How I Fell for New Adult + a Giveaway

This is the part of the story you might have already heard:

Cora Carmack queried me with Losing It. She had self published and was sky-rocketing through the ranks. Despite my skeptical position on New Adult as a genre, I loved her premise and smart query, so I requested the manuscript. She sent it immediately, and I sat at my desk and started to read. I signed her, we sold Losing It to HarperCollins and I announced to twitter that I had changed my mind about all things New Adult.

Here's the rest of the story:

Cora Carmack made me laugh. When I opened Losing It at my desk, I read the first three chapters before leaving to go to a networking event. During those chapters I couldn't help laugh out loud. In fact, I laughed so often and so loud at certain moments that two different people in the office asked me what I was reading.

That night at the event, I couldn't stop thinking about Losing It. I couldn't wait to get back to it so that I could finish reading. And I couldn't stop talking about it. I brought up New Adult to everyone who would listen. Then I told them about this great self-published book I was reading. (At least two people told me they downloaded it that night.)

When I got home, I continued reading--I read until very late into the hours of the morning and sent Cora Carmack a gushing email about how much I loved it.

Here's why I loved it:

It had all the things that I want in any manuscript: great characters, great writing, page-turning storytelling. I couldn't stop thinking about it. It made me laugh and swoon and cringe and even get a little teary eyed. The characters felt so real to me.

Even more than that, here's why it changed my mind about New Adult:

Losing It made me feel like I was in my early twenties again. I didn't have a hot British professor and my last year in college didn't end up with happily ever after, but I did have some Bliss-worthy awkward moments. More than that, I knew how she felt while struggling to fit into the adult world. I'd been lost, frustrated, and insecure. Part of me wanted to be an adult and was ready and part of me wasn't sure what I was supposed to do in order to feel like an adult.

That's why I fell for New Adult and what I love about it: that these authors and their books have managed to capture all of those different and complex feelings in such a visceral way. And of course that they've thrown a good romance into the mix doesn't hurt since I love all things romance.

But don't take just my word for it. I asked everyone else at New Leaf what they loved about New Adult, and here's what they said:

Joanna Volpe:
After reading so many dark and heavy stories for so long (which I do love), New Adult offered up something that could be equally meaty in terms of emotion, but lighter in tone. And dang are they sexy! The first real NA I read was Cora Carmack's LOSING IT, but after that, I just wanted...more. And there was so much out there to choose from! So I think what really made me fall for the genre as a whole is the immediacy of it all, both in purchasing and in the stories themselves. I have bought an embarrassing amount of them, and I just fly through them!

Kathleen Ortiz:
I'll admit: I wasn't a fan of New Adult at first because it seemed like many writers were trying to write a YA, insert a lot of sex, and say 'tada! New Adult!'

And then I read some NA that truly captured the essence of NA.

NA is still about having moments like this:

And yes, you may still need mom and dad:

You discover actually NEED a budget.

(I may or may not have an issue with this one but I digress. Cupcakes always have space in the budget)

You make good decisions:

And bad ones:

You continue to have some feelings from high school:


You learn to live with non-family members:

You still have many life lessons

But at the end of the day, I love NA when I find that character I can relate to:

And the character I can transform into and live vicariously through:

NA is about the experience from child to adult. And then realizing, you may be legally an adult but mentally still very much a child. The experience of making all the wrong choices to learn how to make the best ones. And the experience of truly discovering who you are -- and realizing the experience of truly discovering who you are is a life-long journey.

And I love it.

Danielle Barthel:
I love that NA is really a bridge between YA lit and adult fiction. I never felt that I needed that bridge until I read a few NA books and realized that, as a 20-something myself, these characters were going through some of the same things that I was. You're not too long after college, trying to figure out who you are and where you belong and who can help you on your way to your destination, and being able to read about situations that I could empathize with, or at least truly understand, gave me a real appreciation for the genre.

Sarah Goldberg:
I'm usually a reluctant reader of contemporary romance, but New Adult has made me reconsider. I recently read a comment on YA romances--and I can't seem to track down the source--by someone who said (and I paraphrase) that teen romance usually isn't forever, but great YA romances tells stories about the relationships that the characters need at that moment. NA appeals to me because it often picks up on that: there doesn't have to be a traditional Happily Ever After . . . but the relationship is just right for the characters, then. Having emerged from my early twenties not too long ago, I appreciate seeing that experience in print. Those NA relationships, college majors, and job experiences may not be forever for most of us, but they're worth it.

Now, whether you're addicted to New Adult or not sure what it's all about, at New Leaf, we've put together an epic Addicted to New Adult Giveaway. Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Teresa Mary Rose said...

I love NA because as a 23 year old, I can really relate to the characters and all the mess of emotions they are dealing with!

Unknown said...

I've really liked some of the NA I've recently read--not always sure where the line is drawn between straight NA and erotica, honestly. Some of those books is spicy! :)

Kaitlin Bartlett said...

