What is ‘New Adult’ Fiction?

Every now and then the publishing industry trots out a new genre name for a particular type of book. Most of the time it is a title that can be applied to books that have been around for a long time as a tool to ramp up sales via marketing.”New Adult’ is the latest of these new genres, and very few people, including those in publishing or bookstores, seem to know just what to do with this new label. So, here are the basics about New Adult books.new adultIn general the ‘New Adult’ label is now applied to books with main characters between the ages of 18 and 25 as they face the challenges of leaving home, developing sexuality, and negotiating education and career choices. The books are typically about characters in the transition of becoming an adult while society still seems to consider them children. Some of the books in this category are still accessible and appropriate for teens, while others have more sexual content than most parents would be comfortable with their teens reading, and some have conflicts and situations have little interest to those that have not faced similar issues.  The majority of books currently being released under this  label seem to be contemporary romance, but this is not a requirement of the genre.newadultThis genre is typically said to be a small step up from young adult books, which I find belittling to some of the fantastic young adult books that are available. It is also insulting to some of the books shoved in this genre that are just as sophisticated as ‘adult’ fiction but happen to deal with protagonists in the 18-25 year old age range. Over all, I am not a big fan of genre labels as a rule, since readers often see a genre label and assume they will not like a book because it is fantasy, historical fiction, science fiction, young adult or whatever while they only like another genre. Many books have cross over appeal but do not get the chance they deserve because of the labels or marketing that are attached to them.

Some of the books in our collection currently being released and marketed as ‘New Adult’ include:

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire-
Abby Abernathy is re-inventing herself as the Good Girl as she begins her freshman year at college, which is why she must resist lean, cut, and tattooed Travis Maddox, a classic Bad Boy.

Tempest by Julie Cross-
After his girlfriend Holly is fatally shot during a violent struggle, nineteen-year-old Jackson uses his supernatural abilities and travels back in time two years, where he falls in love with Holly all over again, learns that his father is a spy, and discovers powerful enemies of time who will stop at nothing to recruit him for their own purposes.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry-
Rendered a subject of gossip after a traumatic night that left her with terrible scars on her arms, Echo is dumped by her boyfriend and bonds with bad-boy Noah, whose tough attitude hides an understanding nature and difficult secrets.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover-
High school senior Sky meets Dean Holder, a guy with a promiscuous reputation that rivals her own. Only by courageously facing some stark revelations can Sky and Holder hope to heal their emotional scars and find a way to live and love without boundaries.

Other recent examples of this genre include: The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen,  Losing It by Cora Carmack, and Where She Went by Gayle Forman.

Some other books that fit the official description of ‘New Adult’ but were published prior to the label becoming into fashion, or simply escaped it in some manner include:

Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot, Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, Sunshine by Robin McKinley, Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride, The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger,  Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, and  Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.


Today’s Romance Novels

Today’s romance novels are not the bodice ripping, sex saturated, moaning and groaning, air head woman vs. chest beating man, empty stories of the 70’s and 80’s.  Today’s romances have evolved to complex plots, with smart, savvy heartsheroines and sensitive, flawed heroes.  The old romance books had the domineering man “rescuing” the passive woman.  Today you’ll find strong, independent women who sometimes do the “rescuing”.  While most of today’s books have the “happily ever after ending”, some stories end up “happy for now”, or “satisfied with my live as is”.  Most romances today don’t center around just the two main characters.  You learn about their families and friends, the town they live in, the world around them.  Today’s romance reader is smart, educated, thoughtful, and complex.  Today’s romances run the gambit from historical England, to the wild American West, to the military, to small town life.  They can be inspirational, suspenseful, other worldly and a whole host of subgenres – so many that everyone will be able to find the right fit for their reading pleasure.  It is a bit deceiving to label a book “romance”, when it fits quite nicely as a “literary” novel.  Below is a list of just a few of the romance subgenres.

  1. Medieval
  2. Historical (England, Scotland)
  3. American Historical
  4. Western (Contemporary)
  5. Western (Historical)
  6. Contemporary (Serious)
  7. Contemporary (Humorous)
  8. Suspense
  9. Thriller
  10. Military
  11. Paranormal(Vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters)
  12. Paranormal(Ghosts, witches)
  13. Futuristic/Fantasy
  14. Regency Romances
  15. Victorian Romances
  16. Inspirational(Historical)
  17. Inspirational(Contemporary)
  18. Erotic
  19. Chick Lit
  20. Romantic Mysteries

The Library has an excellent selection of mass market romance paperbacks located on the main level near the front windows.

Which is your favorite genre?