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.

So what about you?  Have you found the genre addicting?   Do you have a favorite author, series or book?  Are you scared to give it a try?  Or do you feel like you couldn’t get into it?  Share with us your thoughts!

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  1. Wow I’m first coment…
    This genre does not appeal to me AT ALL. My young angst was quite enough thank you. I am also not a YA reader either. I read for entertainment as to be swept away with a HEA at the end. I am also not into destopian (sp?) type stories that YA and NA seem to be so fond of. You can’t go only from my take on this but I know it’s not for me.

  2. I’ve only read one book from this genre so far so I wouldn’t be an experienced reader to talk about it, but I, for one, wouldn’t mind a good YA every once in a while. And from what I read here, it seems like I could always pick up a good NA book as well. But I agree with immature characters, I can’t stand their take on life so if I’m going to read an NA or YA book, it’s gotta be one with not only an interesting plot, but also characters that are well balanced in their maturity for their age.

  3. Truthfully I’ve not really read any YA books. They don’t really appeal to me. That doesn’t mean I won’t read one but I’ve not found one that I have to read.

  4. I have a love hate with NA, I’ve found a few authors in the genre that I really enjoy and like you mentioned the characters have gone through a lot but despite theirs pasts they are trying to make the most of their lives despite being a bit damaged. Jessica Sorenson is one of my favorites for this type of character.

    Its the angsty characters that use their crappy pasts to make incredibly stupid decisions and to treat everyone else like crap that I cannot stand! I started one book in this genre where the main chick was so whinny and woe is me that I seriously was hoping she would put herself out of her own misery. Aw whaaa my mom is an alcoholic, aw poor me, my boyfriend abuses me and steals from me but he must love me, my life sucks bc I live in a trailer park. Aw, my life sucks so bad I’m going to be a *itch to everyone that I meet that way they wont want to get to know me and then leave. Whatwaawaa… and all of that was only within the first 12%, needless to say this was a DNF for me. This book was just one example of how NA can go so very bad.

    -Amanda P

    Lets Get Romantical
    Where the Night Kind Roam

  5. Francesca~

    This is a great mind spill topic, as I see a ton of NA out there. Some have been really, REALLY, great and some have been borderline painful. And not in a good way.

    I love angst–huge fan of it. Who wants to read a book that has no emotional pull?

    For me, the draw is that I can lose myself again to the feelings of young love and re-experience life in the eyes of the hero or heroine. I love it when the main character has to overcome such adversity that it looks like they almost won’t succeed. I want them to struggle, experience deep emotion, and YES–have their HEA.

    Some of my favorite authors are Colleen Hoover (Ten Tiny Breaths), Marie Hall ( A Moment), J. Lynn (Wait For You), Karina Hall (Sins and Needles) Jay Crownover (Rule), Tarryn Fisher (The Opportunist), LH Cosway ( Painted Faces), and J.A. Redmerski (The Edge of Never).

    The above books had one great appeal for me–unique stories that you just don’t find a lot of in the fictional world. Engaging characters that are DIFFERENT–atypical. Even though they come across as hardened, sometimes even crass, they are also redeemable. LIKEABLE. And more importantly, relatable.

    I think the NA genre will do extremely well and am glad to see the age gap bridged from YA to Adult.

  6. I haven’t read any NA books as yet but I’ve got a few on my tbr pile that I’m looking forward to reading!

  7. I’m beginning to really like them. I remember when I was that age and I was wild as hell. They actually being written that this middle aged woman can still relate to the characters and their issues. I was there once and sometimes life isn’t all that pretty.

    Great post!