11/11/2015

New Adult.

I'm 20 years old and I love reading, but something that I've recently discovered has been playing on my mind a lot lately, and that's the lack of books for my age group. Now, what does that mean you ask? What is a book that's 'for a certain age group'? Are you not allowed to read books for other age groups? Let me answer a few of those questions right now.

First of all, and don't get me wrong, I love Young Adult fiction, but I do have some issues with it.

I really enjoy young adult books, I think they're mostly light and easy reads, and that's something that I need after spending so much of my time reading textbooks and academic articles for university. I want to get away from the complex language of 'adult books'. I take to my blog, based on young adult books, and I have fun with it. Now, I don't particularly know the age range that young adult is actually targeting. I don't know what counts as a 'young adult' and I know a lot of people have problems with that as well.

My issue nowadays with young adult books are that, they are not relatable anymore, for me personally. I'm not in school, I'm not a teenager, I don't have to ask my parents permission to do things (although I must admit, there seems to be a universal lack of parents in ya books anyway), and I don't have the same mindset that a 16/17 year old would have. That's not to say I don't relate to all young adult books, there are some that are extremely relatable, even if it's because of my past and not the present time but the majority of young adult books are not satisfying me anymore.

Most of the time, I stick to the young adult age range because that's what I know, and if I wanted to branch out to more New Adult / Adult books, I wouldn't know where to start. This brings me on to my next point: New Adult.

What is New Adult? 
Serious question. What is New Adult fiction? Is it just sexed up, young adult? I don't know. But I have read some 'new adult' books and can't say that I've enjoyed them so much I want to read more and more of them, purely because right now, from what I've seen, they're all the same. Let's have a think;

It's about a girl in university. 
She's going to lectures, socialising with friends etc. 
She meets a boy. 
He's a bad boy, or in some cases, a lecturer. Whatever the case, it's always a type of 'forbidden' love, or a romance that was never likely to happen. 
Bad things happen. 
Good things happen. 
They live happily ever after. 

I've read so many New Adult books with that premise and I'm just sick and tired of it. I go to University, that was nowhere near my experience (HA I wish!), and they mainly focus on the romance. There's so much more to life after high-school that books should focus on for this age group, such as moving away from home, struggling to make friends, not knowing what you want to do with your life, financial issues (that's a big one), starting full-time work, etc etc. There's a whole age group that isn't be represented within fiction, the 18-24/5 year olds. Where are those books? Why is there no demand for them? I want them, and I can think of a whole bunch of other people who want them too.

Of course, I'm not slating the current age category completely, we all love a good romance but sometimes that's not all that we want to be reading, and for those of us stuck in the middle of young adult and adult, we need something more.

I will never stop reading young adult fiction, some books that I've come across have literally changed my life, and have shaped me into the person I am today. But I do want to branch out a bit more, I do want books to do with older characters, where 'sex' isn't a taboo etc.

I would also love to see more fantasy in New Adult. I think there's so much room for this category to grow, and I don't know if it's happening now, or if they're just stuck on cliched romances, but I want more.

I won't even get into the point of: what even is a 'new adult' because I honestly wouldn't even know where to begin. But my aim is to get into Publishing, and help to establish a stronger New Adult category that caters to everyone in that age range (and those above or under, if that's what they want to be reading-  no judgements).

Let me know what you think about this topic, I'd love to hear some of your thoughts!

10 comments:

  1. Hi Annie. Your blog was interesting, especially since i'm struggling with this same issue. I've written a coming-of-age story based on my diaries and I'm trying to determine if my memoir fits into the New Adult category - sort of "True New Adult." I can place a check mark next to many of your points above, but the story doesn't have the "steamy" sex that readers seem to be looking for in New Adult books. Do you think this is a necessary component of this genre? I'm hoping there are New Adult readers looking for something different.

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    1. Hi Linda, I definitely don't think that sex has to be part of the book in order for it to be classified as a New Adult book. Honestly, when I look for a book, be it NA or YA or whatever, I don't look for particular characteristics but if the storyline interests me. I think there are so many NA books out there that just focus on relationships and sex, that the NA market is becoming so saturated, we need something different.

