Why I Still Read YA Fiction in My Mid-20s: A Call To Action Regarding New Adult Books

I am an adult or so they tell me. I don’t have a curfew, I don’t have to ask permission to use the car, and I can eat a whole carton of Chunky Monkey ice cream for dinner if I want to. Also, I could very hypothetically blow my entire paycheck on books (not that I’ve ever done that before because…um… that would be irresponsible…I DON’T LOOK GUILTY YOU DO).

These aren’t shifty eyes, I just can’t decide where to look.

But Spiderman’s Uncle Ben taught me well. With great power comes great responsibility and all that. Sure, there’s the freedom, but now I also have to worry about real world issues; which health insurance company should I choose? How do I take out a loan? Do I need to write a will? Every month I’ve got an army of people banging down my door because I owe them money; there’s hospital bills, gas bills, electricity bills, water bills, car payments, house payments, credit card payments…you get the idea. And don’t even get me started on jury duty. In short, I’m now an adult and that means I get to deal with all the good and the bad that comes with it.

It also means that now would be an excellent and natural time for me to start reading Adult Fiction. Since, you know, I’m an adult. And adults are adult-y and read Adult Fiction. Hahaha, nope. Not me. Hi, my name is Kat and and I still read books written for Young Adults.

I am not ashamed and let me tell you why.

I Like the “Aesthetic” of YA Novels

I think Nick Stefan said it best. “Young Adult” isn’t just a shelving category or a sales pitch – it’s also a writing style. Fast-paced, engaging, with intense emotions, Young Adult novels have narratives that focus on relationships. Books found in the regular Fiction category aren’t often written in this “style,” nor do they fit into this “aesthetic.” In the end, it’s not so much that I want to read books about seventeen-year-olds as it is that I want to read books written in this engaging style.

Adult Fiction is More “Mature”

The gulf between YA Fiction and fiction intended for adults is a wide river to cross, my friends. The small space between these two sections of the library represents a lot of life changes, and once you walk across it, the written contents of a book become more mature, for better or for worse. Suddenly, what was considered risque in one classification is now perfectly acceptable in the other. Implicit becomes explicit. Fiction written for adults has more sex, more foul language, and more drugs than its YA counterpart, and while this might not bother some readers, it intimidates me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that all novels written for an adult audience are X-rated, because I know that isn’t even close to being true. Nor am I saying that people who like to read those more edgy novels are horrible. Because they aren’t. What I am saying is that I personally don’t want to read stories that feature explicit sex scenes or are liberally peppered with the f-word. Sure, these things are present in YA fiction too, but they are toned down. The one-night stand fades to black. Authors are more conscious of their use of expletives. There is a sort of safety net, and that goes away once you start reading fiction for adults.

I Can’t Relate

As somebody in her mid-twenties, I’m stuck in this weird in-between. I’m an adult, but I’m not AN ADULT™. I don’t have it all together like my parents do. I don’t own a house or have a hundred grand set away for retirement. Sure, I’ve got a degree. I’ve got a job. I’ve even got a kid. All those things seem like pretty adultish things to me, but I don’t feel like an adult. I still text my mom daily about which are the best diapers to buy. I still give my dad SOS calls for help with filing my taxes.

At the end of the day, when I’m snuggling into my bed with a few precious minutes to myself, I’m not reaching for books about adults in their late Forties who have settled into their “adultiness.” Right now, I don’t feel represented by those stories and there’s no appeal in them for me.

The Side Effects

As many of you may already know, earlier this month the lovely and extremely talented Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads published an amazing article talking about how the YA book Community is isolating teens. It really opened my eyes to the unintended side effects of my love of YA and I can’t stop thinking about it.

One of the main points that Vicky cites is that a space meant for readers aged 13 -18 is largely being taken over by adults ( 🙋). And it isn’t just Vicky who’s saying it – the stats are saying it too. A 2012 survey showed that 55% of YA readers are actually adults, a fact that publishers are aware of and are catering to. Upper YA with adult stand-in characters are blowing up bookshelves around the world, leaving some teens feeling unrepresented and disconnected from books that are supposed to be about them.

New Adult Novels Need to Be A Thing

So, what can be done? I obviously don’t want to stop reading YA novels (since I’ve literally just spent this whole post gushing about how much I love them), and I don’t think that is the proper solution either. Vicky argued that we need more lower YA novels for the “in-betweeners,” and similarly I would suggest that we need a genre for us older “in-betweeners” as well. We need a category of books that helps bridge the gap between YA and Adult fiction written with us “new adults” in mind. Oh wait, there is a genre like that:

“So what’s the problem, Kat?” you might ask me. “If New Adult already exists, then why bring this up at all?”

