New Adult

I don’t usually have a problem identifying the genre of my stories. If it’s not blatant fanfic, then what I’ve written can easily be categorized as romance or historical fiction or chick lit.

But for the new NaNo, chick lit didn’t seem to fit. I mean yeah, it’s about a young woman and her…issues…, but there’s also a guy’s perspective in there, plus a little bit of a family background and whatever else comes out in the third week of November.
So then I thought, “Huh. What about New Adult?”

New Adult is a category I’ve been seeing more and more. And it’s basically what I thought it was–and where I think my NaNo project (and indeed, a lot of my contemporary-set stories) sit comfortably. I doubt that people who aren’t in writing or publishing know what it is nor do they care.

Sorry. You’re getting a publishing education on this blog, too.

New Adult, as opposed to Young Adult (YA). YA novels are, typically, about adolescence, featuring adolescent issues (dating! angst! hormones! high school!). Think Twilight or The Hunger Games or the later books in the Harry Potter series.

I was one of those weird children who jumped from The Babysitters’ Club straight to adult romance novels and other adult fare, skipping YA entirely. But it’s a popular genre; when I interned at a literary agency, a great chunk of the manuscripts I was given to read were YA.

New Adult (NA) is recent. St. Martin’s Press invented it in 2009, calling for fiction similar to YA in style, but for a slightly older reader–somewhere in the college to mid-twenties range. NA books often cover college, dating, relationships, first jobs, moving away from home, engagement, marriages, maybe a baby. In other words, NA novels negotiate that time period when a person is legally an adult, but doesn’t necessarily feel like one yet.

As in…well…me.


Now that I think about it, Book the First had shades of New Adult. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that was specifically labeled New Adult; I’ve never been a person who wants to read my exact life in a novel.

My protagonists are 27 and 30, one with an established career in the performing arts, the other working a crappy job while she figures out her own path, separate from her politically-inclined family, and grapples with a pretty bad anxiety disorder. Neither are particularly great at relationships. Both have expectations heaped on them. So, I think, we have some things in common and some things not in common. In essence, though, I’m writing my college experience down in having one protag be in theater and the other be a writer.

For more information on New Adult, check NA Alley.

2 thoughts on “New Adult

  1. Yeah! The Babysitter's Club! Lol!I have technically written a couple of NA stories, but I didn't know anything about NA when I wrote them. You're lucky, I always have the hardest time classifying my subgenre. I hate sending stuff out as just plain fantasy because it's so broad. I never think about it. Then I go to query and I'm like, oh…I should probably figure this out. Lol! I have my NaNo genre picked out already, thank goodness!


  2. I'm kind of amused by the idea of NA as a category. But clearly, we are a different breed of quarterlife crisis. I never knew NA existed before I kept seeing it on AW. And then I went, \”Ohhh…that's what my stories are.\”


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