Dear New Adult: An Almost-Breakup Letter

Dear New Adult: An Almost-Breakup Letter

Dear New Adult:

Hey, NA. I can call you NA, right? I mean, you and I have been seeing each other for almost 4 years. That’s a really long time, but the passionate love affair we once had isn’t what it used to be. My feelings for you have diminished drastically in the past year. And I have to confess something: I’ve been seeing other people. Others who are quieter, less dramatic, and make me forget all about you.

What was so great about you in the beginning was the enjoyment of reading about characters who were my age, in situations that most twenty-somethings face. Back then, many of your stories were filled with realistic issues, memorable characters, and great writing that kept me entertained for hours.

Now, you’ve become stale. You’re repeating the same story over and over again. And I’m so sick of hearing it. You’ve become something else over the last three years. I don’t like what you’ve become, and I’m no longer in love with you.

Is this the end of our love affair? Not quite. I’m still willing to date you, but unless something changes I will throw in the towel. For now, I’m putting my guard up and giving you some conditions for continuing our relationship:

  • Please stop throwing in all the plot twists in the universe. Trust me, I like good drama, but it’s not necessary to create a twisted dramatic web in every single book that is so outside the realm of reality that it’s nearly impossible to tell which way is up. I don’t know if this is happening more often as a way to provide a distraction, so the reader doesn’t notice the novel’s other weakness(es) or to disguise poor writing. But I’m tired of this. Quiet new adult romance is nearly non-existent. I want some more of that.
  • NA heroines, stop wondering whether “he will fit.” I have never read a NA book where the couple had to jump ship because he didn’t fit, so I’m fairly confident that it will always fit. In all seriousness, what’s the point of the heroine asking this anyway? Is it to make the hero seem that much more “attractive” by showcasing the impressiveness of his girth or how big he is? The jury’s out on that one. I’m sure that the sex scene would survive without this one line. The “will it fit” line is so overused now, and even in the days where it wasn’t overused, it still made me roll my eyes. And while we’re on the subject of sex scenes, the “Oops, we forgot a condom foreshadowing a pregnancy” is no longer a subtle clue to readers that Jane Doe will ultimately have a bun in the oven.
  • You don’t need to outdo all previously released books’ level of tragedy. It seems like the Big Drama is getting more outlandish by the book. It’s to the point where things like rape aren’t enough anymore to create an emotional response from the reader. No, there has to be something worse. Since when did rape become something just sort of sad? If you’re going to have some sort of psychological trauma or any type of trauma, it needs to be fully explored and given the respect it is due, not just used as a plot device. And this isn’t just happening with the whole rape storyline. Readers are becoming desensitized to horrendous things because of the overuse of gratuitous violence and trauma. And for what? Shock value? Stop it.
  • Recycle beloved storylines/tropes but do so in a new and fresh way. I’ve read some great books with a very commonly used “hook” and some not-so-great ones. The ones I didn’t like often just put in a few tropes and character types and then did nothing to make them their own. Some of my favorite books have such simple love stories with a trope that is unoriginal, but the book is written well and the characters so fully developed that it works. Tropes are okay but add something different to make them feel new to the reader.
  • Fromaggio needs to shut up. Tone down the amount of cheesy lines. Trust me, I love a good romance one-liner. I love when the author builds the couple’s chemistry and then places the perfect romantic line for that special moment. But I find myself laughing when I read some of the most quoted lines in NA these days. In fact, as a joke my friends and I have a game where we try to come up with the cheesiest romance novel quotes. (Side note: I am the master at this game) And then we’re horrified when similar lines, ones we thought were funny, show up in romance novels in a completely serious way. Am I the only person who reads some of these lines now and rolls my eyes?
  • Please, no more ‘broken shards of your soul tumbling down the abyss of despair and never-ending heartache’ lines. I don’t really feel like I need to say more on this other than I’m tired of these types of lines.
  • Give me a real conflict that moves the story forward. When a book is held together by a weak conflict it falls apart. I’ve seen this so many times. I get to the 60-ish% mark and then everything sort of fizzles out or the author throws in several weak conflicts hoping the reader falls for it.
  • BE ORIGINAL. NO MORE COPYCATS! Stop blatantly ripping off other people’s stories. You’ve probably all heard the line, “No story is an original story.” That’s partly true, but not a defense or an excuse to take a concept from another peer. This seems to be happening more often lately (and not just in the New Adult world. It’s happening everywhere). I’ve even seen some readers call the author out on the copying and then condone it because Original Author should “take it as a compliment” that Copying Author would feel so inspired. There is a difference between being inspired and the overt theft of specific ideas, ones that Copying Author would never have had without Original Author’s work. And it’s not okay.
  • More three-dimensional characters and make me care about them, please. I don’t see enough of this in New Adult. More often, I see stock characters with the same traits in book after book.  For example, the broken girl character type needs to go. I’m not saying that traumatized girls need to go (some of my favorite heroines have gone through some sort of trauma). What I’m saying is that this seems to be many authors’ shortcut to create instant character depth. Characters have become so unimagined that they don’t feel real to me.  It’s almost like authors haven’t delved into a character’s mind to find out what they like, what they don’t, what their histories are like. Give me characters with more depth. Yes, even in the “light and fun reads” (Actually, especially in those reads).

