Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Deal with New Adult

Thursday, January 3, 2013
The genre name "New Adult" has been tossed around a decent amount within the past year, but it's really taken off within recent weeks. According to PW, this genre is aimed at 18-23 year-olds and thus features protagonists of that age. I can't say that I'm wholly against NA (more stories set in college and during that 18-23 year-old time is fine by me), but I am uncertain as to why the specific genre is necessary.
The Sex
Some say that NA will be able to feature darker story lines, but YA already has plenty of dark tales. YA has books that deal with rape, suicide, drugs, terrorism... the list goes on and on. Of course, the reason NA books have suddenly fallen into the spotlight is because of the more graphic sex scenes in them, but plenty of YA books feature sex. No, it's not always graphic, but that's because graphic sex scenes tend just be about sex and serve no purpose in the emotional arc/plotline. If someone wants to read detailed sex scenes, there are plenty of romance and erotica novels that are available, and I'm sure you can find a number of them that have MCs in the 18-23 year-old age range. 


Age Range
To add to my confusion, both adult books and young adult books feature protagonists who fall into the 18-23 year-old range. Although I can't remember the titles of the books, I know there is a series of novels about a girl in college in my library's YA room. All of the books in the graphic above feature protagonists that are 18-23. However, those books are considered Young Adult. Now that there's a new label, would these be considered NA? 

Genres
Does New Adult only apply to contemporary? According to the Good Reads shelf, it seems like it.  In Graceling, Katsa is 18, but it doesn't seem like fantasy counts in NA.  In fact, anything that doesn't seem to be a contemporary romance (or the occasional thriller) doesn't seem to fit into the NA category, which doesn't make much sense to me. How exactly, is NA determined? Furthermore, a genre that only includes one sub-genre doesn't seem like it will do well in stores. Readers who prefer fantasy, paranormal, historical fiction, etc. books will continue to simply buy YA/Adult novels instead. 

If you want to read more about New Adult, here are two really great posts:

How do you feel about New Adult? If you have a differing opinion, or could clarify what NA entails, I'd love to hear it!

1 comment:

  1. I've noticed only contemporary titles as well. I'm fine with reading it--I'm probably not going to think of it that much different than YA. I tend to read the book if it sounds good no matter what genre though!

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