Friday, February 1, 2013

New Adult...A Flash Genre or Here to Stay?

New Adult, NA, genre has rather quickly popped on the writing scene. It is a genre that is a follow on to Young Adult, YA, books. It is aimed at readers 18-25 years of age. This genre targets the young adult of college or post college age who is dealing with being on her own and facing the grown-up world head on. It is for the "should I get my own apartment instead of living in my parent's basement, and shouldn't I find more than a temp job where I can use my master's degree" individuals. The Devil Wears Prada, although written as a thinly disguised assault on a real life obnoxious boss, would be an example of a NA book.

The New Adult category started with epublishing by authors like Cora McCarmack and her Jessica Darling series, by Megan McCafferty and by Tammara Weber. The following books are available for free download by searching for the author + epub.

NA is aimed at adults with more insight than teens. The targeted audience is focused on what part they will play in the future. They realize that decisions they make will have an impact on their lives as well as on the lives of others. YA fiction is based on that group, ages 12-17, who live in the immediate without too much thought for the future. These books do not contain sex. Case in point for YA books is Little Women, Swiss Family Robinson  and The Outsiders. 

Think of NA as the Downton Abbey of our times. One hundred years ago Edith, Matthew, Anna, Thomas, Sybil and Mary dealt with these same issues that 18-26 years old of today have. The plot lines for these Edwardian characters are New Adult themes....marriage and its responsibilities, joys and challenges; life's sorrows; sex; what to do with their lives and how what they do impacts others. The Twilight series, Hunger Games and Beautiful Creatures, all deal with slightly older characters and more mature story lines so they might be considered NA.

This new genre is also touching Christian Fiction by writing about Christians' ways of focusing on transition. These books explore young adults, believers of God, who are now in positions to make life driving decisions and what their impact on the world might be. Publishers of Christian fiction are clamoring for CFNA--Christian fiction new adult themed books.

The term New Adult was coined by St. Martin's Press in 2007. By 2009, it had caught on quickly with authors. E-books have been the driving force for this genre. Many ebooks are available for free downloads by searching for "new adult epub" using your preferred search engine.

Do you think this is a genre that will last? Judy Blume answered some of the questions about adult subjects for some of us, Peyton Place, East of Eden and Forever Amber for others. The times and mores have changed in fifty years. Critics think that immature teens will read NA books with situations too advanced for them to comprehend appropriately. They moan that the adult themes will contaminate young minds because these themes contain sex. Others realize that another money market fills not only a needed literary slot and but also their coffers. There are always spill over readers of all ages and genres; that is not something authors can or want to control. Control of what children read is for parents. The Harry Potter series started children and many adults of all ages reading and liking it. Possibly this genre of New Adult will do the same for people of the young adult age. What is your opinion?

1 comment:

Jennifer Lamont Leo said...

Ah, Judy Blume. I remember reading FOREVER on the sly. But my favorite was ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, MARGARET. I remember a copy being passed around among the girls in my middle-school class like some sort of secret sacred text. It was a blue hardcover, with a pink nail polish stain contributed by someone who'd used it as a manicure table. (Not me, I swear!)FOREVER, with its more mature themes, better fit this definition of New Adult.