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Wednesday News: New Adult category at Publishers Marketplace causes unrest; More...

Publishers Marketplace New Adult

It’s not enough that you say you don’t want to read this crap. No, people take it a step further and say, “who would want to read this crap.” It is doubly disappointing to see this coming from romance readers who are the brunt of so many literary putdowns. There is no question that when a popular subgenre rises up it can seem like it is displacing other books in the market.

I would argue that what you are seeing, however, is an influx in new readers brought to romance by 50 Shades. Yes, I know 50 Shades is viewed as an anathema to many traditional romance readers, but reading several goodreads reviews, 50 Shades brought people back to reading and specifically reading romance.

 Everything is cyclical. A few years ago, the straight contemporary was very hard to find.  Sarah Wendell and I started a campaign to get more people read that sub genre because it was one that we loved.  Right now, the hot new thing might be New Adult but in a few years it could be something else. 

Also adding New Adult as a category is All Romance eBooks.

CBS has threatened to sue Aereo again as it opens a market into Boston. The benefit of the Aereo content is that you can a) watch it anywhere you want on any device you want and b) it works as a DVR. You can record stuff, fast forward through commercials (which is what is really pissing off the television stations).  Verge

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

72 Comments

  1. Danielle D
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 04:24:58

    Can someone explain to me what “New Adult” is? I have no idea. :(

  2. library addict
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 05:18:44

    @Danielle D: I think Angela James had a good explanation at the Harlequin blog http://harlequinblog.com/2013/01/exploring-the-new-adult-genre

    The few NA titles I’ve read haven’t been keepers for me, but I don’t get the hate for it either. And I have several more NA books in my TBR pile. For me it is more difficult to believe in the HEA, at least with the books I’ve read so far.

  3. Carolyne
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 06:06:36

    Count me as puzzled by the hate for New Adult as a category. It doesn’t have to be cynically created books–no category has to be. But at least now books for that age range don’t slip between the cracks of being “too old for YA” and “too immature for the ‘real’ grown ups” with automatic rejection from a publisher with no place to put it.

    I have a few horses in the race (and not all can be defined as teen romance + sexy sex, and maybe not Romance at all), so I get all agitated by the negativity. When I was 18-25-ish I found stories that resonated with that stage of life by turning to science fiction and fantasy about young heroes (usually male) stepping out from home on their quests. So I’d like to see New Adult spread everywhere as a category like YA. I was so glad to see that the Harlequin Blog doesn’t define it as being about the level of sexy sex, but as an overall stage in life. (I was almost afraid to check the link!)

  4. Ros
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 06:24:23

    I don’t know which came first, and I don’t suppose it matters, but it seems to me that the NA lovers are just as extreme in their response to it as the haters. And each fuels the other.

  5. Carolyne
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 07:08:00

    @Ros: I haven’t seen the vitriol from New Adult supporters, so I don’t know how heated and extreme the conversations may have been getting (meaning: not that there aren’t angry exchanges, just that I haven’t been reading the places where they’re occurring). But I think many people do react with automatic ire when they’ve pinpointed exactly what they want, and the response is that there’s no need to define it or be able to easily find it. Or it’s dismissed as icky. We (readers in general in my neck of the woods) do tend to feel very entitled to be able to read “what I want to read” without it being denigrated or redefined as sleazy (“who would want to read this crap”).

    On the other hand, I read and always have read a lot of graphic novels, and with so many young people self-publishing, publishing with small presses, or doing “slice of life comics” online, “New Adult” has been an obvious subcategory for years and years. It just seems natural to hang a name on it.

  6. Anne
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 07:10:50

    I’m not a NA hater, but the stories aren’t generally ones I like. I feel the same way about romantic suspense, though. Both genres are just generally not for me. I see it as a good thing that NA is getting it’s own category, though. It makes it easier for me to avoid, but also easier for others to find.

  7. Lynnd
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 07:21:17

    I don’t get the hate for the category of New Adult either. Some are good, some are bad and some are average. Major publishers these days are all owned by mega corporations and most mega corporations are controlled by accountants , marketing people and MBAs who like to categorize things. If something can’t be categorized it can’t be done. So the creation of a “new adult” category is just a way of getting these books to market because there is a slot that they fit into. Personally, I would like to see fewer categorizations and labelling because I think it ghettoizes readers and makes it difficult for books that don’t “fit” to be published, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Maybe some of the “hate” is just a backlash against this increasing categorization of literature but, if that’s the case, I wish that people would identify the actual problem and rail against it rather than spewing vitriol against a specific category and the readers who enjoy those books. I think that there is also a lot of fear that publishers will focus on the new and shiny New Adult genre to the exclusion of others. If that is the case, to paraphrase Jane, this too shall pass.

  8. Patricia Eimer
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 07:29:25

    I’m with everyone else. Why the hate? You don’t like it, don’t read it. That doesn’t mean you need to spew all sorts of negativity at people who do read it. I don’t read cookbooks, doesn’t mean I’m out their trashing Paula Deen or Mario Batali and calling their work trivial. Everyone has their own tastes and romance readers of all people shouldn’t judge– we’ve all been judged enough as it is.

  9. Ros
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 07:57:45

    @Carolyne: I didn’t say that NA lovers were vitriolic towards the haters, but that their response to the books is equally extreme. That is, the levels of squee in reviews, and the talk about book boyfriends, and the willingness to overlook flaws and so on, make it just as difficult to have rational debate about these books as the hating does.

  10. Jane
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 08:07:04

    @Ros: I’m not really sure I understand where you are coming from. The fact that there is a fan culture around New Adult books (as there is around romance and science fiction, movies, and television shows, comic books, and so forth) there is no measured debate to be had?

  11. Ros
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 08:24:36

    @Jane: It just feels like the fan culture is all there is, which isn’t the case in most romance genres, as far as I can see. Maybe I haven’t seen the rational debates that are happening. It’s a bit like YA used to be when that was the big new thing. I hope that as NA becomes more established (and hopefully more diverse), that will settle down. But at the moment it feels hard to find a space where you can say that NA book, or this NA trope, don’t work for me because X, without being shot down by the fangirls.

  12. Sunita
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 08:29:13

    @Ros:

    That is, the levels of squee in reviews, and the talk about book boyfriends, and the willingness to overlook flaws and so on,

    None of these features are exclusive to NA and they all predate its emergence as a category of romance fiction. The book boyfriends meme goes back to 2009 or 2010, I believe, and given that I saw a boyfriends list that began with Henry Tilney, I think it’s a lot more widespread than that. And squeeing reviews permeate many other categories, including urban fantasy, m/m, and (as you noted) YA. They’ve been ported to NA, where they apparently get noticed and commented on a LOT more.

