There’s been a lot of buzz on Twitter, and especially during the #yalitchat conversations about the new St. Martin’s “New Adult” contest. See the link here with the summary of the contest, and definitely read the interview with JJ, editorial assistant over at St. Martin’s here.
They’re putting a name and a concept behind the space between YA books and Adult books. They’re not creating a new genre necessarily – they’re just opening a call to a specific type of book. It’s a kindof blend of “older YA meets adulthood.” Characters who are older than those in high school, whether they’re in college or starting out their lives in other ways. Older characters dealing with coming out into an adult world, or coming into themselves as adults. Essentially the next level of the YA coming of age story.
I love this idea. I love the concept of what they’re going for, the ideas that its sparking, and the enthusiasm its creating among the writing community. When you do a lot of research into agents, and publishing and trying to learn the business, you see a lot of people telling you that college age characters can’t be in YA books. Or there’s no market for it. Or editors won’t want to look at “older” characters that aren’t your typical adult novel. This is the first time I’ve ever really seen someone say “no wait, we really want to see what you’ve got.”
The possibility for stories to tell, and viewpoints to express are just as unlimited as YA or any other genre, but the fact is that you don’t ever see the examples of those books singled out anywhere. Once upon a time, there wasn’t a distinction between children’s books and adults, and eventually the Young Adult market came to be recognized.
I do think that there’s the potential for a lot of hype with this “new” concept. St. Martin’s is trying something different. I think that’s fantastic. But I think a lot of things will depend on how the experiment turns out. It could become an overnight success, or it might not catch on. Its really going to depend on those individual stories. I don’t know that its anything to majorly get excited over – meaning I don’t know that we’ll see other editors putting out a similar call necessarily. Nor do I think this necessarily will foster a division between YA and upper YA/new adult books. But I think its definitely an interesting concept, and worth watching to see how it plays out.
Personally, I’d love to see this whole concept take off. I love the idea of telling college-aged coming of age stories. Pressures from family, starting your own family, and all the different urban fantasy possibilities get my brain buzzing. And it makes me think about my trunked novel about a pair of college aged kids and the demonic spirit that comes between them.
What do you guys think? Will the New Adult novels catch on? Is this another “big” thing in publishing? Or is this destined to failure?