Sunday, June 29, 2014

New Adult or Still Adult

I've recently been reading a genre I typically  avoid like the plague.

New Adult.

The covers almost always have a close up shot of young twenty somethings, looking like a sexy American Eagle Outfitters ad.
Crop is just a bit and this
one is ready to be a book cover

They could do full shot
or just a close up for this one

Seriously, they have to be using
 the same models as AE  for New Adult novels

The stories are drowning in selfish bad choices and angst. The female lead characters annoy me. The male lead characters seem like they're in their idiot phase of their early twenties, no matter how old they really are.

The characters are often going through shit I either can't relate to or have mentally blocked now that I'm firmly in my thirties, and my son will soon be a tween. Most New Adult is like Young Adult novels, but with two-seconds-to orgasm sex.

This is just the stereotype.

There are some out of many that I like. Then there are some that I would like to call bullshit on. It's come to my attention the moniker 'New Adult' is being vastly overused. Vastly. Overused.

I get it.

Associating your book with New Adult gets the young readers in the door. Those young readers are nuts with OCD and adore making the shinny e-character posters, blowing up GR with screaming fandom. But not all New Adult novels are New Adult novels. I've discovered, some New Adult novels are just plain old contemporary romance and I'm left calling bullshit.

This is actually a big pet peeve of mine.

You may be wondering how I can tell the difference. The definition of New Adult fiction is pretty ambiguous. Even Wiki seems to think it's shady. They even say, because of the success of the New Adult moniker, publishers have been jumping on the bandwagon and throwing titles into that category for sales.

So I'm going to tell you the difference between contemporary romance and New Adult romance, according to me;

New Adult = If you can take the sex out of a book and it would still be a coming of age type story, it's a New Adult. The plot of these books would survive if the lead character has more than one romantic interest and doesn't end up in a HEA with anyone specific at the end of the book.

Contemporary Romance = Now, if you take the sex out and it's still about the romance of a H/h   H/h that are just plain old adults in their twenties   chances are it's a contemporary romance. It's not a coming of age story. It's not about leaving home and developing their independence or sexuality. It's not about pop culture and their personal journey to adulthood. They are adults falling in love. That's it.

Are we going to start calling 99.9% of the historical romances I've read New Adult books? All those heroines are young and just discovering sex for the first time. According to Wiki those heroines fit the bill better than quite a few of these contemporaries I've been reading.

I'm going to throw Tessa Bailey under the bus, because really, she's a perfect example and everyone who has read her books and knows what I'm talking about. And, almost everyone that would be reading this blog has read her books. *If you haven't you should. Besides being missed labeled, they're really good.

She has the Line of Duty series, and a spin off from this series called Unfixable.

If you read Unfixable you have no doubt you are reading a New Adult novel. If the main character didn't have sex or didn't end up with the hero, and dated around in the book, it would still be a coming of age story. A young woman's journey to self discovery and self acceptance. She's nineteen and leaving home for the first time. She's just out of high school.

This book screams New Adult.

Now, if you are reading Protecting What's His, you would have to be told it's a New Adult. And if you are anything like me, you'd call bullshit. I rolled my eyes and gave a pfft, when I read that the Line of Duty series was New Adult.

The characters are out of their rookie adult years. For all intents and purposes they are just plain adults. The men have careers. Set careers. The women are women with career and charities. They may not be sure of what's going on in their life. They may not be winning any trophies for having their shit together. But they are still adult women.

The characters are firmly entrenched in adulthood.

When did this vague belief you're not an adult until you're thirty come about?! My cousin (bless her heart) recently posted on her FB page that she was excited about turning thirty and starting her adult years....


I love my cousin. I never wanted to smack someone upside the head more than at that moment.

Adulthood doesn't come when you've got things figured out. Adulthood doesn't mean you've got your shit together. Adulthood isn't when you finally pay off your student loans. Or when you buy a car without a co-signer. Or when you move out of your parents home.

It's certainly NOT when you turn thirty.

Call me old fashion, but I believe adulthood comes about the same time as turning eighteen, when you can legally get married, get tattooed, make poor decisions and be charged as an adult in a court of law. Those first few years after eighteen you are a 'new adult'.

Everything after that you're just an adult.

Let's not perpetuate this shit. Let's call a spade a spade, and a contemporary romance a contemporary romance.

Happy Adult Romance Reading!

So, I would love to know, does this drive you crazy too or are you impervious to genre labeling? Or are you filled with giddy glee each time you see something labeled New Adult?

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