Book Futures: The Young Adult Market

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In the fourth and final installment of our series on the future of books and the publishing industry, Michael Cader, founder of Publishers Marketplace and Publishers Lunch, discusses the growth in the young adult market.

We're coming up with a young adult reading list. Make your suggestions! 


Michael Cader

Comments [30]

Katie Davis from NY

KC from CT: Did you hear about Ellen Hopkins getting "uninvited" from a YA Lit Festival in Humble, Tx 2 weeks ago? It's been a big deal in kidlit circles (I write and illustrate children's books, too), Ellen wrote a blog post called "Censorship Bites", and in the end, a bunch of fellow authors boycotted the festival in solidarity. I got an exclusive audio interview for my podcast with Ellen and some of the other authors, including one who was still going to attend. I say 'was' since now the festival has been canceled.

If you're interested in listening to it, it's at It's interesting to hear her talk about what really happened, rather than what was rumored!

Aug. 27 2010 06:25 AM
Kenn Treidel from Seaside Park, NJ

Rosie and Skate by Beth A. Bauman

The story of two young girls who live in Seaside Heights, NJ and their adventures.

Well written...keeps you interested. My granddaughter and my cousin's granddaughter loved it and they recommend it for other "YA s"

This is Beth's 2nd book with another YA coming out within the year.

This makes a great book to read or to give as a gift to a YA

Aug. 26 2010 07:34 PM
David A. Bedford from Fort Worth

Really good literature should be fine for all ages. For some of us writers, YA characters and themes give us a freedom to write we don't find elsewhere.

Please visit my blog at Thanks!

Aug. 26 2010 06:16 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Brooklyn

Hi, Brian, A few years ago, I wrote a novel called Different Flags, which got very good reviews. Ani, the protagonist is an outsider and in the book she journeys to Argentina to find who she really is. The journey changes her life. I think that many young people who are dissatisfied with themselves and in search of something have identified and can still identify with Ani. Eugenia Renskoff

Aug. 26 2010 01:51 PM
K.C. from Fairfield, Ct

Currently working in a library teen room for the past two years. Notice many libraries around the area are giving way to teen space. Not only a growing trend in the book market, but also great for increasing circulation numbers.
My 15 year old daughter loves "Crank" by Ellen Hopkins.
Written in poetic form, her books reflects issues of drug addiction, suicide, mental illness, pregnancy, and even rape. Heavy subject matter but opens doors for parental discussion. Hopkins new book is due out next month.

Aug. 26 2010 11:16 AM

The Twilight series may not contain much actual sex, but they do promote the idea that overwhelming sexual attraction and obsession = true love, to the point where stalking and sabotage is excused, and friends and family are abandoned.

They also romanticize: shallowness, elitism, controlling relationships, suicidal behavior, and pedo-child-grooming.

The publishers should be ashamed of themselves for selling these as YA, and parents should show a little concern for themes other than teen sex.

Aug. 26 2010 11:11 AM
vanessa from Brooklyn

FEED by M.T. Anderson - teens in a US where computer chips are installed in the brain at birth, moving and fascinating - written in an amazing futuristic lingo very similar to texting.

Voices, Gifts, Powers - Ursula LeGuin's new trilogy. Very sophisticated themes (fundamentalism, colonial occupation,etc.)
great stories.

Aug. 26 2010 11:05 AM
Michael Bieber from Union County, NJ

Two YA books I love are from my of my favorite author John Varley: Mammoth and Red Thunder. Great stories, and both are really funny, but especially with Mammoth it takes a while to dawn on you that it really is meant to be funny.

The Ender series by Orsen Scott Card, especially the original trilogy is really outstanding (Enders Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide). All are deeply thoughtful. Enders Game is one of the best books I've ever read.

Also Philip Pullman's first book of a trilogy The Golden Compass. Excellent YA story, but some may shy away because it is very critical of the church.

Aug. 26 2010 11:04 AM

Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli is fantastic

Aug. 26 2010 11:01 AM
Paul from New York City

I recommend the book "90 Miles to Havana" by Enrique Flores-Galbis; this is his second young adult novel about Cuba. This one is set during the Operation Peter Pan in 1962 and follows the experiences of a young boy and his brothers based on Flores own experiences. Flores also wrote "Raining Sardines" a fantasy story set in pre-revolutionary Cuba.

Aug. 26 2010 10:59 AM
Yo from BK

I think Alice Munro is a great choice for "young adults", even though she hasn't designated such a target audience. She deals with the ideas of life, love, and death in a way that young readers should be able to relate to.

But in general I take issue with this idea of writers catering to a younger or "less mature" audience, I think it would tend to dumb down their literature.

Aug. 26 2010 10:59 AM

David - sorry, why do you find this disturbing? I don't.

