Such titles as The Hunger Games, the Pretty Little Liars series, and the Fallen trilogy quickly spring to mind as young adult success stories. The major players are enthusiastically publishing into the marketplace as the YA category continues to flourish: across its HarperTeen and other imprints, HarperCollins will release approximately 100 hardcover and original paperback young adult books in 2011, and Penguin’s various imprints, including Razorbill, will have a tally of 75. Yet there are plenty of other houses whose authors may not be household names that boast thriving YA programs. Here’s a look at the directions in which some of those companies are moving, and a sampling of highlights of their fall and future lists.
Series are clearly a cornerstone of Kensington Teen, a YA imprint that launched last spring. One that editorial director Alicia Condon reports “a lot of buzz” for is Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy, which debuted in August with Touch of Frost and continues in December with Kiss of Frost. Set in a school of myth, magic, and warrior whiz kids, the series has a novel twist, Condon says: “Jennifer uses Greek mythology as part of the world-building, which sets it apart. She also has a successful adult urban fantasy series, Elemental Assassin, and a lot of her adult readers are excited about this new series.”
Due this fall from Dafina Books, Kensington’s multicultural imprint, which recently began publishing into the YA market, is My Own Worst Frenemy by Kimberly Reid, which launches the Langdon Prep series. Creeping with the Enemy and Sweet 16 to Life will follow in spring and fall 2012, respectively. And Kensington Teen’s spring list will feature Awkward, a first novel by 21-year-old Marni Bates, centering on a girl who is catapulted far out of her comfort zone when her antics go viral on YouTube.
Since releasing its first book in 2004, Tanglewood Press, in Terre Haute, Ind., has focused more on picture books and middle-grade than teen, yet publisher Peggy Tierney is interested in skewing her list a bit older. “We’ve been doing at least one YA a year and have at least three coming out in 2012,” she says. Garnering glowing pre-pub reviews is Ashfall by Mike Mullin, a dystopian novel that caught Tierney’s attention because “it has something slightly different in it than other dystopians, and I'm always looking for something different from the hot trends. Instead of an apocalyptic event changing the world, this novel is scientifically based, centering on a super volcano that erupts and changes the planet.” A sequel, Ashen Winter, will be released in fall 2012. On Tanglewood’s spring 2012 list is The Rock of Ivanore by debut author Laurisa White Reyes, which Tierney describes as “a quest-type fantasy.”
Located in Victoria, B.C., Orca is finding new ways to “utilize the content of our books in different ways and get it outside the book,” says publisher Andrew Wooldridge. The company is producing audio components based on its bestselling titles, is translating its Soundings line into Spanish and French editions, and has launched Text2Reader, a subscription program for educators that provides reading selections and activities based on Orca books. Two dystopian novels top Orca Teen’s fall list: Scott Ely’s The Elephant Mountains and All Good Children by Catherine Austen. "These are both a bit different for us," Wooldridge notes. “With the popularity of dystopian fantasy, it’s a crowded market, but I do believe there is still room for strong stories in the genre.”
A growing list—18 titles are due out this year, and 21 in 2012—has enabled Harlequin Teen to broaden the scope of its publishing program. “We continue to focus on strong contemporary romances, but we’re able to have more breadth to our list as it expands,” says senior editor Natashya Wilson. "We are open to any book that appeals to our audience, which is 13-18-year-old girls, including dystopian, historical fantasy, or whatever is really fun."
Series are clearly a strong suit for the imprint. Highlights of the fall list are Gena Showalter’s Twisted, a new Intertwined novel; If I Die by Rachel Vincent, an addition to Soul Screamers; and Julie Kagawa’s The Iron Knight, which joins the Iron Fey. Spring will bring Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules, launching the Blood of Eden series; Goddess Interrupted by Aimée Carter, book two of the Goddess Test novels; and The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross, the second volume of the Steampunk Chronicles. "We're seeing an increasing adult audience, along with our core teen audience, as more adult authors are writing YA and bringing their fan bases with them," Wilson says.
Novels with what senior editor Leah Hultenschmidt calls “a boy-girl element” remain the mainstay of Sourcebooks Fire’s list, which debuted in spring 2010. “Having that boy-girl element really speaks to teen readers, whether female or male,” she observes. "What we strive to do on the Fire list is create a diversity of titles. It's such a competitive market right now, and we really don't want to flood it just because YA is the hot thing. We are careful in our acquisitions."
Fire publishes between 12 and 15 titles a year and may expand its list in 2013. A lead title for fall is Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul by Leanna Renee Hieber, a romance set in Victorian-era New York City. A spring 2012 highlight is Embrace, a debut novel by Jessica Shirvington that launches a paranormal series. Supported by a $100,000 marketing campaign, the book will be followed by Enticed in fall 2012 and Emblaze in spring 2013.components/article_pagination.html not found (No such file or directory)