by Charlotte Black
I don't write many blogs that aren't book related but now is the time for a quick word about the New Adult genre that is picking up pace around the world. This is entirely my own opinion and I'd love to know what you think.
Many of us reviewers of Young Adult books have seen and witnessed the emergence of this new genre, New Adult. Not quite full on Adult romance, a little spicy description about sex, and the emergence of adulthood in its freshest form. For me the Young Adult genre is getting a little jaded. I've read so many books, whether its angels, vampires, werewolves or some different supernatural content, and the stories just aren't that original any more. Maybe that's why we're all switching over to New Adult.
As reviewers we look back on our teens through the books we've read but as reviewers we're growing up too. We want to read more about the next step and 18-26 years olds coping with new facets of life. I think this is the reason why so many college romances are now topping the Amazon charts. Together with Amazons new category for college romance I can see this genre being more popular than YA. Most of the books so far are contemporary which isn't a bad thing. Recategorising many adult supernatural stories that feature women of the said age group will take time but there are lots out there already.
The problems I'm having with New Adult so far are a repetition of tropes. Tropes that are being used more often are as follows:
Girl has some kind of accident/incident when faced with rip-roaring gorgeous guy. Yes, we all know Ana fell on her knees, Eva fell back on her ass when viewing the extremely dazzling specimen of a man. Not only does this come over as used more frequently but it does dumb down the self confidence that is supposed to be growing for our heroine. Let's face it, it rarely happens in real life. Most of us would look away, or run in the opposite direction from embarrassment. Or just say something really obsurd!
Hints of BDSM. Again lots of authors are falling into the trap of hinting a spicy exotic story when really it isn't anything like it. The only reason I can think is authors are plying for sales, enticing us to want more. Sex sells, we all know that. A good example of this is in a sequel I've recently read of a self-published author who has reached the New York Bestsellers list for her two books. I'm not denying she deserves the accolades. But what does annoy me is when a male protag says something such as “If you tell me that you’ll give yourself to me, I’ll be taking you completely. I’ll have you in every way a man can take a woman. I’ll put you on that bed, or anywhere, for that matter, and I’ll f*** you until you beg me to stop. I’ll take everything you have and then some. You asked me what I need and this is it. I need you. All of you.” Yep, pretty hot and steamy. However! It doesn't happen. They go on building their relationship and its all a little bit of a let down. Authors, don't make promises you can't keep. Yes, we all want to be lured in by a hot male dominant man (I do anyway!) but keep it real.
Sexual abuse. A pretty nasty topic that has affected us, whether it be a friend or someone we know. Again, I'm reading about this more and more and now feel I'm almost an expert on the subject but only from descriptions. One well known author recently wrote a book that broke the rules on this. A sexual act happened, a rape, but because of her parents 'image' the guy got away with it and nobody was charged or indeed prisoned for the vile act. The girl was 14 years old and so that is really unbelievable. Especially in USA, or indeed anywhere in the world. The slightest hint of sexual abuse and the 'system' would be all over the culprit like a bad rash once police are involved. So, in my opinion, the rules and laws shouldn't be flaunted for the sake of a story. Books are supposed to enlight and promote self-confidence. One reader may feel that she too doesn't want to deal with the aftermath of a sexual attack and keep it hidden. It isn't a very good example of what to do.
I've written a couple of dislikes into recent reviews of books that are too similar. Authors of this genre are falling into a trap and must be careful not to overdo the same characteristics of already famous books. Otherwise New Adult will implode fairly quickly and that would be a shame.
Yes, this is a new age for reading and reviewing and I'm excited by this genre, I want to read more and more of it and I hope publishers reward us with more beguiling stories in the years to come. Young Adult will always be very special to me as a genre and I will continue to read it but as I wrote earlier, I think I've just grown up again!