Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Girl Name Trends in YA

Funny-Baby-NamesI’m not a writer but I’ve guessed that authors name their main characters similarly to how parents name their children: you give them names that you like and that embody the personality traits that you want your kids to have. There are girl names that are now burned into our subconscious such as Bella, Katniss and Hermione, but what other names have you noticed beyond these?

Since the hubs and I are expecting baby #3 in December, we are currently discussing possible names for our little bean. All this name searching has got me thinking about the names of characters in young adult novels and I’ve been noticing some trends in character names. Not surprisingly, the same naming trends that I notice in real life reflect the ones I see in YA and I thought I would share them with you. I’ll start with the girl names today and do a post on boy names next week. I’m not including odd names from high fantasy/sci-fi books because I expect those to be unusual.

Classic names: This is probably my favorite category! I love classics and I‘ve noticed that a lot of authors do too. Classic names that I’ve been seeing include Anna, Violet, Grace, Charlotte, Emma, Faye, Kate, Nora, Amelia, Claire and Lily. I’ve always thought these names are so pretty and feminine!

Trendy names: By far, trendy names are the most popular in YA these days. I’ve noticed names like America, Aries, Becca, Blue, Daire, Emerson, Mackenzie, Sydney, Kylie, Skye, Nikki, Trinity, Ember, and Summer. Not surprisingly, trendy names are very popular in the real world as well.

Boy names for girls: I’ve noticed this trend on several baby naming boards and with celebrities as well. In books, I can only guess that boyish names gives female characters a tougher edge? I will admit that the names have thrown me off on a couple occasions where I read a book summary and thought the book was LGBT novel because both characters have boy names (I then saw the word ‘she’ thrown in and realized one of the characters was a girl). Some boy names for girls I’ve noticed in recent YA books include Aidan, Cole, Ryan, Pierce, Hudson, Rory, Shane and Harley.

Made-up names: This is my least favorite category. If you have a made-up name or you like them, I hope I don’t offend you but they are just not my thing. Stephenie Meyer probably came up with the most notorious made-up name ever, Renesmee, but there are many other others in YA books. Ones I have come across include: Graylee, Deznee, Breyona, Mianna and Bradalynn. I found all of these names in paranormal books, most of them self published or from boutique publishing houses. Maybe mainstream publishers are are less tolerant to unconventional names (obviously not in Meyer’s case)?

Greek names: I’m sneaking this category in. While these are technically classic names, I wanted to do a special category for Greek names because I love them and adore seeing them in YA books! Recent names I have come across include Helen, Ariadne, Persephone, Phoebe and Athena. I have a couple Greek names on my list. We shall see if one of them sticks around until December.

What naming trends have you noticed? Which trends do you like or dislike? Any girl names you see pop up in YA over and over again that I left off my list? Let me know in the comments!


Sarah said...

Wow, I love the way you broke that down and congratulations!

Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews said...

I would think that Rebecca/Becca would fall into the classics category :) My least favorite is when authors take a random word and use it to name their character. Like Ever. Wtf?

Lili said...

I think it's cute that my name (Lili) falls into the classic category but my little sister (Sydney) falls into trendy. I think that a lot of authors are trying to come up with new, trendy yet unique names for their characters. Sometimes it really works out and sometimes it just doesn't. For example, I came across a character named Laurentia the other day. I think that's an attempt of making up an edgy name by attaching "tia" to the back of a classic name and it failed miserably. Some made up names just fall too hard...it's not a category that I'm super fond of.

Truly Bookish said...

Bekka, thanks for reminding me about Ever! In my opinion, it goes into the trendy/made-up name category. There's an actress who named her daughter Ever too.

Lili, I put almost all country/city names in the trendy category (Charlotte being one of my exceptions). Some others I noticed are India and Brooklyn. Love your name, BTW. We are considering it for a middle name.

Kat C said...

This is a really great post! The name I've noticed the most is Tess. There was a time when I said it was everywhere, but now all I can think of is Clockwork Angel... Also, Kaiden is pretty popular for boy names.

Patricia Eimer said...

Oh I'm right with you on the made up names thing as annoying.

Lori L. Clark said...

Not big on made up names... but if you must make up a name, make darn sure I know how to pronounce it. I hate reading a book where the main character's name is something I can't pronounce. I stumble over it every time!

Karen said...

I have definitely noticed several Noras lately, which makes me smile because I have a tiny toddler Nora running around!

Great post, I love name trends. Have fun picking out a name for your new baby, I love the Greek names as well but my husband vetoed them all, sigh.

Anonymous said...

LOVE this post! Also congrats on #3 coming in December too!

I love that you included boy names for girls because I've noticed a lot of that myself lately. Sometimes it's okay but sometimes it can be downright obnoxious. Like a girl named Emerson. Not only is that a dude's name, but it's like a DORKY dude's name.

But nothing tops the one I saw yesterday. A BOY named Erin... *facepalm*

KM said...

LOL to you thinking books are LGBT because the girl has a boy name. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of that trend in general; I like pretty, girly names. Which is why I named the MC in the book I wrote "Grace"...also because she's named after Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane, but that was just because I'm a JA fangirl ;)


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