For the past year or so, New Adult novels have been topping the bestseller charts. Despite some diversity in the genre, they generally tend to share specific characteristics—angsty, sexy, and romantic with tortured young heroes and heroines who find love in each other’s arms. While the latest New Adult books still possess those characteristics, the genre seems to be expanding into well-known tropes popular in the adult contemporary romance genre. There also seems to be a growing subgenre of New Adult romantic suspense.
Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren is the third book in the popular Beautiful Bastard series. While it possesses features that are quintessentially new adult—a sheltered heroine, a reformed rake, burgeoning sexuality—it also falls into the friends-to-lovers trope, which is very popular in the adult romance genre. The heroine Hannah Bergstrom has led a studious, cautious, uneventful life, but at the urging of her older brother, she decides to develop her social life. She throws caution to the wind and pursues her brother’s sexy friend Will Summer. Will is a playboy who has always had affection for his friend’s little sister, whom he calls Ziggy. Ziggy’s all grown up now, though, with some very grown up desires that she wants to explore with Will. Readers praised Hannah as a quirky, funny, loveable heroine.