On New Adult

17 Jan
Jessica Darling Novels

Jessica Darling Novels

Lately, New Adult (NA) is a term that’s being tossed around the book world. The good people over at NA Alley have put together a great post entitled, “What Is New Adult?” which lays it all out. NA Alley’s view of NA:

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.

Protagonists typically 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.

Allegedly, NA was first tossed around in 2009 by St. Martin’s Press and the term has been on a steady rise since then. Trawling around some NA book lists, most of what you find are contemporaries. Though the term has been kicking around since 2009 what I consider to be NA has been around for quite awhile.

When I was in high school Megan McCafferty published Sloppy Firsts in 2001. I was OBSESSED. Jessica Darling was me. To this day there is not a single literary character that I have connected with more. Jessica had some triumphs and difficulties along the way and she felt real. So I eagerly awaited each book, following Jessica throughout the rest of the series (Second Helpings, Charmed Thirds, Fourth Comings, and Perfect Fifths) and am gleefully awaiting the prequel series, “The It List.”

So when I hear “New Adult” being tossed around, I’m not surprised. These were the types of books I liked to read in high school (heck, I still do). New Adult encapsulates a very difficult transitionary time for many teenagers and new adults. I’m twenty-six and I’m still not completely sure what I want to do with my life. So I’m glad that NA is getting more press and recognition, because in my opinion, it is a separate genre from children’s, YA, and adult literature.


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