Well, first off, there is a lot of confusion surrounding what the New Adult genre is and what it isn’t. Publishers and booksellers alike are unsure of where to shelf or how to market these in-between books, and thus, we readers are also left in confusion. Just look at how Goodreads users shelved the newly released and immensely popular book, Kingdom of Ash and you’ll see what I mean:

Is it Young Adult or New Adult? Readers are unsure.

Another issue is that the New Adult genre is notorious for being full of erotica. Granted, there are many authors and publishers (Inde, self-published, or otherwise) out there with NA books that aren’t full of blush-inducing scenes, but the stigma still remains. And sadly, sometimes the stigma holds more sway than the reality.

Need proof? Just check out these new releases tagged as “New Adult,” on Goodreads:

Similarly, on Amazon, the New Adult category is paired with “College Romance” as a single genre, supporting the idea that the two are largely synonymous to booksellers and publishers.

Now, if you like that sort of thing, that’s cool. I’m not one to judge what people like to write or read; you do whatever makes you happy. Similarly, I am in no way trying to devalue a well-loved genre or say that it has no meaning. But me? I see a cover with a half-naked man on it and I’m already down the hall, out the door, and halfway to Aruba. Smut, erotica, and bodice rippers are not my cup of apple juice. Give me some Fantasy, and I’ll be golden.

Unfortunately, major publishing companies have designated the term “New Adult,” to mean erotic college romances, so that’s what we are getting.  But that’s not what I, as a new adult, want. It’s not what I need. And most importantly, it’s not even close to what I actually experience in my day-to-day life.  

What I want is more New Adult books written in the “YA aesthetic.” What I need is more books that explore the themes of self-discovery and coming-of-age that are so often found in YA novels. Just like the characters in those books, I’m still coming-of-age; I’m still struggling and I’m still trying to discover who I am and what I want. And I think a lot of people, no matter their age, can relate to that.

Book Recommendations

If this post had your head nodding up and down in agreement, then check out my non-exhaustive list of NA books written in the YA style ft. a bunch of fictional characters who are 20(ish).

Are you a 20-something reader who loves YA like I do? I’ve given you my reasons for reading it – what are yours?

Do you feel like books do a good job representing people in their twenties? Why or why not?

Have you read any New Adult books that have the “YA Aesthetic?” Share your recommendations in the comments!


Also, a special thanks to Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books, who helped me look over this post! You are awesome, and don’t you forget it!


106 thoughts on “Why I Still Read YA Fiction in My Mid-20s: A Call To Action Regarding New Adult Books

  1. I also feel sometimes that i don’t know how to adult, and that in fact, i’m not an adult. (I’m 34).
    I started reading YA when i was around 26-27. It’s not my main genre, but i enjoyed quite a few YA books. When i read them, i often feel like “oh yes, that’s me when i was 16”.

    Back when i was a teenager, I don’t recall seeing this many books intended to my age range, so i always read adult books. Now that i have access to YA books, it’s nice to have the option to read them, and feel a bit nostalgic and remember how it was to be a teen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right! I like to read this book and look back at what I was and did when I was a teenager, but I am not so into all of these erotica books. There must be something after YA that is not all about unrealistic romantic and sex stories XD

      But from a few years and on, I think that there has been a boom in erotic books and mainly the indie part. It is like when The Hunger Games became so popular so everybody started writing books like those, and 50 Shades? then we have all this… stories about that… XD

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you so much for your comment, Satou! There is something really fun about rereading books we loved as teens and reexperiencing them as an adult.

        I also agree with what you said about the Hunger Games – when something is super-popular, it usually sparks the publication of similar books.

        Anyways, thanks again for sharing your thoughts! I appreciate it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you so much for your thoughts, Norrie! I’m glad that I’m not the only one who sometimes struggles with adulting haha.

      I definitely agree with what you mentioned about nostalgia – YA novels are great because they remind us of what it was like to be a teenager, without actually having to experience puberty again (NOPE NO THANK YOU). It brings so many emotions, memories, and feelings because as a teen, we felt SO MUCH and SO STRONGLY. Or at least, that’s how I feel when I look back on my teenage years. I hope that makes some sense?