As a recent college graduate, I'm starting to look toward NA books for characters I can relate to. I'm still in love with YA, but it's always nice to read about characters with the same problems I have at the same time I'm having them. Great post!

Unknown said...

I love new adult because I remember that time in my life as being so full of possibility. I loved my 20s and would totally do them over again. With NA contemp I get to do that!

Jackie Joyce said...

I love NA because It's got elements of romance, but there are other substantial, pivotal emotions and life-changes going on in the stories that are incredibly real to me. I can't get enough!

Mojito Maven said...
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Stephanie Allen said...

I love NA because I AM a "new adult," so I love reading about characters I can relate to.

Mojito Maven said...

I love NA because, as an under 30 college professor, I can still relate to being an adult but still having feelings like I'm a child. Sometimes I think you can be well into your adult years, thinking you have it all figured out, when BAM! life hits you with something else and you realize you're not that much more grown up than when you were 23. It's something I see and deal with every day as I teach my NA-aged students :)

Natalie said...

I love NA because the stakes are so much higher. Often the protagonist is living on their own, is responsible (to some extent for their financial well-being) and is forced to think about their future. All those stakes make for very compelling reads.

I also think it's a really important "thing." I remember how hard it was to graduate from children's/YA to adult reading. Adult reading had conflicts that were too foreign to me as a high school student/ young adult. I didn't want to hear about husbands who strayed, marriages that failed. I still wanted to hear about beginnings and taking chances, only with characters who were older.

Megan said...

NA is something I have wished for for years! (I'm sure there were a few books which would classify as NA back then.) I love the complexity of NA & coming of age stories. The spider web with its sticky strands which entangles the world with intense and always changing emotions plots sucks me in. Being easily distracted means I need a solid book to keep my attention.

Curvy Crissy said...

I love NA because you can appreciate the situations at any age. As a twenty-something year old, you may be living through the situations. As a thirty-something you may still be living through the situations, and 40+ you have experienced the situations and it brings you back to a time when you were learning and growing

Anonymous said...

I fell for NA after reading Melina Marchetta's The Piper's Son.

Kellye said...

This is an interesting post, and now I'm dying to read Losing It. I'm in the middle of Stripped by Brooklyn Skye--my first NA--and am loving it. I've been excited to dust off an old manuscript of mine. When I was working on it, I was told by so many people that an 18 yo protag in college wasn't wanted for YA. I do think the line between older YA and NA is blurry...but the more good stories from these liminal times in life, the better as far as I'm concerned. Thanks for the give-away!

Lynsey Newton said...

I love New Adult because I've been saying for years that there is a gap in the market for college aged protagonists and FINALLY, it's happening in the publishing world. Everyone can relate to starting out in life and I like that new adult books are not as "goody goody" as Young Adult books...they can be spicier and edgier without too much backlash, the banning of books or disgruntled parents. I love this genre and I believe it is here to stay :)

Anna said...

I love NA because of the sexy times. also, I can relate to the characters. Bliss in Losing it, yeah, that's me. xD

Unknown said...

I really do love YA to death but NA gives me that little extra when I want something a bit more mature. And not just in sexual situations but in the new experiences you encounter mostly during the NA age range.

Ru said...

Kathleen Ortiz's gifs are killing me. I love this category and think her assessment is spot-on.

Stephsco said...

Oh good, a recommendation! I will consider Losing It when it's published!

Robin said...

I've started reading New Adult and I do feel like there is a place for it in readership, even if it's not clear where to place NA on the shelves.

Great post.

Alicia said...

I love NA because it fills that gap that's been missing as far as romances go. And especially in Losing It's case, I find I can connect with these woman better than YA or Adult.

Katharine said...
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Katharine said...

I haven't read much NA. Your blog is pushing me to check it out. :)

Natalie Murphy said...

I love NA because it's the awkward step between being a teen and being an adult. You're trying to figure out what's going on in the world and in your life.

Stephanie said...

I fell for NA after reading Losing It too. I'm sure I've read others, but that's the one I read that I knew for sure and BAM, insta-love.

For me, it's more about living vicariously. As I approach my 40-is-the-new-30 birthday, I've long since left behind that part of my life. I sometimes feel as if I skipped some of that, having met my husband as a freshman in college and marrying at 23. I can however, still identify with the feelings of insecurity, of feeling like you don't quite know what you're doing.

Girl!Reporter said...

Great post. I love all kinds of fiction, but having new adult as a genre means I can say to people: "See, my taste in book was valid all along!"



I'm hoping to find solid NA that is a bit on the literary side but also entertaining. Am looking forward to delving in. Is there a wide range of styles, much variety in this genre? I bet there is room for more at this early stage. Am curious.

Deniz Bevan said...

Love those .gifs!
And they're all true... I love NA because I like seeing older but still young characters learn about the wider world - they're not locked in to their family as much as teens might be, and are learning and expanding their horizons.

Bethany said...

I love NA for pretty much all the reasons you listed! it's a great genre!