‘New Adult’ Fiction; What is the Point?

One of the many things that I love about recording The Readers every week, with Gavin of Gav Reads, is that it makes me think about (and in this case have a rant about) things that I wouldn’t expect it to. This week Gavin wanted to talk about the genre of ‘New Adult’ fiction, I have to admit I knew very little about it to be honest and so I went off and did some research. Having done so I have to admit that my main thought with it is… What is the point of ‘New Adult’ as a genre?

If we use the trusted source (my tongue is slightly tickling my cheek here) Wikipedia for a definition then it is “New-adult Fiction or post-adolescent literature is a recent category of fiction for young adults first proposed by St. Martin’s Press in 2009.St. Martin’s Press editors wanted to address the coming-of-age that also happens in a young person’s twenties. They wanted to consider stories about young adults who were legally adults, but who were still finding their way in building a life and figuring out what it means to be an adult.” What is all the more interesting/odd is that the age range for this new type of genre is according to several sources the age range of 14 – 35.

Now we will slightly gloss over my main issue that this is a genre simply created by some marketing people in a publishing house to sell more books which is no bad thing, until you see some of the quality of some of the books and the sort of stories they are. Snobbish? Maybe! It seems like a cash cow and one which I find a mixture of patronizing and perturbing.

My first concern is that the first book which has been published as a ‘new adult’ novel is Tammara Webber’s ‘Easy’, which starts with the protagonist of the book getting raped. I am aware this happens in the world and that younger people need to be taught the hardships of life (though in my day it was being taught about death by being bought a hamster or goldfish that would invariably pop it’s clogs in a month or two) but at the age of fourteen, really? This for me becomes all the more disconcerting as apparently the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ trilogy has now, along with ‘Twilight’ but not Harry Potter, been put into this category. Do we really want anyone, not just girls, under the age of 18 reading books with graphic sex in them, regardless of the tin of S&M worms that come opened with it? Weren’t we all calling these books ‘Mummy Porn’ just months ago, now because we are so stupid forward thinking and ‘out there’ let’s pass it on to some youths. I am inwardly groaning as I type. I am not a prude but this does all just seem wrong.

The question is what next? Will the ‘Mummy Porn’ become a genre alongside ‘Tragic Life Stories’ (groan) and ‘New Adult’ (I have just seen how appropriate that title is for books that seem to technically be Baby Black Lace/Black Lace for Beginners), will there be a ‘Ready Meal for One/Spinster/Lonely Man in a Cardigan/Eternal Bachelor Fic’ to run alongside ‘Romance’? Will I be dashing to buy from the ‘True Tales of Animals Daring Do’s’ shelves? Will ‘Grey Fiction’ suddenly take off? The mind boggles, though if any of those do become ‘the latest thing’ I want royalties.

Also what annoys me about it is that those publishers pushing this genre are actually closing off a world of books to people rather than opening the eyes of many to more wonderful books. Are we all going to have to follow the same reading trajectory? You start with picture books, then children’s books, then YA, then NA, then ‘fiction’ and that is the only option? What happened to just getting to an age where you read what you want? For me, who is from a generation prior even to YA (yes I am that old), it was a case of reading from Robin Jarvis to Patrick Suskind, possibly via some Point Horror, because I just naturally progressed at my own pace in my teens. Are the ‘New Adult’ book police going to stop my 14 year old sister from her current read of ‘An Evil Cradling’ by Brian Keenan (no she really is) or make my 13 year old cousin stop reading Charles Dickens and C.J Sansom because apparently he isn’t ready for them yet, instead handing them ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ to have a think about as that is what they should be reading at their age? Erm, no thank you! It all seems preposterous to me. And what about YA is this defunct, down graded or what?

Is this 'NA' or is it 'YA' or simply just fiction?

Is this ‘NA’ or is it ‘YA’ or simply just fiction?

That said, as this is a rather one way set of thoughts on the genre I have recently got a ‘New Adult’ book, though it was just in ‘Fiction’, from the library in the form of ‘Dare Me’ by Megan Abbott. I thought I really should try one of the books from the genre I am writing off a) to see what I make of it b) see if really it is just fiction or YA under an addition unnecessary pigeon hole c) because Jessica of Prose and Cons Book Club (who I love and wish blogged every day, no pressure) loved this tale of crazy evil cheerleaders and it might be a laugh. I will report back, I might end up eating my hat, or I might find out this ‘New Adult’ tag is just a bonkers new genre that need not be, we will see.

