What’s Trending in YA?

I’ve had the opportunity to attend a few publisher previews recently and have noticed a few recent trends in YA publishing. Since I haven’t been able to attend all the previews it’s not a completely comprehensive list so I welcome any suggestions for those I’ve missed.

Road Trips:

  • Kissing in America by Margo Rabb (5/2015). Teenaged girl still grieving over her father’s death a drive me crazy mcvoyporcpine of truth konigsburgRabb - Kissing Americafew years before contrives with her best friend to enter and win a teen game show to win a trip to CA to follow her crush.
  • The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg (5/2015). Two teens embark on a road trip to uncover the root cause of three generations of family estrangement and solve their difficult family issues.
  • Drive Me Crazy by Terra Elan McVoy (4/2015). Two girls who don’t really like each other, now related due to their grandparents’ wedding, try to get along as they accompany their grandparents on their California road trip honeymoon.

Mental Illness:

  • Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman (4/2015). Caden, 14, is gradually descending into made you up zappiaone stolen thing kephartchallenger deepschizophrenia and lives in two worlds – the real one and the one in his delusions.
  •  One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart (4/2015). Girl who steals things then weaves them into elaborate nests is also losing the ability to speak due to a mental disorder.
  • Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (5/2015). Girl with paranoid schizophrenia


  • The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell (5/2015). Seventeen-year-old Japanese boy dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease) wants to die on his own terms.
  •  Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider (5/2015). Two teens with terminal TB


  • Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway (6/2015). Teenaged Emmy’s friend and neighbor Oliver Our Endless Numbered Daysshackled leveenemmy & oliver benway disappeared when they were in 3rd grade and she’s been overprotected by her parents ever since. Oliver returns years later after he finds out he was kidnapped by his father and must try to adjust to life with Emmy and his community again.
  •  Shackled by Tom Leveen (8/2015). Teenager suffering from severe panic attacks ever since her best friend disappeared six-years ago determines to find her after thinks she sees her again.
  • Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller (3/2015). Seventeen-year-old Peggy recounts how when she was 8, her mentally ill survivalist father kidnapped her from London and took her to an isolated forest where they survived off the grid after he told her the world had been destroyed.


  • The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie and Alyssa Sheinmel (3/2015). Teenaged girl fights a ghost for her mother’s life.

Extreme Violence:

  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (4/2015). Romance between a teenaged masked soldier andred queen aveyardan ember in the ashes tahir a teenaged Scholar disguised as a slave in a brutal totalitarian world modelled after Rome with fantasy elements and an Arabian flavor.
  •  Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (2/2015). Girl who lives as lowly Red, destined to serve the Silver elite is captured and finds herself in the castle and discovers she possesses a power she didn’t know she had. She is unwillingly betrothed to the prince, much to the displeasure of the court and other family members and resorts to extreme violence to survive.


  • Unlikely Warrior: a Jewish Soldier in Hitler’s Army by Georg Rauch (2/2015). Memoir of a teenager who helped enchanted air englethree more words rhodesa list of things that didn't kill me schmidtUnlikely Warriorhide and transport Jews out of Nazi-occupied Austria during WW II. Despite admitting he was part-Jewish, he was drafted into Hitler’s Army and forced to fight on the Russian front for a cause he didn’t believe in.
  • A List of Things That Didn’t Kill Me by Jason Schmidt (1/2015). Jason, a high school senior, hasn’t had a normal life like other people or “straights.” From an early age he experienced his father’s arrest, a series of house fires, homelessness, a bout of flesh-eating staph infection and most recently, his father’s HIV diagnosis.
  • Three More Words by Ashley Rhodes (6/2015). This sequel to Three Little Words covers her high school years, college and beyond.
  •  Enchanted Air: A Memoir by Margarita Engle (8/2015). The first Latina woman to receive a Newbery Honor tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War.

Memoirs or Nonfiction Written by YouTube Stars:

  • A Work in Progress: A Memoir by Connor Franta (4/2015). Connor Franta shares the lessons hei justinei hate myselfie dawsonin real life graceffaa work in progress franta has learned on his journey from small-town boy to Internet sensation.
  • In Real Life: My Journey to a Pixelated World by Joey Graceffa (5/2015). Graceffa shares his struggles with bullying and rejection and affirms that it’s okay to be different.
  • I Hate Myselfie: a Collection of Essays by Shane Dawson (3/2015). Collection of essays of YouTube star’s most embarrassing moments
  •  I,Justine by Justine Ezarik (6/2015). Ezarik writes about the six-month period when she live-streamed her life and reflects on the impact of changing technology on her daily life.

(All published by Keywords Press, an imprint of Atria Publishing Group. They advertise that they are a new publishing home for a new kind of storyteller)

Fairytale Retellings:

  • Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell (8/2015). Cinderella with automatons
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (5/2015). One Thousand and One Nights with a twistcrimson bound hodgea court of thorns and roses maaswrath and the dawn adhiehmechanica cornwell
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (5/2015). Beauty and the Beast and other fantasy elements are incorporated into this violent and sexy tale of a huntress who kills a wolf in the woods and afterwards a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it.
  • Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge (5/2015). Elements of Little Red Riding Hood and Girl With No Hands

Cults & Religious Themes:

  • Eden West by Pete Hautman (4/2015). Explores a 17-year-old’s unraveling allegiance to an insular cult.


  • The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy (8/2015). Repressed memories of the day Stella and her friend shutter alamedacreeping sirowyJeanie disappeared while they were picking strawberries as children return years later after teenaged Stella, who returned, but Jeanie didn’t, finds a corpse with red hair like Jeanie’s. Stella then discovers other girls have gone missing too.
  • Shutter by Courtney Alameda (2/2015). Micheline, a descent of Van Helsing, hunts the undead, but when a ghost hunt goes wrong, she is infected with an entity that she only has days to exorcise or it will kill her.

Dark, Edgy Themes:

  • Dime by E. R. Frank (5/2015). Thirteen-year-old girl in foster care in Newark, NJ who runs away dancing with molly horowitzcalling maggie may anonymousFrank - Dimeand struggles to survive until she’s taken in and groomed to become a prostitute but is determined to get out when she tries to help a 11-year-old pregnant prostitute.
  •  Calling Maggie May by Anonymous (6/2015). First-person cautionary tale about prostitution
  •  Dancing with Molly by Lena Horowitz (6/2015). Teen gets hooks on drugs

Classics Inspiring Retellings:

  • Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine (8/2015). Inspired by The Phantom of the Operarook cameronof dreams and rust fine
  • The Rook by Sharon Cameron (5/2015). The Scarlet Pimpernel set in a future England and France, when magnetic pole shifts have rendered technology a distant memory.



These are only books published since January 2015 through August 2015 so look for another trending list soon for those coming out in the Fall.

-Sharon Rawlins, currently reading The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons


2 thoughts on “What’s Trending in YA?”

  1. Wonderful round up Sharon! I had a chance to read two 2015 publications that fit into the following categories. Religious/Cults: No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss (Feb 2015) and Mental Illness: Paperweight by Meg Haston (July 2015).

  2. Thanks so much Tara!
    I knew there were more books on these topics coming out but hadn’t seen the galleys for them. I’d heard about Bryan Bliss’s book about twin teens, Abigail and Aaron, who are homeless now that the end of the world didn’t happen, as their parents believed, and how they cope with an unstable life. I don’t know about Paperweight by Meg Haston. Girl in a treatment center for an eating disorder who’s trying to deal with her brother’s death that she had something to do with – sounds intriguing!

Comments are closed.