Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Adult?


Have you heard about this new category in fiction called “New Adult”? Apparently it’s not exactly new: St. Martin’s tried to create it in 2009 through a contest, but from what I’ve read it never launched a specific line. There’s been discussion and interest even since, though. The books are supposed to be aimed at a slightly older audience than for YA (the broadest range I’ve seen is 14-35) and show the main character making the transition from child to adult, usually with an emphasis on relationships. Some other articles, should you wish to explore this phenomenon a bit more, are here. To give you an idea of what we're talking about Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster is often touted as New Adult, as is Slammed by Colleen Hoover.


It came to my attention recently when I saw fans in various forums saying The Taker was New Adult. At the time I was confused because I considered my books to be adult, end of discussion. Since then, a few things have happened to make me reconsider my position. First, I was at a book festival earlier this year that had a separate teen day and the festival bookseller told me that The Taker sold well with the YA audience. Secondly, friends have told me that they’ve seen the book shelved in the YA section in bookshelves. And thirdly, the book is being marketed to YA audiences in Brazil and is doing well. All this is making me wonder if I should reconsider, if there’s an audience out there that I’m not reaching. Though to be clear, I don’t think my books are suitable for younger teens.

On the other hand, I’m not sure this New Adult genre is a perfect fit for my books. And it isn’t without controversy: some folks point out that a lot of the books that fall into this category seem to glamorize abusive relationships. I should stress here that I haven’t read any of these books and am just going on hearsay, but from what I’m told they’re often about young women who get involved with a man with great force of will (the kind of personality some people might call “controlling”).  I also want to point out what I think is a key point difference between these books and The Taker: the controlling behavior leads to tragic consequences in The Taker. The main character suffers for the bad choices she makes. Her punishment is to wander the earth for 200 years without Jonathan, and then to completely relinquish any hope of reuniting with him by releasing him from this mortal coil.

Another, perhaps less important reason that I question the fit is because it seems New Adult is almost exclusively contemporary. No fantasies or historicals. Or am I wrong?

What do you think? Do you think The Taker and The Reckoning are appropriate for YA audiences? Would you consider it New Adult?

3 comments:

  1. Though I would never say teenagers shouldn't read The Taker (1. because it's fantastic and 2. because god knows I was reading stuff just as heavy when I was a teen) I wouldn't shelve it in YA.

    I'm also not sure I understand the point of having "new adult." Especially with so many adults reading YA. Also if you go from being a young adult at 13-19 and then a "new adult" in your 20s doesn't that sound like a king of demotion?

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  2. I've seen so many YA books that go in one of three ways; either the book seems like it is almost middle grade-ish, it has a teen feel to it, or it seems like the characters are too old to be in high school. Eventually with the ones that seem like the characters are in their mid-twenties (if not older), I would like them to be shoved into New YA section.

    I'm in that section since I'm 28 years old. I'm hope NA will branch out to more than just contemporary novels. But honestly? I don't think anyone really knows what the fudge NA actually is. I've heard at least 10 different explanations so far.

    When I read The Taker (and Alma, you KNOW I loved it), for some strange reason I actually did think it was more into the NA category than adult because how young Lanore seemed to me. I could connect with her in a way I can't do with most adult-aged characters in adult books. Once it started to get into the heavy themes, then it was obviously not well suited for young teens. College aged girls could certainly handle the deeper and darker stuff, though. I would actually love for you to continue being so all-encompassing with your characters. They always seems so real to me.

    I hope that helps, maybe? If not and by the way, I can't wait for the final book to come out next year. I'm not blogging anymore, sadly, so I won't be able to snag a galley for the first time. I need to know what happens! Good luck with everything! :)

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    Replies
    1. That is very helpful Amanda--thank you very much for taking the time to share your thoughts.

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