I'm going to start this post by saying that I love New Adult (NA). I think it is more than just a marketing strategy, and it deserves to be recognized as separate, important genre.It's not YA. It's not adult fiction. It's NA, and it is awesome.
I think it goes without being said (despite the fact that I'm saying it anyway) that I am a big fan of YA. I read about it, blog about it, and love it. I see people all over the map about YA, both authors and readers. Some think NA is just sexier YA, some think it's straight up erotica (I hate when people generalize all NA as erotica!), and some think it isn't even a real classification--most books falling into either YA or romance/fiction for adults. Well I am here to say that it is about time there is a new, not a revived or pre-existing, genre for these books.
I will say that I believe NA did morph out of the YA genre. I say that having studied sociology and psychology and other fancy -ologies that make me feel qualified to give the following opinion:
It takes longer for "kids" today to grow up. We are the generation that is coddled, over-protected, and get prizes just for participating. I'm not saying whether that is good or bad, but just hear me out. There is an actual term for the parents of our time: Helicopter parents. They hover! College students have their parents scheduling their classes and graduates have moms going with them on interviews (horrifying!). My Dad told me that when he was 18 and moved to college, he phoned his parents once a month and saw them on holidays. Going to college was goodbye parents; hello independence. Blame it on cell phones or parents compensating for the naughty lives they led as teens and young 20-somethings, but times are different.
The point of all that is this: NA for post-high school kids is what YA was for teens of past generations. Think of all the soul searching and self finding that happens in all the classic YA novels:
All these coming-of-age books were helping people deal with serious issues and getting ready for them to become an adult (as in a YOUNG adult! It all makes sense!). But, thanks to society and helicopter parents, it takes people longer to come of age and be independent. NA helps those of us who graduated high school and/or college, and are just now getting our life sorted and figured out. Here are some great examples of NA books where the character comes into their own for the first time even though they are older than 17:
Just like YA, NA is amazing and important to everyone looking to read about someone going through the same things that they are. It's just at a different point in life, and answers different questions. It surprises me how many authors don't want their books affiliated with the NA label. I say to them: Be trailblazers in this great emergence of a new genre! What do you think about this controversial topic?