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If you keep an eye on the publishing pulse, or otherwise are a writer on Twitter, chances are you’ve heard of the emerging categorization of New Adult.
While there have been many definitions and speculations on what exactly the category entails floating around the internet, I’ve found the one off NA Alley to be the most helpful:
“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.
Protagonists generally fall between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, though exceptions may apply. NA characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc.”
For more information on what NA is all about, check out their full “What is New Adult?” page, which has a great explanation.
Far more interesting than the actual definition of the category, to me, has been people’s opinions on NA (which range from we don’t need it to where have you been all my life?) and people’s expectations of where NA will go from here.
Right now, NA has been pretty focused on contemporary romances such as Cora Carmack’s Losing It and Faking It, Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster and Tammara Webber’s Easy, which is fine, but I’d love to see it expand to other genres—and I truly believe that it has the potential to do so.
But as agent extraordinaire Suzie Townsend said in her post on New Adult and different genres, where the category goes from here will depend entirely on the readers. And to me, that’s an exciting prospect.
The eighteen to early twenties segment has always been difficult to break into—a large part of the reason most of the characters I’ve written about until recently are about seventeen. Many publishers were convinced that readers didn’t want to read about characters within that age bracket, and so it went largely ignored for a long time.
But now self-publishing has changed that. The massive success of self-published NA novels has brought attention to the previously unmarketable age range, and now people are starting to pay attention.
In essence, readers have created New Adult, and whether or not it evolves and grows will depend largely on readers’ reception of this new category.
And to me, that is something very special.
What do you think? Is New Adult a fad, or will it continue to grow and change?
Do you think New Adult is a fad, or is it here to stay? Join the discussion at @Ava_Jae's blog! (Click to tweet)
Why one writer thinks readers are making New Adult something special. (Click to tweet)