  13. Elyssa Patrick
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 08:31:30

    While it’s true that there seems to be a lot more contemporary romance books out there, I’ll just say it is really, really, really, really hard to sell to NY as a contemporary romance writer. (Not self-promoing here but AS YOU WISH was rejected by everyone and their mother, lol.) I suspect that NA is going to be the same–that it seems like there are a lot but that editors will be super selective and/or buy books that break out in self-publishing. Nothing wrong with that! (I totally get it.) But I don’t think selling in either sub-genre is as easy as people think.

    Anywayyyyyy…….

    I also don’t get the NA hate either.

  14. Ros
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 08:34:05

    @Sunita: Oh, sure. I don’t think any of those things are unique to NA, just current at the moment. Is the hate a particularly unique phenomenon either? I’m pretty sure I saw people saying the same kinds of things about YA and about vampires. Not about Henry Tilney though.

  15. Sunita
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 08:40:14

    @Ros: I don’t know if the hate is a unique phenomenon, but it’s certainly around now, and it’s shown up far earlier than vampire-hate did (that was as much fatigue as hate, IMO). The fact that it’s been around before about other subgenres makes it less explicable to me, not more. You’d think we would stop bashing readers *within* the genre after a while, but apparently not.

  16. LG
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 08:51:20

    If the comments I’ve seen on DA about NA count as “hatred” of NA, then so do a lot of comments I’ve seen about the soulmate trope, YA, paranormal romance with vampires, etc. Unless I missed some particularly scathing comments?

  17. Darlynne
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 08:56:08

    Fox has threatened to leave the public airways if Aereo continues.

    And pass up all that advertising revenue? As if, but please don’t tease me this way.

    Honestly, what’s the difference between selling a tiny antenna and selling a television with whatever supplies DVR capability? Both pick up over-the-air signals, both let you fast forward through commercials, and I don’t see how Aereo is doing anything wrong. Besides, IIRC, way back in the day, television stations were granted the right to free broadcast/airwaves with the understanding that they would provide a daily news program for viewers. Someone will have to explain how the stations lose out in this.

    NB: Anyone else remember that the whole idea of cable, as pitched to us by the providers, was that unlike OTA broadcasting, the programming would be commercial free? Yeah, that’s working, too.

    I hope the courts continue to find in favor of companies like Aereo and not cave to the circle-the-wagons mentality of the publishers–oops, wrong group–stations.

  18. Jane
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 09:07:48

    @LG – unfortunately it’s been more along the lines of hit pieces you’d see at Slate or other mainstream news venues running down an entire genre (and, of course, by people who admit to not reading it).

  19. Las
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 09:08:21

    @LG: I’m with you. There has always been scathing criticism of all types of tropes and themes in romance, but now when it’s directed towards something that certain people have taken a liking to it’s a problem?

    I haven’t read NA, mostly because I have zero interest in reading about characters that age (wasn’t into it when I was that age). But I also tend to run screaming in the other direction when my first exposure to something comes from people doing lots and lots of uncritical squeeing. I felt the same way about the steampunk craze a few years back. It just turns me off. And when review after review of books in this genre make it a point to ignore bad/lazy writing…well, that makes an impression, especially when it’s coming from sites I don’t associate with those types of reviews.

  20. Isobel Carr
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 09:46:47

    @Ros: Yes, Ros. This. I must be somehow missing all the haters, but I’m not missing the defensive whining (which got old *really* fast).

  21. KT Grant
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 09:46:56

    I don’t mind New Adult as a genre or a category but it’s so new that what if the New Adult trend dies out? Then what? Does that mean in bookstores like B&N, Target, etc… there will now be a New Adult shelf like Romance, Sci-Fi, Mystery etc?

  22. Jane
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 09:50:57

    @Ros – I’m hearing your argument run down like this:

    New Adult fangirls are bringing about the haters. (to which Sunita and I pointed out that there are fan girls everywhere. I remember in the early internet days when Simon & Schuster had message boards that readers would claim a character and call themselves Mrs. Clayton Westmoreland or Mrs. Ian Thornton)

    Then you say that hate isn’t a particularly unique phenom either and that YA and vampires were the subject of it as well.

    So is it the fangirls bringing out the hate or just that readers can’t help running down other readers for their genre choices?

  23. sula
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 09:53:45

    Meh. I could care less about NA or YA. If anything, having them categorized means I can more easily avoid them since I have ZERO interest whatsoever. That’s not hate, just indifference.

  24. Ros
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:04:28

    @Jane: In my first comment I said that I don’t know which came first and I don’t much think it matters. I do think that there is a vicious spiral between the haters and the fangirls which isn’t helping anyone much. It seems to me that this thread illustrates that.

  25. Danielle D
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:22:32

    @library addict:

    Thank you Library Addict for the link. :)

  26. Lily
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:39:44

    I’m all for categorizing New Adult. It makes it easier for me to avoid it!

  27. azteclady
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 12:00:50

    @Las:

    There has always been scathing criticism of all types of tropes and themes in romance, but now when it’s directed towards something that certain people have taken a liking to it’s a problem?

    It has always been a problem, and it has been mentioned and discussed before. If I have time after work, I’ll hunt down some links–I’m pretty confident I’ll find a few threads right here at Dear Author, let alone elsewhere in the romance blogosphere.

  28. DS
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 12:13:27

    I rarely– almost never– read straight contemporary romance, but I remember being very irritated when some of my beloved fantasy/SF was labelled YA– I guess because there was little/no sex. I was still shopping in brick and mortar stores then and missed certain books because I never looked in the YA section. Now I do 98% of my book buying on line so I have no objection to whatever they want to call it.

  29. alicet
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 12:44:58

    I have just recently read a few New Adult (NA) titles such Easy by Tammara Webber and Losing it by Cora Carmack and really found myself enjoying them. NA seem to be very much like contemporary novels except the characters are still in college. I am just worried that these books could be too adult in themes and should not be marketed to teens who read YA books. Another trend that has come from NA that I am a bit irritated with is having this series where the first book ends in a cliff hanger (e.g Coincidence of Callie & Kayden) with the next book published a year later, or where two books are written on the same romance with opposing view points (e.g. Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster). I particularly have very serious misgivings about Beautiful Disaster that has prevented me from finishing the book.

  30. Jane
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 12:52:21

    @alicet: I’ve heard the concern about NA being marketed to teens before and I’m not sure where this concern arises. There is not NA category in the bookstores and one of the problems I’ve heard is that bookstores don’t know where to shelve them. The YA buyer won’t put them in YA and the romance buyer can’t jump genres so there are only a few in the stores and they are placed in general tables (I’ve seen them grouped together, probably by coop, on In the Media or New Releases).