      NA needs to expand into other sub genres, and that's what I'm struggling with the most. Too many books are the same or very similar, they all have certain themes and at the end of it, nothing stands out to me, nothing grabs my attention and makes me think, "hey, this is actually different from every other NA book I've read, I like it"..

      I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm definitely looking for something different in this category. I do enjoy reading the books that are out/popular etc but I would like more options for my age group.

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  2. I completely agree with wanting more fantasy in New Adult! I think it has so much potential, if only someone would write it, and it gets enough credit. It's still a new genre, so I'm hoping it grows a lot!
    Great discussion :)
    ~Erika @ Books, Stars, Writing. And Everything In Between.

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    1. I definitely think it will grow, I just wish it would hurry up!

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  3. Hi there, I'm an author currently writing my second novel and I really enjoyed reading your comments. I'm new to NA, before I wrote a book in that genre I hadn't read very many of them. In fact, I started my book as a bit of a joke to see how many cliches I could fit into one chapter. Eventually it evolved and I was able to shape it into something that resembles a NA novel but has my own spin to it. I'm older than you, but as a reader I get tired of reading the same plot lines in books and I totally agree that many of them are very similar. I would like to see some more realism in the genre, some strong female characters with lives independent of the man they're interested in, and some variety in writing style. It's something I'm conscious of when writing my new book. But as an author it's also a bit scary, because the market so clearly wants steamy, angst ridden books and if you dare to be different you may end up without any readers. I hope that's not the case! My books do have sex scenes but they're more about intimacy than the physical "what goes where" and I try hard to create real women as my leads. Your post gave some things to think about when crafting a story for NA readers so thanks for that. It's actually great to hear that people want to read something different. If you'd like to try my book it's called Still Waters and it's available for free on the GR new adult book club in the read and review program at the moment. It doesn't tick off everything on your Wishlist but the characters have depth and there are no uni professors or forbidden love scenes in sight. Thanks for the great post! Rebecca Addison.

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that my comments have helped you! I believe that over time, the demand for these types of books will increase and the market will change, but as for now, it doesn't look like there will be an influx of authors taking that risk! I guess that's part of the reason I want to get into Publishing! It's nice to hear of some authors that are being different and writing what they believe in and not just writing novels that are the same as previously popular ones!

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  4. You make some very good points. The story lines in this genre need to be expanded beyond pure romance. It can make a difference if the novel is a stand-alone or part of a series. I confess, I'm guilty of writing New Adult contemporary romance, but my books (my first is currently available with its immediate sequel due out early next year) dig deeper into character development than the basic formula that you reference. This is the advantage of writing a series; the protagonists have the opportunity to evolve and breakaway from the stereotype.

    I also believe that part of the problem with the paucity of non-romance titles may lie with the newness of the category "New Adult." Authors and readers do not realize that the designation is not driven by sexual content, but rather by the age of the protagonists. In addition, so many places where you search for books do not even have this as an option. Authors like myself, who write NA then have to decide where to classify their works on these sites. This makes it difficult for readers like yourself (and myself) to find these stories.

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    1. Well said, Dana. Hopefully, one day readers will come to realize your wise words. Age, not sexual content, should be the driving factor with the New Adult genre.

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  5. Admittedly when I began working on my series of NA Romance novels book 1 is is due out this spring. I never really thought about sexing them up if I am honest. I still don't or havent. Sex between a couple IMO should always be to enhance the storyline and feelings of the characters. I would say the theme of the romance is there in my series but it enhances the overall feel of the series and the characters exploring life as it happens to them. I don't think there is anything wrong with romance a lot of people I knew fell in love or got married after college and when done right I think it an be a compelling story.

    I have a lot of the same gripes you do in the genre one of the biggest for me is maturity level of the characters in or right after college. It totally bugs me I am tired of seeing brats running around constantly when they are in college or just out of college and lately it is happening more and more. I am happy to see that readers are looking for what you described and I hope that other authors like myself are able to fit that bill for you.

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