It's been a long week. It was even longer when I was reading through my New Adult Reading list. It was even longer still when I was trying to find New Adult books that didn't make me cringe.
What I've learned is this-I don't honestly think that we can call New Adult it's own category or section if the vast majority of the books fall in the Romance genre. Right now, I think that what New Adult is actually just a subgenre of Romance. It's Romance for 20-somethings.
There is nothing in the books that I read that talk about the real plight of the 20-something. The college loans, first apartments, changing friendships, lousy jobs, and real life of it. What happened to books like The Devil Wears Prada, The Nanny Diaries, Citizen Girl, and Milkrun? I know all of those books were labeled Chick Lit which has now become as unpopular as harvest orange refrigerators, but they told the real story. They more accurately depicted the struggles that are your 20's.
These books just don't. The New Adult titles that I've read and I've considered reading are about romance, sex, and fantasy, as in sexual fantasy. Even one fantasy-fantasy NA book that I considered said that this was a book for mature audiences as it contained several sex scenes, not all of which were consensual. Perfect! The only thing I love more than gratuitous sex is gratuitous rape! (Sarcasm Sign!)
As such a new publishing trend, New Adult has some growing up to do, like it's intended audience. There was a time when "real" authors didn't write children's or YA books and now I would love for adult authors to stay on their side of the fence and let the real children's and YA authors do their thing. New Adult shouldn't just be about YA books with adult appeal or adult books with YA appeal. It can be, and should be, a whole group of books written for the 20-something reader.
In my opinion, New Adult has not arrived. It's not a thing, it's a subgenre of romance. The few books that I was excited to read for a minute were more often ranked as YA on Goodreads with a few that argued for NA. There are some mature YA books out there that can cross over-books that don't have an expiration date. But NA needs authors all it's own.
It's going to take a great author to bring credibility to this category, but I think it will happen, it just hasn't happened yet.
I know I sound like a Debbie Downer, but I think we need to expect more from this category, and I think we'll get it. Afterall, YA was once the red-headed stepchild of publishing too, and now it's wildly popular. Have patience, we're not there yet, but we will be.
For a recap of my New Adult reading adventure, see my intro and reviews to Tough to Love, Friday Night Alibi, The Social Code, Losing It, and Me, Cinderella?.