What in the world is the new genre of books called New Adult? Let's talk about it.
The label was first used in 2009 when St. Martin’s Press hosted a contest looking for stories that could be marketed to both YA readers and adult readers. The contest described for new adult fiction as books “with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience.” That audience is the 18 to 25 year old group.
Actually, they're crossover books that older readers favor as well. Because they're "new adults," the characters are dealing with adult issues for the first time: first job, first home, first relationship. Therefore, New Adult fiction focuses on young people, college age, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the modern adult world.
Gayle Forman's Just One Day and Just One Year are companion books that track the same event and its consequences from two points of view.
Maureen Johnson's The Madness Underneath (Putnam) is the second in the Shades of London series.
Of course, the question on everyone's lips is, "Isn't there lots of sex in these books?" The answer is, "Yes, some. But that's not all there is to them." This genre reflects young people of today and, I suspect, of yesterday as well. After all, human nature hasn't changed in millennia. What has changed are expectations of young people. But that is a different topic for a different day.