Thursday, February 6, 2014

So Fetch! New Trends in YA Part One: Killer Girls

Gretchen Weiner knows what's hot and what's not. And so does the FNC! (At least in the book world.) 

While checking out many upcoming titles at ALA, some definite trends emerged--and some trends were clearly absent. Some of the pitches we heard at the buzz panels and in the booths reminded me of Mean Girls--I kept waiting for a publishing rep to say, "Seriously, this book is SO fetch! You have to read it!"

Originally I was going to try to put all these books in one post, but the thing just kept growing...and growing...and growing...and I just knew I couldn't fit all these awesome new books (and these great new trends) in one post. So this is the beginning of a four part series of what's the hot new thing in YA books--and what's been hit by a bus, Regina George style.

Today, Gretchen Weiner says:

to...Killer Girls!

Teen girls as assassins? Yes please! There were several books we saw at ALA that were pitched as "Dexter meets YA" or "Dexter meets Pretty Little Liars" or "Dexter meets..." anything, pretty much. Personally, I'm excited for this trend because I'm always on the lookout for something a little more dangerous and edgy than the average YA book. I'm glad I won't have to look far this spring!

If you want to see some kick-ass girls literally kick ass, you should look for:

UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan

Pitched as "The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report," in UNINVITED, main character Davy must struggled with the results of her genetic testing--she's coming back positive for the murder gene. Suddenly her world is turned upside down, and everyone she thought was on her side turns against her.

DEAR KILLER by Katherine Ewell

From Goodreads: "Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known. But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there."

KILLER INSTINCT by Shannon Greenland 

From Goodreads: "She’s not evil, but she has certain... urges. Lane is a typical teenager. Loving family. Good grades. Afterschool job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick. Why? Because she might be one herself. Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals—delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder. But with each visceral rush the line of self-control blurs.
And then a young preschool teacher goes missing. Only to return... in parts. When Lane excitedly gets involved in the hunt for “the Decapitator,” the vicious serial murderer that has come to her hometown, she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her birth dad and her own dark past. And once the Decapitator contacts Lane directly, Lane knows she is no longer invisible or safe. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer’s identity before she—or someone she loves—becomes the next victim..."

And here's something Regina George has told:


Of course, no kind of book ever disappears completely--and dystopia is no exception. We did see a book here and there featuring some sort of dystopia-type setting or circumstances, but for the most part they were sequels to books or the third in a trilogy. Overall there was a distinct lack of books with back copy that started, "In a world..."

I have mixed feelings about this one, because I did love the dystopia trend a lot. I was a sucker for dystopia, really. But towards the end I found that more and more books were setting up really interesting dystopias that ultimately didn't have a logical follow through or resolution. For me, that means it's time for dystopia to hibernate a little, so it can reappear a few years down the line in some kind of grander, fiercer, 2.0 style.

Don't forget to continue tuning in as the FNC reveals the other big YA trends to come!


  1. The Dexter comparison is interesting given Dexter is a serial killer and given many of these YAs probably have a female protagonist, very, very few serial killers historically been women (a few obscure references including a woman who used to bathe in her servant's blood--pretty grim). I wonder what they really mean by comparing to Dexter. That these girls are killing based on their sociopathic behavior? Doubtful! Even I Hunt Killers was about the son of a known serial killer, but the son wasn't the killer himself. It seems like comparing to Dexter is kind of lazy is all. Not blaming the messenger, I just don't think it's a good comparison. Unless these books really are about teen killers, which is kind of amazing we are going that dark!

    1. I read the book descriptions above a little more closely; interesting that the one really is about a girl killing. I wonder how that will pan out.

      Side note, any of you watch Hannibal? The teen girl character from the first season (there's only been one so far) is an incredible actress. Her storyline was so fascinating to me. And really, really, dark.


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