I've been wanting to write about this "new adult" trend that seems to be pretty big right now, but I've been at a loss as to what to say. To be honest, I still don't know what "new adult" is. One of the great things about YA books is that they have defied stereotypes and resisted pigeon-holing for so long. I don't want to define new adult in a few words, or even sentences, but I do find is very interesting that this genre has evolved around the same time that 50 Shades of Grey became so inexplicably popular.
I've been a fan of YA books that go beyond high school for some time now (you can see my post about some of my favorite YA college books here), and I have always wanted to see more of those types of books. Not because they dealt with "adult" themes (on another note, what is an adult theme?), but because you have this character that is still young, inexperienced, and questioning the world and all of the sudden they're expected to act like an adult, make important decisions, and hold jobs or attend college, and figure out what they believe in, usually removed away from their parents. It sounds...an awful lot like YA books we already read and love. Only, beyond high school. Because let's be honest here, most YA bloggers and readers started out reading YA in high school, and now we're adults. We've grown up, and in a way, so has YA.
It is a dangerous assumption to make that "new adult" = YA + sex. And I am not exactly saying that it is, because sexy YA books existed even before anyone thought up of the term new adult. But it does discourage me that I scroll through the internet and find so many books labelled new adult, along with the warnings that such books contain mature sex. Since when does the amount of sex in a book determine what sort of book it is? Shouldn't a book be about more than sex?
As a bookseller, I know how incredibly hard it is to classify a book, and perhaps how dangerous that whole process is. It's very easy to misrepresent a book, or limit it in some way just because of a one word description or the shelf it happens to sit on. I am just curious, what do you think of when you see the term "new adult"? Do you think of characters that are out of high school, or in some way dealing with more mature themes? Does the amount of sex in the book play any role in its designation? And, do you think that new adult books are separate from YA books, or adult books?
I want to know your thoughts! Comments below or email me!