There have been many young adult novel hits such as The Hunger Games, House of Hollow, A Series of Unfortunate Events and many more. There have also been titans of the adult genre such as George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. But a new genre has been emerging over the past several years, New Adult. You may also have heard it called “Older Young Adult” — because it is essentially just that.
New Adult novels focus on protagonists in the 18-25 range (though sometimes up to 30). Unlike their sister novels targeting younger readers, these books tend to dabble in more mature subject matter. As well as having stories that revolve around careers, entering adulthood, sexuality and relationships, they can also deal with subjects like mental health, abuse and trauma.
That being said, there is one predominate subgenre of New Adult and we should probably address the elephant in the room. If you go to your preferred search engine and search “New Adult Novels” most top sellers are romances, and quite steamy romances at that. Just looking at these lists and their blurbs, you can quickly develop the interpretation that all New Adult books are smutty literature. However, this is an unfair evaluation and putting the New Adult genre in this box will likely limit your exposure to this great group of books—unless you like steamier kinds of novels, no judgment, read what you want to read!
Regardless, the development of the New Adult genre may have come about due to characters of the 18-25 age range being noticeably absent from both young adult books as well as adult novels. But it may also simply be credited to needing an outlet for stories that could be compared to popular Young Adult novels, and their reading level, but with an allowance to focus on heavier subject matter that may be too intense for younger readers.
With that explanation in mind, here is a list of New Adult Novels you can find at the Scott County Public Library!
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: “In Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life-and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?” (Annotation provided by publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin)
A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas: “When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from the legends of her ancestors, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin— one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world; not to mention one of the High Lords of Prythian.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin —and his world—forever.” (Annotation provided by Bloomsbury Publishing)
Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley: “Love is an act of courage. This is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without. For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog. Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight at all.” (Annotation provided by publisher, Simon & Schuster)
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston: “When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius―his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.
Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.” (Annotation provided by publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin)
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: “After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.” (Annotation provided by publisher, Bloomsbury YA)
Make sure to come into the Scott County Public Library to read these books in full and to discover many others of the New Adult genre, you just may find your new favorite!