Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The New-Adult Debate

For years, I've wondered what this group of people is called. Finally, it has a name: New Adult.

New Adult Fiction is basically fiction about kids who aren't exactly kids, so they're sort of adults but they aren't really doing adult things. Think college students and recent graduates. Rebecca Hamilton's The Forever Girl is a good example; while it is a paranormal tale for young adults, its protagonist has just graduated from college - not the typical teen of the YA genre.

As St. Martin's Press aptly puts it, it's the coming-of-age that happens in a person's twenties.

FINALLY, I thought. When I was younger, I always thought the progression went: kid-teen-college kid adultish person- adult. But I always pictured "adults" as people with 9-to-5 steady jobs and babies.

As a 22-year-old, I've lately been realizing that I'm in some nebulous purgatory age. On my own, sort of. Mature, sort of. My goals are really clear. My immediate future is very...not.

It feels more like climbing down a ladder than climbing down stairs, if that makes any sense.

Except I really want these stairs.

Awhile ago, I said to my cousin, "I think before teenagers become adults, they are just Young," and I still maintain that. For the past five years, I've been working on a musical, which is all about a group of New Adults. None of them are really settled down. This was a weird group of people to write about - they appear in a lot of musicals, but in this modern era, I really tried to capture the angsty uncertainty that a lot of the Millenials are feeling about now. We question each other because we question ourselves, and the world is not what we were told it was. But the thing about the Millenials is, when something's not the way we want, we try to change that. (For better or for worse.)

Some people, though, don't believe New Adult is a legitimate genre. I'd do a poor job of summarizing what those arguments are, so please look into it if you're interested. I'm sure it's pretty clear that I strongly support the popularizing of the New Adult genre. But it's probably also clear that I'm biased, because if I were a character, I'd qualify as a New Adult. And knowing what to call this confusing, peculiar time in my life just might make me feel like I have more of a grasp on it.

But then, could this kind of literature help NAs?

Please let me know your thoughts!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "The One That I Want" by Jennifer Echols

WHY I PICKED IT UP: I've heard high praise of Jennifer Echols from teens, and I always want to stay on top of what teens are currently loving. Also, I follow Echols' agent Laura Bradford on Twitter, and she's hilarious, so I figured I should check one of her clients' books out. I saw this at my library, and that was that.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Here's the description from Echols' site:

Gemma can’t believe her luck when the star football player starts flirting with her. Max is totally swoon-worthy, and even gets her quirky sense of humor. So when he asks out her so-called best friend Addison, Gemma’s heartbroken. Then Addison pressures Gemma to join the date with one of Max’s friends. But the more time they all spend together, the harder Gemma falls for Max. She can’t help thinking that Max likes her back—it’s just too bad he’s already dating Addison. How can Gemma get the guy she wants without going after her best friend’s boyfriend?

But it's about a lot more than that. This description doesn't even allude to the fact that it is, at its core, about Gemma's used-to-be-hidden talent of baton-twirling, her self-image issues concerning her weight, and her struggle with her so-called "friendships," which give the book a great deal of substance.

THE POSITIVE: Well, I read it in 2 days, and it's not usually my genre. It's like taking an afternoon nap in a sunspot. Effortless, relaxing. Will it make you wide awake for a long time? Probably not, but it's not something you'd regret. OK, my metaphor is starting to derail. Basically, it's not a tough book to follow, and Gemma has a lot of voice. I liked being inside her head. And the boy she's swooning over, Max, has a really interesting quirk that involves delving into people's psyches in an analytical way. Very inventive.

Also, this book tackles weight issues in an interesting way. Gemma loses a lot of weight in order to feel better about herself when she's a majorette. But not in an unhealthy way. She works out and cuts out dessert. Even though her weight loss is perpetuated by a desire for conformity, not health, she does it in the right way, and that sets a good example for girls who want to lose weight for any reason.

The characters were pretty distinct from each other, and every character was rounded out well. I didn't feel like I was cheated by the ending, and little loose threads from throughout were nicely tied up.

THE NOT-SO-POSITIVE: We're in Gemma's head, and I felt like she repeated her thoughts a lot, especially about a situation that I as a reader had figured out pages ago (and I don't think that's just because I'm older than the target age group). There was also a part towards the end (I won't spoil it for you) that I thought was pretty out of character for her, because it basically involved doing something that could have been considered betrayal, but was - due to luck - not perceived that way. This instance was never really addressed in that light. She's not perfect - which makes her feel more real - but it would have been consistent with her character to feel some sort of guilt or hesitance about this event.

OVERALL RATING: Recommendable. If you like stories about young teen love and tough decisions about boys and best friends - which seems like a popular theme in books - then yes, this is definitely worth a read. Heck, I don't flock to those kinds of books and I sped through it because I was genuinely caught up in the story. This book definitely takes the sometimes overdone high-school-love-triangle plot and gives it some substance, which is great.

Have you read this book? Did you find this review helpful at all? Let me know what you think!

I've also just finished reading Insurgent by Veronica Roth, so look for that review soon.

Hope your summer has been swell so far!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Things I Used to Want to Be

We all have occupation-themed dreams. Since childhood, I've at some point seriously considered these jobs:

*Meat-imitation inventor
*Poet-laureate of the World
*Comic Strip Writer/Illustrator
*Art Therapist
*Music Producer
*TV Show Writer
*TV Show Music Writer

What were some of the things you wanted to be when you grew up?


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Save the World on the Way to Publishing Your Novel

The smallest acts can make people heroes, and Kat Brauer has been doing something amazing for a few years now.

I recently discovered called Crits for Water. Essentially, Kat offers critiques of queries, synopses, and even sometimes full manuscripts. These critiques are often done by guest authors and agents. Some of these critiques are acquired by pledging a certain amount of money, and then the winners are determined by a raffle system of those who pledged. Other prizes are won by auction. The money goes towards providing clean water systems for people in third-world countries.

So, essentially, the money spent on improving your chances of landing an agent also improve the chances of someone's survival. Talk about a win-win.

You can find Kat's site here:

Thanks for checking out a good cause!