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts! It’s appreciated so much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. GAAAHHH I totally agree with you Kat! I’ve found one book that was YAish but labeled New Adult. It did have sex in it which I didn’t realize until I read it but it wasn’t erotica (thank goodness!) I’m not even sure I’m game for tame new adult TBH. I avoid books with sex in it, its just not what I want to read. I always feel like they are primers for sex to help readers get their game on (ewwwwww). And due to the age range even readers expect sex in some form in new adult.

    I do not enjoy adult books for the most part because they lack the things I enjoy in YA and are generally more boring with some really dull writing styles. *shrug* So its not like I’m anxious to love on even though I’m not 20 anymore.

    I also read that post you mentioned and agree we need tons more lower YA books, preferably with a designation other than middle grade which many YA readers avoid. There is also the problem that adult readers BUY books whereas teens can’t/don’t in the volume of adults. Anyway there are no easy answers but I agree that YA is a writing style that adults really enjoy, it happened by accident (think Twilight and Harry Potter) and the industry is scared to rock the boat. I can’t blame them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dani, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! 🙂 🙂

      I totally understand and agree with what you said about about sex in books. It’s something I avoid too, when I can, because I find it to be a very personal thing that I just don’t want to read about it. AND YES YES YES. Adult books, in general, are just more boring to me!

      Anyways, I agree that there are no easy answers, but I hope that one day the NA genre can evolve past being just an erotica-based category. Again, thank you so much for your comment! It means so much 🙂


  3. I think SO MANY of us bloggers in our mid twenties feel this way about New Adult, and I wish the publishers would listen!! I was SO EXCITED when I first learned about the concept of NA…and then quickly saw how most were college romance type books, read a few, and was disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good romance now and then, but it was frustrating that I couldn’t (and still can’t) find more of a selection in NA. All of the NA books I seem to enjoy are those that cross over with “upper YA,” such as Sarah J Maas books, or those that cross over with “adult” fiction, like Christina Lauren books…I just want something firmly in the middle!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Cristina! I agree completely with what you said about being disappointed in the lack of variety that is found in NA. In YA and Adult Fiction, there are many different sub-genres or categories such as Fantasy, Contemporary, Sci-Fi…but with NA there only seems to be ONE type: college romances. Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts! It means so much 🙂


    2. Hey, Christina! I am trying to hype up an upcoming post of mine where I share a list of NA books with the YA aesthetic. Would it be okay if I shared part of this wonderful comment on my twitter? I’m trying to show that a lot of people think the same way about NA as I do. I would @ you of course 🙂 If not, that’s totally okay too. Just let me know 🙂


  4. Kat, this is such an amazing post! I’ve always been frightened to read Adult fiction, because of the graphic sex scenes that usually accompany books in this genre. It’s personally not what I look for in novels, and tbh, there are even a few YA titles that I refuse to read because of the heavy sensuality.

    I think that authors and publishers should really place a greater emphasis on NA! It’s super important for their to be a bridge between YA and Adult, and they should take the ages of their audience into account! With so many readers being in their 20s, it would make a lot of sense for them to publish more books in this genre, that aren’t just college romances. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for this wonderful comment, Kelly! I agree with ALL of it 🙂 I stay away from some books because of the sensuality too *coughcoughACOTARcoughcough* What? Who said that? haha

      Anyways, thank you again for your continued support! It means THE WORLD to me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hey, Kelly!! I am trying to hype up an upcoming post of mine where I share a list of NA books with the YA aesthetic. Would it be okay if I shared part of this wonderful comment on my twitter? I’m trying to show that a lot of people think the same way about NA as I do. I would @ you of course 🙂 If not, that’s totally okay too. Just let me know 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is SUCH a great post and I love it so, so, so very much,thank you for writing it and for shouting about this, this is such an important topic ❤️ I’m in the middle of my twenties and I also feel the lack of these books. I love young adult books so, so very much, but I would also love to read a bit more about older characters, just starting to adult and trying to figure everything out and so on. I would very, very very much love that haha. Hopefully publishers will hear us somehow and really fill that need here with something else than just romance 🙂
    I’m thinking of two books right now that could fit the genre, it’s 180 seconds by Jessica Park, it has romance, but it also deals a lot with college, social media and family, too and I cried like a baby. Definitely recommending it ❤ And Hank Green's An Absolutely Remarkable Thing isn't focused on romance at all, more on fame and social media and everything and the protagonist is 22 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MARIEEEEEEE! Thank you so much for this absolutely wonderful comment! I am so glad that you like the finished article, and thank you again for looking over the draft for me 🙂 Sometimes I just need a second pair of eyes to tell me I’m not crazy.

