As indicated in the title, we’ve done this dance before a few months back in “NEW ADULT: THE ANSWER TO THE VOID BETWEEN YA AND ADULT?“. Now it’s time for round two after seeing some recent discussion posts and announcements that have surfaced since the discussion on the blog.
New Adult is becoming an actual genre.
For some, not so much. This new genre is seen as either a) an excuse for marketers to market things to us (i.e. 18-25 crowd) or b) a genre of just sex crazed, newly minted adults with absentee parents. This can be true. Some books marketed under this “New Adult” heading are both of these things and they’re also the books I’m generally NOT into.
I’m the target audience for this New Adult genre: 20 years old, 3rd year in a post-secondary institution living with my parents/siblings (I’m the eldest of four). Did New Adult exist before (as Jezebel point out in their article)? Yes! Of course they were (I’ve read Girl Interrupted…). The difference between now and say…20 years ago is that these “newly minted adults” aren’t moving out right away but are in fact staying home to save money for post-secondary education. These “new adults” are trying to transition from being dependents to independents and dealing with new issues. For one thing, the university system is very different from the High School system. Getting and maintaining a part-time job is more crucial now because working at a summer job these days isn’t enough to pay your fees. Parents are so present in our lives despite being adults and it’s a time where their support is desperately needed. And guess what? This real world we were promised in high school? We probably get a taste of it in post-secondary but aren’t “in it” since post-secondary is it’s own academic bubble…
Being a 18-25 year old (although I find this a bit limiting) is not just about being interested in sex. I think New Adult is great because it’s for those stories that aren’t quite Young Adult and not quite Adult. Stories that might previously have had writers age up or down their characters because they couldn’t be marketed in either of those genres otherwise.
What I’m saying is this: Don’t limit this new genre, this potential to discuss or incorporate more college age kids with problems uniquely theirs, to a Fifty Shades knock off featuring younger participants. Just don’t.
A. A. Omer
Cute feature image was provided by Clip Art from Microsoft Word. Ahh Clip Art…brings back middle school memories…