Today, we have the blogger Kari talking about her favorite genres and how they work!
One of the best things about YA is that while it is a genre… in some ways… there are so many genres within it, that people can find some niche of it that fits them. I admit, a few years ago when I first started reading it, I primarily stuck to fantasy/paranormal. After awhile of tearing through those, I started branching out. I slipped into the books that deal with the issues, then to the happier contemporary and the chick lit… and now, I will read most anything in YA as long as the book itself appeals to me, rather than having a personal stigma against any subset of it. And with that in mind… for those of you still interested… you now get an expanded version of book recs from me, by subgenre and why each rocks.
Contemporary: My personal favorite. I know the fantasy escape of the supernatural/fantasy books is nice, but I also like the glaring dashes of reality in the contemporary books. Not to mention, many fantasy books have a very contemporary, current setting, with just a bit of the supernatural thrown in. But these books really challenge me, make me question things, and make me really feel. They bring in so many family dynamics, backgrounds and situations… ones that someone, somewhere, just might be going through. Some of my favorites: Anything by Laura Wiess, Lisa Schroeder, CK Kelly Martin. Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala, Compromised by Heidi Ayarbe, Split by Swati Avasthi and Hate List by Jennifer Brown.
Dystopian: I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who writes dystopian. It is creating your own world that is, in my opinion, in a different way than the world building in fantasies. You are building an entirely new construct, setting, living experience… and there are so many ways that this can just not go right. But when it’s done well… these books have a powerful, lingering effect. Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy is phenomenal, as is, of course, The Hunger Games. Caragh O’Brien’s Birthmarked and James Dashner’s The Maze Runner are also some striking dystopians.
Historical: I admit, this is the genre I read the least of. For me, what works the best, are the ones that while being clearly historical, it’s easy for me, as a chick in 2010, to read, and it’s got enough connection to me to still get into it. Some great ones: Everlasting by Angie Frazier and Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber.
Chick Lit: I think I actually read more of this than I realize. But I have read some great fluffy books that still had some deeper things going on, not to mention they were just, well, light and fun. I’m going to put the romancey books into this category, since I can’t really see many boys picking them up… call me sexist on that, but all the guys I know, even the ones who read YA, won't pick up a romance. The ones recommended by me: The Naughty List by Suzanne Young, anything Jennifer Echols and Simone Elkeles, and Kiss It by Erin Downing. I would even put the Gallagher Girls books by Ally Carter into this section, despite the spy girls aspect.
Fantasy/Supernatural/Paranormal: Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what the difference between these three are, and I think many books blur the lines with it… so we are going to mix them all together for this post. This is definitely the most popular category in YA, but considering not only how rapidly these subsets are growing and the great quality of them, it’s really no surprise. Authors are free to create their own world, or simply twist the one we already know. There are books where it’s all new, and ones where it is pretty much a contemporary, except for that one supernatural type twist. This subset has expanded so much that people can read only this and never run out of books, not to mention there is likely going to be something for everyone unless the person just doesn’t want to read fantasy, etc. Some great ones that I loved: Strange Angels series, Vampire Academy, Angelfire by Courtney Moulton, Firelight by Sophie Jordan, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater… this list is pretty endless.
So… that’s my views on the main categories of YA and some recs to get your feet wet in each. There really is something for everyone, and there is a reason YA has exploded in the past few years.