Those are my conditions. And I’m sticking around for now.

I have faith in you, New Adult. I think we could get back to our glory days. I still like reading about twenty-somethings trying to find their way. That’s what New Adult was intended to be, or at least what I wanted/hoped it would be. Instead, it’s morphed into twenty-somethings having a lot of sex and convoluted storylines.

I really want someone to come into the genre and shake things up. Bring something new to the table. Someone whose writing is on point, who cares deeply about characterization.

Please come back to me, New Adult, when you’re not so drunk.

Note: I am not saying that every New Adult book is terrible. I am just stating that I see a pattern in the genre after reading several books that have these things. And I think it’s time for a change, a New Adult revolution if you will.

Very Truly Yours,
Megan

Tell me in the comments:

  • I’d love to hear your opinion whether you agree with me or not!
  • Have you become disenchanted by the New Adult genre?
  • What are some things you wish would change?
  • Are there aspects of the genre that you’re glad has changed?
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  • “Give me characters with more depth. Yes, even in the “light and fun reads” (Actually, especially in those reads).”
    BIG FAT YES to that! All characters are blending together for me, noone stands out anymore and I dont remember their names after couple of days of finishing the book.
    And dont even remind me of recycled storylines. It is so hard to find original NA book these days. That is one of the reasons why I am also kind of breaking up with this genre. There are still exceptions (Ritchie twins) but otherwise I cannot think of any single NA author lately whose NA novels would appeal to me…

    • Thanks for your comment, Lucia! Yeah, I don’t mind recycled storylines and tropes and all that, but at least do SOMETHING with it instead of just using them, you know? Make them unique in some way.

  • Emily

    Yes! A million times yes! I’ve read over 300 books this year (different romance genres) and they all contain the same for NA. I always go in waiting to be wowed and that’s not the case anymore. Character development is sub par and the plot is mediocre at best. I will admit to having low standards, but as an avid reader that has to have her nose in a book constantly, I’ve come to a sudden halt. I can’t take it anymore. And I’m the one who will read trashy step brother romance! But there was one I gave up on because it was so awful. It was in a top 100 list for so long and has 400+ rating at 4+ stars. It was utter garbage. Partly I blame Kindle Unlimited. I am a huge fan of the program but I think it unfairly rates books that should otherwise not be in a top anything list. And I blame some of the reviewers who have low standards and technical writing skills. More people need to be leaving reviews for the sub par books. Maybe they don’t want to be cruel but readers need to see these reviews. And the authors too!!! They need to learn from this constructive criticism and keep bettering themselves. Not put trash on KU because it’s easy to do and make money from.
    /rant
    Ps I love Kindle Unlimited.
    “Here comes our kid!”

    • OMG! I totally remember when you told me about the “Here comes our kid!” line. *shudders* Yeah, I think Kindle Unlimited is great for readers on a budget, but from what you’ve told me there seems to be a lot of so-so books on there. I know there have been some great indie reads on KU, too.

      • Emily

        I have found some of my favorite authors through KU definitely. Yes, great for budgets or people who read too damn much and need to get a library card. 😉

        I find myself in a no win situation. I don’t want too much angst, NA has recycled angst, contempt romance is too fluffy… I guess that’s why I switch genres so often, try to keep it fresh and balance my angst/happy place. But through it all, you are completely correct that there is too much repetitive themes without great writing and development to back it up. Make me care again NA.

  • Wonderful post, Megan and I’m with ya. I rarely pick up a straight – up NA novels anymore and college NA is nearly off the menu for me. I was constantly rolling my eyes and there’s always the fun/witty/slightly slutty roommate to the good girl heroine. Just over it! Alot of those books try to compare to EASY anyway.

    • I know there has to be good NA out there. I still have a glimmer of hope that perhaps the good ones are just being buried by the sheer quantity of NA books being released, authors who have more of a following, more publisher backing/money, etc.

  • I completely agree with you. In fact, I hardly read NA anymore because of it. I’m finding myself leaning more towards more subtle romances, chick lit, and women’s fic. I do go through cycles with my reading though, so maybe a good break through author/book will catch my fancy again. I just get SO tired of reading the same book over and over again. And the cliche’s and shock value has got to go. Like you said, it minimizes the seriousness of some of these issues and readers are becoming so desensitized because of it. Such a turn off. Great post, Meg!

    • Thanks, Autumn! I’m drawn to the more subtle romances too. But where are the subtle NA romances? Why does everything need to be so overdone in NA (most of the time)?

      • SScott

        Totally butting in here; I read a Caitie Quinn book (I think NA?) because I saw it nominated for an award, and it had just the right blend of fun, romance, and issues with friends and relationships outside the romance. I was so excited to find out who published this book so I could find more. Basically, it led me to finding out she self-published, and then I talked to her at a conference (fangirling) and she told me romance publishers said readers don’t want stories like this. They don’t want funny romance with issues. Um, yes we do? I wish I could find more of her brand of NA which is actually about early adulthood and fitting in career and relationships without buckets of melodrama.

