Novel Thoughts: The New Adult Craze

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on December 18, 2013 | 42 Comments



The New Adult craze

The New Adult genre has certainly exploded in the past year or two with authors like Colleen Hoover and Jamie McGuire. So many people have enjoyed these books, but I have to ask: Am I the only person who isn’t into the New Adult craze? My feeling about the genre in general is just “meh.”

Not that I have a problem with it at all, it’s just…not for me. When I hear the term New Adult, I think: contemporary for college age readers. I personally am not a fan of contemporary, or romance; and to me, New Adult means “contemporary romance.” Now, for you NA fans, don’t get all up in arms over this! I’ve only read one NA book that I can think of, and I have no right to judge the genre based off of Beautiful Disaster. This is just how it seems to me, as an outsider who doesn’t read the genre. I feel like they’d all be basically the same, much like Paranormal Romance (which I’ve read more of, and those books were all too similar in my opinion – and I’m not necessarily judging the PNR genre either because I’m sure there’s more interesting and unique PNR besides Gena Showalter and Sherrilyn Kenyon).

Am I wrong? Should I give New Adult a chance? (Keep in mind that I don’t particularly care for romance or contemporary – if there is NA that is neither of those, please recommend!) I have heard many good things about Hopeless and Slammed, and have thought about giving them a try. But still, I’m not particularly interested in them, because they still just seem like contemporary. I’m not sure if they’d be my cup of tea!

What about you? Do you like New Adult? Or do you pass?

Jessi (Geo)

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42 responses to “Novel Thoughts: The New Adult Craze

  1. The NA genre is so interesting to me. It’s the first time I’ve really been around and been a part of the creation of an entirely new genre of literature. I love it! But I’m not the biggest fan of contemporaries or romances either. I have found a few great NA gems, but I don’t love most of it. I think that, within a couple of years, NA is going to start to grow to include more than just contemporary romance. I think we’ll start seeing more types of NA, like dystopians, paranormal, thrillers, etc. It’s just that the genre is so new, it’s hard to judge it yet. We need to give it time to figure itself out and have more authors contributing to it. Maybe NA isn’t your “thing” right now…but it could be soon!

    • I would LOVE to see some NA dystopian and high fantasy! That is why I love YA so much, because I can relate more to a teenager than a married couple with children. But if they’re college age, they’ll be more mature and I can relate to them even better! I just can’t get into contemporary =/

  2. I agree with Miranda. It’s so new that I don’t think it has had time to develop to it’s full potential. Within time, I feel it will blossom to include other genres and sub-genres. I personally love NA but then again I’m a fan of contemporary romances.

  3. I enjoy contemporary romances, so I typically enjoy NA. When I think of NA, I think of a story about characters in their early twenties or so. The age where you leave your parents, go off to college, and go off into the working world for the first time. So I instantly think contemporary. I agree that as the genre develops, sub genres may be created.

    However, NA is a difficult genre to get into. Some NA novels are spectacular and truly fit what I’d describe as NA. Other NA novels, just feel like the author tagged the NA label to his/her YA story in order to include sex. So it is a difficult genre to navigate.

  4. I don’t like contemporary romance either, BUT I like New Adult. Go figure. I think while most of the popular NA books are romances, there are a lot of other NA books coming out that are other genre as well. I’ve been adding a lot of NA Paranormal to my TBR for example. All New Adult really needs to mean is the age group. Just like there is so much more in YA than contemporary, I think New Adult will evolve into a vast genre too :)

    • Ohh like what?! I didn’t know there was a such thing as NA paranormal. I’d be willing to try that.
      Hopefully someday it will evolve to include sci fi and fantasy as well :)

      • For example I think the Cassie Scot Paranormal Detective book I recently reviewed is NA because of her age and first job kind of thing, trying to make a name for herself.

  5. Most new adult is definitely contemporary romances, so if you’re not into that genre, then I don’t suggest you give it a try.

    I have heard of a few (and by that I really mean “one”) non-contemporary romance NA books. I wanted to check out The Apollo Acadmey, which is apparently a new adult sci-fi.. but it does look like it’s sort of a NA, sci-fi romance, so I’m still not sure if you’d like it!