    Online, it’s hard to say. I know that when Easy and Slammed, and the initial self published books were being released, the authors were categorizing them in Fiction – > Coming of Age and Romance, although some were YA. McGuire, specifically, had a fit about her book not being YA. And all of them that I recall had warnings to the effect of Mature YA, for 17+ older readers.

    I remember Webber saying something like she just didn’t know where to categorize the book. The SMP term “New Adult” hadn’t caught on when it was loosed into the ether in 2009.

    So I think the creation of the NA category is good because it tells people that this is the type of thing that might be only appropriate for older readers. (Although, let’s face it, what romance reader didn’t read adult romances as a teen?)

    I, too, hate the cliffhanger but I almost see that as a function of YA and not NA (although some of the NA authors may be influenced by what they read as a YA reader) because Twilight, Hunger Games, etc. are non stop cliffhangers. We have that in fantasy books (Karen Marie Moning) and self published successes like Sara Fawkes.

    In regards to the dual POV, yeah, that isn’t my favorite.

    As for Beautiful Disaster, I had those same reservations. Such a strong voice, but what a disturbing portrayal. I wrote a review here: http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/overall-c-reviews/c-reviews/review-beautiful-disaster-by-jamie-mcguire/

    You may want to try Monica Murphy’s One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend. I’ve heard that it’s got a sweet hero.

  31. Danielle
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 13:27:19

    Perhaps my memory is unreliable – I was much less accustomed to vociferous internet debates back then and therefore more impressionable – but did not the emergence of romantica and erotica cause major ruckus among romance readers back in the day, with all kinds of denigrating word choices being bandied about regarding tastes and preferences, even morals?

  32. Jane
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 13:28:35

    @Danielle: It did. Major authors were very upset about the inclusion of erotic romance in the genre (and at the same time digital publishing) so it’s kind of tragic that we have failed to learn from our own past, eh?

  33. JenM
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 14:32:15

    I always find it funny that people are so concerned about the sex content in romances that are read by teens. I was a teen when bodice rippers dominated romance, and read Sweet Savage Love at age 15 or so? I can assure you that it did NOT permanently warp me.

    The thing that frustrates me most about the comments by NA haters is that they think it is just YA with more sex. In fact, several of the NA books I’ve read have virtually no sex, or at least, the bedroom door is only slightly open. The best examples of NA romance are about the coming of age process, which I find fascinating to read about, even though I’m long past that stage in my life. I don’t read that much NA, but I find it a nice break from standard contemporaries.

  34. Robin/Janet
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 14:32:52

    I don’t really have a dog in this hunt (don’t really read NA and there are people I like and respect who either like/love it or dislike/hate it), but I have to wonder if NA is the latest scapegoat for readers feeling like the current publishing market is not serving their tastes and desires. I have felt that way at various times over the past decade (right now I wish the historical market were a wee bit different), and when something new and highly publicized comes along that doesn’t appeal to me, I’ve felt irritated, wondering how the hell long it will take to burn out.

    I remember a couple of months ago there was a certain perception that Dear Author was primarily reviewing Kristen Ashley and/or self-published books, and how awful they were (unedited, sloppily written, etc.). When that happened, I actually went and made a list of the almost 60 books DA reviewed that month, the sum total of which told a very different story. But when you have an issue with something, it can feel a lot bigger than it objectively is. I think this is often the case with the writing/editing complaints. When you don’t like a book, it’s more likely to seem not well-written, and editing errors are more glaring. If you are engaged, you may not see some of those errors, and the writing may be subordinate to your enjoyment of the story. Also, if you’ve read and hated a few self-pub books, you may be wary of trying any more and be more on the lookout for “bad writing” and “bad editing” among them. That trad pubbed books may have the same incidence of these things can become functionally irrelevant. If you have a track record of enjoyment with enough of them, they will get the benefit of the doubt, whether or not they objectively deserve it. I think this is very normal for readers in general.

    I guess my gripe is that while I dislike the flag-waving for a new subgenre or author (every time a new BDB book comes out I kind of brace, for example), I rarely see people who haven’t read those books/subgenres/authors waving the fangirl flag. However, I feel like there’s a decent amount of “how can anyone like that?; it’s unedited schlock; the writing is so awful; aren’t these books beneath us?; etc.” from folks who haven’t read the books in question. And that, IMO, can so easily come off as reader shaming and seemingly unfounded hostility, even if it’s not intended that way. It reminds me of being criticized for liking Gaffney’s To Have and To Hold by readers who hated forced seduction, even though some of the those criticizing the most harshly hadn’t even read the book. In fact, I think one of the reasons I became interested in forced seduction as a genre trope is that I had never really enjoyed it myself (admission: I still don’t), but once Godwin’s Law was invoked against Gaffney readers, I felt this perverse desire to see what all the damn fuss was about, and that got me interested intellectually in Romance’s use of sexual force, even if it’s not my sexual or emotional fantasy as a reader.

    Not that I’m suggesting people should read or study what they don’t particularly love; just that when I see these dismissals of, well, anything (self-pub, NA, forced seduction, etc.) from people who haven’t read much or any of it (and I’m not referring to the ‘hey, not for me for whatever reason, but have at it’ comments), it can come off as disproportionately hostile and unreasonable, and similar to the kind of dismissive hostility people who haven’t read Romance have to the genre as a whole and its readers. Which I do think tends to make NA (or self-pub, or Kristen Ashley, or 50 Shades, etc.) readers defensive, just like those dismissive genre comments often make general Romance readers defensive. I guess we could say, ‘hey, everyone toughen up,’ but as Ros noted, the defensiveness goes both ways, which is pretty normal human behavior, I think.

  35. CK
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 14:39:46

    I’m not surprised at the vitriol. Readers only circle the wagons when we go up against non-readers, otherwise we are (and have always been) too busy bashing our own.

    “You read science fiction?” Snicker. “I only read real literature.”
    “Is that a romance? I thought you were a college graduate, not a sexually frustrated housewife. Why don’t you read good books?”
    “M/M romances are the only true romances because they break the chains of our patriarchal society unlike het romances and if you don’t read m/m then you must be homophobic.”

    [Insert genre here] bash [other genre] there. Same bash. Different genre.

  36. Has
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 15:36:16

    I think the classification of NA is def needed and I am glad its popularity will help the romance genre in the long run because it will offer new readers who may want to move on to other sub-genres. But NA is not a new thing though – there has been a few NA books down the years. One of the early books I can think of is Liz Berry’s Easy duology and Mel. Although the former is dark and not so much of a romance and is disturbing because it covers rape and the aftermath as well as the consequences it has. But her books mostly has rock star heroes and artist heroines in and around a college setting and that is a huge trope in NA right now. So I am bemused by the reactions NA is getting because these types of books have been around a long time. Its not so much about the tropes and premises about NA but it might be the reception and the attraction its getting.

