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?