Thursday, May 3, 2012

Random Thoughts Thursday: New Adult

New Adult Genre
Finally some hope for us twenty somethings

As a kid, every few years you graduate to a new genre of reading. Starting with picture books and ending with YA.  Sadly at this point most people either grow out of reading or just simply don't have time because they are in college or working full time.  Then they don't pick up reading again until they're in their thirties and life has calmed down.  For the record, when I say most people I mean all my friends (and not the blogging community).  Because so few people in their twenties read, the market for stories with characters in their twenties is very limited.  

A new genre has been proposed for protagonists in college or anyone from the ages of 18-30 ish.  I'm not sure if it will really happen since introducing a new genre is a big deal and can't just happen overnight.  I really hope it does happen because each year older that I get I seem to have more difficulty relating to characters in the YA genre.  For example, I look at love differently than I did in high school.  So when a 17 year old protagonist is practically slitting her wrists because a boy dumped her I'm practically yelling at the pages "Move on!  You'll meet so many cute guys in college you'll forget this guy!" It can be very frustrating, but I prefer to read about high school rather than a divorced wife with 3 kids, something I have not yet experienced at all yet.   

Some argue that there are plenty of YA books that are relate-able for adults, like The Hunger Games.  I don't know about you, but to me Katniss is way more mature than any 16 year old I've ever known.  And really most stories like Harry Potter and HG have mature characters because they are facing death and obviously death matures you quicker than anything else.  So even if I can relate to YA characters on some level, I'd still rather read about someone my own age going through experiences like college, graduating, deciding you don't want to do what you went to school for, not being able to find a job, getting that first job, moving out, not having enough money to move out, all your friends getting engaged, etc. 

One blogger has started a New Adult genre challenge.  Danya at A Tapestry of Words has started this in hopes of  helping other twenty somethings find books in this genre easily and giving them a place to chat about it.  You can read her letter to the publishers here  about why this genre should exist.  


If you are interested in joining the fun click the picture above or join on goodreads here.  

Yael Itamar has written a similar post which brings up other good points about this topic.  If you'd like to read her post you can do so here.

For all my fellow 20ers...How do you feel about this topic?


  1. I agree that college-age books are lacking. Some are calling this "YA Mature" because the New Adult name hasn't really caught on.

    My books fall into this category, as do those by Tammara Webber. The more people who talk about and buy these types of books, the greater exposure there will be for this niche! :)


  2. Actually, I've been dealing with this from an author perspective, so I'm so glad to see people want it to be a thing. My book's MC is 23, but the story doesn't feel much older than YA. It's a weird age, but I wanted to write something that appealed to my generation--the 20-somethings who might not want to read YA because they're "too old" but also want something they can relate to. So glad other people are talking about this!

  3. Hey! My writer friends and I created a group blog which promotes the New Adult category in fiction. We launched on Monday and everyone's really excited about it. We'd love for you to check it out :D It's called NA Alley.

  4. Thanks so much for the shout-out about the challenge! I totally get what you mean about not being able to relate as much to YA now that you're past that age. I hope the New Adult category continues to gain momentum!

  5. Great post - interesting idea and definitely relevant

  6. Very interesting, you make a lot of great points about the genres!

  7. Part of the reason why teenage characters in YA books seem so mature is because they're written by adults. A teenage character written by a teenager would be about as coherent as a chimpanzee trying to speak Spanish.

    But one of the things I really dislike about the whole YA genre is that it seems like the main qualification for being a YA novel is to have a teenage protagonist. As if a teenager has to read books about other teenagers in order to enjoy reading. To me that's the main fallacy in the genre--and therefore I don't see why the lack of a genre with 18-30 year old characters (though, to be honest I've read a fair share of books with characters in that age range) should affect the number of 18-30 year-olds who like to read.

    Just my two cents. Am I way off base?

  8. Lizclong- What's your book title?

    Twentysomethingfictionwriter- I joined =) Nice blog!

    Jonathan- I agree that we don't need to read books with protagonists our own age to enjoy reading (I love reading even though I read YA), but think of it this way. If the genre you read only had female protagonists would you be able to relate? Maybe, but you'd probably crave a male protagonist after years of reading a female's thoughts so you could read about things that you relate to. And your right that since it's adults writing it the characters do seem more mature.

  9. As a 26 year old girl who loves YA and Adult fiction, I say YES to this genre. I want to read about people my age -- going through the same things I am. I especially craved this when I was in college. Where are all the college aged MC's??

    Great post!!

  10. I don't know that we necessarily need a "New Adult" genre/category, but I would love to see more books with college-aged or 20-something protagonists. (On my blog, I'm making an effort to actually seek out these books. You can find the full list here.

    And I agree with your point about The Hunger Games. It seems like half of the YA out there features characters who happen to be teenagers, but in reality they're dealing with issues that not a single member of their target audience would actually face. (particularly in fantasy and dystopian subgenres.) You could easily age these characters by 4-10 years and still have a working story.

  11. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.


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