It has been a few days and i have been caught up in reading, though reading what, you might ask and I would say. NA and YA Loads and loads of it. It started with Fault in our Stars, I guess and the fascination never got over for me. Its been years and years of YA novels for me now and I must say, I’m still not over them. But the last few days, I got to reading a New adult series, and then proceeded to another and another and it went on and on. The mobile friendly books let me read in the car, in my bed, anywhere really. And so, escape had a new name : New Adult Fiction/Young adult fiction.
Though why NA, i ask myself. It is nothing new, nothing you and I never experienced like with Harry potter and Hogwarts and nothing really out of the box. But theres still this strange hold it has over not only me, but lot of my friends. There are blogs that go on and on about what book to read next after, lets take Colleen Hoover books for an example.
The best definition I can find is from NA Alley:
We view New Adult fiction (NA) as a category of literature—meaning, it gives readers content expectations, but it does not dictate genre-based criteria. Typically, a novel is considered NA if it encompasses the transition between adolescence—a life stage often depicted in Young Adult (YA) fiction—and true adulthood.
Protagonists generally fall between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, though exceptions may apply. NA characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc.
NA Alley is a great site for those of you NA lovers!
Both the characters in new adult and the readership for new adult are people who are exploring identity, exploring their purpose in life, exploring what’s important to them,” says Sarah Frantz, senior editor at Riptide. “They’re also of a generation where the characters and friends are natural, even expected—they don’t think that there’s anything wrong with being LGBTQ—so it makes sense that LGBTQ themes show up in their books.”
“Young adult books are about surviving adolescence and coming-of-age,” Cora Carmack wrote on her blog in 2012. “New adult is about how to live your life after that. New adult is the ‘I’m officially an adult, now what?’ phase.”
“New adult literature touches upon many themes and issues to reach the readership that falls in between the categories of young adult and adult fiction.
Many themes covered in young adult fiction such as identity, sexuality, depression, suicide, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, familial struggles, bullying,are also covered in new adult fiction, but the various issues that are dealt with in the category hold it separate. Some common examples of issues include: first jobs, starting college, wedding engagements and marriage, starting new families, friendships post-high school, military enlistment, financial independence, living away from home for the first time, empowerment, loss of innocence, fear of failure, and many others.
This category focuses heavily on life after an individual has become of legal age, and how one deals with the new beginnings of adulthood. Commonly, these themes and issues have been seen taking place post-high school in popular new adult fiction titles, but there are exceptions.“
Which might ultimately explain why NA literature is so appealing to readers of all ages. At a time when adults are reconnecting on social media with old friends they haven’t seen in years and current teenagers are living out their “firsts” and trying to find their identities, This literature allows the reader to step into the world of a person who is young, growing, and changing. They might look to that character as an inspiration, or it might help them work out a few of the “What if?” questions they have about their own lives.
“Young adult books are all about pushing the limits, trying to figure out where you fit in the world, and if the place you fit in is the same as what everyone else wants for you,” says Suzanne Lazear, Heartbreak trilogy. “Who can’t relate to that?”
Distopia also plays a moajor part in the Young adult literature, proving that escapism is a big part of the success of the genre, but who doesn’t want an escape anyway?
At its heart, dystopian literature, including classics such as “1984” and “Fahrenheit 451,” reflects societal fears that are often represented by government control, totalitarianism, surveillance and violations of privacy. These themes are not new, but the interest and concern among young adults is, and it seemingly reflects something about their fears, beliefs and overall needs.
The details of YA dystopian novels vary widely, but it’s fair to say that in most of them, the young protagonists are uniquely able to see the moral failings in their worlds, uncover the sinister motives of adult authority figures, and fight for the greater good. This has been the case since Lois Lowry’s novel “The Giver” was published in 1993.
Part of the popularity of these texts can be attributed to the media frenzy and promotion behind them; no sooner has the last book of one series come out than the next one is being promoted. You can debate whether the needs of young adult readers promoted the popularity of these books or whether very smart marketing executives generated the need to begin with. However, as has been seen before, young adults don’t buy what they’re offered if they don’t like it. They buy what they like, or at the very least, what their peers like, which means these books represent something they both want and need.
