Saturday, 9 February 2013

New Adult: What Would Be On the Shelves?

(This post is kind of the second in a very loose series. You don't HAVE to read the original post I did on New Adult, but you may want to. You can find it here.)

One of the big things that come up when New Adult is discussed is what about books already released? If, someday, bookstores start having a section for New Adult books, would that selection be limited to books already out, or would we have to reclassify books that have been released previously? And then how can you even tell which books to classify? Seriously, what would be on those shelves?

What Do We Do With Series?

Well, that's hard to say. Because, in my mind at least, a lot of books I'd reclassify are parts of a series.
One example? The Jessica Darling series. I haven't read them, but I know it starts out with Jessica in high school and by the end, she's firmly in college. From what I've heard, the first few books are more YA, but the last few would be more NA.

Another example would probably be Where She Went. If I Stay was very YA to me, but Where She Went was later on. The characters are in college. It just felt more like a NA novel to me. 

I asked twitter for help and was told that Anatomy of a Single Girl, the sequel to Anatomy of a Boyfriend, felt a lot like a NA book, even though the first book felt very much like a YA book.

In these cases, would you have to split up the series? Would you have to shelve a few copies in both places? Would you just have to say screw it and pick one place?

The Iffy Books

With some books, it's just plain hard to tell, to be honest.

Someone gave me the example of Psych Major Syndrome. The title gives away that this is a book set in college, but it's marketed as YA. It feels like a YA book. But it's in college. So, where does it really belong?

And then there are books like Just One Day. This takes place in the summer before Allyson/LuLu goes to college, so you can't really use setting as a guide. It's the kind of book that also feels like it could fit in either category. There's nothing to really describe the feeling and atmosphere of Just One Day.

Going Too Far is about a high school girl and a police officer, so obviously an adult. How does THAT one work? YA? NA? Upon further thought, quite a few of Jennifer Echols books fall in that weird, in between category. The two I've read definitely do.

Something Like Normal (which, I hadn't considered before someone else brought it up but...yeah) is about characters out of college and some more grown up subjects, but it's considered YA.

The Ivy is set in college, but it reads like a YA. On the other hand, Pushing the Limits is set in high school, but deals with some more grown up issues and certainly has a bit of a racier feel (even though I've already discussed that shouldn't MAKE a book NA, it can be a factor). Flat-Out Love is set in college, but there's a mix of beliefs on if it's YA or NA.

Factor in fantasy, dystopia, sci-fi, alternate universes...basically anything not set in this world, and it becomes harder to define. There's rarely a school system like ours for comparison and ages can be vague. How do you tell? You're stuck entirely on judging by the voice of the story.

Straight Up ReDefining

Some books, people just agree could be redefined. Maybe it's not a universal opinions, but it's obvious to some.

Examples I was given include The Starboard Sea, The Secret History, Raw Blue, Taking Chances, Tempest, the Secret Society Girls. These are all books that, at some point or another (...when I asked for the sake of this post on twitter), I was told could definitely be NA books.  

And what about "crossovers"? Oh the number of times I get pitched adult books because they have "crossover appeal." I think, in many cases, those book can just be called New Adult and save everyone the trouble.

And Straight Up New Adult

Then there's the obvious Tammara Webber, Abbi Glines, The Heiresses, and other authors/books that just define themselves as New Adult because...that may be where they belong.

So, yes, these are all things that have to be considered if we're going to talk about New Adult hitting bookshelves. Granted, this is something that's going to be at least a few years, if it'll happen at all. It's just something I've been mulling over since I wrote the first post and figured I'd collect here.

What do you guys think? Should books be reclassified? What about series and all of those books on the borderline of YA and NA? Any glaringly obvious books I missed? Give me some thoughts, lovelies.

--Julie

2 comments:

  1. I like the idea of New Adult. I think that creating the marketing and publishing worlds' brain space for New Adult will encourage agents and writers. I think that these books were probably hard to market because they AREN'T for teens (which is how we've defined Young Adult, interestingly) but they AREN'T for people over 30, really. Though some of us read down, most people read UP in age.

    I <a href="just read Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara</a> which was published in October. I would definitely classify that as NA.

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  2. I really think the answer is soliciting these books and then cross marketing and cross shelving them, not creating a new labeled shelf. Also, 1. you definitely need to read the Jessica Darling books, and 2. the final two are after she's out of college; altogether they span about 10 years.

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