Jan 12, 2012

The Kai Factor

Every so often a trend pops up that really starts to irk me, and here’s one: Kai.  

Now I’ll admit, I’m a bit name obsessed, and can be more than a little judgemental about the issue.  So here’s the thing...I like the name Kai, or at least I did.  Apparently, every YA author out there liked the name Kai too.  

According to BabyNameFacts.com, Kai is the 205th most popular boys name in the U.S. but I’ll bet it’s more popular in literature.  Why?  My guess is that authors seek a cool name that can apply with ease to a surprisingly wide demographic (for example meanings in Hawaiian and Welsh), but also a name that isn’t too common.  You want your male lead to stand out. So maybe more common names like Ben, or Jake show up more often, but they don’t stick out like Kai.

Here's half a dozen of the Kai examples out there:

book cover of Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Prince Kai

book cover of Matched by Ally Condie
Ky...different spelling still counts!

book cover of Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Kai short for Kaidan...still counts!

book cover of Fox & Phoenix by Beth Bernobich
Kai Zōu

book cover of For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Childhood sweetheart...Kai

book cover of A True Princess by Diane Zahler
Best friend...Kai

Do you see what I mean?!  And Kai's not the only name gaining rapid popularity in YA lit, I'm looking at you Finn.  Don't think I haven't noticed.

So what about you guys?  Any other naming trends jump out at you?

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