Sunday, September 16, 2012

Book Rambling: Teen Books

In the past year or so I've noticed a bit of a trend within the teen books section of the bookstore: Authors I've seen in the regular fiction section are starting to come out with teen books now: Philipa Gregory, Sherrilyn Kenyon, David Weber, and Elizabeth George are only a few of the authors names I've seen.

Many of them are newer books, but a few have been writing for the teen market for a while now, like Mercedes Lackey who's onto the third book in her Shadow Grail series which started with Legacies. Or, James Patterson, known for the Maximum Ride series and some other teen novels such as Daniel X.

What kind of puzzles me though is the way that some of the books tie into the authors' other books. Sherrilyn Kenyon's the first author that comes to mind for me with this. She's better known for her paranormal romance series concerning the Dark Hunters. This is where I get somewhat surprised, and I'm trying to figure out what market she's appealing to.

I certainly wouldn't recommend the Dark Hunter books to teens at all, but Nick, the main character in this series is also a character in those books - this series concerns his teen years before we see him as a Squire to the Dark Hunters. At the same time, I feel like this series contradicts that one. I just don't see any place for zombies and the like in the Dark Hunter series as I know it, but that seems to be the main topic of the Chronicles of Nick novels. On the other hand, I have to admit - I haven't read any of the Chronicles of Nick series. Maybe someone who has can enlighten me.

The author that comes to mind as having done a really good job tying a teen series into an existing world is David Weber. Instead of trying to use an existing character, he's working with a time-period much earlier in the world and a character we don't know very much about - Stephanie Harrington, the discoverer of treecats. A Beautiful Friendship, the start of this series maintains the feeling of the main series, and is interesting to readers of that series, and would also work to attract new readers.

Why turn to teen books though? There've been spin-off books before in the Honor Harrington world, and some of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books were shelved as teen/young adult at the library even though they're classed as fantasy in the bookstore. Is it that they have a particular story to tell which best fits that medium? or is more likely that there's a market for teen fiction right now?

What do you think is the answer? All I know is that I like some of these books, and the David Weber ones especially seem to be missed by adults who like science-fiction and his other books. Heck, if I hadn't been in the regular habit of checking the upcoming books by some of these authors, I'd have missed out on some very good stories!


Anassa said...

My cynical (but educated) guess is that YA's hot right now and all these authors are getting advice to capitalize on that. I think the fact that lots of these books tie into the adult series is a hope to continue the author's brand and get the original reader base to buy the YA.

For most of the authors I've seen doing this, I don't mind—Patterson writes everything after all, and I can see Gregory or Lackey really appealing to teens. But others, it feels like a bit of a stretch that they're a) writing YA at all and b) tying the books into their adult ones. Kathy Reichs, for instance—the only connection with her adult series is that the teen heroine is her adult heroine's niece. Other than that, it's a standard YA paranormal. *sigh*

That wasn't too ranty, was it?

Elena said...

Not at all Anassa. I more or less agree with you too. That's kind of what I feel happened with the Sherrilyn Kenyon books. After all, why else tie a teen series into a paranormal romance series? I can't see too many of the teen readers going for the Dark-hunter books - more the other way around. But, what destroyed that idea for me was the zombies. Which I have to admit I can't stand in any form anyway.

The Kathy Reichs one I've seen on the bargain shelf - even picked it up for a look-see a couple of times and I have to admit that it looks half-decent.


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