Fri
Jan 25 2013 1:00pm

The Best New Adult Books Now: Colleen Hoover, Tammara Webber, and More!

Easy by Tammara WebberLove adult contemporary romance and YA, but wish you could have the best of both? A book driven by the unique hormonal intensity of first young love, filled with relatable trials and tribulations of becoming an adult, but featuring more mature protagonists like say twenty-somethings and more satisfying intimate love scenes?

Have no fear, new adult romances are here!

New adult books bring something very delicious to the table: a mix of what readers love best about YA and adult romance featuring an age group of characters where none really existed before—characters that haven’t magically passed “GO” and blipped from 17 to 26. Best of all there’s sex scenes that don’t stop cold like The Vampire Diaries going to commercial break. It’s not all about the nookie; it’s about the blending of genres.

Like YA, many bestselling new adult books don’t shy away from life issues and the discomfort of dealing with them even if it’s merely tackling adjusting to college, the age old trope of losing one’s virginity, or simply the highs and lows of transitioning from teen to independent young adult. But many standouts in new adult romance genre are more than willing to really get their hands dirty tackling societal taboos like date rape, incest and abuse while chasing their HEA.

Tammara Webber’s Easy and Colleen Hoover’s Slammed, along with Hoover’s latest, Hopeless, are among the best of the New York Times bestsellers. Words like “genre defining,” “poetic,” and “defies convention” are often used to describe Webber and Hoover’s work and for good reason.

Easy starts up just after college sophomore Jacqueline has been dumped by her high school sweetheart. She’s understandably blindsided. Not one to mope, she attends a frat party where she is attacked by an acquaintance, a fellow frat brother of her ex. It’s shocking and traumatic. A fellow classmate, Lucas, saves Jacqueline—a boy who, we come to learn, is a lot more complicated and interested in her than she knew. The events send her life into a tailspin. Easy deftly deals with the subject of acquaintance rape and its impact on college life, but still packs a swoonworthy punch with beautiful -is he bad or is he good- Lucas and their budding relationship. Webber’s book also allows Jackie, as she wants to be known, the opportunity to become empowered and decide what type, if any, romantic relationship she wants to have moving forward with her life on her own terms.

Hopeless walks the razor’s edge between being a YA and new adult book telling a beautiful tale of first love amidst the dark, ugly secret of abuse that can lurk behind closed doors of a place that is supposed to be a safe haven, but all too often is not, a place called home.

In Slammed author Colleen Hoover’s latest heart-wrenching novel, Hopeless, Sky and Holder fight for room to breathe and a chance to flourish despite soon to be 18-year-old Sky’s unexplored and deeply buried baggage. Content to think it’s a product of a protective mother and a life of homeschooling, Sky’s never felt any sort of meaningful connection with a boy; in fact, kisses bore her. Instead of feeling love or lust, her former boyfriend’s touch sends her inward, leaves her feeling strangely blank, more content during a kiss to lose herself in counting the stars above. Sky soon meets Dean Holder, a mysterious boy who holds the key to unlocking her pastin an unexpected twist—a past she never knew she was missing. Holder has loved this girl from day one. Only it’s not the way you’re thinking. Colleen Hoover never lets her characters off the hook that easily. Haunted as they both are this story of damaged childhoods, self-exploration and first love still manages to be lyrical and light with neither character becoming soured by the bitter realities of their lives. Despite the darkness, Sky and Holder’s discovery of one another is epically, gorgeously romantic (including the best first not-a-kiss-kiss in the history of first kisses) as Sky calls it. The depth of their journey together will have you gripping your book/e-reader, both cursing and loving what it means to be sucked into one of Colleen Hoover’s swoony yet tragically magical love stories.

The Edge of Never by J.A. RedmerskiAnother rising star in the new adult arena is J.A. Redmerski, who's written The Edge of Never. At 22, Camryn Bennett finds yet again she’s pulling herself together after her life has fallen apart. Thinking outside the box, she abruptly abandons her job, deciding to take an indefinite road trip. With nothing more than a small bag and her cell phone, Cam hops a Greyhound bus to nowhere, desperate to escape the reality of things she’s tired of dealing with and who she will become if she stays. The road trip begins with Camryn’s chance meeting of Andrew Parrish, a handsome former model with a love of cars and rock and roll who, unlike Camryn, is not running away but headed back home to say goodbye to his ailing father and desperately wants to be headed anywhere else. This sweet and sexy story is told in alternating points of view with Cameron hoping Andrew can’t tell she’s got no place to go and Andrew starting to feel attracted to the young woman spirited enough to do what he hasn’t—live life beyond the boundaries. It’s a stealthy romance that lets you come along for the ride, then sneaks up and rocks you. When Cam and Andrew finally bare their souls and help one another deal with what they’re really running from, you’ll beg for their HEA right along with them.

With books like these it’s easy to see how new adult romances are enjoying a steady surge in readership and accolades. By embracing what readers love about YA and adult contemporary romances, new adult is like the peanut butter cup of romance reads—the best of two great tastes put together to make a whole new kind of treat. Yum.

Have you read any of these? Have any others to recommend?