        • Hey! Thanks for the recommendation. I haven’t heard of her before.

          I think readers just want a good book. I don’t care if it’s a “funny book with issues” or a “serious book about dying.” Give me a good story with great characters and writing, you know?

  • Nora-Kate

    Can I add a plea to NA authors to please slow down. So often I feel the reason for these mediocre books is the panic and rush to self-pub 3-5 books a year while holding down a full time job and family. Calm down everyone! Spend serious time with your words and your characters. Be patient.

    • I think it’s great if authors can work full time and put out a large volume of quality work. But is that actually happening? Are the books being churned out at that pace high quality? This isn’t a rhetorical question. I genuinely want to know.

    • Nora-Kate, that’s a good point. Rushed books rarely reach insightful characterization.

      Thought-provoking post, Megan!

  • Ohhh I’ve been waiting for something like this from you!!! <3. This is a great article. I agree with so much of this. The over dramatic, the cliches, the lack of depth, that all needs to staph!! There is so much I still love of new adult but I'm finding that I have to search more for that gem. That one stand out. I've had to switch up some of my reading just so I don't get to bored with any one thing.

  • Lol, I thought the “Fromaggio needs to shut up” line was hilarious ! I always feel like romance in books gets so border line cheesy, especially when they do a callback or ironic echo or something.

    I’ve just re-discovered New Adult so I’m still at the new stage. I really like the ones that Megan Erickson does because they are third person as opposed to first. I also like Jen Frederick, one of her newer books has a virgin male protagonist.

    • Haha! I tried to inject a smidgen of humor in this more somber post. I haven’t read any of Megan Erickson’s books but several of my friends have. And I’ve only read one of Jen Frederick’s books (Unspoken), and I liked it. Thanks for the recs!

  • I LOVE this post Megan! So well said and I am with you 100%…I have found this year to be a tough year for books in general. More often than not, I am not finishing books and quite frankly it makes me so depressed. I have been in a funk and am hoping that there are more gems out there that are waiting for me to find them.

  • Lisa Wells

    Wow – when I read your post from an author’s stand point, I’m thinking OMG, I’ll never be able to write a book that will make Megan happy, and if I can’t write a book that will make her happy, then I shouldn’t be writing…..

    Then I take a step back and read Megan’s post from a reader’s stand point and think – she has a point. In fact, all authors should strive to exceed Megan’s standards, because really she’s just asking for the minimum from authors.

    Thanks for reminding me that lazy writing is visible to the readers.

    • Eeep, Lisa! Don’t look at it like you’re trying to make a reviewer happy. I like what you said in the second paragraph. I basically just want a higher level quality. Again, I’m not saying that everything is terrible and everyone should quit. Not at all. But I think readers and authors should have standards for what they read and write.

      Thank you for your comment, Lisa!

      • Lisa Wells

        Hi Megan,

        I loved your article. I just processed it the same way I do when I get edits back from my editor. At first, I want to run and ignore them, and then I take a deep breath and realize she has a point, and I dig in to what I need to change.

        I feel like you threw down a challenge to authors, and after hiding for a while, I came back out, picked up your challenge and accepted the gauntlet. I don’t write new adult, but what you said is a good kick in the pants for all writers. I applaud your ability to get a point across in such a way as to make authors want to step up to your standards versus throw you under a bus for being nasty. 🙂

        Lisa

  • Andrea (formerly of The Bookish Babe)

    “And I blame some of the reviewers who have low standards and technical writing skills. More people need to be leaving reviews for the sub par books. Maybe they don’t want to be cruel but readers need to see these reviews. And the authors too!!! They need to learn from this constructive criticism and keep bettering themselves.”

    @Emily, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve had many disagreements with friends who think it’s mean to leave an honest, critical review. Why? I value my time and my money and if there is a book with poor editing, constructing, or just completely awful, I want to know. I think the line between reader and “author champion” is really blurry and is often a disservice to fellow readers.

    Sorry to go off on such a rip, Megan! This was a great post.

    • Ohhhh, yes! So much yes to all of this.

    • Andrea, I completely agree with you. I actually have debated on writing a post on that topic as well. I think it’s very important for readers and reviewers to be constructive and discerning when reviewing/rating because their opinions drives the market and so on and so on. But yeah, Emily was spot on. And you’re right, there is definitely a blurred line between “author championing” (as you say) and being a reader. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

  • Oh, man. You have perseverance. I cut the cord and ran a long time ago! I have trusted authors who I still read, but I’ve never been on to purposely inflict pain on myself. LOL

    Yes to all of your points, but especially this one: Fromaggio needs to shut up. Tone down the amount of cheesy lines.

    Is it just me, or do some writers seem to write in GIFs? Sometimes when I’m reading, I’ll read a line that I just know will show up on a GIF somewhere. And while it might be a decent line, it is so ill-placed and out of context or character that it doesn’t fit in the book. That’s a huge pet peeve of mine!

    This was a great post!

