ya fiction of the future

So my mind's sort of buzzing after hearing about a few HUGE young adult publishing deals. It amazes me that publishers are willing to advance* so much, but here's to hoping that their predictions of bestsellers come true. Here are the recent three that really made my jaw drop, since the advances were so enormous:

1. Allie Condie's MATCHED (7 figure deal, coming out in Nov 2010)

From Publishers Weekly article:

Dutton Kids Nabs Hot Debut

[T]he house compared the book to Brave New World and The Handmaid’s Tale, calling the dystopian work “one of the year’s most talked-about manuscripts.” In the book, a 17-year-old girl, who’s spent her life waiting for a group dubbed “The Society” to tell her who her ideal mate is, has her world upended when she discovers she’s falling in love with someone other than her supposed soul mate."

2. Josephine Angelini's STARCROSSED: (coming out in summer 2011)

From the Publisher's Weekly article:

Harper Teen Pays Seven Figures for Debut YA Trilogy

The first book is called Starcrossed--and said she pitched it as "a Percy Jackson for teenage girls."...

In Starcrossed, which brings Greek tragedy to high school, a shy Nantucket teenager named Helen Hamilton attempts to kill the most attractive boy on the island, Lucas Delos, in front of her entire class. The incident proves more than a bit inconvenient for Helen, who's already concerned that she's going insane--whenever she's sees Lucas (or any of his family members) the image of three crying women appear to her.

The murder attempt does have an upside though, as it ultimately leads to Helen's revelation that she and the local heartthrob are, in fact, playing out some version of a weighty ancient love affair. (Said female apparitions are, in fact, the Three Fates.) So Helen, like her namesake, Helen of Troy isn't going crazy, she's destined to start a Trojan War-like battle by being with Lucas. This then begs the unfortunate question: should she be with the boy she loves even if it means endangering the rest of the world?"

3. Amy Huntington's SLEEPWALKING (coming out in summer 2011)

The Publishers Weekly article describes it as “Twilight...in Paris...with zombies.”

HC Goes Undead in Paris

"[a] new zombie series by debut author Amy Huntington.

The first book, Sleepwalking, follows a 16-year-old who, after losing her parents, is cast off from her Brooklyn life to live with grandparents in Paris. There she meets, and falls for, a French teen named Vincent, who just happens to be a zombie."

And if you're wondering how a zombie could possibly be a love interest:

"a new kind of zombie mythology in which the undead are “re-animated humans”—they look just like us—and don't feast on brains but, instead, carry out special missions."

So it looks like we've got a 1) dystopian love story 2) Greek-based love story and 3) zombie love story on our hands for big releases within the next year or so.

What do all of these novels have in common? The romance. I really have a hard time thinking of YA books without romances these days; and it looks like that's what's selling. And I think also that the Big Three here profited from the popularity of bestselling books now--Matched, the dystopian novel has the benefit (other than being represented by S. Meyer's literary agent) of The Hunger Games. The Greek-based novel, Starcrossed, has the benefit of the Percy Jackson's success. And of course the zombie novel, Sleepwalking, has the benefit of Twilight. For the latter two, it's mentioned specifically in the article--and you have to wonder--a lot of the times these pitches are only half-truths--I mean, they call every new bestseller "The next Twilight" or "the next Harry Potter" even if the book is nothing like them.

And may I say, the inevitable has finally struck: zombies are love interests. It'll be interesting to see how it's done, but it seems like the zombies have been stripped of their eww-gross factor. (If only they could eat brains AND be smoking hot).

And since I'm the greatest mythology geek ever, I'm pretty excited about the premise of Starcrossed--if you think about it, a retelling of the Illiad is absolutely spot-on for YA--it's the whole love/action combo.

But what will the next big advance go to?

I'm betting on mermen. Their skin scales sparkle in the water! What danger their hunger for blood fish poses! They could carry Bella the main character on their backs and race swim off into the deep green blue meadows waters of the forest sea! And play baseball water polo in truly EPIC proportions!

hey, maybe I should write that and nab me a 7-figure deal. I'm glad of this new dystopian trend though (I love dystopian).

But you have to wonder--these books have all expanded on respective bestsellers. A truly breakthrough novel are books like Harry Potter or Twilight or Hunger Games that expand a whole entire genre (children's fantasy, YA and paranormal romance, dystopian respectively)--and I'm really wondering what the next trend will be. I guess if anyone knew, they'd be writing it and keeping their mouths shut.

I, for one, am wishing I could plot a graph that would show all the rises in trends and genres, or analyze all the deals up at Publisher's Weekly somehow. But I'm sure there's some book percolating in a writer's mind that's going to absolutely blow our socks off in a few years time.

What do you think will be the next gamechanger? And are you excited by these books?


Adriana said...

