Discussion: Being A New Adult in the Book Community

Hi everyone! Today’s post is prompted by a lot of thoughts and feelings I’ve been having lately about my place in the online bookish community. If you follow me on twitter you may have read my thread where I talk about how weird it is to be a new adult in the book community, and this discussion post will be a bit of an expansion on that thread.

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, or even if you’ve just scrolled through my blog/social media, you’d probably see that I primarily read/post about Young Adult fiction. But I’ve recently been feeling a little discontent with YA lately, and I think it’s because of my age. YA fiction generally features characters anywhere between 12-18 years old and often explores subject matter and themes consistent with this age. A lot of YA fiction also focuses on high school related issues or is at least set in high school.

I turned 19 back in May, and I graduated from high school when I was 17. At 18, I’d done one year of university and one month before my 19th birthday, I moved out of home & to another state to live with my boyfriend. There are basically never any YA books with characters my age, let alone with my experience. But, even outside of YA there aren’t really many books that reflect my experience either. I like reading New Adult fiction (18-25 years), but so many New Adult books are mostly set in college in America and are most commonly romance novels. Also, most New Adult books I’ve read have characters in their early to mid 20s and very rarely do I find any my age. So I’m at a bit of a stage now where I’m trying to find exactly where in fiction I fit.

Not only am I trying to find where I fit in fiction, but I’m also trying to find where I fit in the online bookish community itself. I’ve been in this community for 4-5 years. I joined as a young teen (14-15) and was primarily the target audience for everything YA. However, I’m not really that target audience anymore. There’s been a lot of discussion on twitter about prioritizing younger teens (14-17) over older teens (18-19) and adults in young adult discussions. And whilst I do agree with this, I feel like there’s not enough discussion about how older teens feel sort of pushed out of YA but also how they’re not welcome in adult spaces either. I don’t mean this to derail the importance of prioritizing younger teens in YA conversations, but I do think it’s a very important discussion to be had. 18-19 feels too old for a YA protagonist but also too young for adult fiction. 18-19 year olds are told they’re not the target audience of YA anymore, but they’re not the target audience of adult fiction either. So the question lies: where do new adults fit- not just in fiction but in the community itself?

This struggle is part of the reason I wish more diverse experiences were explored in New Adult fiction. As I said previously, New Adult fiction currently is primarily romance/erotica books set in American colleges. I want to see more. Give me all the NA about messy new adults trying to find their place in the adult world- navigating their first full time jobs and moving out of home and learning how to manage their money properly so they can pay the bills. Give me all the NA about people who thought they had their life after high school sorted but hate the degree they’ve chosen so they take alternate paths. Give me all the NA about teen parents raising their kids and all the new adults travelling the world before they want to settle down.

Now that I’m beginning to feel discontent with reading YA fiction, I want to try to see how I go with some new adult and adult fiction. I have a load of anticipated 2018 YA releases that I might try to get to next year, but starting this month & continuing into the new year, I’ll be reading primarily NA/Adult. Since I’ll now primarily be reading NA/Adult, my content across all platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Blog) will be changing, so if New Adult + Adult isn’t want you’re into, I understand if you unfollow me. If you have any fave new adult/adult books you’d like me to read, definitely recommend them to me & if you know any bloggers who read mostly new adult + adult, or if you blog mostly about new adult + adult, let me know in the comments!

I thought I’d end the post with a few of the NA/Adult books I’m anticipating reading in the next few months!

na

pink

blue

m_m

Discussion

Are you a new adult in the book community? What are your thoughts on where you fit in? Also, if you have any new adult/adult book recommendations please feel free to leave them in the comments- most of the people I follow read primarily YA so I’m trying to find loads of recs.

Thanks so much for reading!