    • Haha! I actually haven’t been reading NA steadily for a long time. But, like I said, I still like the idea of the genre and have faith/hope that something will change.

      I like reading about characters in that age range. I still think there are so many more stories to tell with characters in their 20’s, post high school, college, post-college. Stories that don’t include some of the overly dramatized NA ones that are out right now.

      The GIF comment – I got to thinking and you’re totally right. Perhaps those out of place moments were the product of an author really just wanting a particular moment in the book and then didn’t take the time to weave it in coherently? I don’t know.

      Thank you for commenting!!

  • Maggie

    I think you nailed it, and though I really hope you find that NA that will knock your socks off I am afraid it will be a long while before that happens. The NA market is saturated, every single story one reads covers the same subjects, and I am really tired of author focusing their stories so much on the sex part of adulthood. When I was in college I was a lot more concerned on passing my classes, paying rent, having money to commute than worry about the pecker size of my bf/fwb at the time. Seriously, NA needs to reinvent itself or better yet, authors need to start looking at what’s around them when writing about college life/coming to age. Great post.

    • Hey Maggie! I’m willing to wait awhile. Like I said in another comment, I do still believe there are still good stories to tell with characters in this stage of life, even though there have been a million and one NA books released over the past 3 years.

  • Tamara

    Amen to everything you wrote. And in addition to nora-kate’s comment, I prefer quality over quantity. It feels like there are more “fast-food” books out now more than ever. I understand the pressure authors might feel from readers, but they should be aware that eventually, it just leads to all you said and those same readers might eventually disappear and look to satisfy their hunger somewhere else… I’d rather read one book/author a year (or even one book/author in two years), than having the same/very similar storyline over and over again. I was head-over-heels in love with NA as well, and I still jump of joy when I find that rare one I absolutely adore. But they’re very hard to find. I went from Erotica to Contemporary (too much sex/no plot – I’m not saying they are all like that), and now I’m going from NA to YA…

    • “Fast-food” books – that’s the perfect term. If an author can consistently churn out high quality books at rapid rates, more power to him/her. But rarely does that happen. One of my favorite indie authors only puts out one-ish book a year, and it shows. The quality is there.

      I’ve been reading a lot of YA too!

  • 100% agree with this post. I was early to jump on the new adult bandwagon when this genre emerged, but after years of seeing the same tired characters or plot lines, I’ve lost my love for these books. It’s like NA authors are just trying to out do each other with crazier plot twists and more damaged characters. I love drama and angst but a character does not have to be damaged, raped, abused or abandoned to make them or the story intriguing. I just want a good love story with heavy feels sans the sensational dramatics.

    • Debbie!!! Gurrrrl, you and me both. I ate those books up back in the day. Some of the NA’s of 2012 were great and I still reread them. Many of the books being released now are so watered down now, there’s no substance. I want substance even in my fun light reads, you know? And like I have said above, there are still NAs out there that I like from time-to-time, but back in 2012 it was easier to find the great ones.

      I just want a good story too. That’s really all I want. I don’t need all the crazy things.

      • Anna G

        I agree! 2012 was the best year for NA. I haven’t really been digging the (new) NA I’ve been reading lately. I’m tempted to go back and see which books I missed from that year. Excellent post, Megan!

  • April S

    This is a great and honest post about my one of my favorite sub genres of Romance. I agree with you 100%. I also started reading the New Adult genre about three years ago when I finally purchased a Kindle. I loved it in the beginning; reading about characters closer to my age with real life issues, overcoming obstacles, and basically growing up was a change for me. I was in that group between being in college and being a “grownup.” That being said, I feel like some romance tropes and themes are used way too much and are so over done. When you read the same thing over and over, it gets tiring and boring. Angst in a book is fine, but throwing it in just to create conflict for the sake of conflict is overdone. I also feel like for some authors, the New Adult genre gets confused with Erotica. Sex in a book is great, but not when it’s practically every chapter and taking away from the actual story line. There are a few authors that I believe capture the essence of what I believe New Adult is actually about. The between age of high school and graduating college, trying to figure out who you are, what you want to do with life, and just growing up. I do love this genre and will probably continue to read it, but not as much as I have been.

    • You’re right! Someone else said here or somewhere else in response to this post that NA is parading around as erotica and I think that’s exactly right. NA is often used as a way to write hot sex between young hot people.

      I’ve scaled back a lot of on how much NA I was reading. I switch it up now or stay away altogether unless it’s an author whose writing I know I like. Thank you for commenting, April!

  • I’m glad you wrote this! Based on your more recent reviews, I was thinking that maybe you should leave NA and contemporary romance alone for a bit since you weren’t enjoying them that much. It seemed you’d outgrown them, since your recent favorites are outside that genre.

    I broke up with NA last year because of your very same reasons, but I’ve been reading the genre again recently and enjoying it. The trick is to read the older NA books. I’ve been catching up on the ones that were popular two/three years ago (not the recent ones because they’re mostly crap), and I’ve been really impressed with how genuine and realistic they are.

    • I don’t like what New Adult has become. There are several that I read a few years ago that I still really enjoy and will reread. But what it is now isn’t something that I enjoy (most of the time).

