Hello everyone, welcome to another discussion post! ♥
If you’ve been following me for a while, you must have noticed that almost all the books I review here are YA. That’s right, I’m a huge YA reader and proud of it. I don’t care about the fact that ignorant people are calling YA “not a real literature” or how some of my friends keep saying that I should start reading “grown up books” now that I am an adult. YA is a legit category and I love it.
However, I feel like my preference has started to change for these past few months. I started to get tired of immature female protagonists, unnecessary girl fights, and how almost all the characters always have noble intention (i.e. saving the world for the sake of saving the world). And as much as I love reading about the characters living their high school lives, I felt like their problems are no longer relevant to me. At the age of 22, my biggest problem isn’t that cute high school boy or that mean girl from my chemistry class.
I started to question myself : am I still fit to read YA, or is it time to venture to other age category?
You might have noticed how in most YA books our characters seem to have their life figured out by the time they finish high school. They have this amazing boyfriend/girlfriend, they know what they want to do with their lives, and they have this scholarship to one of the best school in the country. In terms of books, it always seems like that’s how the story ends. You get your happily ever after once you finish high school.
The truth is, you don’t. I’m probably gonna burst your bubble here but hey, I think this is a truth universally acknowledged 😛
You don’t get your happily ever after in high school. Maybe a few people do, they have a great career and marry their high school sweet hearts, but most of us don’t. We still have a long life ahead of us and plenty of things could happen during those years.
By the end of my high school year, my life was looking pretty great. I got accepted in one of the best university in the country, I had some amazing group of best friends, and I had a boyfriend who was going to go to a university in the same city as mine. Sounds like a perfect ending to any YA contemporary novel, right? Lol, no. After high school, I rarely ever see my high school best friends anymore. I broke up with my boyfriend because for some reasons we just weren’t compatible anymore, despite living not too far away from each other. And even after graduating with a bachelor degree, I’m still not sure what I want to do with my life.
Being a new adult is really challenging.
People don’t treat us like teenagers anymore. We still want to have fun and be lazy and read books all day but we got bills to pay and other responsibilities to fulfill. Friendship changes, and so does romantic relationship. Despite our lack of experience, we are expected to make tough decisions all the time. We’re told to be independent, to stand on our two feet, yet our parents still meddle on our business all the time (at least mine does).
That’s why I need more New Adult fictions in my life. I want to see my stories in the book and be able to relate, instead of having to always reminisce my high school memories like I do when reading YA. The problem is, I haven’t found the right NA books.
I know most people think that all NA novels are about sex and I’m sure that’s not true. I’m sure there are a lot of great NA books that don’t revolve around sex and we just haven’t found them yet. But the thing is, where are they? Try scrolling through some NA books list on goodreads, all we got are pictures of topless guys with heavy muscles, people kissing, or bare feet tangled in sheets.
I’m not a prude. I enjoy books with sex scenes in it, not to mention it could be a great thing if portrayed positively. But what about the other problems? Most of NA fictions I’ve read are centered around romance and by extension, sex. I really don’t mind it, especially because for most people in our age, having a romantic relationship is kind of inevitable. As long as romance is portrayed realistically, bring it. However, there’s more to life than just romance, and that’s what I want to see more in books. That being said, I’d love it if NA books also focus on other issues, other than spending a hundred pages describing what the characters are doing to each other in great details.
That brings me to another question : Have I been reading the wrong books all this time?
Because really, most NA books I read are those with graphic sex scenes and naked guys on the covers </3 and now I need your help to find me the right NA! Here’s what I want t see in New Adult ♥
Relationship with the parents
If you think that the relationship between parents and teenagers are hard, you’re in for something even more difficult here. Our parents may no longer forbid us from going out at night but the issues run deeper when we’re new adults. I can’t count the times I disagree with my parents because we’re just so, so different. There’s plenty of room for disagreement here.
Sometimes parents don’t agree with your career choice. They want you to have a permanent, boring job with high salary and plenty of benefits while you want something a little more fun and flexible even if the pay isn’t as high. Sometimes parents don’t agree with your boyfriend choice and you get mad because you think you’re adults, ergo you’re supposed to choose for yourself. Sometimes it’s even about something political.
I’m gonna say this again for the people in the back : adults don’t always know what they want to do with life. Just because you major on something in college doesn’t mean you’re gonna have a career in that field. I studied psychology but does that mean I’m gonna be a psychologist? Who knows, maybe? New adults face this kind of problem everyday. Do I take this high paying yet boring job or opt for the other one? Am I sure this is what I want to do for the next 20 years? Should I go back to school? The struggle is endless.
Unfortunately, most NA books I’ve read have protagonists who are already so sure with their future. We have several protagonists who already know that they’re going to be a musician or writer or lawyer. It’s great, but where’s the struggle? Why don’t they doubt their choices? I’m sure I’m not the only 20-something who’s not sure with what I want to do with life.
Realistic portrayal of romantic relationship
I don’t know if you notice but the romance plot in NA is so repetitious. Innocent and inexperienced girl, secretly good guy who acts like a jerk because of his dark past, and a chance encounter between them. They meet, they fall in love, they fight, they make up, they fight again (usually more serious this time), one of them apologize with a grand gesture and confess their love to each other, and they get together forever.
Can’t we get other kinds of stories? The fights don’t stop after that. People in romantic relationship fight for various reasons. Stupid stuffs like not picking up on time, not washing the dishes, or simply because they’re having a bad day. Then there are more serious stuffs like parents approval, differing principles, incompatible life choices. Also, people don’t always end up together like they do in books.
Alright everyone, that’s why I’ve been thinking of reading more and more new adult books. I still, and will always read YA, but if you’re currently in your 20s like me do you ever feel like some of the conflicts in YA are no longer relevant to you? Do you have any great New Adult recommendations? I’m building my NA TBR so shoot me your best recs! ♥
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