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What’s On Your YA Milk Carton? (2015 Edition)

While the YA genre has grown exponentially over the years, there's still some things missing.

What’s On Your YA Milk Carton? (2015 Edition)

Back in 2010, I wrote a post about things I wanted to see more of in YA. It's been five years (!) since I published that wishlist, so I thought I would take a look at whether or not the publishing industry met my demands--and what new territory remains uncharted.

Full disclosure: I have not read every single YA book published since 2010, which means there are probably some novels out there that meet my milk carton criteria. If you know of one that we haven't reviewed on the site, hit me up in the comments! I'd also love to hear from y'all on what you're looking for in YA.

1. Diversity

Obviously, YA still has a ways to go in this department, but definite strides have been made, and we've got this wonderful list of book reviews with "diversity" and "lgbtq" tags to prove it.

2. A Good Old-Fashioned Mystery

Thrillers were definitely the new vampire for a while, but they never satisfied my thirst for a cozy Agatha Christie-style detective yarn. Of course, there's also the recent glut of Sherlock-inspired novels, but while I do dig Mr. Holmes, I keep hoping for something more original.

3. Summer Camp

Seriously, why isn't this more of a thing in YA? Even if you've never been to summer camp, you know it rules, because movies and (a few) books make that very clear. We've only reviewed FIVE books since 2010 with the "summer camp" tag, which I consider a total disgrace.

4. International Locales

This is a category that feels like it's become better populated with titles--I just haven't read them. But I want to! I swear! If any books with international settings come to mind, please chime in with a comment.

5.  Transition To College

All I can think about is Fangirl, which is a GREAT example of why the YA genre needs to mine the shizz out of this theme. There's so many emotions, so many firsts, so many ups and downs involved in starting college, and as much as publishers want me to believe that New Adult has this covered, I know that is NOT the case.

Even though I've still got quite a few things remaining on my YA milk carton, I'd like to suggest one new item:

6. The '90s

YEP, that's me in 1994 on my first day of high school. (Apologies for the lack of image size consistency--I couldn't bring myself to crop out my sock + Mary Jane combo). I realize that teens today didn't grow up in the '90s like I did, so it might not seem relevant to create new YA novels set in that decade, but aren't the '90s like, the new '80s? I got my entire outfit in this picture from Wet Seal, and I'm pretty sure you could walk into that store today and buy almost an exact replica. Just imagine how fun it would be to read a book peppered with references to Friends, grunge and N Sync. (Hint: Mega, mega fun.) The point is, I'm getting old, and I NEED MY NOSTALGIA, PEOPLE.

Now I'll turn it over to you--what are you craving but not finding in YA?

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).