New Adult has been described as an older YA book, but that doesn’t quite capture it. For this reader, New Adult fiction is all about people who are college-age or early 20s facing real life decisions that will affect their lives as adults. So the crisis is not about who will take whom to the prom, it’s about how to afford college, or success on that first job, or choosing marriage and family over career.
And, because all the characters are over 18, New Adult Romance includes sexual relationships and decisions about whether or not the other person is a fling or a future. Or a really bad mistake.
Cora Carmack’s Losing It may be one of the New Adult romances that defined the genre. It’s a fun and lighthearted romance that covers the end of Bliss Edwards’ college career. The “it” that Bliss plans to lose is her virginity. At 22, she feels like the last virgin on campus. Her attempt at a pickup and a one night stand are hilarious even as she runs away in complete embarrassment (and still a virgin), but then there are the consequences. Bliss’ pickup turns out to be her new professor. Watching them negotiate a relationship that respects both Bliss’ boundaries and the need to keep things above board until the semester is over is charming, because Bliss is endearingly awkward.
This series continues with Faking It and Finding It. Faking It takes the classic romantic trope of two people faking a romance to make other people happy and discovering that the “fake” has turned out to be real, and given it a grad-school and first-job spin. In Finding It, the main character is on a post-college European tour saying that she’s looking for adventure, but what she’s really looking for is herself.
In Forgiving Lies by Molly McAdams, we have the story of college student Rachel Masters, who is being stalked by someone she thought was a family friend. Even worse, no one in her circle even believes that she is a victim; everyone believes her stalker because he’s just such a terrific guy. Except he’s not. While Rachel is trying to get through her continuing ordeal, she meets someone who might be Mr. Right, but she’s lost her trust in everyone. And her maybe Mr. Right is really an undercover police detective. So everyone in this story is keeping some very serious secrets about very big problems. This one has an “edge-of-the-seat” suspense plot to go along with the romance.
For a feel-good romance, readers can’t go wrong with Take What You Want by Jeanette Grey. This is a love story about two college students who are looking to escape from the present. Ellen Price starts the story by taking a vacation from herself over Spring Break by shopping in her own closet and pretending to be daring and adventurous instead of shy and bookish. She starts by picking up a hot guy in a bar, not recognizing one of her classmates. Josh Markley thinks he’s finally been noticed by the girl of his dreams. The harder she tries to pretend to be just looking for a fling, the more Josh realizes that what he has with Ellen is real; if the real Ellen will just admit it.