      Also, thanks for the book recommendations! I’m currently compiling a list with NA books that have the YA aesthetic, so I’ll put those two on it 🙂 Thanks again for all of your continued support !!!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hey, Marie! I am trying to hype up an upcoming post of mine where I share a list of NA books with the YA aesthetic. Would it be okay if I shared part of this wonderful comment on my twitter? I’m trying to show that a lot of people think the same way about NA as I do. I would @ you of course 🙂 If not, that’s totally okay too. Just let me know 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As a 24, I relate a lot. Despite being that age, I don’t feel super adult-ish (even if ‘m). But that’s another argument, because my main reason about reading young adult are various.
    First of all, the new adults books are a mess of erotic books, and as an asexual person that already find really uninteresting books in which sex is the focus… You can guess. I already find romance sometimes completely irrelavant in books with adventures.

    One part of me totally relate to what is happening to the young adult protagonists! To be honest, a part of me always envisioned the young adult protagonist as more in their late teens. Because if I put them in confrontation with my country teens…. the majority of the protagonists are not teens. Or are that, but only in part?

    And also, this section is the only ones that cares about including my part of me, aka representations? Another thing is that I suppose that not having teen years in ife (or living them really badly) played a part.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Camilla! I completely agree with what you said about how some stories (especially fantasy novels) throw in romance, and it feels so irrelevant to the story. Like, I don’t care about this – get back to the good stuff already!

      And yes, I relate to the young adult protagonists more than I do with protagonists from adult fiction books too!

      Thanks again for sharing your wonderful thoughts. I loved hearing your opinions 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The force is strong with being repelled by shirtless dudes on the cover. Sorry not sorry but I’ll be halfway out the door before you can say “Bye”. Not that I have anything against those types of stories, but sometimes for a 21-year old like myself, I just want a story about a confused girl or boy trying to navigate life without the hot and heavy stuff. It really is quite a narrow line and the stigma is quite evident. Hopefully with the growing awareness, the age genres will eventually evolve into something where anyone at any age at any point in their life can find a book that resonates with them. Great post, Kat! 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. BWAHAHAHA. This comment made me laugh hardcore, Bianca! I’m glad that I am not the only one who feels this way about shirtless dudes on covers. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic, and for just being your awesome self 🙂



    The lack of NA books that have that YA aesthetic is so frustrating. So many of us in our 20’s can’t relate to adult fiction and also have no interest in the NA college romances. Even though the characters aren’t typically our own age, we end up relating to and enjoying YA more because of this! And while I totally love reading YA, I really wish we had more options of books with characters in their 20’s.

    This is SUCH a wonderful post Kat! I appreciate that you wrote this and brought attention to this topic. I hope that at some point there’s a shift in the NA genre and we’ll have lots more options to choose from 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. BRIANNA!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS COMMENT! It means so much to me – seriously! I was kind of nervous about posting this for some reason ( I guess I was afraid I was the only one who felt like this), but this comment alone made all that anxiety worth it haha. Thanks again for all your support!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hey, Brianna! I am trying to hype up an upcoming post of mine where I share a list of NA books with the YA aesthetic. Would it be okay if I shared part of this wonderful comment on my twitter? I would @ you of course 🙂 I’m trying to show that more people feel the same way about NA, and that it’s not just me. If not, that’s totally okay too. Just let me know 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This post speaks to me on such a visceral level. Like you, Vicky’s post has been weighing heavily on my mind since she posted it. Heck, I am in my 30s and read YA – but that is largely because of the style, pacing, and themes. Despite my age I do not relate to adult books. I don’t have a significant other, I don’t have children, I rent an apartment. While I have a career and make decent money, I do not relate at all to what the publishing industry has decided people my age want to read. And as a result I am contributing to a system that isolates the teens that these books are supposed to be for.

    I do think that there needs to be more lower-YA fiction as well. From my research it looks like the publishing industry underwent some shifts and kind of lumped that in with middle grade??? Which?? No??? The kinds of stuff you relate to at 13/14 are vastly different than 16/17. Those couple of years matter.

    “What I want is more New Adult books written in the “YA aesthetic.” What I need is more books that explore the themes of self-discovery and coming-of-age that are so often found in YA novels.”

    YES. 1000% this.


