Philosophically speaking, I’m anti-New Adult fiction. I’m quite fine with Young Adult fiction, and over the years as a PW reviewer have read many a coming-of-age novel, but I’m genuinely annoyed by the notion of a genre of fiction for 18-26 year olds. What’s next? Not-Quite-New-Adult fiction, for the 27-30 set? How about Fiction for 30-Somethings, Unmarried Fiction, Menopausal Fiction, or...better still, Men in Midlife Crisis Fiction? Isn’t it bad enough that just the other week Wikipedia started removing women novelists from its list of American Novelists onto a separate list for American Women Novelists?
With New Adult Fiction, though, my grouchiness goes deeper. Blame it on All That, a variety show on Nickelodeon when my daughter was young. It aired on Saturday evenings, featuring comedy sketches and musical guests, supposedly in the tradition of SNL. If by “in the tradition of” you mean it was on television and it was on Saturday nights, then yes. If you mean anything else...well, then...no.
By the time my daughter started to watch All That, my husband and I had already spent far too much time watching Rugrats, Spongebob, Catdog, The Angry Beavers, and [my personal favorite] Rocko’s Wild Life. Anyone who grew up watching cartoons knows there’s generally something for everybody in them, regardless of your age, which is why as a family of three we could all survive the many, many re-runs. It’s why The Simpsons continues after more than 25 years on television. Unfortunately, All That was written specifically for your (and my) little kid at their most obnoxious, with no redeeming anything for anyone older than, say, ten years of age.