At the ALA Midwinter conference, I saw very few adult romances. Publishers attend the conference in droves for the opportunity to get their books in front of librarians from across the country. There are literally thousands of advance reader copies of books handed out to attendees to build hype for up-and-coming releases.
What A Difference A Duke Makes is a classic, and joyously funny, story of a governess and her employer, a Duke with a set of headstrong twins. His father abused his power and position with the more comely servants and he is determined not to continue that tradition. Mari knows how to deal with rebellious orphans, surely she can deal with two pampered Duke's offspring without having to smother her rebellious nature for their father's benefit. Thus begins a game of governess versus duke, where even loosing is a victory.
What A Difference A Duke Makes goes on sale at the end of March, 2018.
On the other hand, there were tons of YA, including booths dedicated to them. Just as some people turn their backs on “bodice rippers”, too many adult readers continue to shun a fantastic area where authors are taking risks and readers are loving it.
Why Not YA?
Young adulthood is a time when passions run high. Witness what is happening in Florida and across the United States right now. I still remember the days when I too eschewed the dictum that you can’t beat city hall, when I fully believed that with right on my side I and my peers could accomplish anything. That’s an element that sets YA apart from other books, that youthful passion and belief that somewhere there has to be rightness and justice. The right books shows how that passion and optimism bleeds over into romance.
YA stories are seldom about people seeking happily ever afters. Very few of us find soul mates at sixteen (although I know some people in long term marriages who met in high school and would argue that point). It is about firsts, finding your place in the world, hopefully including a happily for now. As a result, books about younger protagonists present something special and different. That's what many readers of any age want, the same...but different.
A few of the YA gems I uncovered while at the ALA conference:
Me and Me goes on sale in October, 2018.
Thanks to social media she has kept up with events back home, at least enough to be unsure how she will handle the grand reunion. She puts together a list of twelve steps for returning her life to normal. One of those steps is forgiving her father. Another is getting back with Jay. She also has to decide if she can still be friends with Alex and the information in that text.
Twelve Steps To Normal was just put on sale this week.
Mischa sets out to discover who tampered with her record. She enlists the aid of Nate, even if it is embarrassing to be his "poor" friend. Armed with that youthful passion, she ends up exposing a school conspiracy that goes beyond her. Life in high school is exactly like Game Of Thrones where there are only so many spots at the top. That means someone has to be at the bottom. The conspiracy she and Nate uncover could land her a birth at a prestigious college - as long as she is willing to keep silent and preserve the status quo.
We Regret To Inform You will be released in August, 2018.
This becomes an area where friendships are tested, including his budding interest in Carmela and Linda, two girls in his class ready to help him deal with the problem that is his prodigal son brother. Unfortunately, they hand him contradictory advice on how to handle the future, and, in the end, what to do next has to be his own decision.
Courage is being released in July, 2018.