Here at TYAC, we're all about reviewing indie YA books. But we've been noticing a trend. A lot of books we've been seeing feel a bit too old to be called YA, but they also don't seem like adult books (and by adult, I mean books for grown ups, not BDSM fan fiction). You might call this new breed of books New Adult.
For those who are wondering, here are some clues that the book you're reading is New Adult and not YA:
- The protagonist is college-aged.
- The themes are too heavy for YA. (That isn't quite right because I've seen just about everything in YA - it's more that the heavy issues are presented or tackled in a way that feels distinctly adult.)
- There is a lot more sex in a lot more detail.
And here are some common ways YA books blur the lines:
- Setting the story at boarding school. (It's like college! Only not! *sighs* I love a good boarding school book.)
- Having a college-aged love interest.
- Having the protagonist go to college events like frat parties while still in high school.
- Having both of the protagonist's parents be some combination of the following: dead, inept, traveling, busy (Can you tell I'm not so much a fan of this one?)
It makes sense that these books would exist because if 9-year-olds like to read about 11-year-olds and middle schoolers like to read about high schoolers, then it follows that high schoolers would want to read about college kids. Plus you can do so much fun stuff if your characters are in college. It's a total win-win.
But here's the thing. New Adult books are like the Sasquatch of the publishing world. You hear about them. Sometimes. And everyone would love to see one, but they're seldom ever spotted in the wild, and no one really takes them seriously. (Did I take that metaphor too far?)
Publishers aren't signing them. Which means agents aren't representing them. All because readers aren't buying them. But how can you buy something that isn't there to begin with? I think it's going to take one (or a few) New Adult smash hits to change everyone's minds. And I think it would be really cool if that change began in the indie realm.
Here are some New Adult indies we've reviewed (or will soon review) at TYAC. Please let me know if you've read any other good ones!
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park
Easy by Tammara Webber
Hushed by Kelley York