    1. Hey, Kaleena! I am trying to hype up an upcoming post of mine where I share a list of NA books with the YA aesthetic. Would it be okay if I shared part of this wonderful comment on my twitter? I would @ you of course 🙂 If not, that’s totally okay too. Just let me know 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m 19 at the minute so my view isn’t the most useful for this as I am still a teen but I am meant to be turning into an adult. I read YA all the time really and I love it– I like the story, I like the youthful, unsure narrator, I like seeing them explore new things and relationships and I can relate with the narrator. I haven’t read many adult books so I can’t compare fully but YA style definitely suits me and I can’t ever see myself not reading it. And I like the New adult genre and in fact the book I am writing (in my head mostly, on paper sometimes haha) it definitely fits into the New adult genre that you were on about. It is definitely a genre I would love to see advertised more on shelves.
    Lovely post and written really clearly. And I love your typewriter graphic at the end with your name!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment! I loved hearing your thoughts on this subject. I agree with you completely about the narrator – I love the awkward, unsure characters in YA too.

      I’m so glad to hear that you are writing a book like the kind I was describing! That makes me really excited to hear 🙂 I hope you are able to finish it some day soon !!!! Thanks again for your wonderful comment 🙂 It means so much to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome. 💛 Yes awkward characters are lovable and relatable 😂
        Aw.. Thank you. I hope to finish it one day and I really enjoy working on it.
        You’re welcome. I enjoyed reading your post so thank you for writing it 💛

        Liked by 1 person

  11. My thoughts exactly! I actually have been thinking about that a lot recently (as I graduated from college in July). I need more books with people my age who are still growing! And adventures, and coming of age! I’m 23, I’m still technically a “young” adult. Like, I’m not old! Anyway, you said it much better. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m soooooo glad you agree with me, Clemi! I’m totally in the same boat – I’m not old, so I don’t want to read about people in their 40s. And it has always baffled me that as soon you’re not a teenager anymore, you stop having exciting adventures in books. Like, why don’t college-aged students get to go fight the dragons too? Or hunt demons? Anyways, thanks again for your lovely comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    ever since i turned 20, i’ve just been hiding under my blanket pretending that im still part of the YA demographic bc i LOVE IT WAY TOO MUCH TO LET IT GO

    and omg yes, i like to dabble in adult/NA fiction from time to time but YA is my default and im happy where i am 😭😂😂 you summed it all up with “I want is more New Adult books written in the “YA aesthetic.” THIS. IS. ME.
    NA books can be so,,,,,mature and while there are some that really stand out, most of them gear towards things i ain’t interested in reading lol

    honestly thank you so much for putting it into words, you did such an amazing job 😭😭<3 ❤ ❤ my favourite post of the month tbh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MAYYYYYY THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR COMMENTTTT 😭😭😭😭😭 Like seriously, it made me smile so big! I’m really glad that you agree with me on this point and that I’m not the only one who feels this way! THANK YOU FOR BEING AMAZING AND FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORTTTT. *sobs some more (but the good kind of sobbing, not the bad kind)*


  13. I completely agree! It really irks me how the NA genre is viewed/marketed as mostly erotica. If you like Dytopia/Sci-Fi books, check out the Unknown series by Wendy Higgins! It’s NA, but not erotica. It has a very similar feel to YA books! I loved that series. It’s self-published, but Wendy Higgins is also an established published author (she wrote the Sweet Evil series, in case you haven’t heard of her – I also love that series!).

    P.S. – I’m now in my 30s and still enjoy YA. I read NA and Adult too, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU. I’m so glad you agree with me on this! And also, thanks for the book recommendation! I’m trying to put together a list of NA books with the so-called “YA Aesthetic,” so I added the Unknown series to it 🙂 thanks again for sharing your thoughts 🙂


  14. I absolutely loved your post Kat and couldn’t agree more, young adult literature is an aesthetic. I’m in my thirties and begun reading young adult through Twilight. I wasn’t a reader in my late teens and throughout my twenties either, weirdly is wasn’t until I became an adult, married with a mortgage did I return to reading. I think I was too busy living my own new adult novel before that, minus the smut of course. I love dystopian books with strong heroines and revolutions and I just don’t find that within adult books.

    I know it’s probably a controversial view but so much of new adult used to be about the sex. I’ve tried reading it on and off for years. Jamie McGuire, Colleen Hoover, Cora Carmack, Abbi Glines. I could go on and on but like their names, their books also blend into one another. Most of the core group of new adult authors who seemingly made the genre popular, their books were pretty much churned out, names changed but all with the same storyline. Teens and young adults need more though. I know at that age, I would have wanted books that reflect my life rather than the soft pornography some authors are creating.