    But for sure, most NA books are contemporary romances.

  6. I’m not really all that into the NA genre. But I haven’t read all that much from it so I suppose I can’t really judge it. From what I’ve seen from blog tour offers though it sometimes just seems like an excuse for more explicit content for a younger audience. I could be wrong but I’m not going to experiment with it until I have a better idea of what to expect. Honestly, I just wish people would stop sending me blog tour invites for the NA genre when I’ve stated I don’t read/review it….

    • I feel the same way! I probably shouldn’t judge it either because I haven’t really given it a chance, but I just have a certain vision of it in my head. I hate those invites, too! Even for a review request, if I see “New Adult,” I pass the email without bothering to read it because the genre doesn’t interest me =/

  7. Jennifer K

    I am really enjoying the New Adult genre. I have read a bunch and have really liked most of them. I would say that most of the NA right now is contemporary romance. But a lot of them seem to cover some serious issues. And they are very emotional reads.

    I would say try a few more books. You can’t really decide if you like a genre based on reading only one book.

    Some of the ones I’ve enjoyed: Slammed by Colleen Hoover, Ten Tiny Breaths by KA Tucker, Left Drowning by Jessica Park, Losing It by Cora Carmack.

    • I have heard good things about all of those, but like I said contemporary/romance is just not for me. I do like a good romance from time to time, it’s very rare. I read one contemporary this whole year, and it was The Fault in Our Stars. It’s just not something I’m into, sadly =/

  8. Stephanie H.

    I have purchased one NA and received another as a gift, but have yet to read them. I’m not a big fan of contemporary romance either. My biggest issue is that when you read the definition of NA that is often posted, it would suggest a broad genre similar to YA, but for a slightly more mature audience. Unfortunately, all I’ve seen is the angsty romances. In my opinion, books like Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the Lux series, and even the Vampire Academy could possibly qualify as NA. The characters start each series in the last year of high school, eventually graduate or move on, and face some tough emotional issues along the way. While I have discussed some of these books with some of my teenage students, they were older students. I would only recommend them to students/teenagers I thought were emotionally ready.

    I made a similar comment on another blog a little while ago and an author replied stating that she was working on some NA material that was outside of the romance genre, so there is hope that it will grow. Look at where YA is today compared to 10 years ago.

    • Good point! And yeah, I think the Lux series has a higher maturity level. There’s quite a few other YA (that I can’t think of off the top of my head) with an older protag or a higher maturity level, but they’re still labeled as YA.
      Yep, I think I’m going to wait until I’m looking for something emotional (and romance-y) before picking up another. I have to be in the mood to read regular fiction anyway, I’m more of a fan of sci-fi and fantasy because of the world!

      That would be awesome! Hopefully some day there will be high fantasy and science fiction in YA! I’ve read a couple good adult ones, but I have a hard time relating to stories about people who live alone or are married with children.

  9. Yeah, most of it is cookie-cutter contemporary romance, and I’m with you on not liking that genre. I read a few that were good, but then even the good ones started running all together…

    Not gonna lie, when I first heard about NA I thought there would be more fantasy/adventure. I love YA fantasy/sci-fi/adventure for a lot of reasons that have to do with themes and writing style and tone, but I always felt like these stories were made for early-20s characters who just got aged down to match the target audience. Which created plot holes and situations like some high-ranking officer being 17. So I heard NA and thought “good, the ages will finally be reasonable!” Alas…

    • Yeah, that’s how I see it in my mind when I think of the genre: Cookie cutter. Just like PNR and UF. I’ve read quite a few of each of those, and I just got sick of them because they all started running together, too.

      Good point! Some of the 16- and 17-year-olds are TOO mature.

  10. I don’t like new adult genre. I’m not into contemporary romance, but I gave it a chance. I’ve read Slammed and Easy and they were okay, but they didn’t impress me, they were those kinds of books that you forget in a moment. So now I avoid books labeled as “new adult”, even if it seems almost very other book today is “new adult”, even if it’s good old “adult”. I think most of these books are full of cliches, stereotypes, with all high-school drama turned into college drama, but with added sex and a lot of angst. Not for me.

