Sunday, September 2, 2012

Why YA Realistic Fiction #1: Standalones

My cat
Welcome to post #1 in my September Weekly Discussion Posts focusing on YA Realistic Fiction and why it rocks. Many times I feel like contemporary and historical books are overlooked in favor of the paranormal, fantasy, and dystopia around the YA blogosphere. This is just a little attempt on my part to bring to your attention some of the great things about YA Realistic Fiction. I'm going to have three weeks of posts and then the fourth week will have a giveaway so be sure to stop by!

The topic for the first week is YA Standalones. For the part if you pick up a paranormal, dystopia, or fantasy book, you are investing in a story that will be told over three parts-that seems to be the dominant number although I have seen several series that are longer. This is not a bad thing, of course. But sometimes I just want one story in one book, with no cliffhanger driving me crazy while waiting; just one self-contained story. And when I want that, I head to the realistic fiction.

I guess it's just about balance. Sometimes I love a world or the characters so much that I want more time. Sometimes the author actually seems to have a story that needs that much space...and sometimes they don't. Since I would prefer to be left wanting more, standalones work great for me.

Of course, not all realistic novels are standalones; I just feel like you are more likely to find a standalone title in that section. What do you think? Do you agree with my assessment about this aspect of realistic fiction? What are some enjoyable non-realistic fiction YA books that are standalone?

Next week: setting/world-building


  1. Great post! I don't read a lot of YA but when I do, I like it to be realistic. Sometimes it's hard to find.

  2. drink slay love by sarah beth durst . hilarious non realistic yA

    1. That's a good answer! Last I saw, "Team Human" by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier was also standalone. Interesting that they're both vampire books.

  3. I love standalones and love contemporary/realistic fiction, so I am already convinced :)

    Extra! Extra! My Weekly Recap

  4. There's something to be said about a really great stand alone. But, I'm geared more towards Non-realistic Stand Alones.

    Enjoyable NON-realistic Stand Alones:

    1. Don't You Wish by Roxanne St Claire
    2. Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves
    3. Katana by Cole Gibsen

  5. I'm a huge fan of standalones. I completely agree with you! I just find that it's nice to not have to go out and buy the rest of the books. Sometimes I forget to! It's a whole lot nicer to just sit down and actually have a conclusion as well as an amazing plot with twists and turns and amazing characters. I think it's much easier to find standalones in the realistic fiction genre as well. I wonder why that is?

    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  6. Fantastic post and idea! And I agree with you, sometimes it IS nice to pick up a standalone book. But only if they tie up loose ends by the end. Sometimes I'll read a standalone book and at the end of the book want more if it's a great story. But some books are WAY better left as a standalone.

    I can't think of any at the moment though >< My brain is completely fried. If I think of any I'll come back and let you know. Can't wait for next week's topic!

  7. Great post! I've recently enjoyed House of Shadows by Rachel Neumeier, which is fantasy, and China Mievielle's Railsea, which is kind of a sci-fi/steampunkish/apocalyptic with great world-building.

    I always find myself caught a little off-guard when I find a contemporary/realistic YA book that is part of a series. I guess I'm so new to the genre that I'm sort of training myself to get out of the stereotype that they're all standalones.

  8. I agree that you do find more standalones in contemporary YA fiction than other genres but I have a preference sometimes for trilogies. Occasionally I do think the author shouldn't have continued a book into a series but if I like a book, I don't mind more. I don't care for series in contemporary YA fiction as much with the notable exception of Ally Carter's books.

    Nonrealistic standalones I've enjoyed: Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott, Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (I actually wouldn't mind if she turned this into a series as I like her books)

  9. I love standalones a lot..probably more than anything else purely because it seems to have become the trend to have a trilogy when if you read the first could really have just been written as a standalone and you can almost guarantee the other two books in the series will be painfully dull and drag on and on..although having said that I am loving the Divergent, Delirium and The Hunger Games Series! x

  10. Great post! I really like to read YA realistic fiction

  11. Great post! I think I'm in the minority here, as I like stand alones better than series and my favourite genre in YA is contemporary. I prefer when an author ties up all loose ends at the end of a novel, rather than having a cliffhanger, causing us to wait ages for the next book in the series to come out and possibly forgetting a whole lot!

  12. I actually prefer a great standalone most often, but I usually prefer non-realistic, which is tougher to find. ;P I'm looking through these comments at the suggestions! "Smart Girls Get What They Want" is the most recent realistic fiction book I've LOVED(although if I recall correctly, you didn't like it quite as much as me). ;)

    East by Edith Pattou is one of my favorite non-realistic stand-alones. Entwined by Heather Dixon is another favorite!

  13. I definitely agree with you that books in contemp fiction are far more likely to be a standalone than a series. I actually very much like series of good books, but prefer the ones where every book can be a standalone. :)


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