Friday, January 11, 2013

New Adult

It's a term I've heard a lot over the past six months and to be honest, didn't really understand what it is until recently and I'm still not entirely sure I fully get it. (Reading one would help, but I would love a recommendation before I step into new adult)

New Adult bridges the gap between YA and Adult, where the protagonist is in her early twenties, and experiencing her first serious, mature love, and heartbreak. It's YA contemporary taken out of high school and into college, or experiences such as a summer trip through Europe.

A lot of the ones I've seen have been self-published, but they seem to be doing really well. At first I didn't understand, it's basically romance. The average age of the historical romance heroine is probably close to the same age, but contemporary romance has an older heroine, most are in their late twenties and early thirties, and at a completely different life stage.

And these readers must be hungry to read about heroines their own age, or a little older, stepping into an experience that is on the horizon for the reader.

Part of my reluctance to start reading New Adult is my love of YA is in the big, adventurous stories, Hunger Games, Divergence, Scorpio Races, where the stakes are huge and stories are fast paced and exciting and New Adult seems to be on the other scale, where the stories are intimate and the stakes are internal.

So any recommendations out there? Anyone else eager to start reading New Adult, or do we think it's a brief trend, sort of like the younger sister to Chick Lit?


Eileen said...

I only recently heard that term. I'd love to hear what's out there, too!

Maureen McGowan said...

in the YA world, people have been talking about this for at least five years and it hasn't gone anywhere. Which made me really, really skeptical about whether it ever would. On the other hand, it's never made sense to me that books written about that age group wouldn't sell, or wouldn't have a market.

If if college aged kids are too busy to read fiction, teenagers want to read about college kids, and adults want to revisit those years. Seems to me there'd be a huge market.

Maybe it will find a life in a romance context. And maybe it is e-books that will really help these books take off. I think the reason it hasn't taken off yet is that publishers (even the ones actively seeking it, like SMP) couldn't find a way to market it and booksellers were disinterested.

And it's a dumb name. New adult? Dumb. Sorry SMP editor who coined it. Who wants to self identify as a new adult? Not that I have a better suggestion, and lord knows dumb names have caught on in publishing before (chick lit, hen lit, yikes). So, I think I get why it hasn't taken off yet and didn't work for traditional publishers and booksellers...

But for digital only (or digital mostly)... marketing is different. And the e-book-stores can market to people who've bought a lot of romance-centric YAs...

My publisher, ACP, picked up one of the first break out success titles in this area: Flat Out Love, by Jessica Park. I've bought it, but haven't read it yet... But will.

Sarah said...

I am skeptical about the term "new adult" (it's kind of confusing, linguistically-speaking), but I do like novels set in this timeframe.

A few of my favorites:

Come See About Me - CK Kelly Martin (she's a YA writer, but self-published this novel and it's my favorite of hers--and she's one of my favorite writers)

Holier Than Thou - Laura Buzo (this is only published in Australia, but can be acquired through Fishpond World)

Unsticky - Sarra Manning (I'd classify this as edgy chick-lit; it's a UK-only book, but I believe all of Manning's adult novels are going to be released as ebooks in the US soon)

Easy - Tammara Webber (I had some issues with the writing, but the college setting is unique and there are a lot of girl-positive elements to the story that made it memorable for me)

Secret Society Girl series - Diana Peterfreund (these are "older" books)

Just One Day - Gayle Forman (I really, really loved this book, I wish it wasn't being marketed as "romantic," because it's not, it's kind of melancholy, but it's done very well)

The last one I'd recommend is more YAish: Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker, but it's one of the best I've read in terms of capturing that out on your own for the first time feeling that I think is unique in this "new adult" thing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Sarah, those are great suggestions. I've loved Gayle Forman's other works, so I'm going to pick up that one first.

Maureen McGowan said...

I just noticed that one of the books that's been at the top of the kindle charts for the last few weeks is also probably "new adult".

The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden. I think I bought that one too. And I also bought the Tammara Webber book a while ago.

All on kindle though. Sinead we should pick one and compare notes...

RFTC Blog said...

Easy by Tammara Weber and On Dublin Street by Samantha Young were phenomenal and I definitely recommend starting with those.

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