But what about the 20-somethings? They experience a different set of firsts. They're in college or university, going through an important period of self discovery, or working at their first job. They've already loved, and possibly lost, and are seeking to establish themselves in the world.
First marketed in 2009 by St. Martin's Press, New Adult Fiction (commonly referred to as NA Fiction) seeks to bridge the gap between young adult fiction books and the usual adult fiction topics and character types. There has been some criticism around the genre, because people feel it is just a marketing ploy, and that New Adult isn't a genre, it's the audience. However, it has since gained momentum and is recognized as an official genre by Goodreads and are searchable using keywords "new adult" on Amazon.
Some things to know about NA Fiction:
- Audience is 18 to 30 year olds
- Features characters that are typically in the age range of 18 to 26
- Considered a "cross-over" genre because it can appeal to both YA and Adults
- Common themes are identity, sexuality, depression/suicide, drug and/or alcohol abuse, employment, and family/power struggles
- Common topics include first jobs, starting post-secondary education, getting engaged or married, starting a family, etc.
- Has become somewhat controversial as there are a considerable number of NA books that now explore sex and sexuality in great detail, to the point of being considered erotica. It is felt that this is a result of the popularity of the 50 Shades of Grey series, whose main female character is a college student. However, that is only a sub-genre of new adult fiction
Resources for further understanding:
- NA Alley - reviews, resources
- Goodreads - reviews, resources, titles, popular authors, etc.
- Saskatoon Public Library - Two lists of suggested titles, one more focused on teen readers, one more focused on adult readers
- New Adult: Needless Marketing-Speak or Valued Subgenre? - Publishers Weekly, December 14/12
- New Adult: It's not about the Sex (but Don't be Afraid of the Sex Either) - Dear Author (Blog), December 25/12
- Is a "new adult" genre the step between YA and adult books? - Christian Science Monitor, January 3/13
- Are your Teens Ready for New Adult Fiction? - Chicago Sun-Times.com, February 17/13
- Emerging "New Adult" Book Genre Puts Smut Fiction on Bestseller Lists - ABCnews.com, February 21/13
- New Adult fiction is the hot new category in books - USA Today, April 15/13
- Misconceptions of the "New Adult" Genre - Culture Mass, April 29/13
- New Adult Fiction Defined - and What About Genre Fiction? - Kait Nolan, May 9/13
- The Mother of New Adult - A Genre that isn't New - RT Book Reviews, May 20/13