It’s no secret that people of all ages love reading Young Adult (YA) books even though they’re meant for ages 12 to 18, but New Adult (NA) fiction is the best genre you’ve never heard of.
Targeted at ages 18 to 30, New Adult bridges the age gap between Young Adult and Adult novels.
NA deals with common themes of self-discovery, emerging independence, and complicated relationships, but without the backdrop of high school hallways or impending middle age. Protagonists are college students and recent graduates — no college application angst. They have their own apartments — no white picket fences yet. Sometimes they’re single parents. Sometimes they have never had a partner at all.
With its older audience, it can also take more risks than YA. NA often contains bold sexual content and explores mental health struggles like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicide. There are also hints of subjects that would bore older adults to sleep but feel all too real to 20-somethings, like financial independence.
Here are 10 NA novels you don’t want to miss.
'Easy' is the quintessential NA book, and in many ways set the standard for what a good one is.
Sophomore Jacqueline narrowly escapes an attempted assault thanks to a mysterious boy who sits in the back of her econ class. As she learns more about him, she also learns to fight back. '
As a former undergraduate academic adviser, Webber's depiction of campus life is spot-on. Every college-aged person should read this book, both for its important lessons about consent and the swoon-inducing romance between Jacqueline and Lucas.
An NA classic that straddles YA, 'Slammed' weaves breathtaking poetry through a deeply romantic story shaped by loss, confusion, and hope.
Layken and Will immediately hit it off after their first date to a poetry slam. When the truth comes out about who they both are, they're forced to remain apart and communicate only through stolen moments and rhythmic lines.
There will be more Colleen Hoover to come in this roundup, since she's an incredibly prolific NA author who seems to pop out books faster than her beloved 'CoHorts' can read them.
This book screams NA. Post-graduation solo travel? Check. Relationships with best friends changing when you no longer live in the same place? Check. Wanting to please your parents but be your own person? Check. Feeling inadequate when you don't have your life together the way you thought you would? Check.
Getting lost, but ultimately understanding yourself better as a result? But of course.
25-year-old Tamila Soroush has three months to find an American husband before her visa expires and she has to return to Iran. After experiencing the freedom of wind in her hair on a motorbike, meeting a charming Starbucks barista, and finding support and friendship in her English class, she's more determined than ever to find a way to stay in America -- and stay true to herself.
Anyone who's ever had to balance others' expectations with their own dreams will find a kindred spirit in Tami.
Avery escaped her small Texas town to attend college thousands of miles away in West Virginia. She just wants to keep her head down and rebuild her future after viscious rumours nearly ruined her.
The last thing she expects, or wants, is campus demigod Cameron Hamilton's attention. But that's just what she gets, and he doesn't give up easily.
Unlike many books that cast the love interest as a friendly but persistant stalker, Cam's affection comes across as sincere and endearing. It's a refreshing take on the 'broken girl learns to love again due to the unrelenting efforts of a hunky boy' trope.
It starts with a bet. If Eastern University's 'walking one-night-stand' Travis Maddox loses, he has to remain abstinent for a month. If the prim, cardigan-wearing Abby Abernathy loses, she has to live with him for a month.
They say opposites attract, but it's a disaster waiting to happen.
Sydney's boyfriend cheated on her with her best friend. Then she meets Ridge, a gorgeous, thoughtful, guitar-playing songwriter who is deaf. And has a girlfriend. Uh oh.
At least their entangled, slow-building relationship gives them plenty to write songs about.
The coolest part is that a singer-songwriter named Griffin Peterson actually wrote the music that appears in the book. You can download the tracks with a QR code that comes tucked into the cover, or listen along with links in the ebook version.
Twin sisters Cath and Wren have been huge Simon Snow fans since they were little (a thinly-veiled reference to the Harry Potter fandom). Now that they're in college, Wren wants to leave all of that behind, while Cath continues to bury herself in writing fanfiction. Will she learn to make it on her own and start writing her own stories?
Rowell's understanding of fandoms and nerd culture shines through, resulting in a funny, awkward, and poignant coming-of-age story.
Evie, Krista, and Willow are your typical 20-somethings trying to make ends meet in New York City. When a fairy godmother presents them with a potion that grants them supermodel looks, their careers and personal lives skyrocket into success.
But pretty always has an ugly side, and magical realism always has a catch.
Every genre has its cliches, right? From protagonist Cammie's 'troubled past' to her 'slightly-less-attractive best friend' Enid to stumbling into the rich, brooding love interest's arms at a party who has stubble 'like black pepper tossed artfully over an omlette,' Morgan lovingly but ruthlessly skewers NA fiction.
Think 'Not Another Teen Movie,' but in book form.
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