As you might have noticed this subject has brought out the rant filled part of me, which you can actually here in the last section of The Readers this week, and I could go on all day. I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on it. Regular readers of this blog of course, but also some of the NA lovers out there and maybe even some of their authors. So what do you think about NA, am I just being a grumpy old git or what?

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41 Comments

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41 responses to “‘New Adult’ Fiction; What is the Point?

  1. Oh Simon I so totally agree — I love “What happened to just getting to an age where you read what you want?” — you are absolutely not being a grumpy old git and it is certainly all a ridiculous marketing ploy as well as being extremely worrying. Good for you — keep ranting.

    • Thank you Harriet. I didn’t realise how much it really bothered me until I thought about it after recording the episode. The more I think about it the more annoyed I am. Labels like ‘lit fic’, ‘sci fi’ etc to me are fine as they signpost types. But ‘new adult’ just seems a bit of a con.

  2. Simon, I just left a massive, long comment on the goodreads topic you created, so I won’t repeat all that (it’s here: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1189761-episode-61-new-adult-fiction—let-us-discuss , if anyone’s interested. It includes links to a couple of articles written by readers who actually know what they’re talking about, which you might want to read before embarrassing yourself even further). I can’t just leave it at that, though, as that there’s so much in your post that is completely confused or just plain wrong.

    What characterises the genre is the age of the main characters and the stage of the life they’re at (i.e. that particular coming-of-age experience), not the age of the readers, so I really don’t see these restrictions you seem so worked up about (what “NA book police”? What on earth are you going on about?)

    That whole thing you mention in the podcast about the genre being for 14- to 35-year-olds is utter rubbish. There’s a huge variation in themes and sexual content. Some of these books may be appropriate for young readers, some might not. Because, as I just said, the genre is not FOR a particular group.

    The heroine in Easy is not raped. There is an attempted rape, and an important element of the book is how the main character deals with it. Beyond the fact that this particular book is not being marketed to 14-year-olds, I’m puzzled by the fact that you think it would be so wrong to have this as an issue for younger readers. It’s an issue some of them will face, even at that age, and there’s plenty of award-winning YA books which include even darker themes. I won’t even go into how you seem to conflate rape with explicit consensual sexual content. Sorry, but no, that’s just wrong.

    Cynical publishers might be describing 50 shades and Twilight as NA, but they’re not. And sorry, going by the blurb, neither is the Megan Abbott book.

    Finally, St. Martin’s might have created the “new adult” tag in 2009, but they didn’t create the genre (I don’t think they even published any). It was a self-pub phenomenon. As for the quality, yes, there’s a lot of dreck there, but there are also plenty of good books. Maybe you should have read one or two before deciding you could speak with authority about them, rather than afterwards.

    • Hi Rosario, firstly thank you for such an empassioned response. I am thrilled to hear from you, as always, and especially as it seems you are a reader of NA and I wanted to here from readers of the genre.

      Now just to make this clear which I thought I had done at the start of the blog post, apologies if that doesn’t come across, this post is meant to be done with some humour. For example the ‘NA book police’ there is no such thing, its a joke along with all of the different genres I make up. And also this is very much aimed at the mechanics behind the need for the genre rather than aimed at people who read it, as I say if it is getting people reading more, fine by me. The ethics behind it do bother me a little though.

      With the 14 – 35 comment, that – as I mentioned in the podcast (I have replied on GoodReads about Mills and Boon by the way, two of my friends write them and I have no issue with them) is from the Guardian which had done a lot of research into it. I can only go on what I learn ‘out there’ in the ether and nearly all the sites discussing it stated it as such as it concerns me that on GoodReads and elsewhere Fifty Shades of Grey is considered NA fiction now and I think a lot of the books, and I have been on some NA blogs seems overtly sexualised and I don’t know if I think that is right at the younger end of this new genres aimed market.

      Dare Me is also listed in lots of places as NA, hence why I got it to try it, as you say I cant say I dont like it officially, though I can hazzard an educated guess reading excerpts and stuff all of which I did, until I have read it. If afficionados such as your goodself who I respect recommend titles I should try I am happy to give them a whirl, as Gav and I ask in the podcast, to report back on the subject in the future.

      I hope you see that this blog is not coming from an angry or negative space but a concerned one more than anything, I hope you will pop back and so will other NA readers and discuss it further as I asked as bookish debate is brilliant and eye opening.

