Trends in publishing are not confined to YA books. Diary of a Wimpy Kid comes out and suddenly the shelves are deluged with copycat books with doodly illustrations. But in no other section are trends more evident than the teen shelf.
You know you’re in the YA section (even if it’s not labeled as such), whether it be library or bookstore or just perusing* a friend’s shelves, when the spine colors are predominantly black.
Before, when Harry Potter was the mainstay of YA, hand-drawn covers like the ones from A Series of Unfortunate Events was the main cover art. As of this writing, thanks to Twilight and The Hunger Games, black is the new black.
But that’s not all! When Harry Potter was the “thing” (and it’s still going strong), you were hard-pressed to find ANY book that was NOT about an apprentice magician. (I remember looking at the shelves and seeing things like “The Magician’s Apprentice” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” “The Witch’s Apprentice”….) Now, of course, you’re hard-pressed to find a book NOT about an emo vampire, alternately having boyfriend issues and cravings for B-negative blood.
This is not to say that trends are a bad thing. It depends on whether you’re a hardcore fan of what happens to be “in” at a certain time. For instance, I’m NOT a paranormal/wizardry book fan, so all those Rowling and Meyer knockoffs have zero appeal to me. People who love vampires not being soulless demons but rather hot sparkly guys were having a field day while I was off quietly reading Dostoyevsky. A new trend, I hope, is the recent influx of “Steampunk” novels (when they’re NOT about emo vampires IN Victorian England!) and retellings of fairy tales. These are two trend bandwagons I could jump on.
*That is, snooping.