Readers craving a combination of the coming-of-age angst of a young adult novel with the self-reliance and mature relationships that characterize adult fiction can now pick up books in the New Adult genre. These stories are characterized by heroes and heroines who are over eighteen, out of high school, and newly facing the difficulties of adult life, such as their college careers, first jobs, and first loves. January offers a tasty assortment of new releases for the discerning new adult palate.
New adults might be independent entities in the eyes of the law, but that doesn't mean they can completely escape their families of origin. For example, Just One Day by Gayle Forman describes the journey of self-discovery of an eighteen-year-old girl with an overbearing mother. Allyson “LuLu” Healey spends the summer before college traveling around Europe. In England, she meets bad boy Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter, and he inspires her to throw caution to the wind and travel to Paris with him. Even though he abandons her after “just one day,” he has planted a seed of rebellion in her that changes her life forever.
In Return to Me by Justina Chen, eighteen-year-old Rebecca Muir leaves her home in Seattle to attend college in New York City—as far away from her family as she can get. Unfortunately, her father takes a new job in New Jersey, and her whole family follows her to the East Coast. Soon after, Rebecca's dad drops a bombshell that sends her family reeling. Rebecca is forced to come to terms with her family relationships in order to figure out who she really is and what she wants for her future.
As a result of moving away from their families, new adults also begin to explore their sexual freedom. For example, Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky—the second installment in the humorous saga of a pre-med student named Dominique—is a frank, realistic depiction of the sex lives of college students. Dom, who's still reeling from a break-up with her first love, returns home for her summer vacation. She meets a cute new love interest named Guy. He teaches her how great sex can be but also how thin the line is between love and lust.
Another novel that deals with lust and its power over new adults is Scent of Darkness: A Novel by Margot Berwin. Eighteen-year-old Evangeline's aunt has a gift for creating perfumes. She dies and leaves Evangeline a signature scent—fire, leather, rose, and jasmine—that makes her irresistible to everything with a heartbeat—men, women, cats. Eva moves to New Orleans to be close to her boyfriend, a medical student named Gabriel, but loneliness pushes her into the arms of Michael, an artist who seems unaffected by her perfume. She wonders if Michael might be her true love, or if he's just using her to sell his paintings?
First comes lust, and then comes marriage. New Adults are legally able to wed and frequently do so—despite all the difficulties that often accompany the union. Caroline B. Cooney's first novel in the Janie Johnson series, The Face on the Milk Carton, might have been better suited to a middle grade audience, but her latest, and final, installment, Janie Face to Face, features a college-age Janie, exploring life and love in the big city and struggling to figure out who she really is—Janie Johnson or Jennie Spring. She reconnects with her old flame Reeve and explores marriage with him, but evil Hannah—the deranged woman who kidnapped Janie as a little girl—is lurking in the background, plotting to ruin Janie's life all over again.
Set in London in 1926, The Heiresses: Episode 1 by Allison Rushby is the first installment in a six-part serial novel about triplet sisters—Thalia, Erato, and Clio—who were separated at birth. They must fight their half-brother Charles for their inheritance, but they have to trust each other first, which proves difficult with all kinds of backstabbing and drama going on. In the end, however, there's sure to be at least one marriage readers can enjoy witnessing.
Finally, new adults explore their first jobs, which can be challenging under normal circumstances but downright deadly in thrillers. Vortex: A Tempest Novel by Julie Cross is the second in the series about a time-jumping, nineteen-year-old CIA agent Jackson Meyer who altered history in order to save his girlfriend Holly. He works for Tempest, the time-travel-related division of the CIA, but Eyewall, an opposing division, goes after him, putting his life and Holly's life in danger again.
Brittany is a freelance writer, aspiring novelist and small business owner who hopes that heaven will be like a bookstore with an endless supply of free books, free coffee and super comfy chairs.