      • Ahh, Ranty Rosario doesn’t come out and play often, but it seems she escaped this afternoon :)

        Ok, let’s see if Rational Rosario makes a bit more sense. So if I don’t agree with the sources you’re quoting about what the genre is, then what is it? No point reinventing the wheel, I’ll just quote from this article, which to me, gets it perfectly:

        http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2012/11/new-adult-what-is-it-and-what-should-i-do-with-it

        It encompasses a […] specific set of characters and circumstances: The protagonists are older [than in YA], usually college-aged, and at a point in their lives where transition is the key world. These are truly coming-of-age stories where the characters find themselves at that crossroads point where adulthood begins. They are living alone for the first time, looking for jobs, experimenting with their newfound independence and deciding what to do with their lives. Love is also experienced in a whole different way; relationships maintain that volatile quality of their teenage years, while taking on a more serious tone when sex and commitment mix with responsibilities.

        I’d add to this that these are stories set in today’s world, about what it’s like becoming a grown-up today (usually in the US or the UK, but authors in other parts of the world might get in on the act). That’s what appealed to me in the few (carefully chosen) titles I’ve read. I’m 35, and when I left home and started to become independent, it was another world. It’s an interesting, exciting time in people’s lives, and the present is an interesting time to be living through those experiences.

        You asked what’s the point of it being a genre is, and I get that it’s quite circumscribed, maybe too much so to be a proper genre. Well, mainly it’s all about signposting. These were stories I hadn’t read before, because they weren’t really getting published. I guess it was assumed that older readers wouldn’t be interested in such young characters, and the characters are a bit too old for YA. Now that they’ve started to come out, as authors realise that writing about characters in that age range is an option, calling these books by a common name helps people find them.

      • You see that makes more sense to me now. And if that is how people are responding then that is great and it is making people read. There is a but coming…

        But I still have issues with the behind the scenes bits, the place that the genre comes from and why books like Fifty Shades are now being marketed as NA also. That all concerns me as it must fans of the genre too.

        Now a) I kinda loved Ranty Rosario and b) get suggesting some titles here and on GoodReads that Gav and I should be reading ;)

      • Problems with the actions of publishers, then, basically? Oh, I have a problem with them, as well, sticking every single title in whatever category happens to be selling. Just look at all the titles they’ve tried to sell as “if you liked 50 shades”! Having read that book (well, half of it) I have not seen one book recommended by publishers that was appropriate. Another area in which other readers know best.

        The ones I’d suggest to try are Easy, by Tammara Webber (I’ve heard her Good For You is good as well, and will read it next), or Something Like Normal, by Trish Doller. The ones Louise recommends below are quite successful as well, although I tried Pushing The Limits and couldn’t get into it (too high schoolish for me). If none of these appeal, have a look at the recs here:

        http://dearauthor.com/features/letters-of-opinion/if-you-like-new-adult-books/

        To be honest, though, having listened to the podcast for a while and knowing something about the books you like, I’m not sure you or Gavin will enjoy these. It’ll be interesting to see what you think, though.

  3. Ok, you asked so.. yeah I do think you’re being a bit of an old git lol! I agree with everything that Rosario said. Fifty Shades of Grey is classed as Adult fiction, the last I heard, as Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series. These are adult books, it’s very clear they’re for 18 years and over, however the legal age of consent is 16…. anyway… In terms of people reading and reviewing NA books, we’re looking at it as being more than YA, in terms of the age of the characters; they’re into high school, college and uni and going through things that YA characters wouldn’t.. It has nothing at all to do with the age of readership.

    A good example of an NA is Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry or The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines. On the Island by Tracey Graves (which is about a 16year old boy crashing on island with his teacher,it’s beautifully written) These books have nothing to do with entering a red room of pain, so I do think that maybe your rant took over, and a few things you said were wrong.

    Also, who says just because a book is tagged as adult, that younger readers shouldn’t read it? (I’m not talking about the BDSM books) We don’t go from MG to YA to NA then to Adult fiction and stop there. I actually know a lot of young readers, 12 and upwards who are reading classics, like Dumas and Homer, then next they’ll be reading a Percy Jackson book, so yes we all read what we want to regardless of our age. Nothing is set in stone. I won’t say his name, but he’s 15, he blogs and he reads YA, NA and some Adult fiction, he finished reading Les Miseryballs the other day, I’ve seen pictures of his bookcases, it’s shocking at the amount of clasics that were on his shelf, that he’d read and some I’d never even heard off.

