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New Adult -- yay or nay?

Brenda St John Brown

A writer friend posted a question yesterday in one of the fab FB groups I'm part of asking what we, as authors, felt was the state of New Adult romance? Most of us in the group have written at least one NA book; some have written several. But, the overwhelming response about NA today was...meh. This group, which is admittedly small, is writing in other categories and genres and reading very selectively within New Adult.

Myself included. New Adult is classified as stories about characters between 18-25. Because of the age group, they've stereotypically become a lot sexier than their Young Adult counterparts (although there is plenty of sex in YA, I know) but focusing on experiences or settings outside "adult" fiction -- college, internships, first jobs. My first ever (forever unpublished) book was technically New Adult -- it was a paranormal romance set in college. The setting was critical because I couldn't have parents lurking around the corner and boarding school felt like a cop-out. I queried it briefly and got some positive response, although the agent who rejected my full eventually told me, "This age group is a tough sell. If you would like to revise and resubmit as a YA, I'd be happy to take another look." I declined and moved on to other things. (Ironically, I initially wrote SWIMMING TO TOKYO as a YA and then was asked to age it UP, but that's another thing altogether.)

As a reader, I gravitated to NA like a spider to a my bathroom sink (which is FAR too common an occurrence for my liking, but again, another thing altogether). At first. But then I took a look at my DNF stats and they were nearly all NA. Which made me sad. But it also made me get more and more selective in my one-click habit until my NA purchases have become a rare exception -- either those highly rec'd by someone I know and trust, or actually written by someone I know and trust.

So my question at the end of this long rambling is -- what's the state of NA for you as a reader? Do you still love it or has it had its day? Do you think NA Romance is better simply classified as "romance" or is there still a hole in the category lists that can only be filled by calling it New Adult?