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!

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