  • Yes! Everything you said. I hate the twists, and the violence and trauma and all the other things being thrown in books now for shock value. Makes me maaaaaaaaaad!!!
    Sadly I am still looking for that book that will be like my older favorites and I may be close to giving up.

  • Such a perfect post. I’m sitting with my mom and read the “girth”, “how will it fit” part and died laughing. 😂 My mom “what’s so funny?” Uh…nothing mom 😳. Anyway, I couldn’t agree more. Maybe if we ALL break up with NA, it will start to change for the better. I gotta share this 💕

    • Whoops! Hahahaha! I wish you would have explained to her why you were laughing. That would have been super entertaining to me. I think NA needs to be single for awhile so he can find himself.

  • OMG I’ve been thinking this too! I went 6 months this year without ready anything because every time I picked up a book I wanted to throw my poor kindle fire against the wall. I still haven’t been able to get back into NA. I can’t take all this unrealistic crap where the story focuses on some obsession with the hottest person ever (’cause they can’t be anything but) and constant sex (which is kinky and mind-blowing every time – as if!) I like to read about the sex but there hardly seems to be a story anymore in these things. PLEASE, point me to a book that doesn’t thrive off drama and doesn’t involve engagement, marriage or a baby to move the story.

    • One of my old NA standbys is On Dublin Street by Samantha Young. I think some people who read that book now (after maybe reading several NAs) may think it’s just another “same NA book” but I really thought that book was a great NA. It always sticks out in my head. It had great characters, it was sexy, and it dealt with some tough issues in a real way. Joss had a realistic reaction to her situation and the book was just fun to read.

      • I’ve never read anything by her. Thanks, I’ll add it to my TBR.

  • I want to like this post a thousand times! Yes! To EVERYTHING you said!

  • Yes Yes and more YES! For reals all of what you said. I was so into NA for a couple of years. I liked the age range it hit and the issues that were being dealt with. However, I haven’t found very many I have loved lately for a lot of the reasons you listed.
    “NA heroines, stop wondering whether “he will fit.”” I seriously laughed at that. I mean do people really worry about this in real life??
    Great post!!

    • Maybe we should conduct a study of newly sexually involved couples and poll them about that, Grace. I’ll put you in charge. 🙂

  • LeKeisha Thomas

    I totally agree with everything you pointed out here. I’d like to add titles to the list. I get so tired of the titles being similar to another book with only one word differential. And the books are so similar that It’s scar

    • LeKeisha Thomas

      “Scary”

    • Yes! There are a lot of books with nearly identical titles out there. I would think as an author you’d want your book to have a distinct title, separate from other authors. But on the flip side, I wonder if some authors purposefully name their books something similar to try to capitalize on someone else’s fame. Who knows?

  • Luisa Hansen

    My thoughts exactly! Someone had to say it and I’m glad it was you Megan.

  • Dear Megan,

    I swear, if I can EVER get my book published, you will love it. It may not meet ALL of your criteria (mainly because I AM a sucker for cheesy one-liners, sorry!) but you will see lots of personal growth, and a lot less sex! 😉

    Loved reading this! I certainly couldn’t have said it better. In fact, I’ve STOPPED reading books by one particular author because this is ALL that person does — every single thing. It gets SO annoying after awhile. I need something DIFFERENT to keep me reading and this particular author has not done that at all.

  • You nailed it, babe! This is exactly why I’ve given up on NA. I’ve been reading a lot of traditionally published women’s fiction, contemporary romance, and historical fiction because I think I’m finally getting something truly different. It used to be that NA was different. It’s not anymore. I think that some authors think that the bigger the shock value, the more “different” they are because it seems to get a lot of attention from readers and bloggers. I’m usually standing around going, “Huh?” Nope. Not for me.

    • See? And I think NA could go back to being something awesome without all of the additives that people have put in it. Give me natural NA. LOL!

  • Rebecca

    Yes! This!! And I could say the same about most contemporary romance these days. I’m getting to 50% and have a freaking headache from rolling my eyeballs to the back of my head. Apart from some great ones read recently that have been outside the square (recommendations from friends, thank goodness), they are all following the same formula. 50% finally have sex. Post sex, start having confidence issues as lot line, pushing away romantic partner in fear of getting hurt. 55%, already closed book, lost interest.
    All the F**king same!! Maybe I’ve become discerning because I’ve been reading a lot of amazing traditionally published YA this year, fantasy, PNR, dystopian; and they are rocking my world.

    • You’re right. I think a lot of what I said could be translated to contemporary romance, too. I’ve been trying to mix it up. I still have hope!

  • Sadie

    I just have to say again how much I love this post!

  • Hi Megan! I have a brazilian blog and would like to ask if you allow us to translate this article to share there. This post is so right I feel it should be shared around the globe. And not only related to NAs… I feel like this is happening every where. I miss originality, I miss badass books that blow our minds. You said it all!

    • Hey, Fernanda! Sure you can translate this. But please credit me and link back to the original post. And send me a link when you share it. I’d love to see it.

