Chat Between Chapters: What constitutes New Adult? Is it really a new genre?

April 6, 2014 Chat Between Chapters, Featured Posts 10

by Chat Between Chapters

 How would you define New Adult? Do you think it deserves its very own genre?

Julie Review Avatar Julie:

 I think New Adult is a pretty cool new concept. In my mind it really specifies a transitional period of growing up, between graduating high school and really becoming an adult. It is the college days, the first job, and possibly the first serious relationship. What I don’t like is how lately “new adult” is being grouped with “erotica”. Um, it is SO not that. It is simply the age group that it applies to, and the personal growth that occurs during that time. If young adult is typically teenagers, then new adult is 18-early 20s. It doesn’t have to be only in the romance genre, even though that is where it has become most popular. I’ve read a few paranormal NAs that I thought were quite good. Just starting to figure out a new career falls very much into the new adult genre in my mind. I think a reason I like new adult so much is I can relate to it better than to YA, since I very recently was a new adult. I’m 30 now, so I guess I’m a full blown adult now, huh? But very recently I was getting married, getting a first house, setting up my life, and really getting somewhere with my career. That is very much a new adult experience, so I enjoy reading books containing that experience.


Rose review avatar Rose:

The actually definition of New Adult is a bit of an enigma for me. To me it is like Young Adult, but the main characters are college aged. Some people claim that Young Adult is simply a book in which the main characters are teenaged. I do not think that is all there is to it. These two genres are defined by more than just the ages of their main characters. Young Adult is more like a coming of age story told with amazing honesty and bluntness. New Adult is much like a coming of age story, but more like a coming to adulthood story. There is this vast gap between being a teenager and being a full fledged adult with a career, a house, a spouse, children, etc… I am only 31 and while I feel like I am still in the New Adult phase of my own life, I suppose to some I am an actual adult! <insert sharp intake of air here, AKA a GASP!> To others, mainly my mom and other family members, I am not quite there yet. One thing that I can honestly say that I do NOT like about the New Adult genre is how it gets labeled as young adult, but with sex in it! Or New Adult is about damaged lovers having steamy sex. Ummm… no. I get the whole “damaged lovers” thing, but really, what I think the main point is, is that these books are not going to typically feature first love, as YA does. New Adult main characters have typically loved and lost before. These books deal with how to learn to love again, how to learn to live as an adult in a world that does not quite take them seriously yet. New Adult is one of my favorite genres to read. But please please please, readers, publishers, and authors alike, to NOT make it all about the steam and not about character development. Pretty please? oh, and one more small request to all book stores out there, can we PLEASE get an NA section? I am so tired of searching Romance, erotica and the teen section for NA books, never knowing exactly WHERE I might find them.

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10 Responses to “Chat Between Chapters: What constitutes New Adult? Is it really a new genre?”

  1. Tina at Mommynificent

    I haven’t even heard of the New Adult genre which surely places me squarely in the Old Adult category! 🙂 From what you’ve described though, I don’t think I’d like it as I don’t enjoy reading steamy sex scenes. I guess if that’s a major characteristic of it though, I would appreciate it being shelved separately from the young adult stuff so I know what I’m getting. Interesting food for thought as always! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday! Always love to see what you have to share!
    Tina at Mommynificent recently posted…Booknificent Thursday Link Up Party #41

    • Rose

      Honestly, it seems that lately you cannot trust how book stores shelve their books. I have found tame books like Colleen Hoover’s Slammed in the erotica section and there is NO sex in it. So yeah, just do the sexy screen test… pick up a book, turn to about one third of the way through the book. If body parts are being described in vivid detail, replace book back on shelf. hahah.

  2. Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide

    I totally agree with you ladies! I have been looking for New Adult since I was in college because I just wasn’t relating to “adult” books and at the time, I hadn’t fallen in love with YA yet. It’s unfortunate that soooo much of New Adult is being lumped into books that have tons of seksi times and mostly lots of personal issues. I mean, that’s fine. That DOES happen with New Adults lol — but that age range is also soooo much more than that. I keep hoping for more realistic books about college and apartments and finding your place in the world. Until then, I’ve been steering clear of a lot of New Adult!

    • Rose

      Brittany, I for one LIKE the NA with all the messed up emotional baggage, but I do understand where u are coming from in saying that there is more to that college age time frame than JUST that. I would like to read more books like what you describe as well. Have you read Flat Out Love? You might like that one.

  3. Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

    New Adult to me is a mature version of YA and a very tame version of Adult, XD. I don’t usually trust New Adult since the Romance usually crosses over and makes me pretty uncomfortable, but that was in my early blogging life. Fortunately after awhile I got used to it and just sucked it up. 😉

    But I still like pointing out if the romance is too fast or not… so I guess New Adult is basically just the YA books that aren’t really appropriate for MG peeps. Usually YA is read at around 12. Parents would be protesting then! o_o
    Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts recently posted…Review: Fall of Venus by Daelynn Quinn

    • Rose

      Sohia, yes, I agree that I like NA to be a mature version of NA and NOT a tamer adult romance. There IS a difference.

  4. Octavia

    EVERYTHING YOU BOTH JUST SAID! I love NA, and I’ve recently found that people will seriously look down their nose at you for saying you like it. Sort of how some people will look at you when you announce you love YA. My thing is NA is it’s on thing, with it’s on goals and coming of age plot. I hate when it’s grouped into any one genre because their are NA PNR, and NA Sci-Fi and NA romance novels.

    Fabulous discussion ladies!

    • Julie

      Exactly! They don’t group YA Paranormal with other Paranormal so why group NA like that? It is too new and bookstores don’t know what to do with it. I’m so tired of finding NA books in the erotica section. SOOO not that.

  5. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    When I first started hearing “New Adult” tossed around, I took it at face value: a genre to fill the gap between high school and being a full-blown adult. Basically all that stuff from college to the first couple of years of real world living. More sex than YA, but less responsibility than adult. And I guess that’s basically what it’s turned into, just to EXTREMES. I’ve stopped reading NA for the most part (I’ve been on an UF/PNR kick, and NA in the field is severely limited), but from what I’m hearing . . . well it’s a little bit ridiculous to me to deliberately set out to write a book filled with as much angst, drama, blah blah, etc. I know it’s not that way across the board, and yes, NA definitely deserves its own genre, but could we maybe make it a bit more realistic? Please?
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Early Review: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

    • Julie

      I’m so with you Jessica. I don’t like how NA has turned into let’s write the most depressing back story and make these people fall in love. That’s not NA to me, that’s just a fad and a tool to sell books. While the first few I read like that were interesting, I quickly got burnt out. I have read a few NA paranormals though and I thought those were cool.

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