Hi, everyone! Welcome back!
Today, I am very excited to kick off our brand new New Adult Blog Event with Belle Manuel. Belle is going to discuss the importance of the New Adult genre (especially for those of us who are hitting that peak where we don’t really relate all that much to YA.) I absolutely love her post today. I think that it’s extremely powerful and important and something that really needs to be talked about so that people understand that the NA genre is important and not scary! NA is one of my FAVORITE genres out there. Give it a shot! I hope you like today’s guest post! As always, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
Born in Louisiana, Belle Manuel spent her early years learning to be a good Cajun girl before moving to Texas. She visits Louisiana often, enjoying the quiet break from the active Texas life. When not writing, Belle enjoys crochet and crossword puzzles. Belle first began writing in middle school, where her first writing job was getting paid by other students to write stories for them. She enjoyed turning their random requests into interesting stories, and the money she made helped fund her reading habit. Fire began with an idea, but quickly took on a life of it’s own and changed as Belle wrote it. With all the adjustments and improvements, it eventually evolved into The Elemental Series.
We all love YA fiction – and why shouldn’t we? The thought of young love overcoming adversity, or a brave young character realizing they’re stronger that they ever thought possible? It’s all so wonderful to think on. But there always seems to be an issue: the stagnation of the character ages. Namely, every character within the YA realm is from 14-18, and sometimes even younger. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Enter NA fiction.
New Adult fiction is a semi-new genre that fills that hole left behind the YA world and before the AC world. The ages usually range from 18-26, more easily filling that gap for those of us who still love YA, but would like a little less ‘did I make cheer squad’ drama.
Let’s take a step back. I’m a 23 year old writer who loves Young Adult fiction, but I’m definitely growing weary of the same age group falling into the same pitfalls. It’s hard for me now to get back into the teenage mindset, since I’m out in the real world. However, if I want a character nearer to my age, I’m forced to enter into either romance territory or over complex – and yet somehow mundane – stories written by authors who have 200 books under their belts. I want the YA theme with mature overtones.
This is why NA gives readers, like myself, the things we want: fantasy and wonder, with the same young love maybe – just not high school young. NA brings old readers and new readers together, and even gives new authors – like myself – an entirely untapped audience that is quite literally chomping at the bit for a genre geared for them.
People shouldn’t doubt or hate the new, growing sub-genre of literature; it wasn’t so long ago that YA wasn’t a true genre, and now it is one of the biggest markets available. I like to think of NA as a subset of an already great genre.
We as readers need to get behind New Adult. We rallied behind Young Adult, now let’s mature with the genre and embrace the new worlds to come. Please don’t mistake my rhetoric as an insult to YA fiction – trust me my bookshelf is covered! I’m simply endorsing a new genre that deserves just as much attention. With the new genre, new authors who feel they have no market – like myself – now feel as though the doors have been flung open, ready to receive our stories of people who are still young adults, they just pay taxes now.
In my debut novel, my main characters are 18, right at the precipice of Young Adult to New Adult. They’ll be getting older within the next three novels in the series, and the stories I have saved on my hard drive are all geared for this new genre that is emerging. It’s a little more adult (less girl fights, but still a lot of turmoil) and still young (hot guys still get engines revving, just maybe in a more thought out way) while captivating readers at the same time.
It’s hard to say ‘I’m under-represented in books’ when I’m a 16 year old girl who reads about 16 year old girls. But when you get to college, and there’s still only 16 year old girls out there, you kind of feel left out. That’s how I began to feel as I perused the hundreds of books at the numerous bookstores I visit. The story would sound great, then bam: 14 year old protagonist. I don’t really relate anymore, and I know that I cannot be the only one feeling this way because the NA genre is on the rise. I think this genre will get people who stopped reading to start up again, and keep their attention until they’re fully ready to move on to adult contemporary.
But, enough about me ranting on why I love this new genre. Go read a NA novel yourself – even though they’re still classified as YA, just search for older pro- and antagonists – and you’ll see why so many people are jumping on the train. New Adult is simply Young Adult with better fashion sense, and a killer work ethic.