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell so much!

{ ++ } Time travel!  Now don't get me wrong - I don't want to see the time-y wime-y wibbly wobbly vibe in EVERY YA novel.  But I so adored books like Hourglass by Myra McEntire and Tempest by Julie Cross.  To me, the time travel element in those books was done just so well, so effortlessly amazing, and I just know if they have that ability, other authors do as well.  I really liked both of those because those ladies dared to do something different with time travel, a subject that fascinates me.

{ ++ } Books that involve music!  I LOVE music.  I'm rarely without my iPod.  If I'm cleaning, I'm also singing.  When I write, I turn on the playlist for the character of the day.  Music is a HUGE HUGE part of my life - I flail over new singles by favorite artists.  I'm going to a Lady Antebellum concert this week and it's just sinking in that I'll BE THERE.  EEE.  That said, I love books who incorporate music into them, and not necessarily just when a character is a musician, but when music is an underlying theme throughout the novel.   Music has the power to heal, and to make me feel things and I adore it when authors choose to play on that - because if music effects me that way, I know it does others, too.

{ ++ }Older protagonists.  I know that a great deal of main characters in YA are sixteen to hit that target demographic, and I have no problem with that, but I think it would be nice to see a few more YA novels with girls in their late teens - 19 or 20, even.  I've seen many authors do an awesome job at getting a 16 year old's "voice" spot on, but other authors seem to have trouble doing so, or their teenage protagonist turns out to be either way immature or super super mature, and that makes the whole book kinda wonky.  I think there are a lot more teens out there who aren't given credit for being incredibly mature and who COULD enjoy books with a bit older protagonist, just like there are readers in their late twenties and early thirties who can and so still enjoy the books with younger protagonists.  I hope that mouthful made sense and didn't offend anyone.  : )

{ ++ } Book that change me.  (Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, The Catastrophic History of You & Me by Jess Rothenberg, etc.)  That may sound melodramatic but it's possible.  Usually these are books that I strongly emotionally connect with, and books that make me think, make me feel, make me consider my life - is it what I want?  Is it all it can be?  Am - I - all I can be?  These are the books that linger with me forever, that I've read years ago and STILL think about.  They're the ones that have something to teach me.  And there can never be enough of those.  

{ ++ } I have this feeling that there are SO SO many more trends/types of books I'd like to see but right now, this is all I can really think of.  LOL.  So that's it for me - I've had my say.  Now it's y'all's turn!  Reply, reply, reply and LET'S DISCUSS!  I want to hear what you guys have to say about this subject!  And in two weeks, the next discussion post will be up and I'm looking for ideas on what YOU'd like to discuss!


Caitlin Lomas said...

I'd definitely like to see more gothic novels!! I recommend The Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens to you...it's sorta crossover..the MA is in her early 20's but it's got this great atmosphere to it...also sorta fills your older protags quota too XD I definitely agree with you on the age thing, I'd love to see some older characters, even just 18 which seems to be that magical age no one in a YA novel ever reaches! Time travel would be awesome, I totally adored Hourglass! Like you say though, we don't want this in EVERY book.

The Cait Files

Ems said...

I totally agree on stand-alones. Sometimes it's nice to be able to wrap up a story in one book. Also love the gothic novels...The Vespertine was one of my favorite reads last year. One of my favorite trends that you mentioned is the shared history between love interests-one of the things I loved the most about The Body Finder series. They KNEW each other! It was no surprise when they fell in love because they already had that past.

Let's see...I'd love to see more average-looking protags, both male & female, and not just someone who CONSIDERS themselves average...someone who really IS. Lately, it seems like everything I've read has this gorgeous person in the lead. Sorry, but that gets old!

Jade said...

I'm totally with you on the shared history romances and time travel books. I love when characters who have some kind of previous connection get together. It's always more interesting and to watch go down. To understand what feelings have or haven't changed. And time travel novels make my day. I've loved pretty much every one I've ever read. And I used to love me some VC Andrews so if the Vespertine is anything like it I must check it out!

jessasank said...

Can I just say... YOU TOOK ALL THE WORDS OUT OF MY MOUTH! Lol. I agree with all of the above times infinity. I want to write a book that deals with almost every one of them. I especially have to say I love stories where the two share a history together, and anything musically related. I have a story idea in line for each of those and cannot wait to write them! :)

Lan (The Write Obsession) said...

Stand alones tend to be much easier done in contemporary novels than they are in say, dystopian or fantasy. Maybe because there's usually only one central idea and now actual bad guys trying to take over the universe. I agree with you though, there should be so many more stand alones. I've been banging on about the poor best friend type never getting the girl and I'm glad you've included it in your list. It always bugs me that the new hot guy is always stealing the limelight. Now for trends that I'd like t see more of...I'm not sure if this counts but I'd like to see some more YA from a male's POV. Also, I'd like MC's to be more well rounded with hobbie's and idiosyncrasies.

Valerie said...

I'm up for more stand alones for sure. Really tired of waiting for series'. I've also taken to reading male POV - wish there was more of that.


Marie Landry said...