    I don’t think anyone is closing off a world of books to anyone, it’s simply not the case, also when you said it’s not opening up more wonderful books.. what makes you decide that what the person is reading isn’t wonderful to them?

    I’m 32 and I read middle grade, ya and adult fiction and now books that fall into the na gap. Looking at my reading over the last 6 months, around 75% of the books I read were ya books. I think sometimes people get the wrong idea of what is in a ya book.. the last ya book I read is The Diviners by Libba Bray, and actually it made my top 12 books of last year.. because of my age should I not be reading anything that isn’t in the adult bracket? Would you be ranting if this was turned around?… would you prefer it if younger readers were having more adult books pushed on them?

    • Another interesting, thoughtful and empassioned comment thank you Louise, and yes I have asked… ha!

      If you look at GoodReads, and other online such bookish places, Fifty Shades etc do come up on the New Adult sections, which maybe is less an issue with the publishers and more them, though if it selling more books I bet some publishers will overlook this. This is not an attack on the genre or its readers and authors, its about more pigeon holing and the why. I actually think the whole NA thing, to an outsider look like it is dumbing down YA and I think YA and adult books can both do this without the need for YA. I also think adults are welcome to read YA I have a YA review coming tomorrow.

      I don’t say at any point that young people shouldnt be reading adult books, I say the opposite, I read what I wanted when I wanted to and naturally for myself was ready – I want the same for my siblings and cousins who read voraciously, as I said my cousin reads Dickens and my sister is reading Keenan. My little sister thinks NA is an odd concept and she is almost the prime market, and her opinion, like yours, is valid. I think we should all read what we like when we like – within reason, I wouldnt want young people reading Fifty Shades etc.

      P.S Les Miseryballs has just had me laughing and laughing.

  4. Ooh – good topic for discussion. I’ll set my stall out and confess that I’m 52 but I read a bit of everything from mid-grade, I hate that term – why can’t we call them books for older children, upwards but I have had my fill of paranormal romances. Importantly, I have a 12 year old daughter, so will soon be even more interested in what she might be wanting to read!

    When I was a teenager, there weren’t these categories, this pigeonholing, but books that would now be classed as NA did exist. There have always been ‘coming of age’ stories – novels that have however been read by all ages, some such as ‘Catcher in the Rye’ are probably best read young perhaps. I also remember Jilly Cooper’s late ’70s romances were terribly popular in the sixth form, (I was mainly reading SF and thrillers then though – and don’t forget that 70s thrillers are full of violence).

    So these books have always been around – there’s always been sex and violence available in novels that younger people might read. It does worry me though, that through this desperate pigeonholing that the some of the more graphic novels may get into hands that they’re too young for. 14-35 is a bonkers age grouping, it also seems to me that YA is creeping lower – to 12+ now, when a few years ago it felt as if it was more 14+.

    I was lucky, when I got an adult library card aged 12, to be encouraged to read whatever I wanted to, and was able to discover good things to read for myself without being directed into any age pigeonholing. Please can’t we let our children and teens do this too? Rant over.

    • I think the whole ‘being left to read what you want’ element is still there, just, but I do think that (and this is partly because libraries are closing) that publishers are having to market books more and more and almost sub-genreing themselves if you know what I mean?

      I also agree with you completely, these books have been around all the time anyway and people have naturally found them themselves, so to my mind NA doesnt do anything new, it just repackages books that were already available.

      See mid-grade is also a horrid term, why do we need all these endless genres?

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  6. Couldn’t agree with you more Simon, and I would go a little further and say how much I hate the whole modern trend that every piece of writing has to fit into a genre. It’s lazy, it leads to writing to a formula and means that original, unusual and different pieces of work just don’t get a look in because they don’t fit into a stereotype. Why take away the joy of discovering books for yourself, by chance or on a whim, because you like the sound of them. Let’s shove everything into niches and only read what we’re supposed to. I found my way through my teen years via Agatha Christie, Tolkien, Victoria Holt, Jean Plaidy, Jack Kerouac, Allan Ginsberg, Mervyn Peake….. you see the point I’m making. As for the “50 Shades…” market and marketing – there’s not enough space and time to say what I think about the obsessive sexualisation of our society and our teens. With you all the way on this….