  • Go home New Adult, you’re drunk!
    I love this letter Megan, it was perfect. Why do you think I have been reading so much YA recently. The recycled crap is driving me crazy and I don’t want to break up with NA either… although we are on a break I guess. (See, if you watched Friends we could make a Ross and Rachel joke here…smh)
    Sex scenes are terrible in NA, they make me laugh and they make me cringe. Not the reactions I should be having…
    “Will it fit?” <— This is one of my biggest pet peeves. These girls obviously don't have the fucking internet. And like I've already told you, if you are truly concerned that it may NOT fit, then that thing should be far away from your vagina!

  • Oh yes! This is all so very true, and I *love* it.

    You know, when NA started to become more popular, I remember thinking that this was the genre with some real potential in terms of being inclusive without being only about a certain marginalised group. Young Adult and Adult titles tended to confirm to the old pattern, with only few authors stepping outside of that boundary. But New Adult didn’t have those patterns yet, so there were some hopes in relation to representation of people of colour, bisexual or asexual characters, nonbinaries, people with disabilities and so forth. A genre that wouldn’t dramatise a sexual orientation but treat it as just another part of a character’s personality/genetical make-up, etc. No extra shelf for “gay romance,” in which everyone has to die for higher ratings or whatever. A more realistic, less angsty, portrayal of fluffy wlw romance and stuff. But that.. kinda never happened. Instead, it started to slowly become a mixture of Adult/Young Adult in all the annoying ways. :/

    I’d love to see NA go back to its roots and then start to work on the parts that really had potential instead of confirming to ideas that everyone can already read about in any Adult or YA novel they happen to stumble upon.

    Anyways, loved the letter.

    • “I’d love to see NA go back to its roots and then start to work on the parts that really had potential”
      Me too, Patricia!

  • This is a great discussion post! I see all your points and they are all valid but I also think it can happen with any genre if you’ve read too much of it in one shot (or maybe you haven’t?). That’s why I try to switch either the genre or if it’s the same genre the type of story. Something else is that what might be a new storyline to me might be the same old to someone else and they’ll rate what I think is a 5 star a 2 star. But I completely understand what you are saying because sometimes it seems like the formula driven books are all that is out there. I would give NA a small break 😉

    • Thanks, Mimi! Many have said similar things that this could be applied to other genres, and I would agree.

      My frustrations are not the product of reading too many NA books. I do read a variety of genres/age ranges (historical, YA, Adult Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction, etc.).

      Rather, my point with the post is that I want higher quality in New Adult, books with some meat on the bone. I’m okay with formula and tropes, but many times I see those things presented without any unique spin.

      • Ahhh I gotcha. Do you find this issue mostly with Indie (vs Traditional) authors or maybe new authors vs seasoned? I’ve pretty much given up on NA unless it’s one of my favorite authors or a book that’s highly recommend. :/

  • Hi, I’m a french reader and here we had NA’s books just since 2/3 years but we have the same problem ! I read a lot of different things but the similitude between the books are sometime horrible. But there is a lot of good books too, without a lot of drama 🙂

    • You’re totally right! There are good books too! I’m just finding them harder and harder to find. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  • As a member of the former NA Alley, I used to champion NA till the cows came home in an effort to see change, much like the points you make in your blog post. Trust me. You are not alone. Many of us want those quiet NA romances. I wrote one (Summer Haikus, it was out in August) and loved having a more subtle book including Asian characters, but the audience isn’t there for it. They still seem to want the things that you point out you’re tired of (and many others are tired of as well). Why? I totally don’t understand either. Lol.

    NA has become exhausting! And quite frankly, it SHOULD be more diverse both in plot and characters. It should NOT be the same thing over and over. You should NOT become exhausted after binging on it for a while. Mysteries aren’t like that. Mysteries are varied and diverse. Plenty of other categories AND genres are diverse. So, why does NA seem to stick to this little pigeonhole? I wish I could answer that question and fix it.

    • “[New Adult] should NOT be the same thing over and over. You should NOT become exhausted after binging on it…”
      I couldn’t have said it better myself. I do like to switch up the genres I read for my own entertainment. But you got what I was saying. I’m not tired of reading New Adult. I just demand more from New Adult, more than what it’s mostly giving us right now.

  • I’m right there with you, Megan! I was at the front of the line when NA started out, jumping up and down excitedly about how fresh the take on 20-somethings was in these books.

    And like you, I’ve been reading less and less.

    But as an author, I feel like I’m in a catch 22. If I produce a unique storyline, then readers won’t give it a try because it’s not what they’re expecting to read. If I only put out one or two books a year, readers forget who I am. If I put a book in KU, it must be trash, but if I put it on all platforms, it won’t sell anywhere but Amazon.

    I think that too many authors are trying hard to give readers what they want, and just like with the vampire craze a few years ago, we overdid it.

    I think the only solution is to have authors write the story in their head and heart, and not the story they think will sell. As another author says all the time, “Make art, not money”. (But, again a catch 22 because if I don’t make money I’ll be livin’ in a van down by the river….”

