I imagine vampires went through similar stages, but since I don't like vampire books (generally speaking -- I have read and really liked most of Jeannine Frost's books), I don't have firsthand knowledge.
With these books, girls were intrigued by nearby forests in their small town. The MC ends up meeting a gorgeous, new-to-town boy -- and lo-and-behond, he ends up being a werewolf. The MC falls for him anyway, and now she must decide between keeping the town safe and going with him. I can think of five books off the top of my head which have this basic premise. Two of them are so similar that I really don't understand how they could both be published when we know there are so many great manuscripts out there -- unique, great manuscripts -- which don't ever find a home.
Okay, that's probably another story. Anyway, how have some authors made these unique?
I thought Nightshade, by Andrea Cremer was pretty good because the girl was an alpha of her pack and would be marrying to build treaties with another pack (I think I'm remembering this right). I have the second book as an ARC, and I'm looking forward to finding out how it works out.
Low Red Moon, by Ivy Devlin was different because the MC was the new person (she'd been homeschooled until her parents were killed) -- and the mystery wasn't what I'd expected when I first started reading.
Raised by Wolves, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (one of my favorite reads last year, I might add), took the uniqueness to a whole new level because the MC has grown up with werewolves, even though she is not one herself.
13 to Life, by Shannon Delany threw in the whole Russian mafia/werewolf angle.
The Dark Divine, by Bree Despain had the whole religious aspect added.
And of course, Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater has the weather element (which, in many ways, adds a whole new and mysterious character).
Man, I've read even more than I realized :) This list doesn't include the few which seemed interchangeable, I might add. Nor does it include those which have werewolves (or were-somethings) as only one element of the story (like Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments or Karen Kincy's Other). I think when you've got the were aspect as only one part, your story immediately is set apart from the pack.
What trends have you see in YA where you've begun to notice interchangeable books -- and how do authors avoid that?