February 24, 2014

Less Wham-Bam, More Thank You Ma'am: ROW80

As promised last Wednesday in my New Adult Fears post, today it's all about the New Adult genre.

To summarize, my daughter recently inquired about New Adult... a new genre she'd heard about and noticed me reading. She reads all the time and prefers paranormal/fantasy. Basically, she's exhausted most of her YA options. She thought NA would be a solution. 

However, here's what I've discovered about NA.

So far it's basically adult romance. There, I said it. 

When I first saw "new" before adult, I thought it meant the target audience would be newer or almost adults (high schoolers). Since young adult is read by late elementary and early middle school students, I thought this would be a genre to bridge the gap between that and reading full adult books.

Not so. It's more that new = contemporary. Quite frankly, if these books are depicting 20-year-old romance today, my daughters are not allowed to leave the house until they are 35.

I don't want my 8th grader, almost 14, to be reading some of the sex scenes I've read in NA. From what I've read so far, it's romance light and kinky heavy. Some have bordered on erotica light. It's too much wham-bam and not enough thank-you-Ma'am. 

To clarify, I'm 41. I don't need every romance scene to be knight-in-shining-armor. That's unrealistic. But sex should be respectful and at least a little sweet. Right?

Another thing I don't need (for myself or my daughter)... the use of the F word for shock value only or as a sex come-on. Sure, if I drop a freaking cinder block on my foot, you are getting the F word. If I'm trying to land a date with some hot dude, not so much.

One last complaint... too often the writing is similar to YA (less details, word choice, less maturity) with just the aforementioned additions. Is NA simply a way to amp up YA sex and language?

Please note, I support all authors and know some great ones who write NA. It's just a confusing genre for me, particularly as a mom.

If I'm missing something, please let me know. And I might be a little old-fashioned, although I cringe at the word.


A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) Update

It's Monday, and time for my check in. My family and I went to DC this weekend for my husband's brother's wedding. What fun! But I'm definitely in catch-up mode this week. My main goal is to focus on my Tala Prophecy novella. Wish me luck!

Oh, and I thought I'd share a picture of me and my three daughters from the wedding.


Unknown said...

NA isn't YA. It's about the experiences of college-aged characters. While there are some similarities between the two, they are still different categories. NA isn't the same as adult fiction. It's more like a bridge between the two age groups. The experiences of someone who is thirty is different to that of a nineteen year old (who is living away from home for the first time). And sex isn't necessary in NA. It depends on the story and genre (i.e NA contemporary romance verses NA thriller).

Tia Bach said...

Stina, Thanks for stopping by. I realize NA isn't YA, but I was comparing it on a writing level and as a maturity to a new genre from YA.

And I like the idea that NA covers those transitional years, but so far the NA books I've read have all been sex-based (versus trying to find out what kind of adult one would like to be). Granted, those are the books I've read, and I look forward to finding more NA. So far, I've really only seen NA romance. Then again, it's a newer genre. And I get a lot of books to review, so maybe I'm a magnet for romance right now. ;-)

Thanks again for your thoughts and for reading my post today. It's TRULY appreciated. Hope you'll be back.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for saying this! I have wondered myself. I'm sure there are some great NAs, so I'm hoping you get some recommendations here that really deal with 20-something/college-age issues. Because that really could be a treasure trove for story.

Have a marvelous week! And have your daughters read the Cinder, Scarlet, Cress series? I recently finished that third one and highly recommend this sci-fi fantasy, and no sex scenes or F-words in them. :)

Tia Bach said...


I feel confident that NA will find it's groove, and I love stories focused on early adulthood--it's a transition with lots of meaty potential for story.

Thanks for the book recommendation. Cinder has been on my TBR list, so I need to move it up in the pile.

So appreciate you stopping by!

krystal jane said...

I know people are trying to change the romance-dominate NA reputation, but it'll probably be a while before we see that change across the board. I have quite a few books that fall under that broader category, but you'd have to sift through the general fiction and fantasy sections for them.

There's this one blog, I think it's throughthegateway.blogspot.com, she reviews a ton of YA and NA every week, you might be able to find something there. She also writes NA, YA, and MG.

People do tend to read up when they're younger. It kind of goes backwards once you reach 20 or so though.

Anonymous said...

I find it confusing, too. People say it's about the transition between high school and adulthood, which is great... but right now, it seems that if I labelled a book as NA and it wasn't full of graphic sex scenes, I'd be getting one and two star reviews, no matter how great the book was otherwise or how relevant to that stage of life. The blogs I follow that review NA are all about the steamy sex scenes, and many people review poorly written books well as long as they're kinky enough to get the reader off. I'm sure there are plenty of NA readers and reviewers who are interested in plots that don't involve sex sex SEX, I just haven't run into any of them. Actually, I didn't know there was NA outside of romance. I'll have to look up some other genres.

Not saying there's anything wrong with sex in books, BTW-- I love it if it's well done. But it is sad that that's all a lot of readers look for when they see a book labelled NA.

I've actually moved a character's age back into YA territory on a novel because I know there's not enough sex for it to sell (and be well-reviewed) as NA.

Jo Michaels said...

NA is NA because of the age of the characters (17-24ish). Problem is, this is the time of life you're starting to experiment with things like sex. College age kids are away from their parents for the first time and they tend to misbehave more than your average YA characters. :)

If she hasn't read it already, hand her a copy of The Bird. It's an NA/ChickLit crossover that has the situations of finding your man with another woman but not going into gritty details about what happened behind closed doors.

Many NA authors, in my personal opinion, get too hung up on giving all the details about sex. I firmly believe it's better (unless you're writing erotica) to let your reader keep their imagination active.

NA gives allowances for language and situations that wouldn't be appropriate for YA readers (think the Mystic series). I think more can be taken from the genre if writers would stop trying to include erotic moments in grisly detail. I also think it would become more appropriate to let NA curious teens read it if the F bomb weren't dropped so dang often. It's completely unnecessary to use it in every other sentence. High-stress situation? Okay, I get it. That's just reality, like you said. But all the time? Come on.

Romance is a popular genre so, an NA/Romance crossover is to be expected. But I think there's a fine line there.

M (which you read the first few chapters of) will be NA/Urban Fiction. So I think it takes finding the right author. I'm sure there are more. :)

Maybe we can start a revolution? :)

Viva la Resistance! hehe

If she likes suspense and medical thrillers, hand her a Robin Cook novel. Better yet, give her something by Michael Crichton (WOW!). Invasion, Blind Sight, Chromosome 6, etc...

Guess what you won't find in those "adult" novels I listed? Foul language, gratuitous sex scenes, or anything like that. Just good, old fashioned, storytelling by masters of the craft.

Maybe she should skip NA and go right to adult? LOL!!

Remember this: When your parents forbade you to read a certain book, what did YOU do? :)