There has been recent discussions from authors and bloggers about Young Adult novels unrealistically lacking explicit sexual scenes between characters. It’s no surprise that real life teens know and may even be partaking in those acts, so why isn’t it being shown in the literature centered around young adults? On the other hand, there are “YA” novels showing very explicit sex scenes in their novels (which I don’t have a problem with because I’m eighteen, and I’ve read far more explicit books). But most of those novels, that have explicit sex scenes, are being categorized in the wrong way.
For example, the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas has very steamy scenes that makes readers fan themselves. Now, I don’t mind Sarah J. Maas including these scenes because I personally think it ties the story together and makes the characters have deeper connections. But what bothers me about this “YA” novel is that it isn’t being marketed as the right age range for her characters. The A Court of Thorns and Roses series has characters ranging from 18 to their early twenties, and I don’t know about you, but that seems like a book that belongs in the New Adult category, not YA.
“New Adult fiction bridges the gap between Young Adult and Adult genres. It typically features protagonists between the ages of 18 and 30.” (Goodreads)
With all the explicit scenes in that series, I wouldn’t want it to be falsely called a YA novel when in reality it has some adult themes that I wouldn’t want a young reader (a 13 year old) to read, thinking it was simply a fantasy novel when it is much more. Young Adult novels follow 13-18 year old characters, so categorizing A Court of Thorns and Roses, and other “YA” novels following older characters, in that same section, is false. This book deals with much mature topics that belong in the New Adult category rather than YA. (Here’s an article explaining the differences between YA and NA, if you are still a bit muddled).
While I do want Young Adult novels to talk about sex more in a way that isn’t seen as taboo, some books that are considered Young Adult are being categorized incorrectly. Some of these stories contain very mature topics that some young readers might not want to read about at the age their in. We have to keep in mind that very young readers pick up YA novels because it follows characters their age, and, by incorrectly categorizing novels that follow 18-30 year old characters dealing with different issues in their lives, it can be graphic to younger readers.
So why are some Young Adult novels, that clearly follow older characters, still being called YA? Why aren’t they simply being called New Adult novels in order to add a silent warning that what the story contains may be too mature for the younger spectrum of YA readers? And, most importantly, why is majority of the New Adult books only centered around romance?
Well, I believe that New Adult has gotten this rep over the time it’s been introduced. People seem to think that it’s an age range for twenty something year old women who only want to read about a college romance which. is. so. false. Take a look at the New Adult category on Goodreads. Majority of the novels in the New Adult age bracket are stories mainly focused on romance. I was discussing this fact with my best friend and she said it was wrong for people to assume that New Adult novels are marketed only for women and that those books are only about romance. Twenty somethings don’t only want to read about people their age falling desperately in love. They want Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Horror, Historical Fiction, etc. novels following 18-30 year olds. They want to relate to characters going through the same stage of life as them in different settings and circumstances.
New Adult is an age range for literature that just recently became recognized, but I wish it would be taken more seriously. When people hear New Adult, they instantly assume it’s a steamy romance novel. I want the New Adult age category to have different genres like YA novels do, instead of it mainly being romance driven. I want to read a story about people trapped in space and they are twenty three years old. I want to read a story about a twenty five year old person living during the 1920’s in New York City. I want to read about the zombie apocalypse happening when a person is away at college. I want people to take the New Adult category more seriously and have more genres under its umbrella like adult fiction and Young Adult novels do.
There are many YA novels that show explicit scenes and follow more mature characters who belong in the New Adult category. But because people don’t credit New Adult as much as YA, people are afraid to label their fantasy novel as New Adult and instead call it Young Adult. I feel like the publishing industry should look at New Adult stories in a new light and categorize the older characters in YA novels as New Adult. We should have more diverse genres in the New Adult category because twenty something year olds don’t want to just read about college romances, they want diversely written stories following all different adventures.
Please let me know your thoughts on this discussion because I’d love to hear your opinions.