Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Musings - Recent Trends in Fiction, The Redux

Has anyone else noticed how many allegedly "finished" series are getting new books as of late? I'm not talking about a movie adaptation or a rerelease. I mean a brand new book, coming out with the same characters. In the past while we've had:

*New Goosebumps books (children's), released starting in 2009
*A new Babysitters Club book (prequel, children's), released April 2010
*A new Sweet Valley High book (adult), released March 2011
*A new Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book (adult), released June 2011
*A new series by Lemony Snicket, starting in October 2012
*A new Face on the Milk Carton book (YA), released January 2014
*A new Princess Diaries book (adult), released May 2015
*A new To Kill A Mockingbird Book, if that counts, released July 2015

Now, I could probably add more to that book, but I think that there is a trend going on here. Books that were largely popular in the nineties and early 2000s are getting...well, more books. Maybe that has always been going on, but I think we're definitely entering a renaissance for this.

When the new Goosebumps and Babysitters Club books came out, Scholastic said what was a fairly realistic philosophy: kids, who had read those book series while growing up, were now having kids and wanted something they could safely pass on to their kids. Goosebumps may have had some (mild) horror aspects, but those were both safe brand names; if kids were reading that, then they couldn't get too corrupted.

But sometime after that, the idea shifted. If so many adults are now reading YA, and the relatively new NA genre, then wouldn't they pick up books about the characters as adults? I think it makes a lot of sense that the first two Adult Reboots, Sweet Valley High and Traveling Pants, both came from series that were somewhat ghostwritten (Ann Brashares was hired to write the Traveling Pants series, from what I understand, so while she doesn't exactly count as a ghostwriter there's still an aspect of it being a job). They same authors could be hired again, this time to write a book that focused on the adult lives of the main characters.

Once those two books started selling--I admittedly purchased the Traveling Pants one, although I was never into Sweet Valley High and thus didn't care about the new one--more established authors started jumping on board. Daniel Handler (alias of Lemony Snicket), Caroline B. Cooney, and Meg Cabot had all written books in the past, but they were all still writing other words in the present. They got to return to those original worlds once it was proven to be financially successful to do so, but years after the original series was allegedly "finished".

Now, I've enjoyed these books. I'm not disappointed that this is going on. But I guess I'm curious at where the buck stops. There's not really a "big" series being published right now. From Goosebumps and Babysitters Club back in the nineties, we went into Harry Potter, and then into Twilight, and then into The Hunger Games. Some of the excitement was recaptured for other series, like A Song of Ice and Fire, or Divergent, or The Maze Runner. But by and large, there hasn't been a midnight release party for ages. Publishers had a successful run, and now that success is gone, so they need something new. That seems to be Adult Reboots.

But I don't think I want to read the adventures of the kids on the Traveling Pants farm. I don't want to read about Janie Johnson continuing to be an immature brat. I want to read something new--something exciting! Can we please get that instead? Adult Reboots are fine and dandy, but give me something new to read, please.

No comments:

Post a Comment