  37. Ridley
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 16:34:43

    @Robin/Janet: As the person who wrote “aren’t these books beneath us?” on a DA review, I want to point out that I left it on a review of P2P Twific, not Kristen Ashley or New Adult. I said that because I felt that published fanfiction was ethically icky and something Jane’s come out against in the past.

    I was all about the idea of New Adult when it first emerged and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of it. Ashley’s not for me, but I don’t begrudge anyone who enjoys it.

    I am, however, sick to death of hearing about either of them at this point. I’m glad people have found something they like, but the squee and defensiveness is old and stale.

  38. Jane
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 16:37:05

    @Ridley: You are incorrect. I’ve never come out against published fan fiction. I’ve always supported fan fiction. In the earliest days, I’ve written about how important fan fiction is for published authors, as it serves to deepen the bond between the reader and the text.

    What I came out against was the selling of 50 Shades as original fiction. It was not. Honor the origins.

  39. Keishon
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 17:26:53

    @Ros:

    I’m pretty sure I saw people saying the same kinds of things about YA

    Yes, the disdain was there for YA, too, and not that long ago which is amusing so… you’re so right about that. I was even moved to write about it when it pissed me off. But like I said at my blog, disdain is inherent to genre fiction. I find it quite ironic that *some* not all readers are so vocal/judgemental about an entire genre having read not one book. It’s been that way for years with romance genre taking the brunt of it. There are some good books and bad books that represent all genre so hey, whatever.

  40. Robin/Janet
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 18:02:04

    @Ridley: That comment didn’t come off to me as an ethical protest, so thank you for clarifying that.

    I am, however, sick to death of hearing about either of them at this point. I’m glad people have found something they like, but the squee and defensiveness is old and stale.

    You know, there’s an author whose work is ADORED by many of the people I follow on Twitter and regularly converse with online. And I find this author’s books so, so, so problematic and, well, just not sqee-worthy at all. I have to bite my tongue every time the praise starts (which it does pretty regularly), and I know that none of those praising the books would dare think of themselves as a fan girl. So I get it, I really do. I think it’s partially the difference between being an individual sharing your excitement over a book you love with other like-minded people, and being an individual on the outside of such excitement (or vice versa), irritated at the collective praise over something that seems so utterly unimpressive to you.

  41. Janine
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 18:25:22

    I was very excited when New Adult books were first introduced as a topic of conversation at DA because I had always wanted to read more books that dealt with the love lives and other concerns of college students or others in their early twenties.

    But the constant back and forth about New Adult books has made me leery of reading the books. To this point I have not read a single NA. Not a one. And NOT because I think they’re all bad — I expect there are some I would like — but because I don’t have the energy for arguing either for or against them. Even from the sidelines, this controversy seems emotionally exhausting.

    I have purchased Easy, Something Like Normal, Eleanor and Park, and possibly others as well. These books were well reviewed and I would like to read them without having to think about any of them as representing an entire genre. It’s not a fair burden to put on any one book, but until this argument dies down, it will be hard not to think about it as I read. This really bums me out.

    Something else I would like to understand about NA: Is it a genre or an age group? People keep talking about it as though it is a genre, but everyone insists YA is an age group, not a genre. If that applies to YA, doesn’t it apply to NA as well? And if NA is an age group, not a genre, then what is the dislike all about?

  42. Las
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 18:31:44

    @Robin/Janet: Why are you biting your tongue? I’m not saying butt into a twitter squeefest to say you hate the books–because that is rude–but you can’t even mention that author here because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings? Really? Because that’s kind of the exact opposite of why I started reading blogs like DA.

    And I don’t understand the comparisons of criticisms of many NA books and KA and self-pub and P2P written by authors who call themselves TARA SUE ME to the denigration of Romance by those who haven’t read it. How many posts have there been on this very site that talk about problematic/silly/ridiculous tropes and themes in Romance? How many reviews mocking bad books? Are you really advocating going back to the days where every discussion about Romance has to be about “supporting” the genre? Because that’s certainly the impression I’ve gotten around here lately.

  43. Keishon
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 18:40:31

    @Janine:

    I can’t answer those questions you have but wanted to say I may have misspoke in my comment about NA or even YA being a genre. Not sure what they are actually in terms of labeling because it is so contentious. I don’t *think* these are targeted to an age group but the age group of the characters tend to be teens or college students or what have you. That’s how I’ve always interpreted the labels even for YA novels which is what I read like MWT and Sarah Dessen. I hardly ever join discussions but something about this topic makes me want to comment sometimes. Back to lurking. I’ve said my two cents worth.

  44. Janine
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 18:53:44

    @Keishon: Agreed. I interpret them that way too.

  45. hapax
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 19:01:18

    @Janine — ELEANOR AND PARK is definitely *not* NA.

    The protagonists are teens in high school, and most of their issues / concerns / conflicts (internal and external) are directly the result of being almost-adult in body and mind, but still legally, economically, and emotionally under the control of parents or other authority figures.

    Which isn’t to say that there may not be good reasons for putting off reading that book (it isn’t an easy read, by any stretch of the imagination, but my stars is it a *beautiful* one), but belonging to potentially controversial subgenre isn’t one of them.

    (As far as the NA “controversy” goes, I don’t get “hating” or “squeeing” over an entire genre, period. I tend to prefer some genres (e.g. fantasy over horror) and subgenres (space opera over post-apocalyptic SF) and tropes (beta heros over secret babies) but I can’t think of a single example of one that I’ve either loved or hated every example of. I mean, there are good books and great books, and bad books and horrible books, and a heckuva lotta “meh” in practically every category. Why be trapped by labels?)

  46. Robin/Janet
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 19:35:59

    @Las: There is an enormous difference between criticizing books, tropes, and genre devices and shaming/harshing on readers. Which goes to your question of why I bite my tongue during some of the collective raves for books or authors I don’t enjoy. I have critiqued the author’s books I referred to my in previous comment a number of times, here and elsewhere. What I don’t do is say, “God, I am just so fucking sick of hearing you squee about this author’s books, when I don’t even think they’re anything to squee about.” That’s why I’m not mentioning the author’s name — because it’s not about any particular author or book; it’s about the fact that we ALL get sick of hearing other people rave about stuff hate or don’t care about, and we ALL hate or don’t care about stuff other people love.