    • I agree with you about the sudden need it seems there is for having to make every book fit into a genre. I have just reviewed Zambra today and that book is possibly non-fiction, meta, novella and also translated… so what on earth genre could anyone create for a book like that? I would go with ‘fiction’ and leave it be myself personally.

  7. ummlilia

    I’m with Kaggsysbookishramblings and you Simon.I just don’t get why everything has to be neatly packaged and tied up with a bow into ‘genres’ these days. Are we not capable of finding something to read without a great big signpost.?
    Maybe I’m just too old..in my twenties like the supposed audience for these books I was married with babies and too busy to worry about ‘coming of age’ or ‘finding my way in the world’..

    • I dont know if people think we can find the right books ourselves, and that worries me. I mean as a blogger I am a signposter in some ways, but I believe in signposting by enthusiasm and excitement rather than adding to the genre divides.

      Re having babies etc, maybe that is what made people miss out on NA in the past but as that on the whole (sweeping generalization) is happening later and later there is room for this. I just worry for YA and I never thought that I would feel like that.

  8. No to genre marketing! I was intrigued by the comment from Louise referring to 16 as the age of consent – I’m not really sure why that comes into it but I expect people will explain. However let me ask Simon why there is an LGBT “genre” not only in publishing, which I understand even if I do not agree with, but why on earth does it exist in my public library? Similarly for “crime”. Who decides where to shelve/market a book like “Tales of the City” and how?

    PS I see you have made the word “empassioned”, used from C16 to C19 according to the OED, fashionable again – good for you!

    • I mentioned the age of consent being 16, because Simon said this “Do we really want anyone, not just girls, under the age of 18 reading books with graphic sex in them”

      Now, at 16 you can legally have sex, whether you’re upside down or hanging from the ceiling.. I mentioned it because, if it’s ok for couples to engage in sexual acts at that age, why shouldn’t they be able to read about it?

      But going back to the NA genre, most of the books that fit that gap are not about explicit sex.

      • Their covers look highly sexualised I think. But maybe that’s just me.

        The whole point of this post, which interestingly non NA aficionado’s seem to have got (that’s not being snide), is that I’m not attacking the books in that genre or the authors but I am worried about the marketing and the place where it came from.

      • Louise, thank you! Yes I see your point (which I agree with). I read Henry Miller around the age of 15 I think.

    • Ahhhh LGBT as a genre, well as co-founder of the Green Carnation Prize I promote that I guess. I think it is because should someone coming out want to read something that is likely, though this is less and less in my experience, to deal with the problems they are facing then they can find it there. Tales of the City should be in every genre, because it is amazing ;) I think it ends up in both.

      I blame Wharton fully for making me start saying empassioned, I have been coming out with some other words from back then and the other half looks at me blankly.

  9. I was intrigued by the whole NA thing when the first rumblings began and when I looked into it, the article I read stated that the age range was 18-25 and the genre generally contained books about college age people having lots of sex. Firstly – 18-25 is a very narrow bracket to aim books at so I did wonder what the point was. So when you mentioned a larger age range, I could see how, from a marketing point of view, this made sense. Secondly – the article made the genre sound like a ‘Fifty Shades’ version of ‘Mills and Boon’. Great (please note the sarcasm). Life as a NA is not all sex and parties (or is it? Did I just seriously miss out becasue I always had my head in a book?). The link in Rosario’s comment above perfectly describes what a NA book should be, in my mind anyway. However . . . all of this has got me thinking. These days YA is commonly accepted to be aimed at 14+, but then I think about the genre title in a literal sense. Young Adult. At 18 you are considered an adult and as you have just become an adult, doesn’t it follow that you are therefore a YOUNG adult? At what age do you stop being a young adult and become an adult? And, for that matter, what age do you stop being an adult and become an OLD adult? Is NA just a new name for YA but with a slightly larger age bracket for books to aimed at? If NA is here to stay, should what we currently call YA be renamed as ‘teenage fiction’? In fact, now I think about it, my local Waterstones doesn’t have a YA section anymore. It goes from Teenage Fiction to Fiction. Maybe this is simpler. All these new genre’s make it harder for writers to know which one their book fits into: YA, NA, Cross-over, Fiction, all of the above?

    • Maybe that is why I don’t like the sound of NA? I didnt go to college so could I just be rebelling against it as I just ‘grew up’ anyhow? I like the term cross over fiction, I think YA and NA and Teenage Fiction should all be abolished in favour of that frankly.

