Sunday, April 5, 2015

Discussion: What is New Adult?? This is What it Means to Me


What is New Adult??New Adult (NA) fiction is a developing genre of fiction with protagonists in the 18–25 age bracket. St. Martin's Press first coined the term in 2009, when they held a special call for "...fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an 'older YA' or 'new adult'."  (taken from Wikipedia "New Adult Fiction article)

Many of the top new Adult authors started as self published and got picked up by big name houses, including Tammara Webber, Cora Carmack, Collen Hoover, & Jamie McGuire.  

For many this is a new genre, I, however feel this genre has been around for a while and only just got an official name.  When I was growing up the "mature young adult/ new adult" books were all the same section. Katherine Applegate wrote the Boyfriend and Girlfriends series which were high schoolers, and then the Ocean City series which dealt with college kids.  And yes, they discussed sex, waiting for the right time, interracial relationships, abuse, drinking, all of what is now covered in "new adult".  I'm happy that new adult is one of the fastest growing genres out there, but I also feel it means along with good stuff comes the trashy poorly written stuff.  (this happens with all genres when they grow too quickly).

Everyone of course is going to define new adult how they want. Many authors have shared their ideas of the genre and what they want from it including a great article by Monica Murphy on What is New Adult, and another by Tammara Webber Will the Real NA Please Stand Up.  And those are just the ones I've read, I've seen tweets for other authors begging people to stop putting sex in where it doesn't belong (which makes sense if it doesn't further the plot why is it in there??) 

Personally I love new adult that is well written because it takes on more than young adult does. Also the characters tend to be more mature and they are worrying about stuff I care about. I'm way too out of high school to care about some of the stuff kids care about, and now that I'm done with college and having to worry about finding a job, a life time partner, purchasing my first home and wondering about planning for retirement, I really don't care to travel back to high school, so for me new adult is that gap between adult romance that talks about having adult kids and divorce, and women finding themselves again. Like dude I'm no there yet, can we please have some happy before the bitterness??

And right now new adult romance in particular is experiencing a great boom, but there are other sub genres out there.  And slowly they too are gaining popularity.  I'm personally looking forward to when paranormal new adult books become popular because then more of them will be published and it won't be such a hunt to find them.

The only problem I'm truly having with new adult at the moment is the monotone of a lot of the stories.  As I said when I was reading Katherine Applegate or Linda A Cooney they were characters of color, those that were disabled (some where blind, some where in wheelchairs), but the characters were diverse. Now a days almost all the new adult books are about white kids (not that there is anything wrong with that) but umm what happened to the rest of us??  I love that in new adult difficult topics are being discussed and we get well rounded characters when the books are done right, so why then can't this be extended to characters of color?? In your worlds do Latinos not exist?? Did Blacks fall of the face of the planet, do immigrants not go to your schools?? Did you not have young men & women who were from diverse backgrounds?? Adopted, single families, gay parents, physically different?? I went to a small college and we had a girl who was covered in scars when she was a kid she'd been in an accident and was burnt, she was funny, and popular and dated (and ended up engaged) to a one of the most popular guys on campus.   We had a well loved DJ on the school radio who was in a wheelchair, if he threw a party in his room everybody was there.  We had students who were blind or almost blind, who participated in the international club, all kinds of kids from other countries attended and as I said it was a small school. So you're telling me in your books  (i.e your world) you don't have any of these diverse characters?? Why?? Is it shear laziness?? Or do you not feel like you can do them justice??

What do you think of the discussion?? Clearly as I said not everyone is going to have the same definition of new adult. And there are "clean" new adult as well as full on raunchy new adult.  I know I kinda like my new adult somewhat in the middle I need there to be good plot along with the raunchy exploration.  As long as it's well written I'm down to read it.  

If you have any recommendations please share down below, who are some of your 'gateway authors', some of your favorite authors and who should I avoid??  I'm also going to be sharing of the 'original' at least to me new adult authors and their series that I read and loved as a kid.  If you have any you can think of share down below please.  

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a great one
Happy Reading 

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