Thursday, July 11, 2013

NEW ADULT. A fast-growing romance category.

by Susan Arden
New Adult (NA) is a genre within fiction, and NA now exists within romance as a subgenre, meaning another category within the world of love stories. Sometimes referred to as NEW ADULT COLLEGE.

Think transition when thinking about new adult. A character at the crossroads in his or her life. Age range is generally that found as the “just graduated high school” set where the protagonist is an adult. So, NA starts at 18 and goes until about age 26. The protagonist can be in college but doesn’t have to be. The characters may be thrust deep into a military deployment or living on their own without parent oversight. No rules here except birds in flight so to speak. The general point of agreement in new adult is the protagonist is on a quest to find herself (or himself).

Unlike YA (Young Adult), the themes are definitely mature. Issues explored include such concepts as sexuality, decision making (or the lack thereof), career planning, or seeking financial independence.

New Adult is more than simply Young Adult with sexier issues. The books strive to encompass the point in the heroine or hero’s life when he/she is psychologically defined as an emerging adult. [i]The one predominant feature is change and the formation of the adult personality or identity. Because of this, the period is marked by exploration, and literature dives into such issues as gender, race/ethnicity, marriage, and may include (but not always) the influence of such concerns as drinking, sex, drugs. Boundaries are pushed representing those typically tested during this period in a person’s existence in which he or she is laying the foundation for their future adult life.

 Interested in learning more? A good place to delve into New Adult literature (in all the varied forms) can be found on Goodreads within the New Adult Book Club. Suggestions for reading are provided each month and there's a lively forum for discussion.  
What is one of my favorite New Adult reads that influenced my perception on this new genre? That’s easy.
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie Maguire. A romance that takes place at a college. It was a fast read. And a great place to jump considering what I’d been immersed in at the time. For many reasons, the author’s voice and vista felt fresh. Definitely, it was a different genre and I enjoyed returning to the college scene, and seeing it through the eyes of a woman on the brink of self-discovery.

There’s a type of bubbly energy along with an infusion of pop culture, and humor that is laced within the New Adult books that is edgy, expanding what is traditionally found in many romance horizons, and a window into the culture of this psychological time period.
Susan Arden writes romance under the subgenres of Western, paranormal, mermaid fantasy, contemporary, erotica, and new adult with her latest release, Rock Into Me. The first installment in the Rule Breaker series: Sex, Love, & Lies in Music City.

Catch Susan here:
Susan Arden: Goodreads

Latest release, Rock Into Me
Barnes& Noble
All Romance ebooks

[i]Becoming Adult”


  1. I like this genre!! I've got one planned for book 8 in the members only series. Want to write it SOOO bad!

  2. I think it's a cool genre. No ideas for writing in it yet, though.

  3. Oh, Jennifer I can imagine it will be so HOT! Krystal, man with your fantasy series, you will rock this genre with Gods, Goddesses, and romance.


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