      Old adult wise that was what I meant by Grey Fic, lol. But when does YA become NA and arent you allowed to read any YA after a certain age, it all seems proposterous.

  10. Elke

    Personally, I just see no need for all this labelling. What happened to just roaming the library shelves (or book store shelves) until you find something that looks interesting? And since there is so much information about books available at the moment (review sites, lovely book blogs etc.) you can find out what a book is about and if you are likely to like it, without these marketing labels. The best books are usually the ones that don’t fit one label anyway.

    • Roaming is the best thing Elke. That is what I did when I was younger and is what I still do now as an adult. I don’t see why it should be any other way.

      I love your point about best books defying labels, that is nice, I might use that as a subject for the podcast in the future.

  11. If I was inclined to comment on this “New Adult” thing it would probably be somewhere along the lines of how it’s yet another absurd manifestation of a culture that that sees age and maturity as a stigma and where even supposed grown-ups instead of appreciating their growing experience and (one would hope) refined adult sensibilities desperately try to perceive themselves as young and indulge in all kinds of immature or even outright childish behaviour.

    But I’m not, and I only wanted to chime in on Megan Abbott, the author of Dare Me – I have not read that particular novel yet, but she started out as a writer of excellent and very dark hardboiled crime novels with female protagonists. With that in mind, I strongly suspect Dare Me might be a novel about teenagers but not necessarily for them.

    • If I was inclined to comment on this “New Adult” thing it would probably be somewhere along the lines of how it’s yet another absurd manifestation of a culture that that sees age and maturity as a stigma and where even supposed grown-ups instead of appreciating their growing experience and (one would hope) refined adult sensibilities desperately try to perceive themselves as young and indulge in all kinds of immature or even outright childish behaviour.

      What’s wrong with wanting to read about people different from yourself? Do you think we should only read about people like us, or of at least our age? Or are you somehow saying that the experiences of people in their late teens/early 20s are somehow less worthy of being explored? Because that’s what your post seems to imply.

      As for people “desperately try[ing] to perceive themselves as young and indulg[ing] in all kinds of immature or even outright childish behaviour.”… sorry, I’m not sure what you mean. Could you explain? Are you saying this describes people who read NA books?

      • There’s a rather marked difference between books about teenagers and books (supposedly) for teenagers. There is nothing at all wrong with the first, and I have no issues with the second either (although I don’t read it much myself). But “NA” literature, just like “YA” before it, is not really written for “young” or “new” adults – I do not doubt that some from either demographic read it, but it’s chiefly directed at adults who value it as a way to “feel young” again and escape that terrible stigma of being old.
        As for the rest… well, I suggest you just look around you, on the interwebs, on TV or possibly even in your everyday life and count how many people behaving like responsible adults you find. To me at least it seems like the spoiled child has become the default mode of behaviour in most of public space. But then, I’m maybe just old and grumpy…

      • it’s chiefly directed at adults who value it as a way to “feel young” again and escape that terrible stigma of being old.

        And who are you to speak for those of us who enjoy these books? What makes you think you know what’s in our minds and why we read the books we read? It’s very presumptuous of you. I explained in a comment above what I get from these books (basically, exploring an interesting time in people’s lives, which is happening during a period where being newly independent is very different to what it was like when I left home, if you can’t be bothered to read it). I do not perceive any stigma in being old (in fact, I’m much happier now and enjoy my life much more than when I was as a 20-year-old), and I certainly don’t use these books as a way to “feel young” again, as I’m not a reader who tends to identify with the characters in the books she’s reading.

  12. Rhian

    No, I don’t like labelling either – apart from anything if I don’t fit the label – YA, NA, Grey whatever – I am less likely to pick a book up to even look at it. I read books that appeal – either from browsing in a shop or from reading blogs. Although I am well outside any possible definition of YA, I read and enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy over Christmas. Now I am reading The Hobbit(children?) and L is for Lawless (crime).
    I do remember one publisher of children’s books (off-hand can’t remember which on) divided their books into blue, green and red dragons depending on the appropriate reader age.

    • Interesting about fitting the labels. I suppose if we all had to be labelled I would read LGBT fiction/literature and nothing else would I?

      I hope I am a diverse reader, though after my thoughts on NA maybe people will disagree with that? I have just read a classic, a contemporary crime novel and a YA novel, oh and some meta fiction, so what pigeon hole should I do in?

