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The New Adult Dilemma

February 25, 2013
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819488cd-4941-3aab-8242-1481c38834c7I recently completed the first draft of my third manuscript, Summer Lake. I originally intended for it to be a historic Young Adult. It’s set in the 1973 and, true to the ’70s, it has a lot of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. As I work my way through my first set of edits, I’m realizing it’s pretty mature. There’s a rape scene, explicit drug use, and several other scenes that involve sex that probably push the YA limits.

As I result, I’ve started to think it might be an idea to age my main character (Cass) from 17 to 18, thus shifting the story forward a year to the summer after her senior year in high school. A big storyline in the novel is Cass trying to figure out who she is. Her mother is strung out and her father abandoned her. In the second chapter, she finds a picture of him, and decides to try to find him. She thinks if she can find him, he may be able to answer some of her questions about who she is.

My issue is, in all my reading of and research on the New Adult genre (if it is indeed now a genre) I can’t find a single New Adult historic novel. At least one that is published. There seems to be a lot of contemporary, and a growing subset of speculative, but no historic. And I have a feeling that is because of what New Adult is.

So, this is where I ask for advice. Anyone have an opinion? Do I age up my MC, or not?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2013 12:45 am

    I don’t know a lot about NA, but it seems like you should increase the age of your MC. You don’t want your reader to feel uncomfortable.
    As far as the historical part, you can be the first!

  2. mrsdarcy33 permalink
    February 26, 2013 2:51 am

    Hi!
    When you say rape, explicit drug use, and sex…I can think of at least 5 YA novels that are popular with my 8th grade students 🙂 Maybe it’s the location of my school (more inner city than suburbia), but those things you mention are exactly the things that grab their attention. Think Go Ask Alice and Speak…those are two super popular YA books that come to mind that involve rape and drugs. So it’s not unheard of.

    On the other hand, maybe you could be a pioneer in NA and write a historical NA book. Although, for some reason, I think of NA as pre- women’s fiction, and I don’t think of women’s fiction as very historical. But I’m not very knowledgeable about NA, so don’t listen to what I say. 🙂

    Anyway….that’s my opinion. Good luck with it! Sounds like a fun read 🙂
    Leslie

  3. February 28, 2013 10:18 am

    Hmm … this is a really interesting question. I’m not too familiar with NA, but have you asked the ladies over at NA Alley?

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