  15. I think there are a lot of YA books that are relevant to adults. I have started reading more adult romance, because I enjoy the steamy scenes now more than I did as a teen, but I still lean towards the YA genre. There’s just something about it that clicks with me. For example, right now I’m listening to the audio version of The Poet X, and it’s fantastic! I think the story is incredibly powerful and will likely be something a lot of teenagers can relate to. However, I’ve lived through a lot of what she’s experiencing, so I can understand what she’s going through on a different level. I can sympathize with her problems, but also view them from her perspective. It’s enlightening and also enjoyable to read.

    I think the YA genre has expanded a lot over the years, and I don’t think their stories are only meant for teenagers.

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Lindsi! I have the audio version of The Poet X reserved at my library because I’ve heard it is amazing, and you just cemented my excitement for it 🙂

      I do agree that the YA genre has expanded a lot and that YA books aren’t just enjoyable for teenagers. Like you said, even people who are out of their teen years can relate to what is being written and said in the so-called YA sphere.

      Thanks again for sharing 🙂 I enjoyed reading your comment!


  16. Amazing post! I am deep into my 20s and I mostly read YA, though my current favorite fantasy series is Adult Fantasy. I think the contemporary genre really highlights the issues you pointed out. Like, where is my contemporary novel about a single girl with a dog trying to find a job and get out of her childhood bedroom. It might exist, but 50 pages in she’d have a love interest she would die for, or a drug problem. Not my jam! I also feel like NA tries to “push boundaries” on acceptable romance, and it veers into abusive/unhealthy territory. Not that YA doesn’t have the same issues right now. It’s definitely a big problem for publishing houses, and I really hope we see some changes over the next few years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so, so much for this comment! I agree with so much of what you said! I would totally read that novel about the single girl with her dog! And YES YES YES. I love what you said about NA being a genre that tries to “push boundaries” – especially on the depiction of relationships and romance. You bring up so many good points!


  17. THIS POST 👍👍👍 It really speaks to my soul!! Lately I have been wanting to read books a bit outside of YA, but it’s rather difficult, as for me Adult books even feel too mature and often times are written in a way that is hard for me to read 😕 I’m eternally sad that NA is often so romance focused (I think there’s a whole backstory with publishing and how it has treated NA, I need to find the post about that sometime), because that simply doesn’t represent my perspective. Romance currently has no place in my life as a college student and it often feels a bit disheartening to see that college is mostly written about in the context of romance 😦 I also loove Fantasy, it’s my main genre and I read it more widely than any contemporary books – however, I feel like there is even less NA Fantasy stories. I loved The Alchemists of Loom and Vicious (though that’s technically sci-fi), but there is simply not enough content :/ Then there is the fact that some NA books like ACOTAR are still shelved as YA everywhere :/ I just really wish that we got more and also different NA stories, as the gap between YA and Adult is still too huge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would love to read the backstory on how NA became what it is today – if you are able to find that post, please let me know! 🙂

      AND OH MY GOSH YOU SPEAK TO MY SOUL. I read almost exclusively Fantasy too, and I have searched and searched for NA fantasy, and it like…doesn’t exist? *insert frowning loudly face here*

      And MY GOSH YES. I haven’t read ACOTAR, but I have heard that it really is not YA, but for some reason I feel like it is being marketed as YA?

      Anyways, I agree with 100% of what you are saying and thank you so much for your absolutely wonderful comment, Caro! I loved reading all of your thoughts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hey, Caro! I am trying to hype up an upcoming post of mine where I share a list of NA books with the YA aesthetic. Would it be okay if I shared part of this wonderful comment on my twitter? I would @ you of course 🙂 If not, that’s totally okay too. Just let me know 🙂


  18. The maturity of adult fiction always have scared me – sure, I’m interested in some adult books, but they’re not… EXPLICIT. I don’t want to flip a page randomly and all of a sudden two characters are going all down and steamy (ugh, how about no). And I agree – as someone also in her 20s, adult fiction doesn’t FEEL respresentative to ME. It’s like I’ve officially grown up (to me it feels) if I read adult because the characters have their things together (and I most certainly don’t).

