I took a pretty hefty hiatus last year from the blog, and when I returned, I was quite surprised to find this quiet, steady little genre that I'd only previously heard inklings of had exploded into the next big thing. For some reason though, despite the fact that I really wanted to lose myself in the new adult (NA) genre, as well, I felt a significant disconnect, and I haven't been able to bring myself to read past a few failed attempts at reading the NA genre.
I'd never be so bold as to say that there is anything wrong with the genre because it's clearly exploding. Authors like Cora Carmack, Jamie McGuire and Colleen Hoover are now household names because they've bridged that gap between YA and adult books, and I think that's awesome. I'll be the first person to say that something was seriously lacking there because we saw YA ending at 17, and then we kind of watched it taper off, losing a lot of potential stories in the process.
In 2009, St. Martin's Press sought out something new that read similarly to young adult fiction, but could be marketed to a more adult crowd, hence a changing in the perception of adult novels and developing a diverse "new adult" market. Guys, I'm all for NA books! Truly, I am. I think it's fantastic when publishers and authors can recognize that something is missing on the market and offer something to entice new readers who might have otherwise felt overlooked.
Here's my thing though...from my perspective, I found a lot of the NA books I tried to simply be hyper-sexualized purely for the sake of giving readers more than we might find in YA. Yes, I realize that my viewpoint is narrow, and I'm missing out on a lot of great stories, which is why I'm actually posting this. I think the new adult fiction has an incredible and fairly untapped potential. Some authors have truly captured the essence of this coming-of-age genre in which characters discover life in the real world, sexual experiences and true growth. Others, however, (and perhaps just the few ones I've read) took the genre at face-value, giving us alpha-males with meek women, an over-abundance of sex and little growth.
What I'm hoping to discover in starting to delve into the genre is a wide range of stories that offer all of the above and more. I'd love to read a book with a female (or male) protagonist that's discovering the trials and tribulations of life as a new adult. I want to watch these characters really delve into their true characters, learning about who they are as individuals, who they are in relationships and what they have to offer all those around them. I want to see tasteful, exciting discoveries in which these characters really come into their own as adults - and I want to hopefully not see all these things too heavily blanketed in a plethora of just sex.
So, lovely readers, lay it on me. What new adult titles have you read that really surprised you with their depth and insight? Trust me, I really do want to set aside my self-imposed aversion to the genre!