Book ideas come in waves
Updated: Feb 10, 2020
Warning there are spoilers in this article!
Due to reading so many YA novels a year, as with any genre, you start to notice a pattern between the books that come out and the stories they tell. This can only be put down to the publishers, who obviously will sign a book they think will sell in that year.
On close analysis it's obvious what publishers think we want in any given year, take Harry Potter for example, a book that filled a hole in the market for young readers at the time while also throwing open the door for authors to produce greater children's novels than ever before.
Recently I have read Marie Lu's latest series, The Young Elites and Victoria Aveyards debute series Red Queen. The first in both of these series' came out in 2015, just months apart, and from completely different publishers. However the similarities between their core storyline are too obvious to ignore.
In both books we are looking at a strong female main character, who lets be fair, is quiet self-centered. These leads have power though, and power that they shouldn't have, beyond anything their world has seen before. In both books the love interest is a flaming prince, and I mean that literally, we're looking at two men here who were meant to be king and who can control fire.
In Glass Sword, the second to the Red Queen series, a new character is introduced, a young man who can create illusions. His power is almost identical to our lead Adelina Amouteru from The Young Elites. In both novels the abilities these people possess are put down to genetic mutation, in The Young Elites this is due to an illness, and in the Red Queen it's suggested as evolution.
Again in both books we have our main character fighting to save those like her, people with powers, who are scorned, hunted, murdered and feared by the general population, but particularly by the ruling authority.
Although these similarities show a striking cross-over of core ideas, what is truly amazing is how different these novels are. Although they came out in the same year and have the same basic stoyline at the core, Victoria Aveyard and Marie Lu have taken completely different paths, and subsequently created two very separate worlds in which their stories play out.
The most interesting question of all, however, is what researchers from Penguin and Orion Books both found, that the target audience for YA fiction in 2015 were looking for stories about 'x-men' like super humans? And why?