The Next YA Bestseller: 7 Novels That Could Break Open the Genre
Several YA books have already reached crossover hit status. The Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, and others have exploded out from teenagers' bookshelves to the hands of moms, uncles, and grandparents — and you, too. Last month, Veronica Roth's final book of her Divergent series, Allegiant, became the latest of these breakout novels. According to Publisher's Weekly, its first-day sales reached 455,000 copies, a record for HarperCollins — and its first-month sales were nearly five times the first-month sales of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games finale Mockingjay. (In case those numbers don't mean anything to you, just trust us, it's a lot.
As 2013 winds down and we look into the coming year, several upcoming YA novels stand out for breakout status. Whether they hit the dystopian nerve like so many other YA bestsellers or ground us back in the turmoil of everyday life, these seven books have the power to be the next big thing.
'Panic' by Lauren Oliver
Following up on the huge success of her romantic, dystopian Delirium series, Lauren Oliver brings readers back to present day with Panic. In Panic, Oliver seems to be targeting some of the best elements of YA bestsellers before her: an ill-intentioned game like in The Hunger Games; first love like in Delirium and other novels; gritty, dark universes like in Veronica Roth's Divergent series; and a dose of realism like in John Green's bestsellers. The novel centers on a dead-end town called Carp, where graduating seniors participate in a nefarious tradition, the game Panic.
Production houses have already engaged in a down and dirty fight for the rights to the book, with movie options going to Universal Pictures. (Expected publish date is May 2014.)
'City of Heavenly Fire' by Cassandra Clare
The final book in The Mortal Instruments series is shrouded in mystery — even its cover is under wraps for now. The series has seen a surge of press after its first installment, City of Bones , was released as a movie in August starring Lily Collins. City of Ashes, the second book, is currently filming.
The sixth and final book in Cassandra Clare's series about demon-fighting Shadowhunters is highly anticipated, according to Goodreads, which has City of Heavenly Fire at the No. 1 spot on lists "Can't Wait Books of 2014" and "Most Exciting Upcoming YA Books." The secrecy around its plot and the ending for its beloved characters seems only to be increasing the hype. (Expected publish date is May 2014.)
'The Eyes of Minds' by John Dashner
Following up from his success with The Maze Runner, John Dasher recently released the beginning of a new series The Eyes of Minds. Despite being published in October, Dasher's novel continues to get great reviews from respected sources and should pick up stride into the winter. And with sequels already scheduled, it could continue its success well into the next few years.
In The Eyes of Minds, Dasher creates a world full of inspiration from current events, such as cyber terrorism and hyper-advanced gaming, and he adds a dose of Inception. Booklist writes, "Who is human and who is not? In typical Dashner style, this is quick and involving, with the main frustration being the wait time until the next book."
'Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Children' by Ransom Riggs
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children has been called a one-of-a-kind novel. But its author, Ransom Riggs, is hoping that's not true. Riggs' sequel, Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Children, will pick up right where the last left off — and it will also include more haunting antique photographs.
Riggs' first Miss Peregrine book, a mix of YA fantasy and antique photography, was a surprise hit. Its sequel will follow the characters as they go on the run to London, capturing the surprises along the way. The graphic novel may get an extra dose of attention as Fox has just announced that its movie version of the first book will be directed by a master of twisted romance, Tim Burton. (Expected publish date of January 2014.)
'The Living' by Matt de la Peña
Matt de la Peña's novels have seen success before, but The Living is expected to hit on another level. De la Peña's The Living tells the story of Shy, who works his summer on a luxury cruise liner that's hit by an earthquake while it's out at sea. But the earthquake is just the beginning; the real story comes when the survivors are faced with their next steps.
The Living is already receiving heaps of advanced praise, including a starred review from Kirkus, which says, "It's a harrowing, exhilarating ride right up to the cliffhanger ending. An addictive page-turner and character-driven literary novel with broad appeal for fans of both." As for that ending? Don't worry, he already has sequels in the works. (Expected publish date is November 2013.)
'Cress' by Marissa Meyer
Rapunzel's tower becomes a satellite and she's less princess than hacker in Cress, the latest installment of the Lunar Chronicles. Marissa Meyer previously tapped into Cinderella and Red Riding Hood for the first two books in the series, adapting the classic fairy tales into futuristic adventure stories.
With the success of TV series like Once Upon a Time and its Wonderland spin-off, fairy tales seem to be having a moment in pop culture, which will only help the buzz surrounding Meyers' already successful series. (Expected publish date is February 2014.)
'Reality Boy' by A.S. King
A.S. King, the author of last year's critically and reader acclaimed novel Ask the Passengers, followed up her success with this year's Reality Boy. Despite it being released in October, Reality Boy is picking up steam as we head into the holiday season, garnering attention from many lists detailing the best books of 2013.
In this book, the award-winning YA novelist tells the story of a former reality star and teen boy who is trying to break free of his problems with anger. It has caught the attention of Amazon, which named it to its list of Best Books of the Month and Kirkus, which gave it a starred review, calling it "Heart-pounding and heartbreaking … a compulsively readable portrait of two imperfect teens learning to trust each other and themselves."