10:30 am EDT, October 17, 2011

Is time travel the next big trend in YA literature? We think so!

With the popularity of Doctor Who hitting fever pitch with all ages, time travel seems a likely new frontier for both literature and movies specifically in Young Adult literature.

This year saw the release of books about time travel garner attention even in the vast sea of established dystopian and paranormal romances. Hollywood also came calling for time travel books yet to be released, buying up rights almost as soon as book deals were announced.

This year saw the release of books like Warped by Maurissa Guibord.  Warped follows 16 year old Tessa who inherits a tapestry with a unicorn woven into it.  Tessa begins to have dreams about the creature in the tapestry and meets a boy from the 16th century whose life is inexplicably connected to hers and whose fate is woven into hers just like the threads of the tapestry.

The most notable time travel related book released this year was Hourglass by Myra McEntire.  Released in June it garnered positive reviews from Kirkus and Romantic Times as well as being highly praised by bloggers. The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books called Hourglass “Buffy for the time-traveling set,” while MTV’s Hollywood Crush said it was “Doctor Who in a YA package.”  Hourglass follows Emerson Cole, a girl who has suffered from the loss of her parents and thinks she’s crazy because she sees “ghosts.”  It isn’t until her brother hires Michael, a consultant from the Hourglass, that Emerson discovers the truth about what she can do and that she isn’t alone.  Working with Michael, Emerson works to right a wrong and solve a mystery.  Several of the characters in Hourglass have a time gene allowing them to manipulate time in different ways kind of like the mutant gene in X-Men.  The companion novel, Timepiece, will be released in summer of 2012.

Next year will see several books being released with time related themes.  Tempest, Crewel, Through to You, and Mobius all use time as a central element in their novels. All have sold in big deals to well known publishers with a few a getting early interest from Hollywood.

Tempest by Julie Cross was quickly snapped up by Summit Entertainment more than a year before its January 3, 2012 release date. It was also featured in Entertainment Weekly this past June.  The book follows Jackson Meyer, a nineteen year old college student who can time travel in a jumper-esque fashion without consequence until The Enemies of Time come looking for him.  Jackson’s girlfriend, Holly, gets shot during an altercation and Jackson tries to jump back in time to save her – only to find himself trapped in 2007.  While stuck in 2007 Jackson begins to look for clues as to what his power really is.

Another release featuring time travel is Crewel by Gen Albin.  The story features a world where women are designated as “Spinster” and can control time.  The novel follows a 16-year-old set to become a Spinster who has a special power that will play a key role in the destiny of the world. The special designation comes at a price as these women must enter a world of secrets and lethal intrigue.

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Mobius by Tamara Ireland Stone, is set in 1995 and follows a 16-year-old girl who delves into a tragic love affair when she meets a boy who has the ability to travel through time.  Mobius has been likened to the Time Traveler’s Wife.

Lastly is Through to You by Emily Hainsworth. Through to You is about a grieving boyfriend who finds that his dead ex is still alive in an alternate reality. The rub is that in this alternate reality, he is dead. Through to You is scheduled for fall 2012.

The interesting part about the books listed above is that there are so few similarities between them.  Time travel or time related books have the ability to be set anywhere and cover all kinds of themes.  Time travel can also be handled in all different ways allowing for books to contain the ideas of time travel without ever feeling too similar.

So many trends start with one book becoming successful and gaining a following.  We have Twilight to thank for the never ending list of vampire novels on the YA market and The Hunger Games for the current onslaught of dystopian novels.  While vampires may be past their prime, the dystopian trend has barely hit its peak.  Readers and publishers alike are always seeking something new and different.  I think time travel has the potential to be the next big thing not only because of the current success of books like Hourglass, but because of the upcoming novels already getting attention.

What do you think: is time travel the next big trend in YA?  If not time travel, what do you think is next?

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