In many ways, contemporary new adult novels remind me of soap operas. They’re sexy, dramatic, and romantic, and they inspire a remarkable level of devotion in their hardcore fans. Readers of new adult novels are voracious, and they want more—more novels by their favorite authors and more stories featuring their favorite characters. Authors are happy to oblige with duets, trilogies, spin-offs, and more. Unlike soap operas, however, readers expect their favorite characters to achieve their happily ever after eventually—even if it takes them half a dozen books to get there.
In Collide by Gail McHugh, readers were outraged when good girl Emily Cooper seemed to choose her first love—a philandering, violent, alcohol abuser named Dillon—over her soul mate Gavin, a rich boy with a heart of gold. In the sequel Pulse, Emily redeems herself by chasing Gavin to Mexico and begging for his forgiveness. Because Gavin’s a swoon-worthy hero, he begins to work on rebuilding their relationship, but they can’t stay in paradise forever.
The eighth installment of The Arrangement series by H.M. Ward was released this July, delivering another juicy episode in the ongoing saga of reluctant call girl Avery and her client/lover with a shady past, Sean Ferro. Sean plays only a minor role in The Arrangement 8, however, as Avery takes on a creepy new client named Henry, who readers speculate may be connected somehow with the death of Sean’s wife. The story also ends with a cliffhanger when Avery opens the door to a surprise client that left readers outraged.
The Rocker That Needs Me, the third installment in The Rocker series by Terri Anne Browning, features the slightly scandalous—yet surprisingly sweet—love affair between a drug abusing, hard living musician named Drake who’s in his early thirties and an innocent named Lana who’s barely eighteen when their relationship begins. Lana is the younger sister of Layla whose romance with Jesse, the band’s drummer, was featured in the second novel, The Rocker That Savors Me. Drake is haunted by the demons of his past, and Lana, whose own childhood was less than perfect, is the only woman who can heal him.
The Last Husband by J.S. Cooper, which is the follow up to The Last Boyfriend in the Forever Love series, features Lucky Morgan, a down-on-her-luck waitress who was afraid to trust men but reluctantly opened her heart to wealthy playboy Zane Beaumont. Unfortunately, Zane is preoccupied with getting revenge for the death of his brother and can’t completely devote himself to Lucky. She impulsively follows him to Los Angeles under the pretence of making a documentary, but Zane has secrets that could destroy their future together.
Out of Breath by Rebecca Donovan is the third and final installment in the Breathing trilogy. It begins two years after the end of the second book when Emma fled her home town, her torturous past, and her one true love Evan for a fresh start at Stanford University. She can’t escape the emotional scars left by her abusive aunt and alcoholic mother, however, and she’s barely functioning at school. When she learns that her mother has killed herself, she returns to her childhood home and reconnects with Evan, who offers her a second chance at love if she can only overcome her demons.
Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover, a companion novel to Hopeless, covers the same events as the first book, but they’re viewed through the hero Holder’s perspective instead of the heroine Sky’s. Even though he’s a young man, Dean Holder has dealt with a great deal of loss in his life, and when he sees Sky for the first time, he feels an instant connection to her. She reminds him of someone from his past, someone he lost, and he has to find out more about her. She feels the same connection to him, but she resists it because of her own painful past. Holder must overcome Sky’s emotional barriers and his own past traumas to find his happily ever after.
Readers who want to start fresh with a new series might try Him by Carey Heywood. The heroine, Sarah Miller, has spent seven years avoiding the place where she grew up, but her brother’s impending wedding compels her to face her past. On the plane ride home, she encounters her old flame and high school sweetheart Will who broke her heart so many years ago. All of the old feelings she had for him resurface, and when she discovers he’s a groomsman in her brother’s wedding, she realizes that she won’t be able to avoid him or the terrible memories of how their relationship ended. Forced proximity gives the young lovers a second chance at their happily ever after.
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.