    • That’s how I view it in my head, but I didn’t want to judge since I haven’t actually read it. It’s great to hear the opinion from someone who has! I probably wouldn’t like it because like you, I don’t care for contemp/romance.

  11. Yeah, I definitely know what you mean. For me, I’m really picky about all books in general, and a majority of NA books are definitely contemporary. I know that there are a few books that are paranormal and stuff, but I feel like when you’re in college there’s not a lot of room for expansion on paranormal and dystopian seems to exist solely in the YA genre to me (although maybe I just haven’t been introduced to the right adult dystopians yet).

    • I don’t know about NA, but there are adult dystopians! I liked 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 when I read them in high school, but I don’t remember any of either sadly…

  12. I’m totally not into New Adult books. It seems like every one of them is about two people meeting, having dramatic relationship problems, and then having tons of sex. 99% of the NA books I’ve seen have been labeled as “romance,” and I near about have a heart attack when I see one that isn’t. That’s all fine and well, but it seems like if I want a romance there are tons of better options out there.

    This may be the same case of mistaken opinon, like I had of YA before this summer. But I’m not particularly interested in finding out otherwise. I have *so many* other books I know I want to read first, before giving something I may hate a chance.

  13. I actually haven’t read any so-called new adult novels because of the very reasons you mention: they sound like contemporary romances for college-aged students. And, like you, contemporary is not my favorite genre. Neither is romance.
    I’m also not sure this is a necessary age group. I’ve always been fine reading my fantasies/other speculative fiction with teen protagonists or older. The age hasn’t bothered me (unless they’re younger than teens). It’s only our recent society, really, that has put so much emphasis on this idea of being a “new adult.” *shrugs* I’m not actively avoiding the genre so much as recognizing the fact that nothing classified as that intrigues me…yet. It’s still so new, though, so perhaps that will change.

    • Exactly! Even though I’m older, I still enjoy reading the books with teens as MCs. They’re usually more mature than your average teenager would be, anyway. I can still relate better to a teenage MC than one in her 30’s or 40’s.
      Hopefully it will change, but for now I’m just not interested!

  14. Considering that I’m 13, NA really isn’t my thing. All of them that I’ve read (which is a pretty big number… weirdly) are involving “hot” scenes that kind of turn me off. Its just not my thing * backs away into a corner*

    I have a friend, who loves the stuff. I think at this point, NA’s become some kind of genre because I’ve seen NA Fantasy and NA Sci-Fi which is strange but hey, who am I to judge?

    Great post!

    – Nova

    • Yeah, I’m not a big fan of those scenes either, and I’m technically an adult! I don’t mind sexual content, but most of those ‘hot’ scenes are so cheesy and gag-inducing that I just skip over them. Kissing scenes even! Heavy romance just makes me want to vomit. It’s very rare for it to be done well enough that I find it enjoyable!

  15. I’m exactly the same. I haven’t read that much, so I can’t really judge, but when I think of it, contemporary romance with a side bit of sex is basically what comes to mind, even though obviously that’s not what NA necessarily is. But I usually lose interest in a book once I see it’s NA. I’m sure there’s some great NA out there, but right now I’m just like “nah I’m good”.
    I do really think NA has a lot of potential though. My own novel in progress is built like a YA fantasy but with that grittier, more mature tone (that sounds a bit braggy, oops) that doesn’t really fit with the typical YA story, so I’m very interested to see what happens with this new genre. I can definitely see some great fantasy and dystopian books coming out of it in the next few years.

    • That’s how I think of it, too!
      “Nah I’m good” ….yep, that’s how I feel. If I see that it’s labeled as NA, my interest in it is immediately lost. It’s kind of sad really, seeing as I’ve not truly given the genre a chance.

      That sounds awesome! Can’t wait until you get it published, I’d love to give it a try :)

      • Yeah, I feel bad because I know that some NA is probably fantastic, but I can’t be bothered to give it a real chance at the moment. Maybe we’ll just wake up one day feeling especially adventurous and go for it LOL :)
        Hopefully I’ll have it finished within the year, but we’ll see. :)

  16. I think you should give NA a go Jessi! :) I think the problem is, like you say, people tend to see NA as contemporary romance because of the flood of books that have come through. I generally hate these ones, but I’ve found that I adore the other side of NA – the speculative and PNR fiction. I certainly believe that once people are more receptive towards the other genres within NA, and not just the contemporary – then the smut tag will be shaken off.

