By Victoria Garcia and Nyla Lee
There’s a popularized saying that states, “All good things come in threes.” As a bookworm for years, I’ve read many young adult trilogies: The Hunger Games, The Divergent, The Infernal Devices, The Shadow and Bone, The Matched. The list could go on.
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Why There Are So Many YA Trilogies
If you are a fan of those books like me, you’re probably aware that there is a commonality between these stories. Their originally standalone novels received sequels as a result of their success. With that in mind, I started to ponder: why are there so many YA trilogies?
Trilogies Are Part of a Tradition
Trilogies are part of a tradition among YA novels. If the first book is a bursting success, the author squeezes out a second novel subsequently after the first’s initial release. Although the second is usually a rocky continuation of the story, it concludes with a dramatic final.
As most readers know, the second novel in a trilogy tends to be the least exciting or interesting. This is why middle books suffer most in trilogies. When working on the second installment, authors have to configure an entire story before they reach the final ending. As a result, it becomes sloppy and includes character actions and arcs that are unlike the first novel.
In many ways, trilogies are reminiscent of Oreos. The top is solid and exciting to start, then, the middle is soft and unstable, before the bottom’s likeness to its predecessor holds the entire piece together.
Regardless of that, supply and demand for trilogies make the disdain for second books obsolete. The author supplies novels and readers demand more content after consuming the work. This is how trilogies come about. The demand is so intimidating that authors distribute work to appease their audience and remain relevant in the limelight.
This also explains the unsteady softness that pertains to second books. The rush to publish causes an unsteady novel in itself. While consumers may not like the content, they continue to consume and demand until the author pushes a third book out to audiences.
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Trilogies Can Be Beneficial for Authors
How trilogies can be beneficial for authors?
YA trilogies give the author the option to tell multiple stories using familiar characters in a familiar world. This means the author will not have to deal with the hassle that is world building for new book installments. It is reminiscent of Cassandra Clare and J.K. Rowling building success in their singular fantasy worlds, where they continue to explore with new characters, perspectives, and time frames.
Without saying that YA trilogies are much more marketable than stand alone books. YA fan communities are more likely to build around a series than a stand alone YA book, as trilogies tend to have multitudes of content. For example, fan communities for The Song of Achilles are starting to run out of book content. While The Song of Achilles is a great novel, the community will eventually die out because they are using recycled content, and that becomes redundant.
When you compare The Song of Achilles’ fandom to the YA fan communities of The Infernal Devices or The Hunger Games trilogies, the timeless stories from the latter allow for them never to die out. Their worlds are so robust with information to explore and characters to experience continuously, that their fictional universes are always expanding. There will always be content and communities prepared to explore characters and worlds they have familiarized themselves with over time.
In other words, having a large amount of content allows fans to theorize and criticize actions, plots, and piece together character actions with no legitimized answers.
The Aura Factor
What’s so great about YA trilogies?
Trilogies have a certain aura to them that standalone books do not possess. While they take consumers’ time and money, their lengths and content draw readers in and cement them in the community.
Young adult trilogies take more time to write and read, which gives the reader more time to spend in this new fantasy world with characters and stories they have come to enjoy. This is the reason the Harry Potter series amassed so many fans. While the series is not made up of a trilogy, the amount of content and novels the author distributed makes it so the story never ends.
Young adult trilogies are safe spaces for young readers to escape reality and enjoy characters that relate to them. While these trilogies act as positive means of expressing one’s self and creativity, many young readers outgrow the content and diverge into matured books or cease reading altogether.
Final Thoughts on Why There Are So Many YA Trilogies
So, why have young adult trilogies become such a global phenomenon? Because it is one of the easiest ways to sell a story to young consumers and expand a world realistically.
Trilogies are the best way to introduce a fictional world to readers so that they become beloved and dedicated fans. Along with that, it helps YA authors expand their writing and future publication endeavors.
YA trilogies are timeless and classic, and they grip readers to continue exploring the characters’ journeys while helping the author unfold a previously blank world.