New Year and A New Genre For Emerging Adults


Courtesy of Elena Rouse/Villanovan Photography

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Bailey Quinn, Staff Writer

As we embrace the New Year and attempt to uphold our New Years’ Resolutions, many of us are attempting to work out more, dye our hair new colors or, in some cases, read more. While having the goal of “reading more” feels incredulous to any Villanova student as they reflect on the amount of reading they have due just this week, the problem does not actually lie in when we will read, but what.

With the majority of undergraduate students being between the ages of 17 and 23, we are quick to find that the books we once loved do not hold the same weight. Young Adult (YA) novels feel frustrating to flip through. We are no longer looking for teenage love stories to aspire to as we enter high school or comforting stories of navigating puberty in junior high. On the flip side, there are very few of us that are eager to read the next James Patterson novel or delve into the histories and biographies that line our parents’ bookshelves.

This is where a new genre is born. New Adult (NA) Fiction is known as a newborn area of fiction made for adult readers between the ages of 18 and 30. These stories can still be just as fantastical of the stories of our childhood, but now the issues felt and experienced are more appropriate and relatable to our age group. Experiences can include but are not limited to adult romances, career choices, personal growth, higher education experiences and mental health.

When a group of English majors were asked for their opinions on the genre, it was clear that many not only held an interest in it, but also were eager to give their own recommendations of new adult fiction.

[I] definitely definitely agree with Sally Rooney,” said one anonymous English major in response to another’s recommendation. “‘Conversations with Friends’ is my personal favorite of hers and it’s being adapted into a TV show, so it’s rather timely. I also loved ‘Bunny’ by Mona Awad, and I would totally recommend it to any English major, as it follows the main character through a Creative Writing MFA program.”

“I really enjoyed ‘People We Meet on Vacation’ by Emily Henry and ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You?’ by Sally Rooney,” said a Villanova English major alum.

Other recommendations that were shared included the “A Court of Thorns and Roses” series by Sarah J. Maas, “My Year of Rest and Relaxation” by Ottessa Moshfegh (which was reviewed in a previous edition on The Villanovan), “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell and “Hexby Rebecca Dinerstein Knight.

Ultimately, this genre offers an opportunity to connect with literature in a way we have not felt since we read “Percy Jackson” or “Harry Potter.” While we are not slaying monsters or running off to schools of wizardry, we are growing up, which has a magic of its own. We are facing new obstacles that we assume Annabeth Chase and Hermione Granger have faced before, but we have no way of knowing because their stories ended right where we left them, frozen in their teenage years. 

Our comfort characters are passing off the baton, and we could not be in better hands. We just have to trust the fact that we are not alone in this world, even if we, at times, can only find that kind of affirmation in stories that resemble our own. By all means, if you have to pick a new habit to claim 2022 as your year, let exploring New Adult Fiction be it.