Are they only young adult books with more sex in it?
If you ever spend a considerable amount of time on Goodreads, chances are you’ve seen book covers with shirtless guys or couple almost kissing on it. Say hi to new adult fiction!
My first encounter with new adult (NA) fiction was back on 2014. I got my Kindle and browsed through Amazon. I can’t remember exactly what my first book was, but I think it was either Addicted to You by Krista and Becca Ritchie or More Than This by Jay McLean. Since then, I never look back and continue adding NA books to my Kindle. I don’t remember how I found these books either. I’m pretty sure if you browse through Amazon or Goodreads, they are categorized under Romance or even Young Adult.
New Adult: Yes They Are Mature, But It’s Not All About Sex
Again, I don’t remember how I heard the term New Adult, but all I know is there was a sort of bad connotation that come with this label. There are people who think that NA is only young adult books with sexthrown in it. Hmmm, definitely not.
For those of you who are not familiar with this genre, new adult books are usually books that follow the story of university/college-aged students. While most of the books focus on romance, this genre is definitely more than that. Yes, the books contain more mature content than YA books but mature in this case is not only about sex. NA books talk about issues – all the good, the bad, and the ugly.
New Adult Focuses on Deeper Issues
Some of my favourite new adult books talk about issues that we don’t usually get to hear about. Addicted to You by Krista and Becca Ritchie talks about alcohol and sex addiction. More Than This by Jay McLean talks about grief. Wait For You by J. Lynn talks about sexual assault. These were not the topic often discussed in YA books – or at least the ones I read back then.
From hundreds of NA books I’ve read, majority of them talks about the following topics; the coming-of-age experience, mental health, sex and sexuality and relationships. Some even goes further into social and political issues. But most importantly, NA books discusse the emotional growth one goes through during that period of one’s life. How they choose to react and engage with the situation playing out in their lives.
New Adult Gives You Perspectives on Adulting
New adult books tackle these topics and sometimes go even deeper. One reason why NA is so attractive to me is because it discusses the bad and the ugly. How does one deal after going through traumatic experience? How does one learn to love again after all the ugly experiences? Not every character in NA are damsel in distress or come from a comfortable family. New adult books talk about the struggle people go through in life. I don’t find many perfect or flawless characters in NA books. We get to see all the flaws; how they react to situations and of course, how the situations shaped them.
Maybe because I first started reading the book when I was in university, relatability was the main reason I keep on reading this genre. I could relate to the feelings and experiences these characters go through. To me, new adult books represent life. They tell someone’s story from a specific time in their life. They talk about someone’s experience. I think in reality, university/college is really the first time for majority of us in terms of experiencing the world. Think about your first wild party, your university experience, and maybe even your first serious boyfriend. These are part of new adult stories; people’s first experiences in navigating the world – in making choices and decision as adults. And I guess that what makes these books so attractive for people who are adulting for the first time in their life.
So yes, new adult books are more mature than young adult fiction but there are so much more in them beyond sex.