Jan 12 2013 6:30pm

Poll: How Would You Define New Adult?

New Adult is a topic everyone is still trying to figure out so we searched the various blogs and websites that have talked about the issue—including our own!

So, we're asking you: How do you define New Adult?

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Lexie Matias
1. OtterPuff
New Adult is such an artificial label, clearly done more for marketing purposes than because it's an actual genre.

In the world of YA, there had always been books aimed to older readers and with protagonists in their late teens or early twenties and they had to deal with issues of growing up and etc - some had a bit of sex, or were more racy but that was okay. I'm not saying there were A LOT of these books because there weren't, but there were there.

But what is New Adult exactly? if it's about sex then just read a romance novel, lots of heroines in romance novels are in their early twenties - in historicals, some are even 18 or 19 - why call it New Adult?

it just makes no sense to me.
Maddie Grove
2. Maddie Grove
As far as I can tell, New Adult consists of literary fiction, chick lit, contemporary romance, and YA fiction about 18-25-year-olds. I'm sure it's a smart marketing move, but it seems like they're trying to force a lot of different genres together. I don't think the protagonist's age necessarily puts a book in one genre or another; a novel can be about teenagers and not be YA, for example. The other distinguishing characteristic of New Adult appears to be a theme of Finding One's Place in Society...which it shares with about 25% of all the fiction ever written, I'm sure. Also, there's more sex in New Adult, but explicit sex is hardly anything new. I don't mean to say that New Adult isn't a genre, but it's so clearly in a nebulous state that labeling it seems premature from a critical standpoint, if not a marketing one.
Maddie Grove
3. Torifl
In a nut shell, the difference between NA and YA, is that you get sex with the crying in NA.
Donna Kissam
4. The Cat Bastet
Well, yes, NA means over 18 + sexytimes. Still, I think it's uniquely suited to address (in a way that is not dreary) social issues. A new adult is confronting *ism after *ism. They can make their own decisions now, so they can make Huge Mistakes, real ones, that count. Forever.

I just finished Charade (the one with Colton the pot dealer). Drugs are an interesting thing to work with, but you introduce your 35-yo drug dealer who wants to turn his life around and I'm like "Oh, well, the heroine will check back with you in 5 years to see how your recovery is going!" Of course if he still wants to deal drugs you're in a Kristen Ashley novel and he's running prostitutes too, but whatever, you know you can't get you enough Kristen Ashley.

Anyway. A young person still has so much potential. Colton in Charade is 21. He gets a text and bails on the girl to go sell. Now, when Colton says "I want to go straight, this isn't how I want to live" I'm like "Ok, the heroine can remain with you, see how it goes, people change!" Much lower risk of recidivism.

There are also a lot of "firsts" still available for these characters. I would rather watch a 19-yo virgin hero go down on a girl for the first time than watch a 29-yo non-virgin hero go down on a girl for the first time, because he's weird in a bad way.

An author who writes New Adult even though I don't think she's categorized that way is Pepper Pace, and her work sums up what I like about NA. Her Wheels of Steel trilogy deals with disability, real financial struggle, very low wage jobs, racism, weight issues. The 20ish hero has cerebral palsy, is confined to a wheelchair, and is a white ginger. The 20ish heroine is black, has just gotten a job as a home health aide, and he's one of her first clients. Hijinks ensue. Massive editing problems but still, a ginger hero who has severe disabilities other than being ginger! (J/K, ILU gingers)
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