There's a reason we all bow down to Beyoncé. She is the absolute best at making herself known. While all other artists were going the traditional route — setting an album drop date, planning pre-publicity — Beyoncé damn near broke the Internet when she dropped a surprise visual album on the world via Instagram. All artists of all genres and categories: I hope you're taking detailed notes.
The pop culture world has been aflutter this week with word of a second surprise Beyoncé album. And while that rumor was once true, ruined, or was never true at all, we do know that there's a platinum edition on its way, at the very least.
So yes, Beyoncé knows what she's doing. And sometimes I think young adult authors could take a cue from how she conducts her career. And I don't mean wearing all the best sparkly outfit there are in the world or marrying an iconic rapper, though that's certainly up to them. I'm talking the element of surprise. Why can't a young adult author, particularly one that has grown a rabid fanbase, spring a new novel on his or her fans, Beyoncé-style?
Of course this means no #amwriting hashtags on Twitter, and you'd have to deflect attention for longer, because, yes, writing and publishing a book doesn't happen overnight. But still, I believe in this idea. In particular, these seven authors should go Queen Bey on the YA world and make their next book releases a surprise. By the way: Authors, all of these ideas are up for grabs.
1. John Green
Book title: Something From the Thief
Book premise: Borrowing another line from Shakespeare, like The Fault in Our Stars, Something From the Thief would follow along a girl named Iowa as she enters a new elite boarding school and faces against everything she always thought she wanted to be, particularly as she meets a group of girls in town who show her that life isn't all about following the rules. Basically: Green writes a whole bunch of awesome young women like Alaska and Hazel Grace, and the girls are actually all friends.
Why it needs to be a surprise: First and foremost, Green needs a new book immediately because I want to read it immediately. So the surprise element is mostly just a bonus. But with all this attention on the Looking for Alaska movie, the Paper Towns movie, and the aftermath of The Fault In Our Stars just blowing over anyone with two eyes and the possibility to make tears, he needs to remind people that he's not all Hollywood now, he can write.
2. Rainbow Rowell
Book title: Clementine & Blue
Book premise: Rowell writes first love and forever love so, so well that I would just die to see her write that first awkward love between two high school girls, and it could focus on all the quirky things that make them who they are and doesn't have to be (and shouldn't be) just a coming-out novel. I have full faith that Rowell could absolutely make a novel like this shine, and our bookstores and libraries need more books like it.
Why it needs to be a surprise: Rowell most recently wrote Landline , an awesome adult novel, and I think it would just be badass to just throw down with another YA book and nip this whole adult-vs.-YA reading debate in the bud. Yeah, she does both and she likes them both, deal with it.
3. J.K. Rowling
Book title: Are You There God? It's Me Hermione
Book premise: OK, it doesn't really have to be Hermione Granger-centered, though I would never, ever argue against that. Wouldn't it be really amazing if Rowling just threw out this standalone young adult novel — just like her adult fiction she publishes under her pseudonym — that has nothing to do with wizards or magic and it's just some incredible contemporary YA fiction novel? The answer is yes, yes it would.
Why it needs to be a surprise: We all know that Rowling is really, really good at puzzles and surprises. All she has to do is tweet a hint in the morning and then completely blow all of our minds in the afternoon with the solution being that, bam, she just dropped a new YA novel. It. Would. Be. Epic.
4. Veronica Roth
Book title: Battle Scars
Book premise: Roth knows how to write kick-ass powerhouses of women. And something about how she wrote Dauntless tells me she can even go a little darker than she did in her Divergent series. Why not a young woman in the military? What she's coping with, the people she meets, how her family is reacting, and hey, why not a romantic partner, too. It's an avenue ripe with possibilities for someone who knows how to write a killer training sequence.
Why it needs to be a surprise: Divergent has gone full Hollywood. But don't forget that fans were in uproar over the Allegiant ending. She can shut down all the debates and start up something fresh and new, without having to talk about her handling of the Divergent series for months on a press junket.
5. Markus Zusak
Book title: Dreamtime on the Outback
Book premise: Zusak is from Australia and still lives there. Since he's incredible at capturing atmosphere and sense of place, I'd love to see a new book set back in history on the Australian outback. There's so much unique history to draw from, with Aborginal culture that spans hundreds of clans and encapsulates so many ideas of totemic spirits and the Dreamland. Can't you just see a young girl finding her way in this culture? Maybe as it collides with European explorers?
Why it needs to be a surprise: Zusak's books are so unique, we could not deal with months and months of speculation, he just needs to spring it upon us so we can look on in awe. And look, The Book Thief did just fine at the box office (though I'd argue the movie should have never been made), but Zusak needs to take it back to basics and remind everyone that he's a killer writer.
6. Sarah Dessen
Book title: August Moon
Book premise: A group of friends (can you tell I'm pro-female friendship books?) take a trip to an aunt's beach house the last weekend of summer before they all part for college. It gets all The Big Chill , as everyone has secrets, tragedies, and hope for the future that come out during that final weekend. Dessen writes summer like no one else, and she writes female friendship great, too. This is in her wheelhouse.
Why it needs to be a surprise: If we're comparing authors to the music world, Dessen is certainly the novelist version of Taylor Swift. She is so prolific, so, so skilled at what she does, and writes those books that you can really dig in and relate to. Plus, the fan base is raging. But like Swift, sometimes Dessen could shout from the rooftops and make a bold statement. Dropping that book would take attention away from some of the flashier novelists and frame the camera right on Dessen's deserving face.
7. Judy Blume
Book title: Summer Sisters Forever
Book premise: So let's get real: Blume is coming out with her first new novel in 10 years in 2015. This is almost too much to handle. And while it won't be Summer Sisters Forever (and in my heart of hearts, probably shouldn't be anyway), we do know from Blume’s editor, Carole Baron that it will be pure Judy, about friendship and family, love and betrayal. There is not enough squee in the word "squee" to say what I'm feeling right now
Why it needs to be a surprise: Because I'm having far too much advance build-up and I'm probably primed to keel over with excitement. Plus, Judy can just go ahead and remind everyone that if Beyoncé is Queen Bey, she is most certainly YA's Queen J.
Images: John Green Wiki; Rainbow Rowell/Facebook; J.K. Rowling/Facebook; Veronica Roth/Facebook; Random House; Sarah Dessen/Facebook; Wikimedia Commons