    What I object to is an IMO increasingly personal taint to these comments (which is why I remembered Ridley’s comment so vividly — at the time it really surprised me, and I appreciate her clarification), especially when the Romance community has always been so vocally critical of people outside the genre dismissing it and its readers so readily. And, as I noted in my first comment, when the criticism is coming from people who admit they’ve never read the books or authors they’re criticizing, I think it’s much more likely that those kinds of comments will come across as reader shaming and/or personally dismissive than criticisms grounded in the texts themselves.

  47. Las
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 20:13:13

    @Robin/Janet:

    it’s about the fact that we ALL get sick of hearing other people rave about stuff hate or don’t care about, and we ALL hate or don’t care about stuff other people love.

    Well, yes, exactly. We all feel that way, so why would I get defensive over others hating something I loved? Why does it have to be this huge issue that requires dissection? I don’t get the sense that criticisms have become more personal. What I suspect is that because it’s not just blogs and people commenting about the specific topics discussed–that there’s all this interaction everywhere, on twitter, on GoodReads, etc.–that the familiarity and online friendships has created an expectation of…tact, I guess, though that’s not really the word I’m looking for. Now people are taking these criticisms to heart and feeling hurt by them, and I think it sucks that there’s this call to cater to that. It’s a huge step backward.

  48. Ridley
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 20:33:00

    @Robin/Janet: Here’s a link to the comments in question.

  49. Susan
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 20:46:35

    3-d printer crafts? Yep, just around the corner. And today I read that they can print a liver (or liver cells, I can’t remember–maybe they can print me some new brain cells). I was absolutely amazed at the possibilities.

  50. MaryK
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 20:47:23

    I think it ties in to what Ros was talking about. The hating and squeeing are more sweeping. Because these types of books or types of publishing are new, there aren’t many places yet where you can find balanced views of individual books. What you hear mostly tends to be generalizations – “squee, self pub” or “bah, sexed up YA.”

    I think there’s also a snob attitude toward some of these new things, an “I don’t like it. I think it’s trash. Therefore it’s not worthy.” aspect.

  51. Kaetrin
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 20:59:13

    I have read maybe 7 or 8 NA books to date. I’m choosy about which ones I read and so far, I’ve been very fortunate to choose books that have mostly worked very well for me. I’m surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed the age of the MCs and the themes of the stories. (I’m working up an idea that it’s something to do with seeing characters that age do it better than I did).

    When I read any book I love, I squee about it, at least a little. I write a review and try and explain why I liked it and what I didn’t like about it (there is usually always something) but if a book moves me and leaves me with the good book noise (TM Smart Bitches) then I’m going to share that with my online community. It’s part of why I’m in the online romance community – to share my love of romance books and to get recommendations from others.

    So if I tweet “Oh, I just read Good For You and it was SO GOOD” does that make me a NA fangirl? Because if it is, I am one. But I don’t get why people feel so upset with me for saying I liked a book.

    I don’t get why there are comments all over the place dissing the entire NA genre (mostly when the people doing it haven’t read any of it). When I respond to that, it’s not my “fangirl” self doing it. It’s my sense of order and accuracy. There are rubbish books in any genre, NA included. But there are some excellent ones too.

    I’m not the least offended by those who don’t want to read NA but I do get bothered by the idea that if *I* do, my reading tastes are suspect. That does feel like a personal criticism to me.

    …basically, what Robin said.

  52. Ridley
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 21:25:02

    @Kaetrin:

    I’m not the least offended by those who don’t want to read NA but I do get bothered by the idea that if *I* do, my reading tastes are suspect. That does feel like a personal criticism to me.

    See, I don’t get this. Everyone’s taste is suspect to someone. There are lots of people I enjoy chatting with whose opinion on books is completely worthless to me, and I assume I’m that person to other people. Unless someone’s telling me I’m a sexless loser for reading Harlequins, and screw that blogger, it’s nothing personal.

  53. Jane
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 21:30:59

    @Keishon: I remember that blog post. And I loved reading Dessen and some of those great YA authors with you. You were always a font of great recommendations, pushing me outside my own genre limitations.

    @Kaetrin: I hear you. There is one author on Twitter right now talking about how the defenders of NA are like Twihards up to 11. I hope that’s a reference to Spinal Tap, but I’m sure it is not.

    For those who are keeping track of my taste, I liked Twilight.

  54. Las
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 21:38:30

    @Kaetrin: It’s probably just oversaturation for a lot of people. Even if it’s a book/trope I enjoy, when every blog I read is talking about it, it gets annoying. Twitter allows people to vent about that annoyance. It’s not personal. Many of us consume blogs the same way we consume books, and we’re going to talk about them the same way.

  55. Kaetrin
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 21:43:31

    @Jane: I saw that comment Jane but frankly, I couldn’t tell if it was meant to include me. I don’t think of myself as an NA fangirl even though I like it. I don’t post GIF reviews on GR, I don’t have book boyfriends (not that that is an NA thing) and I’ve never actually read Twilight.

    Perhaps someone could clarify for me exactly what a “fangirl” in this context is? Because if it is merely liking a book or a genre, we all are aren’t we?

  56. Jane
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 21:47:08

    @Kaetrin: Hmm. I thought it was clarified as “fans constantly complaining abt haters.” I think I’d qualify as that. Apparently defender of genre, as I’ve always been here at DA – about romance, erotic romance, digital publishing, and the like – is fangirling.

  57. Kaetrin
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 21:57:17

    @Ridley: I’m not sure I can explain it any better. I think I am likely a bit more thin skinned than you, that might be part of it. But there is a difference, to me, in “it’s not my cup of tea but, ‘to each her own’” and “Who would want to read this crap?”. It is the latter which starts to skew personal for me, partly because of the (on many occasions) vitriol behind it.

    I’m still baffled by the passion (and time) some people who don’t like NA give to it. It piques my curiosity (my besetting sin) and then I get in trouble trying to understand it.

  58. Janine
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 22:04:45

    @hapax: Thanks for letting me know that.

  59. lazaraspaste
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 22:17:16

    To me, this whole NA controversy thing is the convergence of three or four reader fatigues.

    1. Feeling manipulated by marketing and buzz. I think there’s a general sense that reader communities have been invaded by marketers. Fandoms, as a result, have seemingly been more reactionary and zealous. I think a huge amount of trust has been eroded over the last few years and that has had a huge effect on the way people talk to each other. This may or may not be a new phenomenon. But that’s not the point. It feels awful when that trust goes, regardless of whether its the first time or not.

