NEW ADULT…NEW OBSESSION
With the amount of books that keep coming out in the “new adult” genre, I’ve been asked many times lately “What is it with the genre? What is it about? Why is everyone running to read everything and anything out there?”
I think for me the question is simple. New Adult is the perfect stepping stone between Young Adult and Contemporary Romance. I think it also fills the void of angst that we would normally want in…say a movie or a TV show. It was only logical for these types of stories to gain some exposure and I believe that the fact that authors can now self publish books had a lot to do in opening the market to this genre.
Personally, I don’t like immature characters. Seriously dislike. And I’ve come across quite a bit of that while stumbling my way around the new adult waters because it’s sometimes appropriate for their age. I’ve come to the realization that I truly love new adult books when the characters have gone through a lot and have had to mature beyond their years. Yeah, you could say the ones that are really messed up. The stories are full of angst and emotion and usually leave me in fetal position crying. A perfect example of that is the talented Colleen Hoover.
But it’s not only the readers that have found their new addiction. Publishers have been picking up these self published authors left and right and bringing their books to the masses. Well, more than they were already. I had the opportunity to get some input from an editor at Penguin about the new adult genre and this is what she had to say:
To me, New Adult stands distinct from contemporary romance and YA. True, romance plays a heavy role, as NA novels explore the all-consuming passion of a first love and, sometimes, first sexual experience. And as with many YA novels, NA features a female bildungsroman/coming of age story. But for NA heroines, this is almost entirely an internal journey. And a great NA novel sweeps you up in the emotions and heartache of that character’s journey. NA heroines often are thrust into tragic, “adult” situations without a choice in the matter, so they have to grow up too fast, but at the same time, in matters of the heart, they often have a lot to learn.
With all the rage in contemporary romance right now being super slick, smooth, alpha men (who, admittedly, I also love), it’s really fun to see a younger hero—one who is just discovering what he wants from life and love. Although NA has its fair share of smooth player types, they’re the kinds we all remember from school. Maybe even the kind we wish we’d attracted (okay, speaking as a former shy nerd here). New Adult has that gripping element of realism to it—regardless of how soap operatic the storyline might become—just on the fact that we all remember feeling full of drama and like the world revolved around our emotions.
What I’m looking for in NA acquisitions is to be swept away by angst and epic-feeling emotions—all with an authentic, fresh voice. I also want to read a book that pushes boundaries! NA writers have been taking really fun chances with plotlines and narratives—all the hero’s perspective, why not? The hero is a college hottie virgin (a la my latest NA acquisition by Christina Lee), yes please!—and that is always exciting to read.
~ Jesse Feldman, Associate Editor, NAL
At the end of the day, and after kicking and screaming, I’ve been converted to a New Adult reader. I get the same craving for a new adult fix as I do for a PNR or even an m/m romance. It fits a certain mood I’m in and I’ve found some amazing authors along the way.