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The Next Big Things That Never Were: Predictions That Haven’t Come True…Yet

YALSA’s upcoming YA Literature Symposium will explore the future of young adult literature. The symposium begins on November 2nd, but we wanted to get a head start here at The Hub, so we’re devoting October to 31 Days of the Next Big Thing. Each day of the month, we’ll bring you forecasts about where YA literature is headed and thoughts on how you can spot trends and predict the future yourself.

As much as we love to look into our crystal ball, not everyone can be Nostradamus. Some predictions just never take off. As we near the YA Literature Symposium, let’s take a moment to look at the trends that didn’t quite get off the ground.


In 2010, as we were sure the vampire trend was waning and the dystopian train was still gathering steam, we began looking for the next big thing. Publishers guessed that paranormal was going to continue to be popular and were looking for the next hot creature. Vampires were old news, werewolves were even a little dated, zombies were hot but had probably hit their peak — mermaids, they decided, were where it was at! Some of the highlights:

  • Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
    Lily, a half mermaid and future queen of the undersea kingdom of Thalassinia, has been living on land as a human when she falls in love with a boy at school.
  • Hannah by Kathryn Lasky
    In the late 19th century, Hannah moves to work for a wealthy Boston family by the sea. She feels drawn to the water, and when she meets a talented painter, she learns why.
  • Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs
    When Tempest turns 17, she must decide to either remain a human forever or join her mother as a mermaid in a war under the sea.

However, the mermaid trend is far from over; just this summer a handful of undersea adventures were published. Unfortunately, a few dozen books does not a “big thing” make.


Also around 2010, the industry speculated that angels might be the next paranormal theme to take off. With a wider audience, drawing in Christian fiction readers, angels certainly had the potential, but like mermaids, they have only settled into mild popularity, missing the “big thing” mark. Some popular angel books you might remember:

  • Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
    Nora is drawn to the dark, dangerous, and brooding Patch when he enrolls as a new student at her school. But after Patch does the impossible to save Nora, she learns that he is a fallen angel.
  • Fallen by Lauren Kate
    Luce is sent to a reform school in Savannah after the death of her boyfriend, where she meets a familiar boy, Daniel. Only Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce, but she is determined to learn his secret.
  • Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
    Bethany, one of three angels sent to earth, finds herself attracted to a human boy.

Again, this trend seems to have seen another surge this summer, although mostly in books continuing an already established series. Perhaps the time of the angel is still ahead?

The Second Screen

As e-books began to overtake print books on best-seller lists, we speculated that books combining traditional text with interactive features like puzzles, video, reader comments and more would take over the industry. Seems like a reasonable prediction, given the second-screen TV watching experience most teens are familiar with today. And although I firmly believe this trend is still on the horizon, it hasn’t take off as quickly as predicted.

  • The Amanda Project by Melissa Kantor
    Amanda Valentino is missing, help her friends piece together the clues and try to find her.

What predictions have you never seen come to pass? Which ones are you still waiting to come true?

— Kate McNair, currently reading Fall From Grace by Charles Benoit

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Kate McNair

Kate is the Young Adult Librarian for the Johnson County Library in the Kansas City metro area. She loves, playing roller derby, crafting and being surprised!

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