Aug. 26 2010 10:58 AM

There is a fantastic young adult series that has been around for years, by Susan Cooper, called the Dark is Rising series. This is a 5-book series about the perpetual battle between Dark and Light.

It was a landmark series in my young adult life 25-30 years ago, and I still go back and re-read them from time to time.

Aug. 26 2010 10:57 AM
Peg from Ithaca NY

"Feed" by MT Anderson. Another dystopian novel about teens in a near future where reading is dead, children are cloned and all teens communicate via implants. Pleasantly disturbing, novel use of popular teen dialect and extremely prescient of our rapid evo(devo)lution.

Aug. 26 2010 10:55 AM
Karen Tigre from Queens

Brandon Sparks and the Hidden Sun - Joshua Fuld

Aug. 26 2010 10:55 AM
hillaryK from Brooklyn

Mildred Taylor's "Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry" - Powerful portayal of young African American's lives in post slavery South.

Aug. 26 2010 10:55 AM
JP from Westchester, NY

Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy - The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment

Aug. 26 2010 10:55 AM
Judy from Brooklyn, NY

Freak Show by James St. James

Young, gay, cross-dressing Billy is stuck in a conservative high school and in love with the school golden boy. It's a funny, sweet, gay love story—good for any kid who feels like an outsider. (And isn't that the definition of being a teenager?)

Aug. 26 2010 10:55 AM
Tara from FiDi

Frank Beddor- The Looking Glass Wars.

A little dark, but there's no sugar coating, and it's decently written.

As long as it's not Twilight. ANYTHING but those poorly written pieces of plotless garbage.

Aug. 26 2010 10:55 AM
Judy from Brooklyn, NY

Freak Show by James St. James

Young, gay, cross-dressing Billy is stuck in a conservative high school and in love with the school golden boy. It's a funny, sweet, gay love story—good for any kid who feels like an outsider. (And isn't that the definition of being a teenager?)

Aug. 26 2010 10:54 AM
David from Long Beach

What about the somewhat disturbing trend of women well into their 30s and 40s reading the Twilight series as a sort of non-sexualized romance pulp, and many adults generally reading YA fiction more than adult fiction?

Aug. 26 2010 10:54 AM
Stephen from Manhattan

"The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread" by Don Robertson. One of my favorites when I was a teenager. Funny and heroic. A great story with a memorable protagonist, Morris Bird III.

Aug. 26 2010 10:54 AM
Christina from New York, NY

Where to start?

Some of my recent favorites have included Suzanne Collins' HUNGER GAMES trilogy, INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher, and THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO by Philip Ness.

I think the draw of dystopian books comes from a general teenage desire for the world to be different than it is right now. Especially in the world right now, with floods and earthquakes and wars and diseases and famine, teens are eager to have some sort of effect in the world. In dystopian worlds, the adults are the ones that have screwed everything up-- it's up to the young people to make it right. And it's empowering for young people, who especially feel like they might not have any power in their actual reality.

Aug. 26 2010 10:54 AM
Rebecca from New Jersey

Fantasy has always been popular for young adults, there is The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings. I would imagine that these books would make a come back with younger readers in this new wave fantasy. The best thing is that parents can enjoy them as well and discuss important issues.

Aug. 26 2010 10:54 AM
Megan from Brooklyn

I'm a seventh grade teacher in Brooklyn and my student and I absolutely love The Hunger Games series. A couple similar, dark, dystopian titles for this age group include Maze Runner and The Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. My kids also love The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, a great less-sexy, boycentric vampire series for middle schoolers. Other great reads: Flipped, Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie, Twisted, Speak or anything by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Aug. 26 2010 10:53 AM
June from Westchester, NY

Jude Blundell's "What I Saw and How I Lied

Aug. 26 2010 10:53 AM
Alistair from Midtown

Instead of complaining about how dark these books are, wouldn't it be better for parents to read these books too and engage their kids in discussion, perhaps even use that as a gateway to introducing them to books they might otherwise consider literary broccoli. I always liked the Ender books by Orson Scott Card.

Aug. 26 2010 10:52 AM
Debra from Montclair

My 13-year-old daughter is reading as many of John Steinbeck's books as she can get her hands on. She loves them and tells me every detail when she finishes them! Always surprised at the ending. Nice to know that good literature doesn't go out of style.

Aug. 26 2010 10:52 AM
Max from Washington Heights

"Stone Junction" by Jim Dodge. It's about a young boy exploring a world of outlaws and learning about meditation, gambling, disguise and alchemy in the 1970s. One of my favorite books of all time.

Aug. 26 2010 10:49 AM
Brian C. from Somerset, NJ

Robin McKinley- The Hero and the Crown, The Blue Sword

Terry Pratchett- Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky, and Wintersmith

Aug. 26 2010 10:48 AM

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