A zombie love interest... really? I'll be looking forward to seeing the twist in that one.
Matched is the only that kind of interests me. Although, I'm not much of a fan of the dystopia genre.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Oh, i like this post. And these are some really interesting books. I've never actually understood what dystopian is! But I do like the sound of matched! Can i post these on my blog? I'll give you credit and all but I won't copy your feelings about these books...

in which a girl reads said...

@ Adriana: Hehe, that's what I was thinking too--but since the zombie trilogy sold for more than $500,000 it must be great. MATCHED does look good--I'm really surprised it's coming out in Nov. They must have accelerated publication for this one--usually it takes much longer. At least that means we won't have to wait as long, hehe.

@Kailia: Thanks! And the way I think of dystopian is basically books set in a future world where life sucks, haha. And sure, feel free to post about it on your blog :)

Lily Meade said...

MATCHED sounds like my kind of love story. You can't plan who you fall in love with.

Steph Su said...

7-figure deals. RIDICULOUS! *whimpers* Let's hope these books live up to their pre-sale hype. Matched does sound pretty interesting (as in: what?! but that's the book I planned on writing next! *grins*) and yeah, I agree that these books sound like they're being sold off of previous franchises' popularity and successes. It really makes me wonder how truly new and original YA trendsetters are spotted, hyped about, and publicized. I always think of how Scott Westerfeld started dystopian many years before this dystopian craze hit YA.

Kirsten said...

Zombies? Ew. ... ew. I would totally read about vamps, though -- er, I mean mermaids. Water polo could truly be amazing with sparkly fins :)

I am amazed that these sold for 7 figures. All I can say is that they better sell out... It'll be interesting to see if they really turn out to be bestsellers. Great post!

Unknown said...

These all sound really interesting; I'm intrigued. Thanks for sharing! :D

yuan said...

lol I'm sooooooooooooo amused. Particularly by Starcrossed. It kinda sounds so-awful-it's-awesome. I mean, by murdering a boy you realize he's your doomed soulmate? Really?! LAWLZ. I would read that in a heartbeat. And lawl zombie lovin' in Paris. I hope that comes out before June, so I can read it in the city of love itself.

Yeah, I don't really think any of these titles sound like the next hunger games or whatever, but I'll check them out.

P.S. Mermen is so the next big thing. Water polo is hot.

Kari Olson said...

I think its important to keep in mind timelines- the Twilight liked one was being written before Twilight was huge... even the Greek one was probably in the works before Percy Jackson hit it big. Yes, these authors are getting their books sold now because of current successes but that definitely wasn't their aim. Also, if things are pitched right, us readers gobble it up and if these books have the makings to be turned into a big movie, that's where those huge advances are coming from because once it makes it to the movies, it pulls in even more people.

However, yes, these books do look great and I will be reading them =)

emily said...

Thanks for sharing. That was really...interesting(I'm not being sarcastic)

Emilia Plater said...

All so true - though you have to admit, Twilight didn't really push any envelopes. There was Anne Rice et al... Edward was the radioactive factor. haha. Gotta say, I wish there was a contemporary up there!

Anonymous said...

*gag* *barf* No more romance! Please! *hides in corner*

I'm getting really sick of novels where a regular girl falls for a sexy supernatural being, or really anything where romance is a big part of the plot and I'm especially getting sick of a remake of fantastical creatures, I'm sorry but in my mind vampires, zombies and werewolves will always be part of the horror genre anything else is c***.

Could we please just have one YA book that has absolutely no romance?

*looks around sheepishly*

The dystopian novel does sound like it could be interesting, plus it's the only one not compared to another book, I added it to my to-read list.

Amelia said...

haha choco, *what* would I do without your awesome blog posts in my life?!?! AND YOUR FOOTNOTES!

Vee said...

Lol, the Greek-myth one makes me sad that I never managed to finish APPLE, my contemp retelling of the Trojan War. All the plot threads just got hectic, lawl.

And I think all three of these novels sound great, but that such high advances are maybe not the best thing for the authors etc. Because the likelihood of them ACTUALLY selling that well is fairly low.

Anonymous said...

I'm not very interested in the latter two, but I am in love with MATCHED's premise because it deals with the topic of soulmate, something I am attempting to tackle in my novel (though mine's YA paranormal). Plus, Ally Condie seems like such an awfully nice person. One of her blog posts is among my favorites. :]

As for upcoming trend, I am all for mermen! :D

Bidisha said...

*looks for the missing contemporary in that list*
Um, I don't know hat I really feel about them. They might be great books, but it just seems like they are trying to cash in on the existing trends. That's all.

Lauren said...

I will definitely be checking out Matched. I am absolutely in love with dystopian fiction right now. The others... hmmm, they don't sound standout to me right now, but I wouldn't rule them out either. My interest in a book can change a lot in the run up to release day.

Post a Comment