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New Adult Books Gain Popularity

Updated on June 10, 2016

Friday Night Alibi by Cassie Mae

Friday Night Alibi, Cassie Mae
Friday Night Alibi, Cassie Mae

The New Adult Fiction Line

We are familiar with teen fiction and the steady booming young adult line. So what the heck is New Adult?

It is:

  • Fiction that appeals to an audience between ages 18 and 25.
  • Protagonist could be female or male.
  • Protagonist does not live with parents anymore.
  • Protagonist may be in college or already in their career.
  • The sex scenes are more explicit.
  • Life situations are more intense.
  • There seems to be no real ending…their new life is just beginning.

New Adults Cross a Bridge to Discovery


New Adult Versus the Teens

As you are reading a New Adult book, you are thrust into a world filled with college campuses, hot guys or girls, new romance and some intense drama. This is not your normal teen drama although they are very similar.

For example, in the New Adult title, Crashing Into You, the protagonist, a 22 year old female was involved in a car crash right after she and her boyfriend had intercourse in the car. A few years later,she is still deeply affected by the accident but she wants her roommate's handsome boyfriend and contemplates moving into her own apartment in the summer.

Do these issues match those of teens?


But the major difference is the drinking age, the independence of living away from home and new sexual feelings which are explored in New Adult books.

Teen books "fade to black", meaning the plot does not involve heavy sex or sex at all(some do). Think of Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games. Those books are focused on sweet, high school romance, some angst and the need for freedom are played out as well.

New Adults have freedom, but it is kind of hard to fill those adult shoes. It is new territory.

Young Adult Books Are Still Popular


As the above infographic show, teen/young adult books are still wildly popular. Divergent will be coming to theaters in 2014, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, may be made into a show(jury still out on that one) and fans still crank out Twilight fan fiction and are hungry for more Hunger Games.

New Adult Fiction may have to play catch up. But there are a few potential problems with distributing New Adult books.

New and Upcoming New Adult Fiction Titles

  • Burn, Dawn Steele
  • Break My Fall, J.T. Cameron
  • Entangled, S.E. Hall
  • Elect, Rachel Van Dyken (Dec 10, 2013)
  • Before We Fall, Courtney Cole(Dec. 3, 2013)
  • Unsettled, S.C. Ellington(Jan. 1, 2014)

According to Dr. Laura Berman,

Many parents and teachers are not comfortable with mature plot lines in young adult fiction, even if it is placed in the category of New Adult. And, it is important to make sure that the content is separated from traditional YA in school libraries and bookstores alike(See "Are Your Teens Ready for New Adult Fiction?)

So for starters, distributing the books to school libraries will be questionable. There are YA novels that include foul language and sex already, so why New Adult books shouldn't be allowed in some schools is confusing.

However, distribution to high schools(since some teens will be around 18 years of age) should be okay.

Here's another issue: Marketing.

How can New Adult Fiction be marketed? Who will it be marketed to?

Publishers, market researchers and writers alike face this problem. The target audience are the fresh faces who will be entering college soon, or immediately into their new life whatever that may be.

As what happens with teen fiction, adult readers who are not categorized as "new" will be reading these books as well.

I think the plan should be to promote the theme of the book. Something new adults can connect with along with a universal theme we all can identify with.

New Adult Books in High Schools

Do You Think New Adult Fiction Should Be Available in High Schools?

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Understanding New Adult Fiction: Camy Tang and Christopher Pike

Now that I realize what New Adult truly is, many books I have read in the past could have been classified as such.

  • Christopher Pike's The Last Vampire
  • Camy Tang's Sushi Series

These two authors are vastly different. Camy Tang is a Christian author, yet her characters are female cousins who are past the age of 18 but younger than thirty and they experience love, relationship changes with family and they have their own careers and homes. Pike, chose a five thousand year old vampire to be the protagonist and she goes back to high school, yet there is enough blood, gore and sexually suggestive scenes not quite appropriate for younger audiences.

In other words, in New Adult books, marriage is a distinct possibility as well as children-unless you are a vampire.

Confused yet?

Don't be. The key to understanding this category is to think about your own life. Remember when you were eighteen and you began mouthing off more to your parents?

Had to fill out forms on your own?

Friends became enemies, enemies friends?

Or, you were in your twenties and decided college was not for you and decided to go to work or maybe school part time?

Or, you had a steady boyfriend/girlfriend and were engaged or thinking about it? Maybe already married?

That is new adult territory. All the new terrain of life to be explored. The hurdle from middle school to young adult has been passed, but you must now think how your parents do. You have to decide what sex means to you. How important is it? How much do you consider your worth?

Is college right for you?

Do you really understand your family and friends like you thought you did?

Hub Update: Writer's Digest just offered more exciting information on reaching the New Adult market.

How Well Have You Read This Article on New Adult Fiction?

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    • Ericajean profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      @Li Perry: Thanks for reading! Yes, it is a very nice category to read- the characters are moving onward from high school and face different issues. There are so many out there now. Just visit Goodreads :)

    • Li Perry profile image

      Li Perry 

      4 years ago

      Very interesting and informative! Thanks so much for posting. I had no idea this new genre was even available. I can't even begin to say when was the last time I picked up a book. It seems there is never enough time in the day. I will have to stay on the look out for them. Thanks again!

    • Ericajean profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Hi wsmittick, thanks for the comment! And yes, teenagers and moms should know what literature is out there. I personally love the stories.

    • wsmittick profile image

      Wendy Smittick 

      5 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thanks for educating me on a topic which I knew nothing about. I have a 15 year old so this is very timely.

    • Ericajean profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Yes, Homeplace, thanks!

      Yes, there are new categories springing up and it can be daunting to keep up with. I particularly gravitated towards New Adult because it reminds me of my own college days and the stories are more intense-not to say teen books aren't.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Useful and interesting information. Hard to keep up with all the new genre designations! ;-)

    • Ericajean profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you so much, Ocfireflies,

      The marketing and distribution angle became important as I wrote the hub. I will try to research more on this.

    • Ericajean profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thanks Eiddwen! I plan on writing plenty more :)

    • Eiddwen profile image


      5 years ago from Wales

      Very interesting. Voting up and looking forward to many more by you.


    • ocfireflies profile image


      5 years ago from North Carolina

      You have written on a very important topic sparking conversations in many homes and school districts. I agree with you that theme should be the focus of marketing the books so folks can make a more informed decision.

      Much Enjoyed,



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