    I also support New Adult novels being a thing. Back in 2014 (?) publishers tried to make it a thing, but it received little traction and then basically got merged into YA, which I don’t think is cool at all. At 13, I DON’T want to read Upper YA, and not all books will be marked upper YA, so if 13 year old me walked straight into those pages of explicit sex, I would have been scared out of my mind. There are few novels with little to no romance in New Adult, which saddens me because not all new adults want to read those scenes? I certainly have a better comfort zone than when I was 13, but I’m still not comfortable, and I agree that New Adult needs to change. I’m currently reading a contemporary romance New Adult that supposedly doesn’t have explicit sex scenes, so we’ll see how that goes when I finish it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sophia, thank you so much for this amazing comment! I agree with so much of what you said. It is so sad that NA is being merged with YA because this will especially affect younger teens (as you already pointed out).

      Also, how was that contemporary romance New Adult book? Did it turn out to be any good? I’m trying to put together a list of New Adult novels that have the “YA aesthetic” and would love to add it if you enjoyed it.


  19. I relate to this so much. I’m 24 I AM NOT READY FOR ADULT FICTION YET. Like you, I don’t really relate to it, I feel like I’m barely adulting as it is. I love the dramatics and passion in YA, and that you get such a variety of stories, but until reading Vicky’s post I hadn’t even realised how this may be affecting teens and it kind of broke my heart a little.

    New Adult needs to become a thing! I struggled so much to find books set at university when I was there, and wanted to read those kind of stories so that I could relate. I could have really used those books at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I AM SO GLAD YOU AGREE WITH ME. And I felt the same way in college! I would’ve loved to read some books about students struggling to pass their finals, because THAT WAS MY LIFE at that time. Anyways, thanks for such a great comment! It means the world 🙂


  20. The topic about the YA space being taken over by adults has been on my mind for some time now but I can’t still come around to agreeing 100% with this position. I’ll read Vicky’s post now and maybe it’ll give me a new perspective 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. ALL OF THIS!! I LOVE THIS POST CAN I MARRY IT?! I’m 21 now and I just don’t see myself reading adult books anytime soon, exactly because of these reasons. I did read and love Heroine Complex, but the few graphic sex scenes that had made me super uncomfortable and it was so hard to skip because I wasn’t sure where it would end? And what if I missed something important? (like important dialogue I mean, not the sex itself of course) Also graphic violence makes me sick so I definitely don’t want that. Like you said, not all adult books are that explicit, but I’m safe with YA. Plus yes! The aesthetic and style of YA is so much more appealing to me? It’s not just about the main characters being teens, it’s the themes and the writing style and all of that jazz. I would love more books like that about 18+ young adults. Though I do still feel like a teen myself so I do relate more to those characters than the ones in adult books haha.

    Again, LOVE this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH, MICHELLE!!! Honestly, your comment means the world to me – I was a bit nervous that I was the only one who felt this way and that everybody was going to be like, “WHAT CHOO TALKIN BOUT?” But the response has been amazing 😭😭😭 Thanks again for sharing your thoughts – I loved reading them 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I read YA partly because I don’t like explicit books, partly because I find adult fiction often depressing instead of hopeful, partly because adult books try too hard to be “artsy” and “deep” and end with unsatisfying open endings, and partly because, well, YA books are good. I think they could try to make NA a real thing (not just a label for “explicit YA”), but I’d also be satisfied if more adult fiction were about people in their 20s who aren’t jaded, having mid-life crises, and other things the adults reading YA don’t related to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Krysta, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me! I appreciate it so much. I relate with so much of what you said, esp. the part about the need for fiction starring people in their 20s who aren’t jaded. Thank you for your lovely comment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I started reading adult books in my teens. Only because I was into vampires and Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles was something I had to read. And I wanted to read Stephen King. I’ve read a few YA books and some put me off. They are written in the first person and usually set in school and they are written the way they speak. Even in my 20s I couldn’t relate to them and didn’t like the style. I would’ve loved to read books written for people in their 20s books about life but could only find YA or general adult. I’m 30 now and I am doing to try reading more YA. I have read children’s books. Genre should not dictate what we read, it it’s a good book then that should be all that matters. There’s a lot of adult books out there that are not tailored to a specific age and I think you’ve missed it. But then I do think YA is childish so maybe I missed the good ones too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Jen! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here! I really liked what you had to say and I think you bring up so many amazing points 🙂 I agree that there are a lot of great Adult books out there that I haven’t yet discovered! I’ve made it a goal this year to read at least one book a month that’s outside of my usual reading preferences, so maybe I’ll stumble onto something that I really love! Thanks again for your comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I just finished a book where the main character was 26. W I L D. It was also not relateable in the slightest because it was still an Adult novel. I read adult novels when I was younger and I read them now at (nearly!) 23, but I still circle back to YA because it’s just got a different atmosphere to it. I’ve only really just realised that I’m not actually a teenager anymore and YA is starting to become a little less accessible because I’m old before my time and peer over my glasses going ‘what is this slang word this young whippersnapper is using?’. I also just did a complete 180 on my career and am considering going back to university, so reading a YA novel about someone deciding what to do with their life is a bit frustrating because I’m like YOU HAVE LOTS OF TIME TO DECIDE YOU’RE ONLY 17/18!!! YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR MIND!!! If I do go back to school, I’ll be graduating at 26; which is the same age my boyfriend and I outlined we want to be looking at buying a house. NEW ADULT FICTION HELP ME UNDERSTAND THIS PARADOX. I just need something in the middle of having nothing together because the protagonist is young and doesn’t NEED to have it together, and being a proper grownyuppy with a job and kids and life experience. Love this post and I’m 100% on your wavelength.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THIS IS SUCH A MOOD AND I AGREE COMPLETELY. I was actually pretty nervous to post this article in the first place, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive! So thank you for sharing your thoughts with me and for leaving such a brilliant comment – reading it made me happy and has helped assuage my anxiety haha 🙂