    A lot of YA, for instance, still holds romantic themes but it’s toned down because there’s an actual plot going on, which means there’s more substance (well, usually, but you catch my drift). A lot of the non contemp NA that I’ve read have become favourites, whereas the idea of Colleen Hoover, Abbi Glines, Jamie McGuire, Katy Evans – that makes me want to vomit because it’s all just trash. Don’t read them lol.

    If you’d like suggestions on branching out, some mature YA that leads into NA contemporary that I adore is CJ Duggan’s Summer series. The first book is The Boys of Summer, and that’s more mature YA, but the next two books are NA. They’re set in the Australian 90s and I adore them to bits!

    Moving on from contemporary, I’d highly recommend the Mark of Nexus series by Carrie Butler. It’s set in college, and yes, there is romance but it’s the best kind of romance. The books are more about friendships and accepting people rather than the romance though, and it’s PNR, and so well written. There’s also a post apoc series that I love by Summer Lane as well, but the books are really short (I love long books!) so I’m always waiting for the next one!

    • Thanks so much for the input, Hannah! I’m not a fan of romance at all, so I’m not sure NA is really my thing, even if it’s got a paranormal aspect =/ I may look up Summer Lane, though! The only NA I would enjoy is if it’s college age but like sci-fi or fantasy, without any heavy romance. As far as I know, those don’t exist yet :(

  17. Ideally, new adult is suppose to be a category–a character age demographic much like YA is–rather than a genre. A genre has set rules about the kinds of tropes that go into fiction–two people falling in love with a happy ending for romance; some form of futuristic society, aliens, space ships, etc. for sci-fi; some form of supernatural influence for paranormal… You get the idea.

    However, what *is* and what *is meant to be* are not necessarily the same thing. It is *very* true that contemporary romance is the genre which has most taken off within NA, to a point where it has become an alternate definition of the category (as seen here, no offense.) Also, the particular brand of contemporary romance has broken into almost subgenres inside of it, and these do seem to have a formula, which is *never* a good thing.

    NA is still young as a category and I wasn’t around at the start of modern YA to be able to make useful comparisons. However, I feel that if the category does not properly branch out–and in order for it to do so people would need to find a really good book outside of contemporary romance and support it–NA will eventually collapse. If all it really continues to be / is viewed as by the general public is contemporary romance, then its existence is unnecessary.

    Have I, personally, read and enjoyed some NA? Yes. I quite like Cora Carmack and Courtney Cole. I also thought Carrie Butler’s STRENGTH was quite good. (The paranormal book someone else discussed earlier.) But I (1) read a wide range of genres to begin with, and (2) like romance, *provided it’s not the only plot in a book*. (That gets boring.)

    I’ll be releasing my own book next year, it is NA and it is paranormal with some romance. How will it do? Only time will tell. But I am glad NA came along when it did, because I feel that the themes I wanted to tackle work better here. And no, for anyone curious, it’s not a smut fest. (Not my thing, and it’s possible I’ll be in trouble for that down the road.)

    Anyway, thanks for the interesting discussion and have a great day. :)

  18. When I think NA, I think college-aged people having sex. Which may not be fair, and I actually haven’t read any NA, so I don’t have any basis for this other than hearsay. While I would love to read stories about college-aged people, I don’t really like a lot of sexual content. So if the genre expands to include more variety, I would definitely check it out. But as it appears to be now, I definitely have no interest in it.

  19. Nah, it’s not just you, I’m not really feeling it either. I loved Slammed and The Sea of Tranquility, but they are more YA than NA, imo, aaaand that’s it. Oh, and I have a love/hate relationship with Beautiful Disaster. ;)

  20. No, you’re not alone. I don’t touch NA, because most of the books are so focused on romance/erotic (feels that way to me, at least) and that isn’t my cup of tea. The only book I’m willing to give a shot is Fangirl; I have the idea it brings something new to that genre.

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