Taryn xxx

 

 

 

 

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16 thoughts on “Discussion: Being A New Adult in the Book Community

  1. iloveheartlandx says:

    I actually did a similar post just this week about this, talking to a bunch of other 20+’s in the community about our place in the community and various other things, they were all very emphatic about wanting more books about people of our age, it’s such a shame that it doesn’t seem to be a big thing when there seems to be such a demand for it, it’s just publishers don’t seem to be hearing/seeing the demand for our stories!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads says:

    I agree with sooo much of what you’ve said here! I’m 22 years old and although I still love reading YA, I do wish there were more books about people my age who are going through similar things as I am. The vast majority of new adult is, like you said, romance/erotica and that’s just not what I want to read the majority of the time. I really hope NA will diversify in the coming years.
    And I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said about fitting in the community. I completely agree that younger teens should be prioritized in the community, but it’d be nice to feel as though I actually have a place in the community. Because of my age, I often feel out of place no matter what which is unfortunate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. iliveandbreathewords says:

    I’m 23 so I guess I’d be considered a new adult but I still love YA. I’m kinda a late bloomer so I can relate to YA characters and I’m worried (perhaps mistakently) that NA/adult books would be full of characters who are 100% independent and have their lives 100% together and I’d just be like “can’t relate.” Not that I won’t read NA/adult but I only really read it if a particular book catches my attention. As for recommendations, I’d recommend Behind the Scenes/Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler, Now You See Me by SY Thompson (nsfw), and The Diplomat by Sophia French (nsfw). All happen to be ff books so clearly I have a type haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thebookcycle says:

    I relate so much to this post! I’ve been reading YA since I was in my early teens, and I’m 20 now and it makes me sad that I don’t really have the same kind of relationship anymore, both with other teen readers and with the characters in the books that I’m still reading. I want to try some NA, but I agree with your sentiment that it’s a lot of sex and not a lot of plot. I haven’t found very many NA books that I’m interested in at all. I would love some NA high fantasy, as well as all the other diverse categories you mentioned, and I wish publishers would pick up on the demand for these types of novels! I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on your blog for some recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lucille says:

    I feel this so much!! I’m 23 now and since I don’t read romance it’s really difficult to find books with characters my age, especially in SFF! But even in contemporary I’d love to read more books set in college…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lila @ Hardcover Haven says:

    I feel this sooo much! I just turned 23 and I love the genre diversity and actual diversity of YA, but I also feel like, after age 17, I couldn’t fully relate. Contemporary romance is nice, but my heart lies with fantasy and sci fi–and I’ve only ever found *two* series that are SF/F NAs which aren’t 75% sex (the ACoTAR series by Sarah J. Maas and a series by A.G. Howard). I wish there were fantasies and sci fis–or even non-romance contemporaries, for christ’s sake!–focusing on 18-25 year olds.

    And I totally get not feeling like there’s a place for you in the online community because of your age. Even at 23, people generally don’t see you as fully an “adult” and you definitely don’t feel like one, at least not in my experience or the experience of most of the people my age who I’ve talked to. It’s important that 14-17 year olds have their own space–I *truly* think that–but if we’re gonna make YA a space just for them, then I think the NA and Adult community (and genres) have to expand, adapt, and change. Many people who were around at the explosion of YA (which was around 2008, when Twilight got big), are now in the 18-25 age range and I think we’re *definitely* feeling the growing pains.

    Which brings me to the question of what do we do about this? I honestly can’t say other than saying that I think NA and Adult need to, as I said above, expand, adapt, and change. But until the genres that the communities are built around change, I really worry that the community won’t change wither.

    Anyhow, sorry for the essay, but you wrote a great post! Also, thanks for the recs at the end–I”ll definitely be looking into them!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Briana says:

    I think there probably are books, somewhere, about people in this age range, but they’re just not marketed in a way that people can find them. “Adult” books apparently means books about anyone 18-100 years old, so how is anyone supposed to find books about people specifically in their 20s or people in their 40s, or whatever it is they’re looking for? Although, honestly, I don’t think we necessarily need a new adult category for this because it’s probably possible to overly subdivide books, but with so many books being purchased online, it seems as though it would be easy for publishers and retailers to just make lists of recommendations of books with characters of certain ages.

    Like

  8. existingonpaper says:

    This is a lovely and well thought out piece you’ve written! It’s very relevant for the present readers, and a thought I myself have had many times. I’ve been a bookworm for years, and a fan of YA contemporaries, and lately have found myself invested in NA+Adult fiction in the last couple years. I haven’t read that many NA+Adult fiction, but the one book I can think of that I adore is Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (narrated by a messy character learning to navigate a new life, new job, and new relationships). I hope you find your niche soon, and I will definitely look forward to the New Adult posts!

    Like

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