Genre Guide for Beginners: Chapter 9, New Adult

Posted March 15, 2019 by Suzanne in Front Page, Reading on the Dark Side, Under the Covers / 4 Comments

Do you know what some of the most commonly asked questions are? Genre questions. Either asking us what genre a certain book or series is in, or what exactly is that genre. After spending so much time immersed in the world of romance, it has become second nature to instantly catergorise books into their respective genre, or sub-genre. Just a glance at the blurb, or even just the cover then I can tell you what genre it will be. Of course, not everything is black and white and not every book is so easy to label, but a majority are.

We have previously done a very concise guide about genres giving an overview of each, but we decided to take each genre and do a more general and indepth guide. In this, we will tell you the definition of the genre, what types of characters you may expect to see, popular troupes within a genre, some of our favourite authors and series within this genre. And anything else we can think of! By the end of the guide you should be able to tell what book is what and have a few recommendations to pick up.

The ninth chapter in this guide is *drum roll please*


New adult romance is defined by the ages of the main characters. It covers the gap from being a teenager to taking your first independent steps into the adult world. It is almost like the next stage in a coming of age story and usually depicts when the main character has recently left home, either to live alone or start college. The romance is the focal point of the story and this can either be a heterosexual romance or LGBT. And although there may be other story threads the book won’t end until the romance has resolved and you have a happily ever after.

The Basics

Here’s a basic checklist of all the elements that make a new adult:

  • The main characters will be in their late teens and early twenties.
  • There will be a happily ever after by the end of the book. The main couple will have gotten together and their romance resolved. If this is part of a series this will mean the next book will be about another couple.

If a book has the above characteristic then you have yourself a new adult. You can find new adult romances in a paranormal, LGBT, contemporary, the important aspect of a new adult romance will be the age of the characters.

Tropes & Characters you may meet…

Friends to Lovers

Although all New Adult books have heroes and heroines that are college age, sometimes, their stories begin before then. You’ll find several books that have the hero and heroine playing as friends when they were younger, but may have drifted apart over the years. But they are reunited once again in the book/series because of something from their past.


Family Issues

This is where most of the angst comes from. To me, the most well-written NA books are ones with angst in them because they cover an array of emotions from love to hate. Most of these negative emotions start from their family unit. So whether it’s a death in the family or a strained relationship with their parents, it’s these type of issues that often create the character’s personality in the beginning of the book.

Lost/Troubled Identity

This is a bit similar to the previous one in that it deals with the emotional standpoint of a character. But instead of outside familial issues, it could be something more internal such as grief, a feeling of disconnection with people around them, or a tendency to commit crimes.


Shy heroine

This doesn’t necessarily mean a virgin heroine (although that could also very well happen in NA), but the main protagonist is NA books are usually awkward or shy girls. Girls who maybe haven’t really found their footing in life. It’s this uncertainty that makes you want to root for them and to get the guy in the end. It’s also what makes these books much more relatable and personal.


Bad Boy

You’ll know this as the alpha hero. This is someone who possesses that intense personality that leaps off the page. It could be a biker or a MMA fighter, but the bad boy character is always a must in all books!


Why UTC loves New Adult

The New Adult genre is a great bridge between Adult and Young Adult romance. So if someone is looking to advance their reading to other more mature books, New Adult paves that way for them. Because of it’s simplistic writing style, the mix of angst makes it all the more powerful and addicting. There really is no other genre quite like this new one and we hope that it’s here to stay!

UTC Required Reading List


What are your favourite new adult books?


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Blogger/Reviewer at Under the Covers Book Blog
Gosh, we all seem to be admitting our ages…and I hate that I am at the point in life when admitting my age is a “thing”…whodda thunk it? I was kind of hoping I would remain 21 forever. However, I have moved out of that New Adult stage of my life and am now strictly in the Contemporary Romance age zone of 28. I would prefer to be in an Urban Fantasy arena, but I don’t think I own enough black leather. However, I could probably squeeze into some PNR, I am fully prepared to give a horn job to my favourite demon, or suck on my sexy vamps…fangs and I am definitely up for some heavy petting with some fine looking shifters. Than again their’s always Sci Fi…I am fully prepared to do the right thing and help some poor alien race with more 6 packs than a supermarket repopulate their planet. Not that I am loose woman or anything.

Annnnnd I will stop myself there, before I start waxing lyrical about my love of historical romance and fantasy as well; no one needs to know about my elf fantasies. As you can tell, I adore and day dream about most romance genres, and my three big loves are 1) reading about romance 2) writing about romance and 3) talking about romance with my gals. Which, is why I love Under the Covers so much, I get all my bookish needs satisfied and don’t get judged when I talk about my favourite characters like they are real people. Which they are right?
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Amy R
Amy R

I have read a lot of NA and another few I would recommend is Bully by Penelope Douglas and Hypothesis Series by Penny Reid.


I haven’t read much NA that isn’t paranormal in some aspect but I do have jessica sorenson and colleen hoover on my tbr.


Elle Kennedy’s Off Campus and Briar U series…

Kathy Valentine
Kathy Valentine

Great post!! Shared on my socials!😉💖