    Your post was excellent. And I personally will continue to strive to give you everything you’ve asked for <3

    • I think it’s really sad that there is that stigma with KU. I know a lot of really good books that are or used to be on KU.

      “I think the only solution is to have authors write the story in their head and heart, and not the story they think will sell.”
      YESSS!!! I know that’s so much easier to say than actually do because you do want to make money. Things like editing, cover design, formatting, etc. cost money. When an author writes something that’s completely organic and from the heart, that translates to the reader (at least for me it does).

  • Yes, yes, and yes! I agree with everything you said. A friend and I have been talking over the past year about how we feel we must have outgrown NA, and you summed up our feelings beautifully. Your statement, “Now, you’ve become stale. You’re repeating the same story over and over again. And I’m so sick of hearing it. You’ve become something else over the last three years. I don’t like what you’ve become, and I’m no longer in love with you,” is the main reason I abandoned NA. I don’t mind the drama, but I became tired of the SAME drama over and over and the SAME characters with different names. Thank you for sharing what many of us are thinking and feeling and for your honesty.

    • See? And I don’t see it as me “outgrowing” New Adult. I think New Adult has changed and morphed. I still read YA and find that many of the YA books don’t have many of the issues I outlined above.

      Thanks for your comment, Kathy! I really love reading your blog! You’re one of my favorites! 🙂

      • I think you’re right that we really haven’t “outgrown” them. Many are becoming tropes at this point. And thank you so much for the compliment and support. I really do feel the same about your blog and ADORE your honesty!

  • Too true, Megan! I haven’t been reading much NA, because I’m tired of the angst and drama.

  • Is it cynical for me to wonder if the books have deteriorated over the last four years, or if you have just gotten older? I don’t mean that in a cruel way, but in the sense of observing that you started by saying that at first you related to heroines your own age. If four years have passed, perhaps it is your perspective that has changed? I remember that mid-twenties was when all the drama of my younger years suddenly started to seem so exhausting.

    Of course, I say that having never really read new adult. Of course, I’ve never really read new adult because the drama and storylines in them have always seemed so exhausting to me – presumably on account of the fact that I was already headed out of my twenties when NA first popped up LOL. I could be wrong, I’m just speculating, but it’s a question that perhaps deserves some consideration.

    You know, that good old cliche – NA, I’m sorry, it’s not you – it’s me. 😉

    • I understand what you’re saying, Ciara. But outgrowing NA isn’t my issue. It may be the issue for other readers.

      I still read and enjoy young adult, which has characters younger than most NA characters. YA characters often deal with issues I have long outgrown, but I still find that the quality of the writing, character development, etc to be really strong in YA. My issue with New Adult is that I’m tired of reading the poorly done New Adult novels that are being churned out and saturating the market.

  • Nikola Vukoja

    My novel coming out late next year is an NA, that kind of breaks the rules. It’s NOT a romance, NOT set in a college or something just as predicable & it’s not all that easy to categorise. It’s actually an contemporary NA women’s fiction with historical elements ( two stories in one that meld together) The setting’s are Melbourne Australia, Paris & Brittany France and Moscow Russia. There is a romantic sub-plot but it’s just that and acts as a foil to help the MC discover herself. The MC is 24 and the other integral character is the MC’s octogenarian grandmother. It is both NA & women’s fiction, after all no one could argue that the needs, desires, life experiences, future dreams are the same for a 24 yo as they are for a 34, 44, 54 and so on. It is also quite confronting emotionally and at time sexually explicit (sexually active 24 yo people do have sex). When the time comes. I’d love for you to read it, (free of course) and give an honest review if you’re willing 🙂

  • Sarah

    A million times over yes. My biggest peeves lately are the whole “Oh I really really love him but we can’t do this he can’t possibly love me back even though it’s blatantly obvious he does”. Every time that happens in the NA world I want to throw my iPad across the room for wasting a couple hours of my life on that book. No one wants to hate the heroine. Another is quit trying to stretch books out for a dollar. I can’t be the only one who has read a couple books out of a series and realize it’s so dry that all it seems like the author is doing is stretching it out so they can end on another cliffhanger so you’ll buy a third fourth or fifth book with the same characters.

  • OMG yes, it’s so thrilling to see someone mention the problem with NA instead of gushing about all the books that are basically copying each other; I thought I was being way too difficult and picky but no, it’s NA’s problem. It needs some serious fresh material because the tropes are a constant and it’s really become an issue. I LOL’d at the “will it fit” part because honestly?! Just no. And the typical NA heroes, especially the alpha male, it needs to stop. Thank you for this ♥

  • Bri

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that there’s issues in the New Adult genre. However, I am commenting to share a book series with you – The Addicted Series by Krista and Becca Ritchie. Their story lines and characters are so original that the Ritchie twins’ fan base honestly feels like we are best friends with the characters and their world truly exists. I know there’s a lot of problems in many NA series, but this is not one of them. Give it a try. I can pretty much guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

    • Hey, Bri! I read book one of that series and didn’t fall in love but I heard that the other sisters’ stories were really great! Which one of those were your favorite?

  • Camille G.

