Nyx Book Reviews

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New Adult – The Next Best Thing or Completely Unnecessary

I’m coming across this phenomenon more often and I thought I’d share it with you all. Not everyone has heard about it yet, and I would love to have some more opinions on this.

The subject is the following:

Do we need another category of books between YA and adult books, called New Adult?

It’s hard to find the source of this idea. It turns out the discussion has been raging for years. This article written by the wonderful Diana Peterfreund is very informative – without picking sides – on the subject. It tells how the genre originated. Here’s the gist of it: in 2009 St. Martins Press kind of thought up the genre, and dared authors to write the books.

Let’s take a closer look to what a “New Adult” book is. Basically it’s older than YA but younger than adult. We’re talking about 20-something characters. It contains topics that are too mature for YA books, but don’t have the graphic sex or violence that adult books often contain.

It’s 2012 now. The New Adult genre has been thought up three years ago and it still hasn’t taken off. I talked about this to some people on Twitter, and most of them didn’t even know there was such a genre. A few found it a good idea, saying they were looking for this exact kind of book. Others agree with me – we do not need this genre.

My first point is that there is no market for it. This idea has been there for a couple of years now yet I don’t see any New Adult shelves anywhere. I don’t see books carrying a New Adult label. The big publishers like making money. If there is something to earn they will do it. Young Adult is a very productive market and look at how fast the publishers jumped on that ship. I’m trusting their expertise in measuring up the market – if there was money to make with the New Adult genre, it would have been here already.

The second is that people that are advocating for the New Adult genre are mostly writers, not the readers. I came across this post, which boasts: “The New Adult category is a response to agents, editors and publishers”. I find this rather ironic, since these publishers they’re responding to have actually invented the genre. I completely get that it must be frustrating to hear that you have to “make the characters younger so they fit in YA” or “add more graphic sex so it’s more adult”. But to be honest these just probably aren’t the right publishers for you.

There are countless books that should be categorised as New Adult but that are marketed as either YA or adult. These books are getting published – it’s not like there is a massive void between YA and adult. On the top of my head I’m thinking of Grave Mercy, the Shifters series, the Newsflesh trilogy. There is so many cross-over these days genre-wise (adults reading YA, young adults reading adult) that to me it seems pointless to put another limiting label on these books.

That’s my two cents, but I’d love to hear your opinion on this. Would you want a different genre for New Adult books?