Oct 6 2012 3:00pm

Reducing the Naughty Bits: New Adult Bridges the Gap Between YA and Adult

Wasteland by Lynn RushThere’s something that's worse than Chinese water torture in my mind. And that is the day that my sweet little girl—the one who used to play in my high heels and whose hair I styled in a thousand different styles of ponytail—picked up my copy of A Hunger So Wild by Sylvia Day, or flipped through my Kindle and said, “Wow, Mom. Fifty Shades of Grey? I heard this was an awesome book!”

As you may have guessed, she’s no longer allowing me to put ponytails in her hair. Nor is she reading Harry Potter or Twilight. True, she’s not yet ready for, ahem, my collection, but I can’t exactly pawn her with a set of The Vampires Assistant novels from Darren Shan and expect them to hold her interest.

But now there's a new, upcoming genre: New Adult. One that will keep her interested and will also keep me from freaking out at what she's reading.

New Adult, or NA, as it's called, is aimed at the 18—30 year old demographic. The storylines for most of the NA books that I’ve read are captivating and, might I add, pretty doggone good even if I’m slightly older than their target audience. For instance, David in Lynn Rush's Wasteland suffers torture for years due to his failure to fulfill one of his assignments as a demon and meets the very smexy Rebeka who is a guardian for the very human that he must capture in order to save his immortal soul.  Sounds like a regular adult PNR—the only difference is that it doesn't go as far in its description of the sexytimes. And there is sex—not searing-hot, white-knuckled, romantica sex, but some sexual situations.

I did ask myself whether I feel wholly comfortable with everything that my child may be experiencing in this new age group and time in her life. And the answer was, “Not always.” But I do feel better that she doesn’t have to read my books any longer.

Have you run across this genre? If you do, I would prompt you to try one, even if you’re over three times six.


Aliza Mann, email:   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Hell Cat
1. hellcat
I really love the NA genre. It's not YA, it's not all about high school drama, but about the older set. I'm just over 30, but I feel like I'm in the younger given my current position in life and being a full-time student. There's a lot more for me to connect with on the NA age range. I'm not a corporate exec like an adult, either. Kind of like NA is the second half of Buffy's life, almost. It's also inspiring to see the age range get a title because it's not a kid but it's not a full-grown adult, either. It's that very troubling, high then low flight where most nets are gone and you're on your own for the first time. Who doesn't remember those times and the many stories we all experienced?
Aliza Mann
2. AlizaMann
I certainly remember those times with fondness, @hellcat. ;-)

I'm a smidge (okay, more than a smidge!) older than you, but again, the stories are intriguing. Not far from some 'Urban Fantasy with romantic elements' stories that I've read.

Thanks for your comment!
Hell Cat
3. hellcat
I remember the times with fondness and horror equally. Especially as I still go through them.

I definitely like the UF with romantic elements comparison, too. Like Moira Rogers made their niche, the NA generation should have their own. And it's inclusive because the world is a big ole place that constantly makes us grow and change, where we go back to the stomach plummeting, no net experiences. It's not the age that dictates but the experiences, in my mind at least.
Lynn Rush
4. Lynn Rush
Great post. I really enjoy the NA category of romance. It's been a long time coming. :)
mandy troxel
i read the NA category as well, then pass them over to my nineteen year old daughter.
Aliza Mann
6. AlizaMann
@HellCat, I agree. I does appear that people are grabbing hold of the concepts.

@Lynn Rush, well hello there! My daughter really enjoyed your book. Thank you for your comment and I am so glad that you liked the post.

@mandy36, isn't it fun? I like having that kind of dialog with my child. Finally, reading that we can share. ;)
Marian DeVol
7. ladyengineer
As far as the romance genre goes, NA seems like a welcome echo of earlier, pre-sexual revolution era romance (pre-1990's), along the lines of Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, early Maggie MacKeever and other 70's & 80's Regencies, where the sex is implied, not overt. If it happens at all, it is off-stage.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the more recent trend of the graphic variety as well, but it does get old after a while. Probably why my comfort (burn-out reset) reads are my old-style Georgette Heyer historical romances. If I had a daughter, much of what I read I'd be embarassed to recommend. Sounds like the NA genre, like my GHs, is an answer to that.

