This is my first time adding a discussion, so forgive me if this is in the wrong place or if this has already been discussed somewhere else in this comm. I guess it's just something that I've been thinking about deeply for a while. To tell you the truth, I've been a bit down about it.
You see, I may be wrong, but for the most part YA is definitely trending towards books that heavily feature romance (especially love triangles) first and foremost with any plot stuff happening in the background (mostly just as a means to let the romance play out). Any supernatural elements may spice the book up and make it cooler, but in the end it comes down to whether the regular girl will choose between Hot Boy A or Hot Boy B, or/and whether the regular girl and Hot Boy of Choice can stay together despite Overwhelming Odds. I'm talking specifically about YA urban fantasy/paranormal/contemporary fantasy here.
Now don't get me wrong, I continue to read and enjoy certain books along these lines. But I wonder: if the market is becoming so saturated with these types of books, and if these books are still doing incredibly well, will agents and publishers be less willing to take a chance on a YA novel where romance is included, but as an afterthought (or dare I say not included at all)?
I mean I don't believe that teenage girls/young women can only be interested in a book if romance is the crutch of the story. The mythic popularity of Harry Potter pretty much proved that. The story, characters, magic and mystery was what made most of the people fans, and though people formed ships and wrote...'interesting' fanfic about the characters, in the end the books remained popular despite barely having any romance in it until the sixth book and even then you could tell Ms. Rowling was not as fantastic with romance as she is with everything else. So I mean yes, it's possible. We're out there.
Though Twilight and Twilight-inspired novels are mostly the in-thing, there are still tons of people out there that are fine with - or even looking for - books where the romance is minimal or possibly even a non-issue. For me personally, the books I love the most are the ones with incredible detail, with an adventure, and with heroines with personalities that aren't just there to be loved and protected by gorgeous men. Romance can be included, but not necessary. But now whenever I tell people about the current YA book I'm reading, they assume it's mostly about a melodramatic love triangle and roll their eyes. And so long as publishers don't believe that there's a sizable enough populations that want something different, this audience will have their work cut out for them trying to find the kind of books they like.
I know there are quite a few YA urban fantasy/contemporary fantasy/paranormal books that break that mold, but I really wonder, how hard will this current oversaturation make it for unagented writers who write in this genre, but aren't as interested in the romance?