Posted in Rants

New Adult Should Not Mean Sexy Romance or YA with A Lot of Sex

I’ve been thinking a lot about the New Adult genre and what this genre consists of, mostly because after a long haitus from the genre, I find myself writing in it again with my last two books. The first time I was writing it, the genre didn’t have a name and I was calling in edgy young adult. And one of the concerns my betas had was that although my protagonist fell within the YA category at eighteen, she wasn’t doing the things that normal teenagers in that category do. In fact, her situations were decidedly very adult. Now, I don’t have that problem. When my muses said hey? Why don’t you write about this situation about a twenty-two year old girl developing an eating disorder, whose mother abandoned their family leaving her to take care of her siblings, while falling in love at the same time I instantly knew that this would be a New Adult novel… except I seem to have a different definition of New Adult than what seems to be marketed. Let me explain…

Black Iris
I didn’t like this book, but it really is a perfect example of what people were claiming New Adult was.

When New Adult first came out, everyone seemed to be sprouting that this was going to be the genre that would herald in something different in fiction, a place where there were no boundaries, no restrictions on the topics and people you could write about, where you could write about the things people think but are ashamed to say, and, as a bonus, sex and lots of it was welcomed. And boy did the genre welcome the sex. People who were writing young adult and wanted to be more bold with it jumped on the New Adult bandwagon with eighteen-year-olds, who were technically still part of the YA category as it pertained age-wise, but who had lots of good sex and did adult things. New Adult also proved that there was certainly an audience for college aged protagonists when it had one time been argued that no one wanted to read about those people. New Adult said, “Twenty-something-year-old’s have an experience, have something to say about the world they live in. And damn it, people are going to listen and take us seriously.” I’d even argue that the sudden boom of New Adult was a literary revolution, one that couldn’t have happened without the self-publishing and ebook boom. New Adult was on a roll and not even the fucking sky was the limit. THE UNIVERSE was there for the taking.

Maybe Someday
Um… I’ve never read this one. But based on what I know about it, it pretty much sums up what I think the NA classification has become. Come on people, it’s just an example. I may read it and like it one day.

Then something happened. Suddenly it seemed like everyone forgot about all those other different things and it seemed to become a genre that was sexed up YA and the same old stories were starting to be told. Girl goes to college. Girl falls in love with bad boy alpha male. Girl has awesome sex. Shocking twists! Girl decides she doesn’t care! Girl lives happily ever after with alpha male. Even if they didn’t follow that pattern, even if the romance was different, the fact of the matter is, suddenly New Adult wasn’t a category to group a certain age of protagonist who weren’t young adult anymore, but yet were still trying to learn how to navigate in and act like an adult in an adult world while letting childish things go. Suddenly, New Adult seemed like an excuse to write about college aged people falling in love and having a lot of sex. And somehow, the new adult category became a subcategory of the romance genre instead of a classification all on its own and that’s not what it was touted as in its conception, what I perceived it to be.

CoaFG Cover 1
And this is my book which I’d like to think is different from other NA. Feel free to bash it if you don’t think it is when it comes out.

All that said, that’s why even though I think Confessions of a Fat Girl is New Adult and it can even fit in the New Adult Romance category, a romance isn’t all it is. It’s about a girl thrust into a more adult world with more adult responsibilities than she was bargaining for and trying to navigate it like… well, like a new adult. Yet, that’s not what New Adult seems to be marketed as nowadays. It seems like if you’re not writing a romance with lots of sex your books aren’t considered real New Adult books. Now look, I know. I know there are some exceptions. I know there are successful New Adult books that defy this assumption, but there aren’t very many that I know of. All the ones that are being touted and promoted have sex in it. And that’s discouraging for the writers who are writing a books about protagonists where college didn’t quite pan out for them; who can’t find a job even with a degree and dreams aren’t coming true; who don’t have rock hard abs or curves in all the right places and don’t live up to a certain ideal of sexiness; who are stuck at home because they don’t have the money to go anywhere else; who are stuck at home because no college except the neighborhood community college was the only one willing to take them; who decided not to go to college: who aren’t in a romantic relationship; or, like in Confessions of a Fat Girl, are in a relationship but aren’t having sex.

Look guys. I’m not bashing New Adult Romance. I love a good romance. I’m a closet romantic even though I’d never New Adultadmit it except on this blog that no one I physically know reads. And if they ever read this, I will swear up and down someone pretending to me wrote it. I get that twenty-something is that age where typically we start craving and experiencing real relationships and having to juggle them with real life, not just high school. But I am a new adult guys. And my life is decidedly lacking in the romance department and we won’t even talk about sex. And I’m not saying I speak for everyone, I’m just saying that’s my experience and I’d enjoy reading a few novels that reflect that. I’m interested in some experiences that are totally different from my norm and my expectations. I want to be engaged and surprised more often.

All that said, as much as I love the New Adult classification, I really am afraid of its future. Because when all the stories are the same, they spark the same conversation. And even though that conversation might be good, after a while, those conversations start to get old and people are looking for the next thing to talk about, and that’s not what I want New Adult to be.

This Post was Brought to You By:

New Adult Should Not Mean Sexy Romance or YA with A Lot of Sex Productions

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Calling All Writers Productions

I’m a New Adult… And I Don’t Have A Lot of Sex Productions

*All images Courtesy of Google Images*

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