New Adult Fiction

What is new adult fiction and why is it suddenly the hot conversation in publishing?
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What is 'new adult' fiction and why is it suddenly the hot conversation in publishing? According to NA Alley, a site dedicated to the new adult fiction genre, "New adult fiction encompasses the transition between adolescence -- a life stage often depicted in young adult fiction -- and true adulthood. Protagonists typically fall between the ages of 18 and 26, though exceptions may apply. Other terms for NA include: upper YA, crossover fiction, and mature YA."

The popular HBO show Girls, that returns this weekend, features young women in their early 20s navigating the difficult dating scene, changing family dynamics and the newly entered workforce. Judging by these new labels in publishing, Lena Dunham's Girls are 'New Adults.' According to the Lulu Blog, "New Adult was coined by St. Martin's Press as a midway between adult literary fiction and young adult books."

XOJane defines this "new adult" period as the stage in a person's life when they have left the safety and confines of their parents and are now in the "real world." Using those parameters, The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger, and Sloppy Firsts (as well as the entire Jessica Darling series) by Megan McCafferty also fall into the New Adult genre. Goodreads, the popular book review site, has even created a New Adult shelf to spotlight this growing market.

This is encouraging for many authors who have found themselves rejected by publishing houses because their characters didn't fit into an appropriate niche, too old for YA, too young for mainstream. Readers and characters between the ages of 18-26 seems to be that missing piece of the publishing puzzle and new sdult is hoping to create a targeted approach that will resonate strongly with them.

Will this new label help define or alienate readers? Do we need to add new labels to genres? What are your thoughts on New Adult Fiction?

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