 


Tina Allen has spent over a decade successfully avoiding publishing her romance novels by teaching reading and writing, pimping books as a librarian and writing/editing for others. Tina is now gleefully reading, writing and reviewing romance atBookCrack.com. She can also be found tweeting about her adventures in authorhood @book_crack.

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12 comments
Heather Waters (redline_)
1. redline_
Great look at some buzzy books in New Adult right now, Tina! I really liked EASY, feeling so-so about HOPELESS (kinda stalled in the middle...Holder's behavior is not appealing to me at the moment), and am now very curious about THE EDGE OF NEVER--thanks for the rec.
Tina@Bookcrack
2. Tina@Bookcrack
Thanks @redline_ .THE EDGE OF NEVER took just a smidge longer to hook me than I would usually allow, but that's one of the things I loved about it! The MC's and their HEA just kinda work their way into your heart. And as for HOPELESS-- don't give up! You're just where Holder will prove himself plus the story takes a sharp turn that will take you for a RIDE til the VERY end. Enjoy!
Tina@Bookcrack
4. Peggy P
I have read all of these except Slammed but I hope to read that soon. Edge of Never does take a little while to get into but I thought it was a great read. I've enjoyed all of Webber's books, each is a different story and very well-written. The book I want to recommend is Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park - I'd like to give you a summary of the story but it would sound too stupid! This is a good book with a story that sucks you in ... and I never saw the plot twist coming!
Tina@Bookcrack
5. Tina@Bookcrack
Yess! Peggy P. I hope you enjoy SLAMMED. I recently read Jessica Park's FLAT OUT LOVE and really enjoyed that one as well. The romance is played back for much of the story and it's one of the most unique New Adult books I've read so far. I even considered it, but without being too spoilery about the *issue* tucked away in the clever plot it felt very YA. I know, I know, it's about college students as the MC's but with them both living at home and the dysfunctional family dynamic such a huge part of the story it had a very YA feel to me. But I so get what you are saying! ~And, I love your post all the more with the way you put it LOL. The plot twist(s) are fun and I'll admit to needing a tissue or two towards the end. Great suggestion!
Tina@Bookcrack
6. Cali
I loved Easy. Have you guys read First Comes Love, by Katie Kacvinsky? It's another great New Adult read. Gray and Dylan are amazing.
Tina@Bookcrack
7. Torifl
I loved Easy. I have Hopeless on my TBR but have yet to get to it.
I recently read Monica Murphy's One Week Girlfriend which surprised me with it's depth. It's a cinderella-esque stort but with a twist. In here Cinderelle (Fable) has to save Prince Charming from his evil family. Emily Snow's Tidel was also a wonderful story about a young actress and her second chance at love and life.
Michelle Palmer
8. ChelleP
I've read all of those, mostly because I like to try new genres and I dig ansty reads and these are definitely dark and emotional.

Easy and The Edge of Never were both just mediocre for me. (I know I'm in the minority here.) The Edge of Never ended abruptly, without completely explaining the big issue. While I enjoyed the characters and the story, the resolution lacked necessary detail. It's like the author got tired of writing and just ended it.

Hopeless, on the other hand, was a satisfying dark read. Sky and Dean pretty much blew me away with their love for each other.
Tina@Bookcrack
9. Tina@Bookcrack
Cali - That one's new to me. Thanks for the recommendation.

Torifl- Oh, I like the sound of the girl saving the "prince" and Emily Snow's book is sitting in my "should I add this" to my TBR on GR. Thx!

ChelleP-I hadn't thought of the ending of 'Edge of Never' that way. I just knew I was ready to stop the rollercoaster right along with the MC's LOL and 'Hopeless' just really pulled out all the stops for me.
Kaitlin Blaker
10. Allan-Hatai
even though it's not at all smutty or racy, I would also suggest My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions by Becca Wilhite. It'll say it's teen, but in all actuality Sarah, the heroine, is in her first year of college and trying to deal with the idea that HEA's aren't as cut and dried in real life as they are in novels like PRide and Prejudice.
As I read the book in my first year of college and I am still having the same problem, the book really resonated with me.
Tina@Bookcrack
11. Tinab
I have to say I loved Edge of Never. The trust and friendship that Cam and Andrew established took some time, but to me it was never a slow story. Colleen Hoover - what can I say, that woman can write. Beautiful characters and compelling stories. I have loved all 3 of her books.
I also enjoyed the Thoughtless series by SC Stephens - although Kiera was one of the most frustrating female characters I have read in a long while. She did grow and mature by the third book, but I really could have smacked her in the back of the head!!!
Ten Tiny Breaths by KA Tucker is a great read as well. Multi layered characters - easy to read.
Tina@Bookcrack
12. miss patricia barry
hi let me introduce myself my name is patricia barry in gary indiana i wanna start recive books i enjoy reading them
Christopher Morgan
13. cmorgan
Hi Patricia,

I have edited your comment, we don't regularly send out books, however we do occasionally host sweepstakes in which you can enter for a chance to win them. Normally you can find any that are currently running on our sweepstakes page. Should you have any questions feel free to email us at info [at] heroesandheartbreakers [dot] com.
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