What is the New Adult genre all about? Is it just YA with grown-up sex scenes? Is it more serious than YA? Just about older characters on their own (college, living on their own, first real job, etc)? Is it just a marketing scheme?
According to USA Today, New Adult is a hot new category. According to ABC News, "The demand for 'new adult' books is boosted by its mature themes. The stories often involve lovers finding their way in a complex world. They are a bit like the old Harlequin romances set in modern times, with younger characters, many of whom are in college, coming of age and often exploring their sexuality. Not Pulp Fiction. Think Smut Fiction."
According to Lauren Sarner at the Huffington Post: "A New Adult book is basically a Young Adult book with sex and cursing thrown in. A typical plotline features two brooding, damaged souls with damaged pasts (typical examples include characters whose entire families have tragically died, characters who have grown up in abusive homes, characters suffering from manic depression or panic attacks) who meet, sparks fly, and drama ensues. The books are often titled something like 'Damaged' or 'Broken' or 'Smashed with a Sledgehammer' (I may have made that last one up, but I'm sure it exists somewhere)."
She further argues, "New Adult is a label that is condescending to readers and authors alike. It implies that the books act as training wheels between Young Adult and Adult. For the New Adult books that are particularly childish, the label implies that they are a step above Young Adult--which is insulting to the Young Adult books that are far superior. For the New Adult books that are particularly sophisticated, the label implies that they are not worthy of being considered 'adult.' It's a lose-lose situation for everyone." I thought this was an interesting perspective.
When I was reading up about this, I was struck by all of the books that were self-published and then became a huge success, like Colleen Hoover's Slammed (which was written in a month, by the way), Jamie McGuire's Beautiful Disaster, and Cora Carmack's Losing It (which was written in three weeks). To be honest, I actually didn't think Slammed was considered New Adult until I was reading about this genre. Any thoughts on the self-publishing?
I thought I would read some just to see what all the fuss was about and I do love novels set in college and a lot of them have that setting. Here's what I've read lately:Losing It by Cora Carmack
Faking It by Cora Carmack
Easy by Tammara Webber
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
This Love by Nazarea Andrews
Slammed by Colleen Hoover
Left Drowning by Jessica Park
Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker
One Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay (not entirely sure this is NA)
Unteachable by Leah Raeder
Wait for You by J. Lynn
Frigid by J. Lynn
Apollo Academy by Kimberly P. Chase
A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
Isn't She Lovely by Lauren Layne
In This Moment by Autumn Doughton
I actually enjoyed all of these, to be honest. Obviously some of them were better than others. Out of those listed above, I would say Easy, Unteachable, Ten Tiny Breaths, One Tiny Lie, Left Drowning, Losing It, The Sea of Tranquility (best last line ever), Beautiful Disaster, and Isn't She Lovely were my favorites. Isn't She Lovely is the lightest one, more like Lola and the Boy Next Door. With the exception of Apollo Academy, which is completely different, most of these books do seem to fit the damaged characters (either just one of them or both of them) falling in love and helping each other to heal scenario. Some are quite heartbreaking. I do like that I know exactly what I'm getting so if I'm in the mood for that, it works. But does it seem like NA is more a specific type of story rather than a general category?
What do you think about this new genre? Do we actually need it? Should these books just be "adult" books? Or young adult with recommended ages of 16? Have you read any New Adult? Thoughts? Recommendations?
Posted by: Pam