    2. The sense the NA is supposed to be (literally) categorically different. As Janine asked: is this a different genre or a different age group? Because if it’s the former then it feels a lot like I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Butter to me. I mean, it’s supposed to be this brand new thing (maybe?) I guess, but if you’ve read widely in romance and YA and SF/F and mystery, then you recognize A LOT of the tropes and it’s just margarine but in different packaging, or with a slightly different flavor. And that would be fine, except if you are expecting butter, ya know? I mean, if you are expecting margarine then it’s good. But I CAN believe it’s not butter. This metaphor is falling apart. My point is that part of the reason I have not read NA,is that I get the sense its supposed to be different or new, but to me it really doesn’t appear to be that comparably different from a lot of trends in YA at the moment. It’s all contemporaneously-set-YA-novel- in-which-young-girl-with-very-few-female-friends-gets-involved-with-boy/s-and-drama. Which I’ve read and enjoyed but have mostly gotten sick of. And I certainly don’t think that’s ALL of them and I totally might have the completely wrong idea. BUT that’s the sense I’ve gotten and that sense has prevented me (a long with having no time) from looking for different books that might appeal to me. Or looking for reviews of books that might appeal to me, which goes back to feeling like there’s a lot of distrust or not knowing who to trust, etc.

    3. As Robin suggested, there’s this sense that this new marketplace was supposed to have expanded 0ur options, but there’s a concurrent sense that it actually hasn’t done that at all. It feels somehow like there’s less choices. Whether that is actually true, I think, is less important than that it seems true. Thus people getting cranky.

    4. Being annoyed that you can’t feel annoyed about being annoyed by a trend/book/fans/Tuesday/whatever. You know, the feeling that you can’t have any public bad feelings, strongly worded or not, about books or other people’s tastes without offending someone somewhere who isn’t even on your Twitter feed or reads your blog regularly or at all, but who is going to show up there anyway to tell you how much of an asshole you are because in having annoyed feelings about a book/genre/author/other people’s shitty grammar/misconstruction of the historical appearance of zippers or whatever, that you have also implied that they were worthless human beings and have undermined their entire identity as a reader and how could you and just after their sexually ambiguous cat Earnest died last night. No, you’re the privileged slut-shamer. No, you are the privileged slut-shamer. Hey sluts, we need to stop slut shaming! Cue military style crawling away from unintentional kerfuffle. This was happening at least every other week for like months. I swear. It was very exhausting.

    Is it any wonder that people just lose it for no reason about a genre they haven’t read? I mean, it’s like being at the end of very long, very bad day when some usually well-intentioned but oblivious person innocently asks, “Shall we go to Klimpy’s for dinner?” to which you reply, “If I had the money, I’d buy a Klimpy’s just to burn it to the ground!” A seemingly irrational reaction but one with an unspoken back story.

  60. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 22:24:56

    I am always annoyed by Tuesday.

    Otherwise, +1 to lazaraspaste on all counts.

  61. Jane
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 22:30:19

    @lazaraspaste:

    1) The NA label was made up by SMP but it was self published authors that showed that this was a viable subgenre and these books need a label because that is how publishing works from online retailers to instore booksellers. Labels are how readers find what they want to read. So there is no invasion by publishers or marketers. This was a purely author and reader driven phenom brought on by self publishers. Yay for them.

    2) I mean, it’s supposed to be this brand new thing (maybe?) I guess, but if you’ve read widely in romance and YA and SF/F and mystery, then you recognize A LOT of the tropes and it’s just margarine but in different packaging, or with a slightly different flavor. If this was said about romance, how would you respond? I mean, seriously, how would you respond to someone who said “I don’t read romance but I get the sense that it is all the same and there isn’t anything there I want to read.”

    In sum, if you haven’t read it how do you know?

    3) How are there less choices? There are more books published today that are ever being published. Authors like Theresa Weir are back writing romances, in part, because of self publishing success. Authors are realizing that they can go to market with the books that they want to write and market directly to the audiences that want to read them. There is more choice today than ever.

    What I think is happening is that people want someone like me (and other bloggers like me) to find them that next great read and if I’m reading deep into the NA subgenre then that’s less likely to happen. But we’ve always, always reviewed what we’ve read here. As a former reviewer, you know that better than anyone else. Everyone who reviews at DA picks the books they want to read and review. And it’s not like we don’t have variety here. I reviewed Kit Rocha, post apoc erotic romance. I’ve reviewed a gigolo romance (that I thought I wouldn’t like). I’ve reviewed and recommended Evie Byrne, who writes awesome powerful women heroines. Jayne has reviewed Theresa Weir and Cosway’s Painted Faces about a cross dressing burlesque dancer.

    And if “here” isn’t putting forth the books that you want to read, there are literally thousands of blogs out there. Maybe go on Goodreads and find someone whose shelves match yours by 70-80%. That person may lead you to your next great read.

    4) Finally, there is a big difference between saying “I don’t like this (even if I’ve never read any of the books)” and saying those stupid fangirls are making me hate everything. Really? This blog has always been about supporting the romance genre, hardcore. If I’m a fangirl for defending a genre, so be it. I’ll wear that hat. If I lose readers because I’m not reading books within their tastes, that’s a fallout I’ll have to suffer. But this blog has always, always been about the defense of romance while at the same time, regularly critiquing it.

    I hope it remains that way.

  62. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 22:38:12

    @Jane: I didn’t take what lazaraspaste said as any kind of criticism. I took it as a commentary on everyone’s marketing and kerfuffle fatigue. The authors are tired. The readers are tireder.

  63. Erika
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 22:50:30

    I wonder if sometimes the vitriol for a particular genre stems from specific incidents where a very popular book in a genre generates a very rabid fan following that will expand their defense of one book to the entire genre. Take the McGuire kerfluffle – rabid fans spurred on by the author herself attacked individuals about a book in a very newly defined New Adult category. Some rabid fans are now trained to think that attacking negative reviews is okay and are on the lookout for those expressing dislike for NA books while many of those attacked may associate all NA books with their negative experience with a review for one book. Neither side’s stance is particularly rational, but I can see it happening. Apply it to a few popular books in a genre and the whole thing could quickly spiral.

  64. Cindy
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 23:01:35

    I don’t hate new adult but as I’ve said previously, except for historicals where people of that age are simply more mature, I can’t relate. My worry is that the publishers will take it the way of paranormal and young adult…that other readers who don’t want to read new adult are going to be left out because there will be less published for them.

  65. Robin/Janet
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 23:40:50

    @Las: I don’t get the sense that criticisms have become more personal.
    I disagree.

