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Tag: new adult

2015 Young Adult Services Symposium: New Adults

Sorry this wrap-up is so late, dear Hubbers – conferences always knock me out for at least a week after. Anyways, I was happy to attend the “New Adulthood: Literature & Services for NA Patrons” presented by Meg Hunt Wilson, Teen Librarian & Reference Librarian in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (my home state!) and our own Hub member manager, Molly Wetta, Collection Development Librarian at the Lawrence (Kansas) Public Library. They focused on  four aspects of the NA market – what is new adult, appeal and marketing, booktalks, and library services. I was thoroughly fascinated by their presentation, and without further ado – here’s the highlights of their talk at the 2015 YALSA YA Services Symposium.



So – what is New Adult?

New adult titles are geared towards teens who are just past high school life – 18-25 years of age is the common age range. NA books began as a self-publishing phenomenon, but eventually move on to the “regular” publishing world. The books are mostly set on college campuses, are relationship centric, fast-paced, and emotionally intense. And, oooh! Are they ever steamy! As one of my teens told me when I told her about this panel: “aren’t those the books with a lot of sex in them?”

I Do? They Don’t: Young Marriage in YA Literature

photo by flickr user Rachel Elaine

This is a joint post about marriage in young adult literature.  Romance, problems, college, family drama, addiction, and identity are all pretty common themes in YA lit, but marriage is definitely not. So how did we come up with this topic?

Mia: Weddings have been on my mind lately. I got married in September, and like other brides before me I found myself pondering the idea of marriage from lots of different angles, thinking about cultures and traditions and what it means to me personally. But one thing I didn’t consider until Sarah brought it up in an online conversation was how marriage and weddings connect to the world of young adult literature.

Sarah: I was looking through my old books to select one for my “That Was Then, This Is Now” series on The Hub.  I was considering one of my favorites- Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones by Ann Head, which was a particular favorite of mine.  It features a young high school couple who has to get married when the girl becomes pregnant.  It was the only book I ever read about married teenagers and although it was incredibly dated even when I read it (published 1967) I found it romantic, tragic, and fascinating. While I was considering it Mia’s wedding was on my mind, which was how I started thinking about marriage and weddings and YA lit. I particularly wondered if there are any novels showing realistic youngish people getting married.

We both found ourselves coming back to this topic, sometimes with book suggestions we’d dredged up from long-ago memory, sometimes with recent contemporary examples of young adult friends or fictional characters who were planning their own weddings.

That Was Then This is Now: That’s My Baby

baby2I was a big fan of Norma Klein when I was a teenager.  I felt like her stories were quite unlike any author I read, with the possible exception of Judy Blume. Her matter-of-fact, explicit (to me, at least in my memory) sex scenes and discussions made her books tantalizingly mature.  On top of that, they had a lot of drama–things like your boyfriend’s dad getting together with your mom.  Something else I found really intriguing about her novels was how many of them were from a boy’s point of view. Combine that with the aforementioned sex and you can see why these books were so appealing to a teenage girl! Not only did  I get a good story that was usually mostly about a romance and sexual relationship, but it also gave me a peek into a boy’s view of those things.

I had a hard time choosing which of Klein’s wonderful books to reread, but I’ve chosen That’s My Baby, copyright 1988.  I honestly don’t remember too many details about this one-it seems like all of Klein’s books have run together in my memory! I do know this one is about a teenage boy who begins a relationship with a slightly older woman-the big catch here is that she’s married.  In my memory there was nothing sleazy or inappropriate about their age difference, though the adultery was shocking to me. Let’s see how it holds up in 2013!

ALA 2013: New Adult Fiction: What Is It, and Is It Really Happening?

http://nymag.comOn Monday at ALA, I attended the conversation starter about New Adult fiction. The term, first coined by St. Martin’s Press in 2009, refers to a category of literature aiming to fill the perceived gap between books for teens and books for adults. It’s generally understood to be about and for 18- to 25-year-olds who are dealing with college or first jobs, first serious relationships, and other trials of young adulthood. The session was led by Sophie Brookover, Kelly Jensen, and Elizabeth Burns.