I will have to try some of it. Thanks for bringing NA to my attention.
Tonya Campbell
8. tnicole1976
i haven't read any of these, but i'm in my 30s and have been reading romance novels since i was in 5th grade. admittedly i didn't understand them until i was about 15 or 16, lol. i read mostly historicals until the twilight series. i never thought i would be into vampires until i read that. then i switched to adult vampire novels. then fifty shades got me into erotica. so much to read! i have enough books to start a bookstore! and i keep ordering more. i think i'm single-handedly keeping amazon running!
rachel sternberg
9. rae70
Love the NA category as well and glad that its receiving attention. I go back to my UF, Sci-Fi, and Regency Harlequins to reset myself as well.

LOL at TNicole! I have a ton of books as well (mainly paperbacks) and it wasn't until I was moving some bookshelves that I realized how many boxes I filled to stack aside in the basement. I am currently looking for my copy of Faefever (book 1) so I can reread the series and can't find it!
Aliza Mann
10. AlizaMann
@ladyengineer, I really miss those romances. But lots are being repackaged. So, there's hope.
@TNicole, I've taken a shine to these, and sadly may need a new bookshelf or two soon. :-)
@rae, I love the Fever series! Sometimes, a less physical romance is just what's needed!
Thanks for your comments!
Lynn Rush
11. Merida
As a 20 year old, I am interested in the NA category. While yes, I have read Fifty Shades and other erotica, I prefer romantic sex, where its only hinted at and not graphic. I transitioned from YA to adult with Mills and Boon (and not ashamed of it!) but love this category. I started late as I bega reading at an extremely young age, reading Mississipi Burning at 10 and War and Peace at 12, so I am a late bloomer. I love the look of J Souders Renegade and Lynn Rush's Wasteland. Bring them on!
Lynn Rush
12. Mary Merrell
Hi There. Chiming in late. Very interested in the NA genre. I've just uploaded my YA Urban Fantasy, Affinity-Bird in a Gilded Cage to Amazon. I was told my novel isn't edgy enough for YA. I'm hoping it fits into the NA genre, as there are few swear words and my characters are under eighteen with just a tough of romance.
@Ladyengineer - funny you should talk about Georgette Heyer. I've still got mine in my bookcase. Not to mention my Janet Louise Roberts. I've been thinking about reading some again. Heck, they only take about an hour, but there's something about the romance in these. Mary Merrell @MaryMerrell7
Aliza Mann
13. AlizaMann
@Merida, I think you've found your genre. :-) War and Peace at 12?? That's impressive! Anyway, I hope these books offer what you're looking for. My daughter seems to really like them and I see that publishers are starting to ask for them. Here's to more from this genre!

@Mary, better late than never. LOL Good luck with your submissions!
Cerese Sanborn
14. flowerpower
My very first hint of a romance novel was Summer Sisters by Judy Blume when I was in fourth or fifth grade. I understood most of the things in the book, save for a few terms that aren't used 18 year olds, like me, anymore. At such a young age, I was surprised that Judy Blume had written such a book. Now, it is one of my favorite books because I understand what she was really trying to put across. The end will always make me cry, and if you haven't read it than you definately should.

I was quite surprised that so many mothers don't want their children reading 'Adult' romances, this has to do with the fact that I have been reading 'Adult' romances from a little while after I read Summer Sisters. Another thing is that I never really thought about it until my Sophomore year when my friend called them 'porno-books.' I hadn't really given it a thought because I was raised to believe that as long as I act responsibly and if I can handle what I read, then I can read it. My mother doesn't think there is anything wrong with me reading these sorts of books.

I have never really come across any of these NA romances, but I will keep my eyes open!!
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