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New Adult books - What they are, why i love them and why you should read them

23 Feb 2013
So a few weeks ago i did a guest post on the blog YA contemporary all about New Adult fiction. I thought it might be nice for me to repost it here for anyone who missed it. Hope you all enjoy it.

New Adult Books
You have probably heard the term New Adult books. As a category it is rapidly growing and it is doing very well with books often in the New York Times bestseller list. However not every knows what NA is so that is what I am here to talk about today. This post includes my own knowledge and thoughts about NA as well as author authors and readers opinions.
What are New Adult books?
There is quite a lot I could say about what makes a book New Adult, but explained in its simplest form they are books that are about and are aimed at “new” adults. In the same way that YA books are aimed at 13 – 17 year olds (ish) NA books are aimed at readers who are roughly 18 – 25 years old.
NA books are about the main character learning to be an adult. Often in books they are living away from their parents for the first time at college or they might be struggling with their first job.
Are New Adult books all about sex?
No. This is a common misconception people have about NA because of the way it has been portrayed by journalists. New Adult books do generally have more sex than Young Adult books but this makes sense if you think of the characters ages. 20 year olds are almost definitely going to have sex at some point, 15 year olds, not so much. Also as these books are aimed at slightly older readers authors don’t have to be scared to write sex scenes; if they feel that is where the characters are going then it will probably happen.
Sex in NA books is like sex in adult books, it might happen but not be described, it might be described in detail or it might not even happen at all. I have read some NA books that are less sexual than your average YA.
Are New Adult books only contemporary?
No. New Adult is an age category not a genre, it can and does encompass all genres. Currently NA is completely dominated by contemporary romance, this is because it was contemporary authors such as Jamie McGuire, Tammara Webber, Abbi Glines and others who got the category well known. It is already starting to grow and there are many new and future releases that are other genres.
Why do so many people love New Adult books?
Being a New Adult is a very exciting stage of life; there are lots of new experiences to be had, you are no longer being controlled by your parents, you are finally discovering who you are as a person and you are starting to decide what you want for your future. This makes NA books very interesting and enjoyable to read no matter your age.
For me my favourite part of New Adult books are the relatability. I am 19 and I am starting to want to occasionally read older books than YA (though I am still a YA fan and probably always will be) but at the same time I don’t want to read chick-lit books were the characters are married and have children. It is always nice to read a book where the characters have similar experiences to yourself and you can understand what they are going through. That is what allows me to get lost in a book and fall in love with it.
“I love NA, because I can relate to it. I'm in the middle of the age group that the genre is about, and it's always fun to read about people your age.
I suppose that I really love NA because there's so much self-exploration going on with the main characters. They aren't exactly sure who they are, or who they want to be, and they haven't made it big into a career. It makes for very interesting and relatable reading.” – Brianna age 22, NA reader
Of course not all readers are of the new adult age and they have their own reasons for loving NA whether it is the innocence of the characters, the feel to the books, or simply that it reminds them of a time in their life that they loved.
“For me it's that the emotions are so raw and intense, everything is felt deeply. Also, that they believe in true love and 'forever' (although not always true). Adult books can be very cynical whereas I am an idealist I guess.  I have to say romance always reminds me what it feels like to fall in love. Perhaps that's why I like NA as I met and fell in love with my husband when I was at University and only 21.” – Sarah age 30, NA reader
“I love the age group of NA because they [the characters] are not usually burdened by the "real world" quite yet or only just starting to experience it so they are still open to many new experiences and not held back by obligations.” – Ashley age 28, NA reader
Why do authors love writing New Adult books?
Lots of authors are now starting to write NA, many of these used to write YA. I think there are many reasons for this one being that they always have written them but they just couldn’t get them published. I have heard several authors mention that in the past they had to reduce the age of their characters and remove the more mature material of the book simply so they could get it published. Publishers and agents are now embracing NA books so this is less likely to happen now.
Also authors seem to like the freedom of writing NA books as there are less constraints. They don’t need to worry about it being too dark, and too sexual like they do when writing NA. For some of the reasons that people enjoy reading NA authors enjoy writing NA.
“I like writing for the age category NA because it's fun. It's not about a bunch of jaded old people fretting about mortgages and whether or not their kids are getting enough protein/sunshine/sheltering. It's not a bunch of young kids who still have to ask permission to go out with friends or have a boy over. It's the wonderful time when life stretches out endlessly before you and everything seems possible. Yeah, there are heartaches and roadbumps and jobs that seem to go nowhere, but you still feel like you're working toward something bigger and better, whether it's romance or a career. Plus, the kissing parts aren't bad either :D” – Dawn Rae Miller, YA/NA author
“NA is a space where I can see fiction that correlates more with my actual life. It can address all the issues I used to see in YA, but from an infinitely bigger and more mature perspective. I don't feel like I'm being spoken down to by the author, and I don't feel like the authors are scared because there might be some 14 year olds in the room.
As a writer, this is the type of audience I've always wanted, I just didn't know it existed! I don't want to write YA, because my stories tackle tougher issues that have more weight than most teens are ready for; but it does so with teens and young adults, so it might not be suited for an older audience. I want to talk about the bigness of the world, drinking, sex, and loneliness, but beyond the walls of a high school.” – Chris age 24, NA reader and author
I love to read and write about characters who overcome trials, and who grow, and who fall in love for real (not that that doesn't happen in YA, but usually it feels...less mature), so I'm drawn to NA because you can find that more easily. It's a genre full of firsts, instead of Adult, where most of these things have been conquered or at least addressed before.” – Alexandra Lanc, NA author
Why should I read New Adult books?
Lots of people love NA and you might too but you won’t know unless you try it. If you love young adult books but want to try something slightly more mature then these books will be perfect. If you are in your late teens or early twenties then what are you waiting for? These books are written for you!
If you want to try NA but don’t know where to start, I would recommend Easy by Tammara Webber. It is a perfect example of an NA book and it also isn’t overly sexual. Some other NA books that I have loved are The Edge of Never by J.A Redmerski, Taking Chances by Molly McAdams, Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines, Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire and Slumber by Samantha Young.
If you are interested in knowing how New Adult books started this is a great post - http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/new-adult-what-is-it

14 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting, Laura! This has really cleared up some of my misconceptions. I really did think that all NA novels were contemporary. Silly me!

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    1. Most are so it's quite common for people to assume :)

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  2. This is such a great post! I'm biased bc my sister is Cora Carmack, but either way, I would love NA!

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    1. That is pretty awesome! Im really glad you like the post :D

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  3. Ah, this is a really awesome post! Now I can just happily link someone here when they ask me what NA is so they can get a full understanding instead of my vague explination. XD Thank you!

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  4. I’m really excited to see New Adult fiction now defined as a category. I’ve been searching for quite a while to figure out where I fit. I thought I might be pushing boundaries of YA, then I heard some people refer to “20-somethings,” but didn’t see people mentioning it very often. My blog shows a little bit of my style. Saw a reference earlier today and searched it and followed a few people that have an interest. Happy to have found your blog as well!

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    1. It is so much easier now New Adult books are defined as their own catagory. Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting :)

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  5. Thanks again for contributing this to YA Contemporary, Laura! Good to see it up here as well. :)

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    1. Thanks again for you asking me to do the guest post, i hope you don't mind me reposting it here! :)

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  6. I'm glad to finally hear someone say that NA is not a genre. It is an audience or age classification. I enjoy then like I do any well written MG, YA or adult book. I do think that they could include arrange of genres, but I think Contemporary may be the favored.

    Amy @ www.bookgoonie.com

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  7. Thank you so much for this amazingly informative post! I've taken and saved notes from this.

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