  25. Droppng by today from @The_WriteReads link.
    It is hard to find books that aren’t romance in the top end of YA and NA.
    These authors might be of use:
    Emily Barr
    Sarah J Pepper
    P.K. Gallagher
    Courtney Farrell
    M.L. LeGette
    Julia Hughes
    G.P. Ching (The SoulKeepers)
    Jessica Gunn (Gyre)
    Arie Farnam (The Kyrennei series)
    D.E.L. Connor (Spirit Warriors series)
    Melissa Haag

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Honestly, as a 23-year-old, I completely agree with everything you said! The thing with YA though is that, although most of the main characters are mostly teens, sometimes they feel older than their years. So, a lot of times, I just imagine them a little older and I’m good to go 😝

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I wrote a book about a character who started out as 15 but by the end, he’s 19. (and a teenage father)

    When I had to resort to self-publishing there was not even an option for ‘new adult’.

    “Is your novel YA? or Explicit?”- I have a feeling the mainstream publishing houses work the same way.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I could not have put this any better! You’ve said exactly what’s been on my mind for a while. I love YA and will fight to the death to keep reading it but it’s impossible to cater to both the YA and NA readers with the same book. I do want more books featuring older narrators, around the 18-30 age range. I want to see characters like myself represented more, and more realistically as well. Also, less romance, because, it’s like you pointed out, a lot of these NA books are romance or erotica. Why can’t we have a NA book that’s main genre is fantasy? Why can’t we have a NA book whose main character is a college student going through similar journeys in YA? I’ve noticed a lot of YA books tend to have characters that act older but are only younger in age so they can fit in to the YA category. I have so many thoughts on this and I’m so glad you wrote this post – it was a great read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. KELLLYYYYYY!!!! THIS. COMMENT. GYAHHHH. It is amazing and thank you so much for sharing all of your thoughts! I appreciate it so much! Seriously. If I’m honest, I was actually pretty nervous to post this because I know a lot of people who read NA (as it is being sold right now), and I didn’t want to offend them by insinuating that it’s bad….it’s just not…for me, you know?

      Anyways, I’m so glad you agree because it helps me feel like I’m not crazy for thinking it haha. Thanks again for taking the time to read my random wafflings 🙂 It means the world!


  29. Heck yeah to all of this – I agree with you on the fact that there are nowhere near enough YA books for the younger end of the spectrum!? The distinction will hopefully become clearer as time moves on; that being said, a lot of stores I go into separate ‘Teen Fiction’ from YA which I guess helps the younger end? Great post!!! 💚💚

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Hi Kat,

    This is a great post and I wholeheartedly agree with you. My name is Penny Thorpe, I’m in my thirties, I write for HarperCollins Publishers UK, and I would like to take up your challenge. Would you and your readers be kind enough to recommend some YA titles for me to read which are good examples of the aesthetic you feel New Adult readers are craving? Let’s see if we can’t get this party started 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Penny!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for taking the time to read my little spot of the blogosphere. It means so much! 🙂 As for book recommendations written in this NA style I described, I actually wrote a post with around 20 books listed which you can find here: https://novelswaffles.wordpress.com/2019/01/22/list-of-na-books-written-in-the-ya-style/

      If you have any other questions, or if I can do anything else for you, please don’t hesitate to ask! 🙂


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