  13. Ooh this is a really interesting discussion. I admit to being a bit baffled by the need for NA at first, but now I think I get it. Everyone here is making some great points! It seems weird to make an age group a genre, but the reason it’s a genre is that the stories are ABOUT this age group, not necessarily FOR this age group. Which makes it a genre rather than a suggested reading age. It’s an interesting way to look at it.

    It’s also a really fascinating age and I can understand why people want to read about it, and why the themes, etc, would be different from other adult books and from YA. If you think about it, there are actually tons of TV series and films that deal specifically with this age group and this part of life, so it makes sense that books would too.

    Of course, there are always problems with labelling things, and this goes for all genres and age groups. But at the same time, labels are useful for finding things. If you happen to feel like reading a story about someone who has left school and is entering the adult world, what’s wrong with having a label to tell you which those books are? Just like if I fancy a bit of steampunk or a fairytale retelling, it would be useful to be able to click on a category on the Book Depo to help me find them. I’m doing a paranormal challenge and Feb is werewolf month. I looked on Goodreads lists for books about werewolves. Imagine trying to find werewolf books by having to trawl through the horror/urban-fantasy sections.

    I know it can seem ludicrous to over-categorise things, but as long as someone finds it useful and it’s not doing any harm, where’s the problem? And I haven’t seen any convincing arguments for the harm in NA yet.

    P.S. I’m sure 14 doesn’t count as NA. I thought NA was about 19-25ish. That’s not to say a 14 year old couldn’t read one if they wanted. But they could also read gruesome adult horror if they wanted. I was reading adult books at 14. No-one’s saying you have to read NA if you’re a new adult, just like you don’t have to read children’s books when you’re a child, or women’s fiction if you’re a woman, or historical fiction if you’re a history professor. Just that those books are there if you want them.

    Oops, really long reply, sorry. But it’s a very interesting topic. Thanks for the discussion!

    • Never apologise for a long comment, always lovely to see though I fear I might not do it justice in my response Victoria but I will try.

      I don’t think NA is doing any harm, unless Fifty Shades does fall into it and it is aimed at 14 – 35, all the lovely NA fans are saying it doesnt, maybe they need to approach a lot of book based online websites about why they are then listing it as such as that is surely wrong. I think there needs, if we have to have more genres, to be a more official line of what it is maybe?

      Maybe as I didnt do college and am not straight I don’t see myself aligned with the genre, but then I don’t believe in a lot of the sci fi premises, yet i like the genre. I will simply have to try some and make a decision from there.

      I would also love to say thank you for all the comments from everyone as the discussion has been heated but never gotten personal, on the whole I dont think, so thanks for respecting everyones differences.

  14. my view this is utter marketing bollocks what next grey fiction ,fat novels for fat middle age men ,seems nothing more than a gimmick ,to sell some books that probably aren’t selling ya was bad enough no need for another blurring of the lines ,hey what about new world lit just put new in front of it ,all the best stu

  15. Pingback: Wonder – R.J. Palacio | Savidge Reads

  16. I was reading the comments and got to the point where people said Pushing the Limits is NA. It was marketed as YA, I consider it YA as it contains young adults. I’m not sure what a new adult is in the real world. I’m pretty sure chick-lit was covering the age gap for women. That’s what I read when I was “entering the adult world”. I’m not against people reading any sort of books but I do think this “new genre” is a marketing gimmick. I use genres very loosely when I review, they don’t need to be narrowed down.

    There are books about pretty much anything that can ever happen to you. They don’t all need their own pigeon hole.

  17. Aurora

    Well said Stu, I’m with you!

  18. ummlilia

    I have just realised that I don’t like these books because I have been missing something..now I know it’s what the US calls ‘boomer-lit’, for those of us born in the baby-boom years..I just squeak in , born 1964. I kid you not… it is a thing..http://www.writersdigest.com/qp7-migration-all-articles/qp7-migration-fiction/boomer-lit

  19. Reblogged this on graveyards and grasslands and commented:
    An interesting concept and something which just makes me more certain that no book and no reader should ever be put in a box! I know so many people who say “oh no, I don’t really read children’s fiction… well… it’s a bit simple isn’t it”.
    I’ve given up trying to tell these people that hidden within YA fiction are some of the most challenging, uplifting, though provoking and emotionally touching stories I have read. I just say “try it.. you might be surprised” then leave them to their own opinions.
    Have a read of this. What do you think?

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