Coming soon to a library near you, The Current 2018, the annual booklist produced by Richmond Libraries aimed at the 15+ age-group. It is designed to highlight the best new fiction for this age-group published in the UK in the previous year. In this post we look how The Current came to be and how we select the books each year.

Why do we produce The Current?

Only a few years ago teenagers who wanted to move on from Children’s Fiction had a limited choice before turning to Adult Fiction. That all changed in the last few years and there has been a massive boom in YA books. Readers aged  12 to 18 now have hundreds of titles to choose from specifically aimed at teenagers. The Current grew out of Cover Story, our booklist, compiled by Reading Team librarians, for younger teens (11-14) that comes out every December.

The team knew that a lot of these books were brilliant but had to be excluded from Cover Story because the content was not quite right for the younger teensSometimes it was explicit or disturbing or dealt with issues more relevant to an older age-group. And so The Current was born!

What’s in The Current?

We include 48 titles across a range of genres to ensure the broadest possible appeal. Sequels are excluded which does cut down the list a lot as YA publishing is full of sequels. The latest books by established authors for this age-group such as Patrick Ness and Meg Rosoff are always included. We also try to include debut novels or work by less well-known writers as much as possible.

Some themes such as sexual identity are perennial but every year certain themes seem to be in fashion. We have had years when every other book seemed to be dystopian fiction or featured teenagers battling mental health issues. Both these themes are present in this year’s list but we have lots more, including timely books about suffragettes and (sadly) school shootings.

It’s not  just for teen books for teen readers!

As this is a key age-group for reading crossover fiction (ie books that appeal to teen and adult readers) we also include titles that are published for adults but that we think will appeal to older teens. Recent examples have included Naomi Alderman’s The power which was hugely popular. This works both ways as evidence from the publishing world suggests that a lot of older teen fiction is read by adults, and hopefully having a 15+ promotion will bring more teen titles to the attention of these adults.

So what’s on the list for The Current 2018? Find out here or pick up a paper copy in your local library.

[Librarian, Reading Team]