    I totally agree with this! I love reading NA, but lately we’ve been drifting apart. Whenever I read the blurb on Goodreads saying that the heroine has a secret or a horrible past that no one can know esp the guy etc. It just made my eyes roll! And most of those books have high rating but the blurb just doesn’t do it for me. Recently I’ve been reading the “light reads” kind of NA. Sweet Addiction is funny. I liked it.

    When I first Started reading NA, I love almost every books that I read.
    But looking back or should I say re-reading, those books that got me started with NA (1 year ago, lol), it makes me want to change my Goodreads rating from 5 to 1 star! The “Oops, we forgot a condom foreshadowing a pregnancy” is so common to this one author which is just disappointing considering that I loved all her novels.

    Thank you os much for this post! Haha! Evrything that I think about NA is here.

  • Jay galland

    This is amazing! I feel like the majority of my ‘reading time’ is spent searching for new books that aren’t the same recycled plot/drama filled drainer. Then I read a few chapters in im eye rolling or cringing then on to the next one. I thought it was just me stuck in a book funk or losing my reading bug, glad to now im not the only one who feels this way! Xx

    • That is me. I’ve spent hours on Kindle searching for something new and different. Sometimes, something old and different.

  • Hi Megan!

    Thank you so much for this post. You literally had the lady balls many of us were lacking, and you were brave enough to confront the situation that is NA. There were times that I’d be reading a NA book and it would feel like an erotica because there are so many sex scenes clouding the absent story. And clouding issues being discussed. I couldn’t agree with you more, including more than a dozen of the people that commented above.

    I am going to highlight the issue too on my blog, duchessreading.wordpress.com and have a link to your masterpiece letter. Thanks again for being our voice. 🙂

  • I agree with you 100% and unlike you I have given up completely and broken up with New Adult. I don’t even look twice if a book is categorized by the NA label. There’s too much of every single thing you listed and it may just be because I’m over 30 but I don’t have the patience for that shit anymore. The last TRULY amazing NA book I read was “Imperfect Chemistry” by Mary Frame. I loved it so much I ended up buying and enjoying the second book as well. If you want a quiet, simple yet unique NA full of quirky characters and originality then you should read this one! Great post babe!

    • For me, it’s not really the age thing that’s the issue for me. I’ve noticed a decline in the quality. And I still read YA novels, which have characters much, much younger than me (I’m 30 😉 ). Thank you for the rec, Hootie, and for stopping by. I missed seeing you around.

      • MEGAN! I seriously didn’t know this was you! I’m so glad I followed the link to this post now 🙂

  • YOU are to blame for my not having been able to close my browser for like two weeks straight. I just can’t force myself to part with this post. I keep hibernating instead of shutting down my laptop. IT’S BEEN MADNESS OVER HERE!

    My co-blogger and I went from avid NA readers to pretty much circumventing all NA (in my case) or reading it sporadically (in hers). And if anyone ever asks me why, I intend to just link them this post.

    I’m never closing my browser, anyway. This is too good. (I know, I know, Bookmarks are a thing. And I have it saved on Bloglovin. But still.)

  • Libby

    Couldn’t agree more!!!

  • Amy

    Hey Megan!
    Your post is EXACTLY what I needed to see after reading so many sub-par NA novels recently. I’m a sucker for reading books that have a gazillion star ratings on Goodreads but I’ve felt truly underwhelmed with the whole lot of them lately.
    Basically, the characters just suck. Like you said, they’re not realistic and they go through unnecessary trauma and plot twists just for shock value.
    I usually judge how good a character is if I can immediately connect with them and their quirks/flaws and imagine how they would react to a certain situation, but I’m finding that I don’t get to know these shallow NA characters at all! They’re like strangers, not friends. I don’t even bother reading the sequels with these same characters in them.
    And don’t get me started on why every main female lead has to be this innocent, naive trope with no backbone whatsoever. The sex scenes that said females are involved in are even worse. Where are the condoms, the lube, the foreplay? Anything that resembles real life sex and intimacy? I worry that it gives younger readers misinformation that they might believe. Do you find that, too?
    So…authors, I want more kick ass women that I can relate to, please! But I think I may just have to stick to what I really love, which is historical romance fiction (I totally recommend The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah). Anyway, thanks for your great post and blog!

    • Thank you for your comment, Amy. I hope that we see a shift in what’s resonating with readers and, in turn, what writers are writing and publishers are publishing. Thank you for the recommendation, too! The Nightingale has been recommended to me several times. 🙂

  • Thank you, I am late to this discussion but I was looking for something like it. I am so sick of the books being almost the same specially the love interest being the same Tattooed Muscled Badboy with a hidden pocket of sadness. I do like strong men but there are other types. THEY DON’T ALL HAVE TO BE MUSCLED TATT BILLBOARDS AND BADBOYS! Actually I like shy guys too, even give us some nerds with a twist. Will publishers listen?

    • Thanks, Lana. Publishers and self-published authors will keep writing what’s selling. So I think we should hope for a shift in the buying trends of readers and what bloggers choose to promote. I love nerdy guys too. 🙂