The New Adult genre burst onto the scene despite decades of publishing theory that said stories set during the "college-age years" were a literary dead zone. The authors who decided to self-publish rather than change their stories disagreed, and hordes of readers who gobbled those stories up proved that those authors were correct. Now New Adult is booming in both indie and traditional publishing spheres.
As a reader and an author, I'm delighted by the change. I never understood why the years between 18 and 25 were largely disregarded in fiction, especially romantic fiction set in modern times. After all, some of the most significant events in my life happened during that time frame: getting my first job, my first apartment, getting married, breaking up, getting back together, the death of a friend, and the list goes on. Many other people experienced a plethora of "firsts" during that same time frame, so with all the emotional highs and lows, the New Adult genre is ripe for great stories.
Thanks to the creation of the New Adult genre, I was finally able to tell the story I wanted to tell exactly the way I envisioned it: through the eyes of a twenty-year-old heroine who's falling in love for the first time while also trying to find her way in life when, quite literally, it seems that heaven and hell are against her.
If I love a genre enough to write in it, you can bet that I love it enough to read in it, too. Here are some of my favorite New Adult novels and the reasons why I couldn't put them down. As per the current market, they're all contemporaries, but with more authors making the jump to New Adult paranormal, mystery and sci-fi, I can't wait to see what is in store in the future.
Losing it by Cora Carmack
This book made me laugh out loud many times. Bliss has decided to do away with her virginity, but then chickens out pre-coitis. Imagine her dismay when she realizes the man she kicked out of bed is her new college drama professor. A heartwarming love story that's very romantic and very funny.
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Abby wants to avoid the darkness in her past. Travis lives on the edge in every way. When they're together, sparks fly, but so do the emotional bullets. This story shows all the beauty -- and pain -- of falling in love when you both have scarred pasts to overcome. Raw emotion seethes through the pages, which is why it brought me to tears more than once. Loved this story.
On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
Jocelynn doesn't want a commitment. Bradon is used to getting what he wants. They start their relationship under less-than-romantic terms, but it's soon obvious that their chemistry is well beyond skin deep. I loved how it wasn't just Braden who broke through Jocelynn's emotional walls. Her roommate was equally responsible for Jocelynn allowing herself to feel again. Heartfelt and touching.
Wait For You by J. Lynn
You'll want two things handy while reading this book: cookies and tissues. Cam's description of his fresh baked chocolate walnut cookies almost sent me running to the store in my pajamas, and Avery's brave struggle to get over a horrible event in her past had me sneaking to wipe away tears before my husband saw them and made fun at me. Poignant, romantic and compelling.
Unfiltered & Unlawful by Payge Galvin and Ronnie Douglas
Sasha is trying to get her life back in order while trying not to fall for her ex's cousin, Adam. Everything goes to pieces after a horrible incident that leaves one man dead and twelve strangers swearing to never speak of what happened. Now Adam is the only person who can help Sasha, and that's when things really get steamy. Hot, edgy and exciting.
Faking It by Cora Carmack
Mackenzie covers the pain of a significant loss by rebelling against everything a nice girl is "supposed" to be. Cade is sick of being the "nice" guy who never gets the girl. Through faking a relationship to appease Mackenzie's parents, both of them end up discovering who they really are, and what they really want. An honest look at expectations versus being true to yourself, all wrapped up in a wonderful love story.
The Edge Of Never by J.A. Redmerski
Two strangers on a bus unexpectedly connect in this richly emotional love story. After heartbreak, Camryn is looking to get away and Andrew is dealing with another loss. How they come to terms with themselves -- and each other -- during their impromptu road trip makes for a gripping read.
Jeaniene Frost is the author of The Beautiful Ashes.