What The New Adult Genre Means To Me


When I began writing Eternal Vigilance, I decided that my main character should be college age. One of the reason for this is her journey from teen to adult is threatened by the intrusion of things into her life that she can’t control. I think one of the challenges in personal development at this age is the acceptance that the progression into a new adult life isn’t always going to go to plan. Okay, not normally due to supernatural interference but hey, it could happen… My heroine has to let go of the inflexible attitude she has to how she sees her adulthood in order to develop. I am also fed up with heroines in YA paranormal romances dropping at the feet of the first inexplicably beautiful supernatural guy they come across. If she has big plans, why give them up for someone so readily?

At the point I began to query, I considered my novel as a fit for the Young Adult genre because it wasn’t quite Adult. Until I came across the New Adult genre. I scratched my head for a while, read a few articles and I still think that there is a fine line between New Adult as a marketing tool and as a genre.

The best discussion I’ve read is an article in the School Library Journal by Angela Carstensen. The article is here . She describes it as:

The basic idea of New Adult is to create and promote a body of literature about the post-teenaged, emerging adult experience, aimed at readers aged 16 – 29.

I’ve seen NA described as YA with more sex and swearing or as books catering for the YA readers who’ve ‘outgrown’ YA books as they’ve got older. But I remember reading books years ago that I don’t think would be included in YA now because of subject matter but were in the “Teen” section back in the day.

Personally, I find the best way of thinking about NA compared to Adult or YA is the journey of the characters. NA characters are focused a little more on the here and now – new jobs, college, new relationships etc with very little thought of marriage, children, fully-fledged ‘adult’ issues etc found in some of the Adult genre. Sure, there’ll be more sex  “allowed” than in YA but please don’t dumb it down to just that.



  1. Rebecca says

    Great post, Lisa. And a clear way of explaining the differences between genres. Look forward to your next post.

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