So...have I told you lately that I love you? lol
Seriously though, this is such a great topic of discussion, and you hit on just about everything. For ages now, I've been wanting more standalone books. I feel like almost every book I read is part of a series and it drives me nuts because I tend to suck at carrying through with series (not because I don't want to keep reading, but because there are so many other books to read, I get sidetracked). Even though I love series, I'm always thrilled to find out that a book is a standalone. I also wish more authors would touch on taboo subjects. Hushed was freaking amazing, and you're right about LGBT still being taboo - nobody will convince me otherwise, because I know A LOT of people who won't read those books, and they're missing out in my opinion. I love books with music, too! That was one of the reasons I loved Amy & Roger's Epic Detour so much - the references to music, the lyrics, and the playlists. Brilliant. Older protagonists, check, shared history romances, check lol. Your list was so comprehensive, I'm seriously drawing a blank on suggestions. As for books that change you - I love hearing other people talk about that. I know there are probably people who think it's silly, but I feel bad for them if they've never read a book that's left them breathless that way...contemplating life, love, your purpose, making you think about who you are and what you want and who you can be. I love those books, but they're so rare!

LiteraryExploration said...

I have to admit, I absolutely LOVE series, and I always have. I mean Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, Magic Tree House. All of these series are what really solidified reading for me so I think that's why I like them so much.

I would DEFINITELY love to see more romance where the characters have a past! That would be so great :)

Anna @ Literary Exploration

Lauren @ Hughes Reviews said...

Time Travel and Gothic novels are definitely things I want to see more of too!!! Time travel fascinates me and allows so many different possibilities! And one of my all-time favorite books is Jane Eyre, which is one of the queens of the Gothic. :)

As a writer, I think one of the tough parts of love stories with shared histories is conveying the history while telling the story in the moment (teen years) It's just tricky to do without either lots of backstory or lots of flashbacks. And teens are known to live in the moment. I'm not saying I wouldn't like to see more of it too, it's just that's why I think it isn't done more.

Great discussion post! :)
Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

Michelle @ OFTLOB said...

I know YA is young adult - but I want some college level characters - like in Tiger's Curse. Does this mean I'm growing up? EEK! I read a book ( wont give it away) and she ended up with her best friend and no the "new" hottie. It was a great change.

Molli said...

Yes, college age characters I think could still fit into YA novels. 19-21 or so would be an AMAZINGLY refreshing change. And awww YAY for the best friend love! That kind of stuff makes me really geekily happy!

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

I haven't read Jane Eyre, but I have always wanted to! I really love those types of novels so it is definitely on my TBR!

I completely understand where you're coming from, and I think you have a valid point. There are a LOT of great plot devices out there, just unfortunately, I see way too many sometimes being over-used, or done, but not WELL done.

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

Wouldn't it? I think I'd swoon if YA was dotted with a couple books here and there with that sort of love story. I've got my fingers crossed that maybe some of the 2012 debuts are like that.

And yes, to what you said about series. As long as it's compelling throughout and doesn't lose its fire, I have NO problem with a good series. I grew up on Sweet Valley and the Babysitter's Club books - definitely long-running series there. :D

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

Haha. Right back at you!

YES. I'm the same way, Marie, because I get into one awesome series, then I get sucked into another and another, and the next thing I know I'm hip-deep in 10 series with no chance of ever finishing them all. So yes, I ADORE a good stand-alone because there's no pressure to keep reading (with series I JUST HAVE to finish, not finishing them makes me twitchy).

Music books, ahhh. Have you read The Catastrophic History of You & Me? Each chapter is a song title/lyrics. :) It was an amazing book and music wasn't a huge influence but it was there for sure. I will have to keep an eye out for the book you mentioned!

They ARE rare, too rare, but we just have to look harder for the life-changing books. Those are the ones that remain so so close to my heart.

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

Male POV is a great thing! One of my favorite books from last year as I think I mentioned was Tempest. It being told from a guy's pov was a wonderfully refreshing change!

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

LOL Jessica. And yes, for some reason the romances with shared history are really the more poignant ones for me, the ones that stick with me! And they are my favorites to write, as well! I'm all for a budding romance but give me back story and I'm a sucker for it.

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

That definitely counts, Lan. I would really love to see a few more books from a male pov, as well!

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

I've heard of that series. I think I have the first book on my TBR for you know that day I'm caught up. *sighs* And that's awesome that it crosses a few items off my list. :D

Have you see the synopsis and cover for Time Between Us? It looks AWESOME.

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

I bought the first Body Finder book and actually read a bit of it before I got swept away into too many other books. I was totally swooning over the history and attraction between Jay and Violet! :D

And yeah, the protagonist who thinks she's average but is totally beautiful *coughs*Bella*coughs* sometimes gets on my nerves!

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

Jade! YOU MUST read The Vespertine. It was not a perfect read - there were some questions left unanswered, but oh man the writing. It was so so so beautiful. SO beautiful.

Speaking of time travel, have you read the Outlander series? It's one of my faves. I made it four books in before I had to take a breather - they're such long, involved books. But amazing!

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