Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Where's The Line Between YA and NA?

The New Adult genre has been in play for a while. It's not until I joined Indie Inked that I really started to find out more about it. Some of the authors within the group have had great success with their NA novels. It got me thinking... Should I write one of those? And then I started thinking... Well what is the NA genre really? How is it different to YA?

From what I can tell so far, NA books deal with characters who are slightly older - 18+ years. They are dealing with some of those issues you face out of high school...the really big coming of age type moments. A character's first proper job, first serious relationship... possibly an engagement, a heart shattering break-up, having to take care of family. You know, the really big stuff that makes or breaks a person.

I guess YA novels deal with some of those issues too, but in NA the author can go into more depth, make it more gritty and intense. I think another big difference is that NA can be more violent and also more detailed with sex. 

I'm still deciding how I feel about this. These books are aimed at a 16 - 18+yrs . I know people are basically adults by then and I don't want to by an old-fashioned stuff, but I am still going to think very carefully about how I present the sex and violence in any of my books. 

Okay - so now that I have laid my foundations, I want to put forward a question. 

Where is the line between YA and NA books?

I am asking this because I am currently writing a novella - Before. It's a prequel to Betwixt and describes Dale's journey when he was going through his bad boy phase. He got up to a lot of mischief and I need to include this in the story to make his journey more impacting. I feel like it is an NA style story, yet it's about a teenage boy. Do I market this book as a YA or an NA?

I know some authors who have faced the problem of starting a YA series and as the characters grow older the books need to become grittier... more NA like. So does the marketing change halfway through a series?

I'm really interested to know what people think on this.

As a reader, I am open to both YA and NA books. I love both genres, although some NA's go too far for me. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I have heard one author comment that someone complained because her NA novel wasn't raunchy enough?

I feel like the YA/NA genres are very closely linked and I think people need to be open to the fact that some YA novels will be racier and some NA novels will not have as much punch. 

How do you define the difference between the two genres?
How important is it to differentiate between the two?


  1. I know what you mean. I've been thinking about this too. I do think that there is a current expectation that NA be raunchy and I personally think that is the wrong way for readers to view NA. I think oftentimes those readers are really looking to erotica with the legitimizing stamp of NA on it.
    NA is a new genre so I guess it will take a few years for readers and writers to get comfortable and to define the genre more specifically over time. But first I think it needs to divest itself of the erotica expectation ;)
    As for the line- I do think you can have a YA series that turns NA but there again I'd draw the line deeper- like at the end of one series. And only because some YA readers are way too young (as readers read up in age) and this may encourage younger and younger readers to test the NA waters earlier than expected.
    That's my 2c anyway ;)

    1. I like your 2cents. Thanks for commenting. I think it's a good discussion to have. As a writer it's really important to know your audience and pitch your work correctly.

  2. As a book buyer for public libraries, I would say the major difference is the headache NA books pose for us in terms of classification. Do we put them in the teen section and risk the complaints from parents? Or in romance? Erotic romance? General fiction? Where would you expect to find them in a library?

    1. Yes - it really is a cross over genre. I'm finding the same issues as a writer :)