What Austin Teens Want Editors to Know, 2022 Edition

One of the big things that came back last fall. after a long period of absence, our monthly meetings with BookPeople’s Teen Press Corps took place. Moving from our third-floor event space to the outdoor picnic tables, it was so great to get together, share ARCs, talk about what we love (or hate), and catch up.

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So, after a year off, I’m back with another roundup of BookPeople’s Teen Press Corps rants, raves, and demands. From eighth graders to college freshmen, our current group reads everything from period fiction to gruesome thrillers to complex space operas. Voracious and opinionated, they jumped at the chance to share their current thoughts!

What trends or tropes are you SO sick of?

  • Zoe D.: “I’m so sick of the arranged marriage stories.”
  • Jillian: “I hate tropes of miscommunication. The miscommunication of the third act is the worst. You want to throw it across the room. Makes me think the book wasn’t actually plotted and feels rude to the reader. (very much agree)
  • Ivy: “There aren’t any real villains in YA anymore who don’t turn out to be the love interest.”
  • Ava: “Yeah, it’s okay for bad guys to be bad guys. Or they can be friends. They don’t have to be lovers.
  • Syñae: “I like strong female leads, but I’m sick of the trope where she’s supposed to be a badass but she’s really mean.”
  • Ivy: “I’m sick of listing tropes on book covers and marketing materials without saying anything about the plot.”
  • Ava: “It’s good to have tropes, but you need something unique.”
  • Syñae: “It’s like saying, ‘Children like enemies to lovers now! So they all do, and the stories and characters are just plain underdeveloped. (very much agree)
  • Ivy: “It’s hard to find a good contemporary romantic novel with more complexity.”

CONSENSUS: Tropes, shmopes. Give us complexity!

What more do you want to see in 2022?

  • Rebecca: “I love it on TV shows where you don’t know who you’re rooting for. I need more of this in my life. I love when there are two sides and you don’t know who is doing the right thing.
  • Ava: “I like the morally gray main characters / dedication to Hollow House!”
  • Rebecca: “I want a murder mystery without a mystery. I want to see people try to cover it up.
  • Jillian: “I LOVE IT. A murder mystery from the perspective of the murderer.
  • Rebecca: “I want to see more students. I find these stories really interesting.
  • Ivy: “If you’re going to do love triangles, bring the Team Jacob complex back against Team Edward – where you could root for one or the other. Now in most YA one is so obviously just the secondary choice, barely developed, and only there to complete the triangle.
  • Zoë G.: “The twists on love triangles are good. Two love interests decide to be together instead of the main character. Or enemies of lovers where they remain enemies.
  • Syñae: “I really miss platonic relationships. And more female friendships. (thanks to Without love and sea ​​fire!)
  • Ivy: “Yes, I would love a beautiful book about friendship.”
  • Rebecca: “I definitely want more male/female friendships that aren’t romantic.”

CONSENSUS: More friendship, less all-purpose romance please!

What about blankets? What attracts you the most right now?

Featuring two stunning covers.
  • Jillian: “I prefer artistic covers rather than photographic ones. BUT I loved it Hollow House. Flowers and insects make it really cool.
  • Ava: “Also wilder girls! A stylized drawn face with flowers!
  • Rebecca: “I love the painted covers, the darker colors. Covers that also create the right atmosphere for the book.
  • Ava: “I love when the covers have Easter eggs that you can’t see until you read the book. (Congratulations to False!)”
  • Ivy: “The King of Scars duology is so pretty, especially under the cover. I wish more books did that.
  • Zoë G.: “I take the cover off before I buy it, and the case can change my decision. I love a revelation hidden under the jacket.
  • Ivy: “Medium quality covers are the best. They always match, and when you line them up in a series, sometimes they all line up to make a picture on the backs. (very much agree)
  • Ivy: the transparent cover on Permanent record is one of the coolest things.

CONSENSUS: Cool shells really make a difference!

What are your cover pet peeves?

  • Rebecca: “Match the vibe! Do not put light colors with a dark book.
  • Syñae: “YA covers that look like a lot of other books. I don’t buy them.
  • Ivy: “The biggest disaster was The soothsayers series, which continued to change the cover style.
  • Zoë G.: “When a paperback is a little bigger than the others, it drives me crazy.”
  • Zoe D.: “I want everything in hardcover, but when there’s a change mid-series, you can’t go back and get the original. For To continue, they reprinted the hardcover with the new look. It was really appreciated.
  • Zoë G.: “I hate when the books in the series have different textures.”
  • Jillian: “I hate books that collect fingerprints everywhere.”
  • Rebecca: “I put books with colors that I don’t like on our family shelf.”

BAD COVER HACK: Syñae—”I have a closet next to my bookshelf where I store books with ugly covers. But that won’t stop me from reading them!

BookTok – Good, bad or indifferent?

  • All: It’s hard to appreciate books after they’ve been overhyped. But we still appreciate BookTok.
  • Jillian (creates content on TikTok): – A lot of what you see is the same thing over and over again, and you need people to fill in the gaps, but you’re not getting views if you don’t mention the books that are presented everywhere.
  • Ivy: “I prefer BookTube. He’s generally more outgoing and doesn’t try to follow trends as much. (Thanks to ReadwithCindy!)”
  • Syñae: “There are so many popular books that I hated. Most are suspicious.
  • Jillian: “On TikTok, books that aren’t really aimed at teens are marketed to teens, like Toxic Relationships (especially Sarah J. Maas).”
  • Zoë: “I don’t like spices, but a lot of the books on it are very spicy.”
  • Ava: “BookTok books that go super viral are really good for people who don’t read a lot.”
  • Zoë: “Popular books get popular for a reason, but they tend to be trope heavy, and the more hype they get, the more people write the tropes, which is why we don’t like tropes anymore.”

CONSENSUS: Yes, no, maybe? But stop with the tropes too, people!

Want to know more about Teen Press Corps? Check out some highlights from their recent coverage below:

Browse their archives here!

Note: There are a large number of Teen Press Corps members, but these opinions reflect those of the kids who attended the last meeting.

Grover Z. Barnes