I am so excited. Why?

It’s finally 2016 (or fourteen days into it, if you want to be that way), which means all those books I was waiting for in 2015 are finally coming out this year.

Except the final Penderwicks book. I just know I’ll be waiting until 2018 for that one.

But still. I am so psyched for what’s coming to the YA shelves this year. You just need to take one glance at the top YA Novels of 2016 on Goodreads to see a ton of the favorites I’ve already raved about on this site. You’ve got your Sarah Maas. Your Maggie Stiefvater. Your Alex Bracken. This is the year Truthwitch comes out. The year we finally get The Winner’s Kiss.

But with all this excitement, I find myself wondering what the big trends are going to be. Not just the books getting published this year, but the books getting picked up by agents and editors. You know–when there was paranormal romance following the success of Twilight, then dystopian like The Hunger Games and Divergent. The past couple of years have been so, so full of contemporary, ala John Green. And I love a good issue-driven, heartbreaking contemporary as much as the next YA blogger, but I’m also excited to see what comes next.

I’ve been sifting through that Goodreads list to get a sense of the most hyped up books of 2016. Aside from all the sequels–and there are a lot–I’ve been noticing a lot of the usual suspects. Tons of high fantasy. Some hard sci-fi (though very little dystopian, unsurprisingly–it seems the publishing industry got tired of this trend when readers did). But there were also a few surprises.

Time Travel?

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been super into time travel stories (too many loopholes and plot conundrums), but there are a bunch of time travel books coming out this year that I cannot wait for. There’s Into the Dim (you had me at “Outlander for teens”). There’s The Love That Split the World. You can’t forget about The Girl From Everywhere, which features a time traveling ship, and it’s hard to say no to that. And then, since we’re already on the topic of time traveling ships, there’s the one I’m most excited about:

Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken

I adore Alex Bracken. I met her at a book signing in New York a few years ago, and she was so sweet and funny. Life goals.

Ships

While we’re already on the subject of Passenger and The Girl From Everywhere, have you noticed how many nautical books are hitting the shelves this year? I would like to voice my heartiest approval. Maybe it’s the minute amount of pirate blood in me (#distantlyrelatedtoCaptainMorgan), but I absolutely gush over sea-faring books. The question is not whether I’ve written stories set on the ocean before, but how many

This year, I’m beyond excited for Unhooked, by Lisa Maxwell (because I’ve been obsessed with stories about Neverland since I read Jodi Lynn Anderson’s heartbreaking Tiger Lily a few years back), Nicole Castroman’s Blackhearts (because, you know, when you’ve got pirate blood, you’ve gotta read pirate YA), and Susan Dennard’s Truthwitch.

Truthwitch, by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch, by Susan Dennard

I’ve loved Susan Dennard as long as I’ve loved Alex Bracken–I actually met them both, along with Sarah Maas, at a book release/signing together. I’ve been a dedicated follower of her books and her blog ever since (if you’re an aspiring author and you haven’t fell into the addicting wormhole that is her website yet, pull up a laptop, plop into a comfy chair, and prepare to get inspired). And the moment I heard about Truthwitch, I knew I was going to love it. Dashing ship captains, Avatar-esque magic, and bad-ass female friendships? Where do I sign up?

Diverse Protagonists

So this one is less of an obvious trend and more of me being super extra hopeful. Let this be the year. Please, puh-lease let this be the year the shelves are littered with characters other than the white/straight/cis/able protagonists we’ve come to expect. I know I’ve talked about this before on the blog, but I feel incredibly strongly that more stories deserve to be told. Fortunately, I did see a few promising new novels…

I am so excited for all of these, and so many more. The Forbidden Wish, Jessica Khoury’s new Aladdin retelling, features a female jinni and promises all sorts of swash-buckling and star-crossed love and other adventures. But I’m especially excited that from what I can tell, it’ll offer a fantasy story a thankful few steps away from the Western European-based worlds I love, but am getting tired of. The Star-Touched Queen promises a fantasy inspired by Indian mythology. And I’m beyond excited about The Steep and Thorny Way–not only do I love Cat Winters, but this novel tells the story of a mixed race girl in 1920s Oregon. And though there are a lot of great things about my home state, Oregon has a horrific racist past that they don’t exactly teach you about in history class. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book.

So what do you think? What new books (and possible trends) are you most looking forward to this year?