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Guest Post: Next Big YA SubGenre

Posted by on September 22, 2014

Happy Monday y’all!

Nadine Brandes has been busily preparing and executing her launch for her debut novel, A Time to Die. Her “If you had one year to live” blog hop is still going strong with a chance to win a signed paperback copy of her book. Tomorrow she will be celebrating its release with a Facebook Party with giveaways and more. So stop by and say hi!


Today, she has stopped by to share what she thinks will be the next big young adult subgenre. So without further ado:


What’s the Next Big YA SubGenre?
by Nadine Brandes


Vampires? Been there, done that.

Portal fantasy? Harry Potter’s old hat now.

Love Triangles? Please, not another one!

Dystopian? On it’s last leg.

I’ve heard comments like these when talking about young adult (YA) genres. Some professionals in the writing industry seem to think that, once a genre has gone big its attractiveness flat-lines afterward. I don’t agree, but I do find myself wondering…what will the next trend be? Trends are things that happen on their own and, by the time authors jump on the bandwagon it’s already headed downhill.

So why not speculate? There are plenty of genres that haven’t hit their stride yet: steampunk, fairy tale retellings (will they ever get old?), cyberpunk…but the one that’s captured my interest and has me raising an eyebrow is…virtual reality.

In my opinion, virtual reality will be the next big YA genre. It’s already started, in fact. Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One just debuted with a splash and now James Dashner, the author of The Maze Runner series, is entering the virtual reality world. Even Bill Myers has some virtual reality in his book, The God Hater.

Why do I think this genre is growing? Well, let’s take a look at the last big trend (that’s still going): Dystopian. It’s a mixture of old-world and new tech. In The Hunger Games you have the poor districts and then you have The Capitol where everything can be fixed with a button and spray-on skin. In Divergent you have people working on farms in Amity and the poor selfless Abnegation, but then we encounter simulations, funky serums, and advanced weapon inventions. In Captives, by Jill Williamson the characters start in a small forest village, but inside the SafeLands are high-tech drugs, skin alterations, and advanced medical treatment.

Real life is dabbling more and more in technology. Have you seen the inventions popping up on Kickstarter? A travel mug that counts calories, a pen that creates 3D images, solar-powered roads…we’re entering another age of exploring, and the exploration is tech-based. Predictably, it’s going to explode off the fiction shelves at some point. The things we’re passionate about – fighting good and evil (Harry Potter), war (The Hunger Games), government/politics (Divergent), advanced technology/inventions (Virtual Reality)—make their way into fiction. It’s a natural step to take.

What’s even more exciting is how it integrates into the realm of Christian fiction. Usually the Christian market is a bit behind on picking up trends, but it’s often a good thing. By the time we realize we enjoy/crave something — like dystopian fiction — the secular market is over it but the Christian market is just beginning, meeting that need.

The virtual reality trend has already started. I don’t know that it will be as huge as Hunger Games or as earth-shattering as Harry Potter, but I think it will be big. And it will shape the young readers who are still figuring out what they want from the future. I’m excited to see what comes from the realm of Christian authors when the trend hits.

Are we ready?


Do you agree? What do you think the next big YA genre will be?




Nadine Brandes writes stories about authentic faith, bold living, and worlds soaked in imagination. She lives in Idaho with her husband and works as a freelance editor. When she’s not writing, editing, or taste-testing a new chai, she is out pursuing adventures. A Time to Die is her first novel.




ATimetoDieCovA Time to Die

How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system. 

But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her clock is running out.

This is book one in the “Out of Time” trilogy (subsequent volumes coming in 2015 and 2016).

The ebook is now available for pre-order at Amazon.

add to goodreads


4 Responses to Guest Post: Next Big YA SubGenre

  1. Hilarey

    Excellent points! I think the Christian market sometimes is a little behind but I loved the thought that if tech and virtual reality books took off, there are already a couple of great ones.

  2. Angel Roman

    I’m agree with Nadine, haven’t read The Eye of Minds yet but recently watched Sword Art Online on Netflix an anime series about a group of teenagers getting into a virtual world and being captured by his evil creator into the game without the option to exit until the levels are finished.

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J.L Mbewe - Author