New Adult - new genre or marketing gimmick?

We have seen the tremendous growth and popularity of Young Adult fiction, but have you ever wondered what books appeal to those on the threshold of leaving school? Do they go straight to reading books written for adults? Are there authors who write with this audience in mind? or do they just read whatever they can get their hands on?

For some time now the publishing market has been abuzz with this newly targeted audience of New Adult (NA). It’s not quite clear if the term New Adult refers to a new genre, a subgenre or a new reading category. Marketing gimmick or not, this term has given publishers and authors a new mission.

According to Wikipedia, St Martin’s Press in 2009 is believed to have come up with this term. Generally speaking New Adult books target 18-25 year olds, although some believe they could appeal to anyone between the ages of 14 to 35.

New Adult is fast catching on for writers. Content usually deals with protagonists finding their way around life post school; finding out who they are, choosing careers and dealing with relationships. As some NA books deal with more mature themes such as sexual relationships, terms such as ‘smut fiction’ have caused some debate. Secondary school librarians may want to look at the titles on an individual basis if considering including in a collection.

What do you think... Marketing hype, or a genuine publishing gap? Are senior students in your school comfortable choosing from the existing wide range of YA and adult fiction out there or will NA?

For more information check out NA Alley, one of the first websites dedicated to NA fiction.


By Janice Rodrigues

Janice is a Librarian (Online Services) with Services to Schools.

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