    Something broke loose in the Romance community after 50 hit big, I think. I don’t know what, exactly, but the tenor of online discourse around readers and what they liked shifted. At first I didn’t notice, and when some people commented on it to me, I brushed it off. I wasn’t a fan of 50, but I didn’t hate hate hate it, so I wasn’t really paying a lot of attention. But more and more, people who were not historically known to remark on the nature of commenting were remarking on it to me. People who I knew to be thick-skinned, assertive, forthright individuals. So I started to pay attention, and once I did, I saw a marked change. If I simplify it down to the basics, I’d characterize the shift as one from “God, I HATE that!” to “How the fuck can you LIKE that?!” — and that shift transferred the burden of personal responsibility from the hater to the person reading the hated material (whatever that may be).

    I was thinking about this tonight on the drive home from my office (which was ungodly long, due to inexplicable levels of slow-moving traffic), and I still remember the fight we had when I first started reviewing for DA against the readers and authors who thought we were mean girls because we were providing honest, candid opinions of books. And it wasn’t just DA — it was the kind of reviewing and book talk many of us were doing online. The line established then was that we were reviewing and discussing the book and not the author, the comment and not the reader, which is not only fair, but the kind of discussion that provided an environment in which people could have really rigorous disagreements and debates about books and feel safe to be honest about their responses. That talking about the book and not the author was, for many of us, the key to maintaining a *reader-centered* space, instead of a *fan culture* around Romance.

    But now I feel like the line has moved, and for no good reason. And I think it’s moved in such a way that the honest, forthright discussion of books, tropes, genres, characters, etc. is being threatened, because readers who have strong opinions on books — negative, positive, not based in like or dislike of a text — feel like they are being targeted, rather than the content of their comments or the books themselves.

    @Ridley: Yeah, I went back and double-checked after you responded. Thanks for posting the link, though.

    @lazaraspaste: A seemingly irrational reaction but one with an unspoken back story.

    I agree that we’re all burned out, and I think maybe we’ve all gotten a little sloppier about observing the line between what people say and the people themselves. I wonder, really, if something fundamental changed in the construction of the fan and reader communities when 50 Shades was published as original fiction and it took off SO fast and so broadly (and then seemed to cannibalize the rest of the genre, via look-alike covers, etc.). Although I think the origins of this trace back, maybe as far as the Harlequin Horizons controversy and the beginning of the self-pub revolution.

    As anyone who knows me IRL will tell you, I am an incredibly impatient person with an extremely low irritation threshold. So I definitely see the edginess. But at the same time, when people I know who have historically been pretty engaged online start withdrawing because of that edginess, I feel like the community is losing, and what we’re losing is precisely the thing we’ve all been fighting for all these years — namely the right to be direct, even harsh, about the words on the page, whether they be a comment someone makes that rolls up your blood pressure, or a book you’ve read that makes you want to start the bonfire in the yard.

    And I feel like if we don’t try to find that line again, we’re letting all those people who called us mean girls for being willing to criticize books, and all those marketing strategies that make us feel overlooked or disrespected or whatever, and all those publishing moves to re-package unrelated books as 50 Shades tie-ins, win. And THAT, more than anything, kicks my annoyance gauge into the red.

  66. lazaraspaste
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 23:47:10

    Yes, I was really more speaking to why I think people are reacting as they are, a general sense of the atmosphere that causes the controversy. But to address your points, Jane:

    1.) Right. But what I’m saying is that the label is part of a larger feeling, which may or may not be true, that marketers are invading reader communities, like with all the GoodReads dust-ups and the P2P and the shady dealings by some so-called publishers and how the lines between author, reader, publisher, marketer are blurred to the point of being indistinct. When you come out with a new genre label in that atmosphere, an atmosphere in which a lot of trust has been eroded, then EVEN if it is utterly honestly intended to be there to help readers find the sorts of books they want to read, it may come off as another ploy, regardless of whether that’s actually what it is. And I am not saying this is what I think IS the case. What I’m saying is that A LOT has gone down in publishing, in reading and in writing in the last few years and I think it makes people suspicious of the new even as they want the new. That is all.

    2.) Well, first, I don’t actually see how NA is a wholly different genre from Romance or YA to such an extent that it is not using the same tropes and conventions as those genres. And since I don’t see it as being a separate genre, but a sub-genre then I have assumed, perhaps wrongly, that it uses a lot of the same tropes, but tropes that I, personally, am I kind of sick of, at least right now, but only with a character who is a different age. And I have read pretty extensively in both of those genres, so I feel pretty okay saying I’m not into these tropes at this particular moment even if the particular books is actually awesome. And I’m also not saying I will never read a novel labeled NA, because that’d be silly.

    What I’m saying is that I’m not buying (pun!) that it is new genre. That’s what I mean by the same.

    As much as Romances aren’t the same, they are alike. That’s why they constitute a genre and you can have labels in order to find other books like ones you’ve already enjoyed. If they weren’t in some way the same, then you’d not be able to have a genre or a sub-genre category in the first place. Moreover, even romances that are radically different are sold as if they were the same. If you only read the back blurbs of historical romance, you would have no idea how different those books were. And failing to read the first chapter, yeah that’s my failure. So when I’m reading just the blurbs of NA , I’m reading these plot summaries as if they were part of the romance genre and not a totally different genre. I’m not not wanting to read it because I haven’t read about it and I’m prejudiced based on rumors. I’m not wanting to read it because I’ve read the blurb and I’m like, “Eh, no thanks. I’ve had my fill of that” which means that 1) the blurb/review/whatever has neither sold me on the idea that it is actually a different genre nor 2) on the particular book.

    Besides, IS IT a new genre? Does it have new tropes? Does it have it’s own conventions? Expectations? What makes it a new genre? Besides age group? What are it’s distinguishing features? This not me being facetious. I’d actually like to know what makes it distinct besides age or college setting. That to me is not enough to make such a large genre distinction.

    3.) There is more choice today than ever.

    I don’t actually think there are less choices. I think people FEEL like their are less choices precisely because paradoxically there actually are more choices out there. But its hard to navigate and actually make discoveries is difficult so they keep stumbling on the same stuff. So you are right. People DO rely on blogs like DA to direct them to their next great read because they don’t have the time or the savvy or the know-how or the desire to hunt them down their selves. And sure, there are other blogs, but who are these people running these blogs? And can they even trust GoodReads anymore? is what I think people ask themselves. I think readers are asking themselves: How do I find books when what I’ve previously relied has changed/isn’t working/is gone, etc? And that adds to an atmosphere of mistrust, discontent, and frustration which is what I think is really behind the crankiness about the NA genre.

    4.) Well I hope so, too. That was not at all what I was saying. I wasn’t saying don’t defend the genre.

