Time passes, people age

“New Adult” Breathes New Life into Stagnant “Young Adult” Genre

I recently learned of a cool new genre category on the horizon, or on the rise in the writing and publishing world. It’s called New Adult. I like it. Perhaps because the idea of a new adult is appealing.

I want to be a new adult, a shiny new-moon edition of myself. But that’s not really what the new NA genre is about, though it is an improved version of an existing one, in my estimation.

NA is emerging in plenty of time to give life to plans for future novels within my Other Worldly series, featuring newly sprung—albeit alien—adults. A set of all-female sextuplets, plus triplets with two males and one fierce female.

A November newsletter article from my fabulous editor’s company, Indigo: Editing, Design, and More, www.indigoediting.com, discusses how modernization of the popular Young Adult (YA) genre was needed in order to mature with the times.

The average age for YA book readers is considered to be 12 to 18 years old, and it hasn’t changed in sixty years. Yikes.

Hence the YA genre is also finally growing up and therefore garnering a new generation of readers.

The Indigo article talks about the new NA genre having a recommended age range of 18 to 30 yet attracting readers of all ages and genres. Perhaps because these more seasoned tales actually focus on life experiences and lessons learned beyond the teen years.

Imagine that. Word has it that a certain wildly popular YA series made into movies was voraciously read by many women well over the age of thirty.

According to the article, there were those in the business who scoffed at the new genre as a mere marketing ploy, while others saw NA as filling a hole in the market for readers who’ve outgrown YA and now seek more adult content, especially when it comes to romance.

Ya think? People do actually age with the passage of time, because unlike some alien species in my Other Worldly novels, not all of us can stall the aging process. The world as we know it may be fixated on youth, especially in women, but reality tells a different story—as does gravity.

Plus, it’s 2022, and gals of all ages perhaps aren’t so eager to devour books steadfastly focused on, and stagnantly obsessed with, virginity in young women—I wasn’t back in 1978.

While the NA genre may tend to involve themes similar to YA, it also expands and explores consequences of life as one enters and navigates young adulthood. NA allows for more adult depictions of real-life situations—and steamier sex.

As the article states, NA books also fall into all categories of fiction, with NA and magic working well together. Readers of YA paranormal fantasy, for instance, are searching for books to escape real life, but also desire more adult-themed content.

And here I’d been worried about how I was going to pull off writing a speculative paranormal fantasy series with my next generation of aliens on Earth. Characters who enter their early twenties after only four years of childhood and learn the ways of the world as quickly as they age into adults.

My Red Orbiter females don’t have time to pussyfoot around and play nice about life experiences. They’re going to full-bore embrace what the world—and galaxy—has to offer. No holds barred, with precious little sweet YA angst. Because they aren’t mere young adults, they are new adults. Look out Earth.

In the meantime, readers of the Other Worldly series will get to know them as precocious and entertaining kids, coming-of-age into the terrible teen years. Giving this author and her older-adult protagonist Rowan Layne many reasons to belly laugh as I finish the sixth novel, Altogether Alien coming early next year, as well as the final two before embarking on this new genre, this NA adventure.

At my full-moon age, maybe the challenge really will make a new adult out of me. I don’t want to be 17, 21, or even 30 years old again, but I can vividly remember what it was like, and write about it like it was yesterday.



4 thoughts on ““New Adult” Breathes New Life into Stagnant “Young Adult” Genre”

    1. Hi Ellen,
      Good to hear from you. I slowed down a bit during my move last winter, so book 5, Alien Sensation, didn’t publish until this past June. Book 4, Being Alien from autumn 2021, is mostly set in Scotland and I’ve managed to introduce several characters with Scottish brogues. Are you still doing voice work? I haven’t tackled audio books yet, likely to be a challenge 🙂 I return (or Rowan Layne returns) to Scotland for a jaunt (and more accents) in the upcoming Altogether Alien.

  1. i usually avoid NA, when it first came out it was like reading teenage porn to me. High school characters living on their own, or rebelling stringently, and having lots of sex because it was there.
    I don’t know if it was because my High School career was so different, but I just couldn’t put myself in the character pov. And like I said, all the underage sex made me feel like I was reading teen porn.
    I have found some authors that have aged their characters, and they are in real life situations, and I don’t mind them at all. Those are very good.
    So, I guess, like with any other book, it it not a matter of the branding, the cover, but about the writing and the story itself.

    Can’t wait to read yours.

    1. I don’t plan to write explicit sex scenes. But I’m not shying away from the subject and never will. It’ll be a while before I get to the NA books about the next generation, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

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