One of the most popular title trends in the past few years has been to reference a woman’s position as it relates to her husband or father. We’ve seen The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Aviator’s Wife, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, The Apothecary’s Daughter, The Bonesetter’s Daughter. Etc, etc, etc. But a recent article we read by Jocelyn McClurg made us realize that the tide is shifting. Instead of focusing on the wife or the daughter, book titles are now turning to ‘girls.’
Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: ‘girls’ are everywhere in publishing these days. And sure, those particular titles are on the older side, but according to McClurg the trend is definitely here to stay: at least 28 new or upcoming books also have ‘girl’ in the title. As she points out in the article, even Amy Schumer’s new memoir is called The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo (Gallery Books, August 16, 2016).
We’re not gonna lie, we had issues with the wife/daughter trend. What seemed like a romantic, old-fashioned trope quickly became problematic. Why do all of these women have to be solely defined by their husband or father’s careers? It’s rare enough to see mainstream literary novels that are solely focused on women, so to only have them described through the lens of a male character is supremely annoying. We’re not the only ones who think this way, which is why we’re 100 percent behind the ‘girl’ book title trend. These girls aren’t couched behind some male figure in their life; they’re owning their titles proudly and declaring who this book is truly about. Maybe next year we’ll even start to see a ‘woman’ book trend. One can only hope.
To celebrate the ‘girl’ trend, here are the three upcoming ‘girl’ novels we’re most excited about:
Girls on Fire, Robin Wasserman (Harper, May 17, 2016)
We first heard of Wasserman’s new novel when we read the lovely, and heartbreaking, essay she wrote for Buzzfeed about losing her best friend to cancer. Girls on Fire sounds just as tragic, but we trust Wasserman to handle it with grace and heart-wrenching prose. After a tragedy rocks a small, conservative community, teenager Hannah (Dex) finds herself torn between new best friend Lacey and her old, safe life. Lacey wants Dex to embrace her inner-goth, and Dex has to decide how far she’s willing to go for a new friend, especially one who’s harboring some pretty dark secrets.
Sarong Party Girls, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan (William Morrow, July 12, 2016)
This book is described as “Emma set in modern Asia.” SIGN ME UP. It tells the story of Jazzy, a ‘Sarong Party Girl,’ who decides that she and her best friends will marry rich Western expats before the year is out. She’s clearly materialistic, but loveably so, and the book moves between the wealthy and the poverty stricken realities of life in Singapore. Torn between two worlds, Jazzy and her friends have to fight for their futures, and maybe even reevaluate what that means.
Girl in the Shadows, Gwenda Bond (Skyscape, July 5, 2016)
Bond continues her circus-themed young adult series with Girl in the Shadows. This time we’re following 18-year-old Moira, who grew up watching her father perform magic on the Vegas stage. But he’s dead set against her joining his profession, so she decides to sneak out to join the Cirque American. She’s living her dream, but things become more complicated when her magic begins to feel a little more real than fake. Moira has to navigated truth and illusion (and cute boys, naturally) in this charming new young adult novel.