It’s my pleasure to welcome Abria Mattina, author of Love Among Pigeons (companion novel to Wake), to the blog today to talk about the emergence of the new adult genre! I have never been a huge fan of new adult, but Abria makes some interesting points that have me thinking I should try dipping my toe into the genre again.
The Emergence of New Adult
by Abria Mattina
When I published Wake in the Fall of 2011, I lamented that the New Adult category didn’t exist yet. Here I had a book about characters in their late teens, facing issues and problems that weren’t necessarily appropriate reading material for young teens. So where do I list it? I ended up putting it in the General Fiction category, out of fear that someone would give it to a thirteen-year-old and then send me an angry email, accusing me of scarring their child for life.
Needless to say, I was overjoyed when New Adult began to emerge as a category, distinct from Young Adult and General Fiction. There’s been a lot of discussion about it recently, and some believe that New Adult is just sexed-up Young Adult. Personally, I think that’s making a generalization on the basis of the worst books in the category. The distinction between Young Adult and New Adult has to be more than sex — transitioning into college life or the workforce, taking on serious relationships for the first time, new levels of physical, intellectual, and spiritual freedom, etc.
I see New Adult fiction as books about characters in their college years, aimed at an audience of a similar age. Just like Young Adult is books about teens, for teens, encompassing the full spectrum of genres, styles, and plot types, I believe New Adult has the same potential.
Which brings me to the other New Adult stereotype: it’s all about the angst. Two tortured characters with severe emotional scars come together to heal each other. In basic terms, my first book Wake could be described this way, and it’s not a bad thing. The only reason it has become a stereotype in New Adult, I believe, is that the market has been flooded with books of this particular type. The category is young and has yet to diversify. I hope that it will, lest New Adult turn into a very grim one-trick pony.
Every market has its phases. Not so long ago the Young Adult category was jam-packed with dystopian trilogies. Before that it was the craze for everything supernatural, and now we seem to be moving into a glut of gritty realist fiction. New Adult will have its phases too. It just happens that the first one is heavy on tear-jerkers, but who doesn’t love those deeply moving books?
Eighteen isn’t too young to run your life into the ground, but it’s not too old to fix it, either. The desire for change drives Willa Kirk from St. John’s, Newfoundland back to hometown of Smiths Falls, Ontario, away from her mistakes and the place where her sister died. She’s looking for a place to settle and rebuild, but Jem Harper just wants to get out of town, back to the life he knew before cancer. By letting the tragedies in their lives define them, they are both dying a little more every day. Welcome to the wake.
In this companion novella to Wake, Frank invites the Kirk family home to Smiths Falls for Thanksgiving weekend. Holidays are always a trial for the family that lost their daughter and sister, but Frank is hopeful that this Thanksgiving will be the exception. He has some happy news to share. If only he wasn’t so reluctant to talk about it.
Thanks so much to Abria for stopping by to share her thoughts! She has also provided a few giveaways as part of the tour! Hope you win!