Need some more background? Take a look at how the session started, with a song about NA. Also, check out this Goodreads list of NA titles, New Adult Alley‘s explanation, or St. Martin’s original contest that inaugurated the book category. Or read on.

“New Adult” Memoirs For Teens

With the recent chatter about “New Adult” literature finally subsiding and the category firmly established, at least in the publishing biz, I thought it would be a good time to start exploring. As it turns out, there are a great many memoirs these days being published by authors in their 20s. Will they cross over to a teen market? Only time will tell, but here are a few titles that certainly have plenty of appeal, especially for older teens.

Relish_coverRelish by Lucy Knisley has been receiving tons of praise, and it is by no means unwarranted as this graphic memoir is completely and utterly charming from start to finish. As the daughter of a chef and a serious gourmet, Knisley’s very essence seems to be wrapped up in food and her memories of childhood are completely intertwined with cooking and eating. Knisley tells her story with humor and warmth, and the brightly colored panels echo the joyous tone of the book. The art is simple but effective in conveying not only Knisley’s story but also the recipes she has included. With both graphic novels and cooking very popular with teens, this one will be an easy sell, especially for readers looking for a respite from the dark and dreary dystopian trend.

BEA trendspotting: YA Crossovers

Last year around this time, I spent a lot of timing sighing over my Twitter feed as authors, librarians, and publishing types that I follow and admire tweeted excitedly about BEA. After three days of keeping tabs on publishing’s biggest weekend, I resolved to go in 2013, and with a little luck and a couple of vacation days, I was able to make it happen. I spent most of Thursday and Friday roaming the massive exhibits hall, going to panels, meeting authors, and picking up ARCs that I’m excited to share with the teen readers at my library. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, just for things that piqued my interest: new titles from authors that I or readers at my library love, plots that sounded fresh, covers that drew me in. I wasn’t planning to look for trends, but I noticed one anyway: crossover titles.

Crossovers straddle the line between YA and what’s traditionally thought of as adult fiction. Books in this category are sometimes referred to as “new adult.” I’m not a fan of that term because I think it’s exclusive; to me it implies young adult books are for people aged 12-18, “new adult” books are for people aged 18-30, and, I guess, adult literature is only for people aged 30+. “Crossover” feels more inclusive, like saying “here’s a book that will appeal to teenage readers and people in their 20s and 30s and beyond.” Crossovers often have protagonists who are a little older than the typical YA novel or who are dealing with more adult issues. Other times, the writing style, plotting, or other literary elements help create all-ages appeal. I spotted lots of crossovers at BEA; here are the five most buzzed about:

If You Could Be Mine Sara FarizanIf You Could Be Mine by Sara Fariszan

Sahar and Nasrin: two young women in love in Iran, where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death. When Nasrin is engaged to be married, Sahar becomes desperate to keep Nasrin, and discovers a strange loophole in Iranian law: although homosexuality is a crime, sex re-assignment surgery for transgendered people not only legal — it’s paid for by the state. Sahar has never felt uncomfortable in her body, but the surgery would allow her to be with Nasrin, legally and openly. This novel grapples with complex cultural issues, which often appeal across ages, and features characters dealing with adult decisions. If You Could Be Mine was featured at the YA Buzz Panel.

Beyond Young Adult Literature

There has been a lot of buzz in the world of young adult literature about a possible new category: new adult fiction. This is designed to “bridge a gap” between young adult fiction and adult fiction and is often characterized as featuring college-aged protagonists. Some say it’s a niche thing that will never really gain enough traction to make it a big deal. Some call it a marketing ploy. Others, especially readers on the Internet and those who note the percentage of adults who read young adult fiction, think it’s a category with a lot of potential.

adult cereals by flickr user yadniloc
adult cereals by flickr user yadniloc

Whether or not new adult literature becomes a widely accepted category (the way young adult fiction has) is not the point of this post, however. Instead, I want to share books written for the adult market by popular young adult authors and books that are shelved in the adult literature section but that are about teenage protagonists and would appeal to fans of YA.