    What I was really trying to get at here was that I think people are feeling very sensitive and that they either have to be on the offensive or the defensive and can’t actually express their disappointment or annoyance, which was not a passive aggressive dig at you at all. It was a general observation about the atmosphere all over the place these days. I think in addition to all the mistrust and change and transition and irritation and the kerfuffles and the fighting and the misunderstandings, there’s the added feeling that you can’t be disappointed and annoyed, which just increases the other feelings. I feel that in totally unrelated areas of my online life. The result is that everyone feels like they are being attacked, even if they are not. And that’s because they are already feeling points 1. and 3. and frustrated by their searching for new books and other people’s reactions.

    But I also think that people should be allowed to say, “Stupid fangirls are making me hate everything” because sometimes they (whoever they are that day) do make all of us–you, too–hatey some days. And oh sure, that’s unreasonable, but emotions are unreasonable. And reading is an emotional experience. And reading about other people’s reading experience is an emotional experience. And reading about other people’s reactions to other people’s reading experiences is an emotional experience.

    And that’s why I think everybody just loses it sometimes about something that doesn’t seem like that big a thing.

  67. Kaetrin
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 23:59:52

    @lazaraspaste:

    or other people’s tastes without offending someone somewhere

    That’s the line for me. I don’t see how someone can get publicly cranky about someone else’s taste and expect it will NOT offend.

    I don’t mind the rest, that’s fair game. But when it gets personal it does offend/bother/other-adjectives-which-are-less-strong-than-offend. And, frankly, saying that it wasn’t meant personally doesn’t help. It is personal when it is about something so subjective as a person’s taste in romance books.

    I saw many people in my corner of Romancelandia getting offended (I was one of them) at Harlequin readers being slagged off last week and this week. It was personal. And we reacted personally. What’s the difference if it’s a subgenre such as NA being slagged off?

  68. MikiS
    Apr 25, 2013 @ 02:00:32

    Disclaimer: I haven’t read NA nor have I read any of the NA-hate (or even NA-love) beyond what’s been mentioned in this post.

    I’ve seen some of the discussion here about NA, and I’ve been assuming it’s a new genre and not a sub-genre of romance, mostly because of the age group and the fact that they seem to be predominantly contemporary.

    I’ve been assuming these are Happy-For-Now, not Happy-Ever-After, stories…therefore, not (per the genre definition) “romance”.

  69. Kaetrin
    Apr 25, 2013 @ 05:31:53

    @MikiS: I’m not an expert on NA, but I’d say from my own reading that there is a mix of HEA and HFN. It depends on the context of the book. I haven’t struggled with believability of the endings in my reading to date.

    In romance books there is sometimes a HFN ending and I still (personally) categorise them as romance.

    The thing I forget often (because I read only the romance NA) is that NA is not just romance. IMHO, NA is a category of fiction, a subset of which is NA romance. NA romance is, in my opinion, a subgenre of romance. But I don’t get hung up on that myself and it’s not important to me whether I’m right or wrong in that area. The label “NA romance” is helpful for me. But there are NA books which are not romances and therefore they do not necessarily conform to romance genre conventions. The way I see it, NA is about coming of age and protags are around 17-23 (ish) and NA romance is about coming of age with protags around 17-23(ish) AND a romance relationship with HEA/HFN

    Perhaps someone more knowledgeable could weigh in before I embarrass myself further? :)

  70. Carolyne
    Apr 25, 2013 @ 05:59:45

    @Kaetrin: I suspect that, for readers (or editors) who primarily live in Romance, there’s a tendency to answer “what is New Adult?” with “what is New Adult Romance”? Or this may be because recently the obvious books to break the barrier have been (depending on perspective) Romance, or sexy older-than-YA. Which itself was a long time coming–the past 7 or 8 years, every time I read YA cover copy that said the heroine was 18, I knew that meant “there be sex inside.”

    But at 18 or 19 the characters would still be in high school, to get that YA label. Maybe that was an negative result of YA becoming such a major category over the past 25(?) years. Looking at that last sentence: Maybe part of what drives a “need” for New Adult is because an entire generation has grown up from birth to that age under the rule of our YA overlords. What category of books addresses them next, or do they just get tossed into the roiling sea of general literature? (The water’s fine, though.)

    I see New Adult defined (more logically/sensibly/usefully) as the age and circumstances of the protagonist. You can read something about that stage of growing into being your own person, without it having to be set in high school hallways or enclosed by parental oversight.

    But in the end, I think it just comes down to what @Lynnd said way up at comment #7. The stories were always all around, but to get them published by mainstream houses and shelved and easily marketed and reviewed, there has to be a label to put on them.

  71. Las
    Apr 25, 2013 @ 07:22:33

    @Jane: A few months ago you berated several us on twitter for having a conversation–in which you were not @’ed–about DA and how we don’t like the books that had been getting reviewed lately. Your complaint was that we should have contacted you and to tell you what we would like you to change about your blog instead of talking about DA behind your back. My response to you was that contacting you directly about this didn’t feel right because it is your blog, you review what you want, and if people don’t like it that’s our problem for us to deal with as we choose. So when you say:

    What I think is happening is that people want someone like me (and other bloggers like me) to find them that next great read and if I’m reading deep into the NA subgenre then that’s less likely to happen. But we’ve always, always reviewed what we’ve read here.

    I have to scratch my head. Because you seem to be saying that you don’t want people contacting you about the blog, and based on your behavior recently you’re clearly bothered by anyone saying anything negative about DA on twitter. So what exactly is the problem? I don’t entirely disagree with @Robin/Janet: about some of the changes in tone after 50, but when it comes to the discussion about NA specifically, I don’t buy it. I don’t read many of the reviews here, so it’s likely I’ve missed it, but some links with actual examples of people being shamed for like NA would be nice. Because all I’ve seen so far is you and many others complaining about other people discussing their dislike of NA among themselves. What I think is happening is that people are still hyper sensitive about 50, about self-pub, about complaints of bad editing, and about KA, and now that NA is the big thing right now any mention of disliking it just feels like a pile on. Which, yes, understandable and we can’t control how we feel, but why is the solution demanding that certain people shut up about certain topics so that others don’t get their backs up? People were apparently mean about 50 so now no one can say they dislike a book or an author or a subgenre? That’s supposed to improve discourse?

  72. Angela James
    Apr 25, 2013 @ 20:06:43

    As much as I do like New Adult, it has seemed to me to have come with more squeeing, less critical reviews. I don’t trust any reviews of New Adult I see any more unless it’s from someone I know, for a variety of reasons, but ultimately because I feel as though many 5 star reviews are being put up more and more frequently with perhaps somewhat more underlying motives than genuinely fangirl loving of every single book. I’ve become a bit cynical on this point, I suppose.

    But, as a somewhat random observation, the overuse of GIFs (and exclamation points) in what feels like almost every Goodreads review of New Adult has contributed to that overly squee-feeling for me.

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