Is YA Fiction Growing Up? – Book Trends

Is it just me or am I spotting a trend of late?

Why do I keep seeing familiar names pop up in publishing lists? It seems several prominent authors of YA (and children’s) books are turning their hand to adult fiction.

Here are a few adult fantasy fiction books coming out this year, written by authors you might recognise:

Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo

Synopsis: Galaxy ‘Alex’ Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse.

The hugely successful author is responsible for young adult favourites that include the Six of Crows and Shadow and Bone. With this book, she branches out into adult fiction, exploring a world of magic hidden at secret university societies at Yale. It’s decidedly more violent, with more space given to adult themes that she touches on in other books.

Release: November 2019

Highfire – Eoin Colfer

Synopsis: Squib Moreau may be swamp-wild, but his intentions are (generally) good: he really wants to be a supportive son to his hard-working momma Elodie. But sometimes life gets in the way – like when Fake Daddy walked out on them leaving a ton of debt, or when crooked Constable Regence Hooke got to thinking pretty Elodie Moreau was just the gal for him.

Did you guys read Artemis Fowl when you were kids? The children’s series about a genius kid who discovers the underground fairy world was one of my favourite books as a kid. Now, Colfer’s writing his first adult fantasy, and I’m pretty confident it will be just as hilarious and innovative.

The summary for this book is actually a bit confusing but to make it clearer, it’s about an alcoholic dragon living in Louisiana (the US), who gets tangled up with a kid who is tangled up with crooked cops.

Release: 28th January 2020

House of Earth and Blood – Sarah J. Maas

Synopsis: Half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan loves her life. Every night is a party and Bryce is going to savour all the pleasures Lunathion – also known as Crescent City – has to offer. But then a brutal murder shakes the very foundations of the city, and brings Bryce’s world crashing down.

Sarah J. Maas, responsible for books including Throne of Glass and A Court of Thones and Roses, is writing again. This time, it’s an urban magic fantasy kind of story. The title keeps a bit of brand recognition with her other books, and on the face of it, there seems to be a few other similarities with YA fiction. Namely, illicit romance and a quest. But I’m intrigued to find out more nonetheless.

This book begins a new trilogy. The plot seems to revolve around mystery – solving murders that tie into the main character’s dark past. There’s also an angel/demon element and I’m not going to lie I immediately thought of those Shadowhunters books.

Release: 3rd March 2020

Chosen Ones – Veronica Ross

Synopsis: Fifteen years ago, five ordinary teenagers were singled out by a prophecy to take down an impossibly powerful entity wreaking havoc across North America. He was known as the Dark One. After the Dark One fell, the world went back to normal . . . for everyone but them. 

If you’re familiar with The Hunger Games, you’ve likely heard of or read the Divergent trilogy too – a similarly dystopian future, where a kickass heroine must save the day. (It was also made into a movie). Now, it’s author, Veronica Ross, is releasing her first adult fiction novel.

It’s about a bunch of kids who saved the world, except after they’ve already done it, delving into how they get their life back on track and deal with the resulting PTSD. I can’t really remember what Roth’s writing style is like, but hey I read the whole Divergent trilogy and this sounds very intriguing.

Release: 4th April 2020

I’d be interested to know what’s encouraging authors to try their hand at a different audience. Is it, cynically, because YA books have recently been performing poorly? Or is it a necessary part of loyal fanbases growing up and wanting what YA can’t give?

Of course, it could also be due to the creeping rise of fantasy fiction into mainstream culture, meaning there is more demand for it for an adult audience. I mean, fantasy series from years past are being revived into TV and film – check out which ones here

Leigh Bardugo said she plans to continue writing young adults, “but there are different places [she] wants to go with this novel.”
Eoin Colfer said his book actually started out as a kid’s book, but it didn’t make sense for him until he made the dragon start swearing, which, lol.

Do you know of any more authors writing for older audiences?
What do you think about this mini trend?

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