Have you ever taken a look at a book title and gotten it confused with another book or series? Or have you ever seen a book title and thought to yourself, ‘This reminds me of [insert book title/series here]’?
The Young Folks’ Book Team has noticed, too.
There are a lot of common directions that authors will veer toward when it comes to their novel titles. It is not necessarily a bad thing; these titles work, and they also don’t truly speak for the contents of the book itself. After all, you should never judge a book by its cover… or by its title!
Yet, while there are a lot of creative twists and takes on how titles are structured, there is also an overuse on certain trends that is noticeable. We are going to take a look at some of the most frequently used trends seen in recent YA titles.
A quick disclaimer for the list and examples of titles below: This is in no way reflecting negatively upon the authors or the quality of the books mentioned in this list. These are just title trends that we notice are being utilized a lot in YA fiction, as well as a list of possible YA recommendations!
1. [Blank] & [Blank]
One of the first titles that comes to mind for this trend is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The coupling of two thematic concepts that will be relevant in the story has been a frequent usage of how titles are created in books. From Austen to Shelby Mahurin, this trend feels the author is semi-summarizing their novel by introducing these plot elements early and taking the easy way out of coming up with a more clever title.
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Storm and Fury by Jennifer Armentrout
Kisses & Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau
2. [Blank], [Blank], and [Blank]
These types of titles can read like a grocery list. Some of them don’t even use the Oxford comma, which is a cardinal sin for any English grammar nerd! Moreover, while the ‘list’ trend of YA titles is catchy, some list items appear to have no relevancy or connection with the other inclusions (see Love, Life, and the List). Bonus points if the third item on the list includes the word “other!”
Hearts, Strings, & Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins
Vampires, Hearts, and Other Dead Things by Margie Fuston
Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West
3. The [Blank]’s Guide to [Blank]
A fictional plot being paired with a nonfiction-esque title is a combination that should not work, but there are quite a few titles out there that follow this formula. The result is a book that does not follow through on what the title suggests, because these are not guides. These books are stories that elaborate on elements of the title. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is about a murder mystery, sure, but we are not being given a formal step-by-step on how to do it – not that anyone should!
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
4. The [Adjective] [Blank]
This is such an incredibly simple way of creating a title. This is a trend that is seen not only in YA fiction, but in essentially all manner of genre. It is quick and easy, but it also can feel a bit lazy. It’s very straightforward and there are no real points for cleverness here.
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
The Wicked King by Holly Black
The Falling Girls by Hayley Krischer
5. How to [Blank]
Is this a YA novel or a Boy/Girl Scouts’ survival handbook? A lot of the issues with this type of title trend are similar to what was outlined in the “guide” trend. There is not really anything more to add to this.
How to Build a Heart by Maria Padian
How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway
6. [Blank] of [Blank]
Another easy way to create a title. This trend gains my favor for at least not starting with “The” half the time. Once again, not much else to say here besides that it is overused and effortless in its implementation.
Kingdom of the Cursed by Kerri Maniscalco
Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray
Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee
7. A [Blank] of [Blank] and [Blank]
There are so many YA books that follow this title trend, particularly in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genres, that it has its own Goodreads list and Reddit thread. This is the most successful yet overused trend on this list! Sadly, this format is so overdone in YA fiction that it has essentially become a meme, like those interactive posts on Twitter or Facebook: the first blank is the object to your right, the second blank is the last thing you ate, etc.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig