What Is New Adult?





This post goes out to all those writers unsure which genre they fit in to.

As I was writing Beyond Parallel a nagging feeling would’t go away. I was happy with the plot and the story and what was going on, but when people asked me what genre it fitted in to, I didn’t know what to say.

It had Young Adult elements, but not really

It was also based around romance, but is far from steamy

It’s contemporary, but with a great deal of literary prose

All in all it seemed to float in between a few genres, which is rather dangerous, let alone difficult to navigate. Then, as I released it to the world, I became aware of a new genre that was hitting the streets, and although I didn’t think Beyond Parallel fit into it at first, the more I delved, the more I saw perfection.


What Is New Adult?

What is New Adult… what a good question. It’s the new kid on the block and several writers are seeing great success because of it –  to name a few: Colleen Hoover, Tammara Webber, Gail McHugh, Abbi Gilnes & Jessica Park.

Authors are popping up overnight and hitting the charts because they’re part of this captured demographic, but what exactly is it and what makes it special?

NA Alley is a site I particular like, and they describe New Adult as so:

We view New Adult fiction (NA) as a category of literature—meaning, it gives readers content expectations, but it does not dictate genre-based criteria. Typically, a novel is considered NA if it encompasses the transition between adolescence—a life stage often depicted in Young Adult (YA) fiction—and true adulthood. (read more here…)

Simply put it’s a genre for those straddling adolescence and adulthood, and although some will argue this isn’t needed, I personally think it is.


Why Do We Need New Adult?

Kids are growing up very fast these days, but at the same time we’re an age to actually grow up. For example, my parents generation were out of the house by 20, married with children by 25, and approaching 10 years at a company by 30.

My generation and those below me are nowhere near this – CHRIST, if we’re out the house by 30 it’s an accomplishment.

Young Adult always focusses on teenagers at high school, which brings many issues, but New Adult looks at life at 20…22…25which these days is just as thwart with danger: Careers, Love, Friendship, Direction, Commitment to name a few.

Also, series like Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games has captured an entire generation of reader and turned them to literature. When I was a teenager we didn’t have books that captured the world like this, and what people like J K Rowling has done is create a NEED in people – to read a great deal.


Is New Adult A Fad?

This is the other hot-topic question of the moment. Many people are jumping on this bandwagon and painting it with a particular brush. The Huffington Post, The Guardian, ABC News & Chicago Sun Times are just a few that are starting to talk about, but the overall consensus is rathershort sighted.

It’s “Steamy Young Adult”, “Erotica for Teenagers” and a Sub-Genre for Romance – which has seen a huge boom due to books like Fifty Shades of Grey. Although the majority of books are written by women, and a large chunk are romantic by nature, I feel to focus on only this is disappointing, because as a genre, at least in terms of potential, it could become so much more.


What New Adult Means To Me

At the moment I’m part of the minority because 99% of readers and writers seem to be female, plus, the majority of books are romance-centric (just look at the covers and you’ll see what I mean). This doesn’t represent what New Adult means to me, though.

Books like Perks of Being a Wallflower, Starter For Ten & The Art of Fielding are all New Adult in my opinion. They focus on characters and stories too mature for the young adult mind, but still looks at life affecting those that are young.

Beyond Parallel is a story about young twenty-somethings, and although it largely surrounds relationships (let’s face it, most things do at this age) it isn’t particularly based on romance. It looks at life when you’re coming-of-age and stuck in limbo between childhood and adulthood.

There’s a film called Kidulthood and I think this name sums up New Adult rather well.


The Future Of New Adult

The next year for New Adult is interesting as it could go down a few avenues. On the one hand the press might avail and the perception become firmly rooted as a sub-cateory for the Romance world.

On the other it could go through some growing pains and develop into a bonafide genre for readers desiring something more mature than the YA market can offer. When I read Colleen Hoover or Tammara Webber, I don’t see a romance novel, rather a book aimed at those living a young life. This is what New Adult means to me!

I don’t seem to be on my own, either, and some have been writing this way for years – Example 1 & Example 2


At the moment I’m part of the minority, but I hope more male writers will join me

At the moment it’s seems to be centred around romance, but again, I hope this will change

At the moment it’s a fad – just another flavour of the month, but it doesn’t have to be


What is New Adult? A damn good question, and I’m sure we’ll continue to find out in the coming months. I for one hope it grows and grows because it’s a style of writing I HONESTLY think the world needs – not just women, either, but writers of all types.

Next week I’m launching the New Adult Man Campaign – where Beyond Parallel will be FREE for 5 days and I will share as much NA love as I can. This is the genre I feel I fit in, but at the moment I’m very much an outsider. Let’s change this shall we. Let’s take New Adult into a New Age!


Have thoughts on New Adult? Start a conversation in the comments section.


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