Friday, September 17, 2010

What do New Adults Read?

I hear another age bracket is emerging in fiction for the late teen-early twenty set. It's called New Adult, which you can abbreviate as NA. At first I thought that NA was an apt designation because as much as I love to read, this fiction category was Not Applicable to me. When I was a new adult, I didn't have time to read for fun.

Oh, I read, of course. I read tons. I read my textbooks. Over the summer when I was working at Los Alamos National Lab I read instruction manuals and scientific articles. During those years I tried re-reading "Lord of the Rings" and barely got out of the Shire before I threw up my hands and said, "I haven't got time for ten pages of description!"

But someone seems to think that new adults are reading enough that books targeted to them will be profitable.

I teach college algebra, a general education course that sees a good variety of students in different majors. Just to see what the new adults are reading, I made the fourth question on my daily quiz, "What is the title of the last book you have read?"

Want to know what the answers were? Well, apparently there's some rules against publishing results of a study done on human subjects at the school without going through the school's review board, but I think I can say I'm jealous of my student who just read Mockingjay. I haven't gotten my hands on a copy yet.

I can tell you that among the classics, the texts, and the religious books, I found some YA and even a smattering of MG fiction! Come to think of it, when college got too stressful I'd sneak off to the juvenile fiction section of the library, grab something off a shelf, and disappear into another world for a while.

So write away for the new adults! They need fiction too.


  1. I've heard so many people (in the publishing world and out) that have said those that are 18 - 21 tend to fall through the cracks when the audience is targeted. And not in the cool, Alice in Wonderland type of falling, either. So I am really interested to see this area pick up. Especially when there are a few YA novels I would consider the protag way too old for the genre (in terms of voice), but they would fit so perfectly in this new bracket!

  2. That is an awesome list! So interesting. I've had more than one reviewer call my book Life, Liberty, and Pursuit "New Adult" because the protagonists are 18 and 20 - but it's marketed as Young Adult, and I think that category fits as well. I love that there is so much innovation in books these days!

  3. My first manuscript (Chersti may remember chapter 1) was supposed to be New Adult. I started it in college because I couldn't seem to find anything JUST FOR ME in fiction. I wanted something smart, sarcastic, a little world-weary, but still chock full of adventure and wonder (going to college made my world suddenly seem huge again), and with just a dash of romance.

    The premise of that first ms works much better as MG, but maybe I'll delve into New Adult again someday. I adore college students.

  4. Interesting, particularly the focus on religion. It makes sense though. NA's are at an age where they're seeking answers to life's questions. Why am I here (still trying to determine that one), Does God exist? If so, is he Buddah, Allah, Jesus or are the Harry Christna's right???

  5. I can't wait for NA to hit it big. I think my story fits here. Crossing my fingers. :)

  6. I remember yours too! I remember being impressed by your ability to capture the atmosphere of a setting by getting everything just right, from descriptive details to dialog. So what happened to that manuscript?

  7. New Adult will be fun to watch, especially from the perspective of all of us whose inner child falls somewhere between 16 and 25.


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