Just yesterday I was confronted by an author who defined New Adult based on sex--you know, like the media has been. The fact that it's the same media who poo-poos genre fiction (especially romance) and refers to erotica as "mommy porn" is not lost on me. It's why I shake my head at the media and move on, but when I see authors--who have been around the block for a while--falling into the same patterns, I kind of want to puke on their heads.
Saying New Adult is Young Adult with sex isn't much different than saying Young Adult is Chapter Books but with kissing. No. JUST NO!
*ahem* Forgive me, but this pisses me off.
I went to college. Was sex part of my life? Yes. But it didn't define my life at that time. It shouldn't define the genre either.
Things that do define it, kind of by definition?
- Age (or apparent age) of the main character(s)--18 to 25 is a generally accepted range, though the upper limit (in my opinion) depends greatly on where the characters are in life.
- Beginnings--Post high school is a time of new beginnings, whether it's going to college or getting the first real job, or just escaping from under the thumb of parents in whatever way possible.
Um... yeah. There you go. Where Young Adult is about coming of age, New Adult is about self-discovery. (Granted, there are people like me who are much older that are still discovering who we are, but that's beside the point because it's different at this age than it was then.)
Yes, sex is a part of that time. So is leaving home. So is being broke (much of the time). So is legally drinking. So are... a lot of things. But they don't define that age group. There could easily be a book written about a young soldier in war that could be New Adult if written a certain way. No sex. No love interest. Just some hard truths about what it's like to be a soldier in another country, away from everything you know, where people around you are dying, and realizing you might be next. With the focus put on the life the soldier hasn't lived yet, it could most definitely speak to that whole "beginnings." It doesn't need sex for that.
To put it another way, getting older and a degree of growing up is required. Sex is optional.
/steps off soapbox and puts away megaphone
Until next time.