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All About New Adult Fiction


When you think of book genres, what comes to mind? Obvious ones like Young Adult, Mystery, Fantasy, and Science Fiction probably come first. There are so many different genres out there for anybody and everybody to enjoy and that’s one of the best part of reading. One genre that a lot of readers and writers aren’t aware of though, is New Adult Fiction.

What is New Adult? Simply put, New Adult is an emerging genre of fiction that features protagonists that are aged 18-30. It’s very similar to Young Adult in that it focuses on characters of a certain age group and can be very diverse in terms of subgenres such as New Adult Fantasy, Romance, Mystery, etc. It's often considered to be a subgenre of adult fiction rather than a genre on it's own. It bridges that gap between Young Adult and Adult fiction.

New Adult as a genre is not as popular or well-known for a few reasons. The first reason is that a lot of New Adult books get sorted into YA, especially those that have fantasy elements and feature protagonists on the younger side (think 18-20). Another reason is that New Adult fiction also has a reputation of being *sultry* and therefore looked down upon. Finally, the whole concept is still fairly new. Obviously there have been lots of books that feature younger adult protagonists, but it's only in recent years that it's been begun to be classified as a whole genre in itself.

You might be asking, so why should I care about this? It's a good question. New Adult as a genre is something I'm very passionate about. While I was in middle and high school, I was an avid YA reader. I'd go to the library and get three or four books at one time and then breeze through them all in days just to go back and get more. I couldn't get enough. I loved YA. There was something so meaningful about having a main character that's my age and doing things that I could only dream about.

Then I grew up. I graduated high school and went to college and got bogged down in learning how to be an adult. There was no time for reading, especially the way I was used to devouring my beloved YA books. Before I knew it, I was 20 years old and had barely touched a book in the last few years. Finally though, things started to calm down.

Now that I was close to finishing college and getting the hang of the whole "adult" concept, that old yearning to lose myself in a book started to resurface. Of course, the first thing I did was go to the YA section of the library and look for my next favorite obsession.

Only once I started to read again, I found that I just couldn't connect with characters that were 15-17 years old. I'm sure part of it was just that old soul in me, but I couldn't help but sit there and think, "shouldn't they be in school??" or "There is no way a 15 year old would do these things!" All of sudden, I found myself wanting to read about a character my age doing these really awesome things. Please don't get me wrong, I still think YA is an incredible genre and I will always cherish those books and characters but it's just wasn't right for me as a reader anymore.

So I started to look online for books that had the same *feel* as YA but with slightly older characters. It blew my mind to discover that there wasn't as much out there as I expected there to be. Then I heard about the emerging New Adult genre and how people were trying to make it more popular and of course I was excited to learn more.

Over the last few years, and especially thanks to apps like TikTok and Instagram, New Adult is becoming a lot more well known. Big names like Sarah J. Mass (A Court of Thorn and Rose Series, Crescent City Series, etc.), Jennifer L. Armentrout ('From Blood & Ash'), and others have propelled New Adult Fantasy into the mainstream. New Adult Romance is also having a big surge on BookTok which features names like Colleen Hoover ('Ugly Love') and Jamie McGuire ('Beautiful Disaster').

Just like YA, New Adult has a potentially huge audience waiting to devour these books. Readers, especially 20-somethings that loved YA, are ready to discover books that have a fantastic blend of adult problems with that YA vibe and are just waiting for authors and publishers to put these books out there for them to read.

This is why I read New Adult and this is why I write New Adult. It's long past due for New Adult to be acknowledged and appreciated as a stand-alone genre just as whole-heartedly as Young Adult and other more mainstream genres.

If you're interested in New Adult as a genre, head over to social media and find recommendations for your next favorite read on TikTok (sometimes referred to as BookTok), Instagram, and Pinterest. There are so many amazing books waiting to be read and written and I for one, can't wait to check them all out.

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