My Two Cents on New Adult book genre.
A very long time ago, before I started blogging myself, I heard mutterings of a new book genre that would focus on a niche group never seen in novels before; the twenty-something. Now I’ve seen those mutterings evolve into a new genre called New Age or New Adult that everyone and their cat is talking about. New Adult has been called a more mature, sexy version of Young Adult and everyone is confused about what exactly that means. We’re seeing the birth of something new and everyone is trying to suss out this new creation.
Back when New Adult was nothing more than a speck of an idea on the horizon, the concept was explained as a genre focusing on characters that have moved beyond high school but have not yet reached the area of adulthood our parents were occupying. This would be the college student; that age group ranging from upper teens to upper twenties and I’d say even ranging toward 30 years of age. New Adult characters would be just figuring out how to manage life on their own; moving into their first apartments or dorms, finding jobs, figuring out how to pay their bills. Generally taking on the responsibilities their parents used to handle by themselves for the first time. These characters are just moving into full adulthood and are experiencing life without the safety net their parents, teachers, and more structured school life provided.
Honestly, I’m excited to see this new genre gaining speed. Young Adult books are full of high school age teens and while we all remember what it was like as a high school student and how stressful that time can be, most of us have moved past that time in our lives. It’s interesting to see the different set of problems and obstacles addressed in books. A lot of sources are calling New Adult nothing more than Young Adult with sex. But there has been sex in Young Adult books before and I don’t think merely upping the rating on a novel is a good indicator of a New Adult book. It’s silly if that is the only difference between the two and I sincerely hope that is not how authors are approaching this.
I think the major difference between Young Adult and New Adult books will have to be the maturity level and experience of the characters; meaning that I would expect a New Adult genre character to react to a situation differently than a Young Adult genre character in a way that reflects their level of development. I know for my part that I’m beginning to find Young Adult romance utterly ridiculous and more a source of annoyance rather than any interest. I’d expect a character in a New Adult genre book to manage a love interest in a way that didn’t resemble a sandbox full of toddlers. (I’m going to let this point go, since I can rant forever about irritating Young Adult romances if I get started.) I’d also be looking for different problems; like the first job interview, all-nighter study sessions, annoying professors, and your car crapping out on you and trying to come up with the money to fix it yourself. These are the obstacles I would expect in a New Adult book.
Would I be expecting a bit more smooching in New Adult books? Sure, why not. But it shouldn’t be the cornerstone of the genre or how people automatically describe it. We have genres where we can find that already. New Adult should be focusing on a time of life beyond high school where young people are truly striking out on their own for the first time, away from their parents, and where they are building the foundations of their lives as adults. It’s a time that is awkward, hilarious, and scary and I think New Adult should have characters and plots that focus on that in-between period. It’s not Young Adult as we’re used to seeing it and I think, if done right, New Adult has the right to be its own separate entity.
People seem to be calling it either New Age or New Adult. Web searches for New Age books are pretty lean; returning music sites and books about spirituality mostly. You have a bit more luck using New Adult as a keyword. But good old Goodreads has a few Listopia lists going for the new genre that you can use.
And a couple other articles and blog posts on the new genre that I found amusing.
What’s the Deal with New Adult Books? – Anna Reads
If You Like New Adult Books – Dear Author (this post also has a nice list of NA books)
New Adult: Nuisance or Necessary? – Bloggers[heart]Books
New Adult- Passing Trend or Legitimate Genre? – Pub(lishing) Crawl