When the film version of the comics series Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was released in 2010, I dove into Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series, which takes place over six black and white volumes. This post isn’t a recap of the series, but rather how Scott Pilgrim is literally and figuratively the perfect new adult hero, or more particularly, heroine (not in terms of age, but trope).
When we first meet Scott, he’s dating the high schooler, Knives Chau. All of his friends think this is a bad idea but he goes about it anyway until he meets manic pixie dream girl Ramona Flowers. Scott’s stuck in a Peter Pan rut; he’s fine living with his friend Wallace and not making much progress in his life. It’s not until he meets Ramona and has to face down her seven evil exes that he progresses on with his life.
How does this parallel the new adult prototype,you ask? In New Adult romance, the hero (or more often the heroine), continues about the day to day until something or usually someone acts as the catalyst for change. For example, take Jamie McGuire’s hugely successful Beautiful Disaster; it’s not until Abby meets the over-the-top Travis that her life changes into a world of emotional angst. How often does the back blurb of a New Adult romance novel read, “X was just living a blase college life until Y came along” or how often does the story of a protagonist come of age while taking on some emotional or actual life journey?