John Green’s hilarious and heartbreaking The Fault in Our Stars is not a post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel like Divergent or The Hunger Games. But the lives of its protagonists, Hazel and Gus, hardly mirror the lives of their readers, who probably don’t have cancer and generally don’t fly to Amsterdam to track down reclusive, alcoholic authors. And yet, the book has been a New York Times bestseller for 46 weeks. “I get emails every day from people who are like, ‘I’m just like Hazel, except I don’t have cancer, I’m not 16, I’m not white, and I’m not female,’” Green says. “I’m like, ‘Well, you’re not just like Hazel.’”
Readers also probably don’t directly identify with A, the main character of David Levithan’s Every Day, who wakes up each morning in someone else’s body and is defined only by the thoughts in his head.
But they don’t need to. “The defining characteristic of YA literature is emotional truth,” Levithan writes in an email. “Even if we’re not the same as the characters we read, they are all dealing with things—issues of who they are, who they should be, what they should and shouldn’t do—that we all deal with, in their own ways. With The Hunger Games, even if we will never be in Katniss’s shoes, the decisions she makes make emotional sense to us—even when she makes the wrong ones.”
That might be why readers find themselves so drawn to Hazel and Gus, whose relationship and health struggles offer avenues for teenagers to examine the bigger ideas they’re grappling with in their own lives. “Maybe some of what’s universal is the intensity of the experience, the intensity of falling in love for the first time, the intensity of asking questions about mortality and meaning for the first time,” Green says.
But even if YA books aren’t tackling issues of life and death, the best among them still capture the gravity of the teenage and pre-teen experience, whether it’s the sparks of a first crush or lunchroom gossip and bullying. “When you’re in that time in your life, the trials and tribulations of friendships, romantic relationships, it’s all very crucial and vital,” says Kristen Pettit, an executive editor at HarperCollins. “That is one way the author presents themselves as authentic to the YA community, by nailing that keenness of feeling and emotion and high-stakes nature of the interactions they have with people every day.”
Young adult novels externalise evil as an enemy that can be seen and understood. They give teenagers a Lord Voldemort, a monster that can be defeated, an evil that can be vanquished. But increasingly the evil in young adult fiction is the adult world itself. In the Hunger Games it’s an adult world of political and economic repression. In Divergent it’s an adult world that demands conformity, at the expense of the individual. In The Maze Runner it’s an adult world that has escalated to such technological complexity that we are all lost within it. And increasingly, it’s not just teenagers that need allegorical warnings against adult reality, but adults themselves.
These endings are emblematic of the fact that the emotional and moral ambiguity of adult fiction—of the real world—is nowhere in evidence in YA fiction. These endings are for readers who prefer things to be wrapped up neatly, our heroes married or dead or happily grasping hands, looking to the future. But wanting endings like this is no more ambitious than only wanting to read books with “Likable” protagonists.
Still, it cannot be ignored that YA dystopias are largely based on fantasy, and part of the joy of reading these books is the sense of escapism. The situations represented in the texts are exaggerated and — one hopes — not representative of the realities faced by teens on a daily basis.
Perhaps books in this genre can’t be compared to those within the traditional canon, but their existence is significant and reflects the desire of young adults to think more globally and outside themselves. YA dystopian novels also allow students to develop a preliminary understanding of how to interact with novels, interpret them and reflect on what they illustrate about society as a whole — a lesson they can use with other texts as they continue to grow as readers.
Young Adult for Beginners :
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (contemporary)
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (classic)
- The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (dystopian)
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (fiction and photography)
- Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (romance)
- Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (supernatural)
- Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon (contemporary)
New adult for beginners :
- Beautiful Disaster : Jamie Mcguire
- Hopeless : Colleen Hoover
- The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorenson
- The Edge of Never : J A Redmerski
- For real : Chelsea M cameron
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