While librarians will be arriving in droves in Orlando for the 2016 American Library Association Annual Conference in the next few days, across the continent in Anaheim, another theme-parked arena, flocks of digital content fans and creators will be swarming for the 7th annual Vidcon, June 23-25, and many of these attendees will be teens. Studies are showing that a majority of teens are big consumers of online video. Short Vines are grabbing interest, but Youtube is still where a lot of time is being spent watching favorite Youtubers, and for some of the Youtube stars, the fandoms run deep.
In honor of Vidcon, here are a handful of Youtubers with huge fan bases that have recently published books, and some YA book suggestion crossovers that might have some of the same appeals and feels.
Tyler Oakley – 8+ million subscribers
Book – Binge
Oakley began making videos in 2007, and is a leading youth voice for LGBTQ+ rights and teen suicide prevention. Binge can be laugh out loud funny and turn around and be deeply heartfelt and inspiring. Aside from his Youtube channel, he also has a podcast: Psychobabble Tyler Oakley.
Character-driven, heartfelt, and authentic, this will appeal to Oakley fans with both its humor and feels. Not-so-openly-gay Simon Spier is falling in love with an online friend whose identity he is uncertain of, but is pretty sure that he goes to his school. When a classmate uncovers his secret relationship, he blackmails Simon into helping him try to win over one of Simon’s best friends. Simon fears of being outed are less about being ostracized, and more about what will change once everyone knows. Though on one side this is a light-hearted and romantic novel it also deals with the difficulty of change, complexity of identity, and the importance of growth
Hold Me Closer: the Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan
Written in play format, the larger-than-life Tiny Cooper is telling his life story as a musical. A hopeless romantic with a witty take on life, Tiny hits the issues head-on. Both Tiny and Oakley serve as positive role models and cheerleaders, each with a charming sense of humor. Tiny also has real depth in his autobiographical play that Oakley fans will resonate with as he looks at the sober side of the nature of love.
Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle (2014 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)
This book parallels Binges as a book of self discovery, and of finding and managing the Diva within. Equally filled with hysterical hijinks, Better Nate is the story of a small town 8th-grade boy running away to New York City to follow his dreams of being on Broadway in a musical production of E.T. As Nate gradually falls in love with the city, issues bubble up around sexuality, family, and of who you are, and can be, in the world.
Miranda Sings (Colleen Evans) 6+million subscribers
Colleen Evans’ Youtube personality Miranda Sings is a hilarious, self-absorbed, ironic persona that plays the world as if she is full of singing talent and great advice. Evans other Youtube channel PsychoSoprano, is tamer, but equally funny, and talks more about the musing of life. Selp-Helf is on parr with Amy Sedaris’ I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, and acts as an easy to follow guide to all things in life like career choices, dating, fashion, and life hacks.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults)
Hilarious and irreverent, much like Evans’ humor, this story of thirteen beauty queens that get stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash will appeal to Evans/Sings fans. The beauty queens have to learn to survive all while still preparing for the possibility that the pagent will still go on. Bray’s satirical commercial breaks match up with the irony that Evans brings to Sings’ character and act.
Dark humor about the end of humanity will appeal to Evans/Sings’ fans love of irony. Austin Szerba is narrating the end of the world as a plague “unstoppable soldiers”—six-foot-tall praying mantises with insatiable appetites for food and sex, take over.
Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle
Paige is a want-to-be superstar getting her chance. This novel, with its hints at romance, will appeal to Evans’ fans softer side while still getting wrapped up in the whirlwind of what it means to be a celebrity. Humorous and funny, and full of gossipy-like feels this could appeal to appreciation of the underlying satire of Evans’ work.
Connor Franta 5+million subsribers
Franta, formerly of the very popular Youtube channel Our 2nd Life (O2L), now vlogs on his own channel. His book, much like his channel, is very personal and insightful, often looking at some of the issues he’s struggling with, and moments of self-discovery and coming of age.
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
Franta fans will appreciate the complex characters and insightfulness of human nature in Whaley’s novel of Solomon, an agoraphobic teen that hasn’t left the house in three years, and the ambitious Lisa, who is determined to “fix” him. Both Frana and Whaley are often funny as they explore the deeper currents of what makes us tick.
Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak
Filled with magical-realism, the heart of Barzak’s is the search for personal truth as the protagonist, Aiden, realizes that he has gaps in his memory due to a family curse, and there is more about himself hidden in those gaps than he ever realized.
Nelson’s intricately orchestrated coming of age novel of two siblings dealing with love and loss told from varying perspectives at different periods of time with resonate with Franta fans for its sincerity and prose.
Zoe Sugg (Zoella) 10+ million subscribers
Sugg is a British beauty and fashion vlogger with two published YA fiction novels. Sugg is popular on Instagram, Twitter, and also keeps a written blog. Both her books are modern day romantic adventures of growing up in the digital age with a digital presence. Her protagonist, Penny, is a famous teen British blogger that comes to America and falls in love.
Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen (2015 YALSA’s Award for Excellence in Nonfiction)
Fans will resonate with Van Wagenen’s memoir of her eighth grade year as she chronicles how she puts into action all the advice of a 1950s popularity guidebook, Betty Cornell’s Teenage Popularity Guide.
Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
Taking on the theme of teens that blog, fans of Sugg will appreciate Riley, a gender-fluid teenager that starts a blog to work through issues of gender identity that quickly goes viral. Though the issues are worked out a little differently in Sugg’s and Garvin’s book, both have similar plot points where secrets could come out that would threaten friendships and possibly personal security.
Little White Lies by Brianna Baker
This book might hit a little close home. Coretta, a young African American teen girl, is fed up with her parents. In protest, she starts a Tumblr blog that goes viral as she takes on issues of power, politics, mixed-race identity. Unable to keep up with the demand and still get her college applications in, she hires a ghostwriter that happens to be a 41-year-old white man. There is some similarity to Sugg’s life when fans were upset to find out that her novels also had assistance from a ghostwriter. Still, much like the GIrl Online books, they deal with what is is like to be growing up in the digital age.
Dan and Phil each have their own video channels, often having the other on as guest, but do have their collaborative Youtube channel DanAndPhilGAMES among some other side channels. Much like their channel, their book is uproariously funny with self-deprecating humor, personal histories, and pranks. The fandom runs deep for this duo, and often goes by their “shipped” name Phan.
Through pranks, Frankie Landau-Banks tries to infiltrate her school’s all-male secret society: the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds. Wittingly funny, Lockhart’s main character orchestrates a series of pranks that the exclusively all-male group execute, all the while, unbeknown to them, their fearless leader is both female, and not officially a member.
Dan Versus Nature by Don Calame
The similarities are more than name only. Phan fans will appreciate the slapstick humor and pranks in this survival book of Dan and his best friend Charlie as they go to the woods to bond with Dan’s soon to be step-father.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults)
This book will appeal more to the Phan fans romantic side than prank side. Still, filled with humor, Carry On’s has rich relationship development between Simon Snow, the chosen one, and Baz, Snow’s roommate, and nemesis at the Watford School of Magicks. This will have “all the feels” that those that are drawn to roommate relationship of Dan and Phil.
Looking for dive deeper into the world of YouTube? Check out:
— Danielle Jones, currently between books