Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Adult: Yay or nay?

The other day, I was looking through some of my favorite book blogs and I came across a discussion post on The Broke and the Bookish that really got me thinking. The topic? New Adult Books. I had recently finished reading Easy by Tammara Webber and knew that it was referred to as a New Adult book, but I really didn't know what that meant. After reading the post I found, I had a much better grasp on this seemingly new genre. I had no idea, though, that there were people who really weren't into separating college aged (or 18-mid 20s) into their own genres. What separates these books from the adult genre? What separates them from the YA genre? Well that is an excellent question. 

I googled what New Adult actually was and came across a great article from the School Library Journal providing a bunch of different definitions. One person was quoted defining the genre as YA-like but with older characters and more sex. Another person was quoted saying that they were merely romance contemporary novels. Who's right? I honestly don't know. Should New Adult be considered it's own genre? I must say that the New Adult books I have read do include much more mature content than what young adult books contain. That being said, I don't think the New Adult books belong in the YA genre. But do they belong in the adult fiction genre? It seems like the key behind New Adult books that a lot of people claim defines them is the sex, but Jane over at Dear Author made a great point when she said "New Adult is a time period and a feel — a newly emancipated person on the cusp of discovering themselves, where they fit into life, what allowances they will make, and how they relate to others." I think that if people are going to be classifying books as New Adult, they should go by that definition, not the amount of sex in the book. 

With that definition, it really bothers me what books people lump in to the New Adult genre. Books like Easy by Tammara Webber, Thoughtless by SC Stephens, and even Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James should be considered New Adult because the characters are at that time in their life where they are entering the adult world and aren't in high school anymore. When I came across the New Adult Literature list on Goodreads, I was really surprised to find a lot of high school aged books on the list. Books on the list that I don't think should have been on there was Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Slammed by Colleen Hoover. The main characters of these books are all either in high school or high school aged and are not in the time of their lives that Jane had described. So why are they on the New Adult list? Beats me. 

If it's so hard to determine what's in this new, upcoming genre, should we even try separating it? Should we have YA, New Adult, and Adult books all as their own categories? If you walk into a library, would you like to see a whole section devoted just to New Adult books? I honestly don't know what I'd pick. There are pros and cons to having this new genre. I love the books that I've read that could be considered New Adult, but I don't know if they deserve their entire own genre or not. 

What do you guys think? I'd love to hear your opinions about this, so don't hesitate to share what you think :) 


  1. I never heard of New Adult books. This is new to me.

  2. Truthfully I find it silly and go not get it. I have read plenty of books about people in that age group and absolutely nothing have separated them from adult books I have read.

    It feels more like getting the YA crowd to read a more spicy kind of YA books. Cos they are still YA, just with sex

  3. I don't think there is a need for a whole brand new genre. The problem lies with the fact that they'll be lumping YA into that category and do you really want your teen picking up a book filled with so much sex? Parents aren't that involved in what their kids are doing, let alone reading. And with all the devices out there, it's much easier for them to grab a book mom or dad would say 'no' to. As for the genre itself, defining it on the 'more sex', like you said, should not be the defining factor. There's so many books in adult genres with sex, what makes this any different? If it is going to focus more on the transitional period of a young person's shift from high school to college, then by all means, focus on that. Not on how many partners the girl or boy has to 'find their place in life'. That's ridiculous. I'm not against sex in books, but with everyone always up in arms about teenage pregnancies being on the rise, why are we so focused on sex? There's enough of it in movies, even TV and other books, don't create a whole genre to promiscuity to college age people, fresh out of high school. Sheesh.

  4. This is the first that i've heard of "New Adult" books and am somewhat intrigued by the concept. I just turned 20, so i've pretty much been reading YA books my entire life and even now only venture into the Adult book world rarely. I personally feel like I connect better with characters in high school versus characters that are in their 30s or 40s. I personally would love to have a whole genre of books aimed at 18-30 year olds, it would make sense and would be nice to branch out of the YA section.

    I guess for now i'll stick to YA (especially since the "New Adult" books that they described I had considered YA anyways) and see where this genre of books goes!

    -Stacy at Longtime Lover Of Literature

  5. I love Jane's definition of New Adult, and think it's pretty perfect. There's so much debate about the new genre and I honestly haven't given it much thought but when you said if you walk into a library do you want the genres separate...I guess I would. Sometimes I feel like reading straight-up YA where the characters are in high school, and sometimes I feel like reading something a bit heavier and maybe even sexier without reading about characters who are in their late 20s, 30s, or older, which would mean I'd go for NA. I also enjoy adult books, and of course they have their own section and I know where to go for them, so why not NA books? Then I think about if I had kids who were, say, 14-16 and the so-called NA books were grouped with the YA books because people don't think NA should be its own genre...would I really want my kid reading hot and heavy sex scenes because NA doesn't have its own section?

    I have no problem with it being its own genre, but I do have an issue with the way some people define it (like I recently heard it referred to as 'Harry Potter meets 50 Shades of Grey'...I don't even know where to begin with that)'s also kind of annoying that almost ALL the NA covers coming out are pretty much the exact same, AND some authors use the genre as an excuse to write gratuitous sex scenes. If that's the case, they should be honest and call it erotica. I guess there's a fine line between a lot of genres and with everyone weighing in and having varying opinions, it makes you wonder who makes the final decisions on things like this.

    Great discussion. :-)

    Ramblings of a Daydreamer

  6. Well, I've read a post about it too and actually New Adult isn't a genre but a category - and therefore there really shouldn't be a problem about it. I mean - I am 23 years old and I am very happy that they've finally made a category that suits me :) I love YA. And I love Adult. But I've always missed something but I couldn't put a finger on it what it was. And when I've read my first New Adult book I knew! I can relate to teens (still feel like a teenager sometimes :P), and I could relate to women in Adult books. But what I was and still am going trough isn't something a YA or Adult fiction girl would go trough. Decisions that will shape my life. These are hard. So I am very happy that I can read about heroines in books that relate to that. I feel less scared of the future this way. You know, like a feeling - if they managed to find the right way, then I can do it too :)

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