I read recently – could have been on Facebook so it must be true! – that the next trend in YA books is for darker, gritty real books. So move over vampires and other supernaturals because YA is going real. Probably successes like Tammara Webber (EASY) and Jamie McGuire (BEAUTIFUL DISASTER) as well as bestseller staples like THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, which deals with teen suicide, are pushing this trend forward. It might be an adult book and one big fantasy but you could say FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is also showing the darker side of life – a BDSM relationship that is selling in its millions.
Maybe we all like to indulge our dark side once in a while and these books give us a safe opportunity to do so safely.
I’d like this to be true as the book I’m submitting to agents is dark YA. I think that dark books will always appeal to teens who like their books to be real, not to talk down to them, and deal with things that are a part of life. They may have experienced issues themselves or know someone who has or just want to read something a little bit shocking.
I suppose some people may find books like this depressing but all the ones I’ve read have been touched with romance or light that makes them worth turning the page. They are also inspiring. Probably the book that started it all was SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson about a teen girl raped at a party – the whole book is the journey she takes before she can tell people what happened to her. It urges teens to talk about things that they might be afraid to. I think this is why I started writing a dark book – I wanted not only to entertain teens but inspire them.
Of course, I think with YA books in particular dark books should still offer a resolution, if not a definite happy ending because we all like to have some hope after all the struggle. Light after the darkness. This is true for literature but life as well.
Are you a fan of dark books?