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NA, define please…

I recently read a review about a Young Adult book where the blogger stated that the book should have been classified as New Adult rather than Young Adult because of the language and sexual content in the book. Hey, wait a minute, I read that book and it was totally YA. The character was in high school. That’s YA, right?

On the flip side, I’ve read reviews for New Adult books where there have been complaints because they’re too clean or they didn’t have enough sex. Then I hear about books categorized as New Adult, but because of the make you’re mama blush content, they really fit the Erotica category. So, what gives?

According to Wikipedia (yeah, yeah, I know, real reliable, right?), New Adult “focuses heavily on life after an individual has become of legal age, and how one deals with the beginnings of adulthood.” Whoa, broad much? That’s pretty much anything. Heck, I remember one of the things I had to deal as a new adult: (cringe) paying bills. What? You mean I have to pay for gas and insurance and other stuff now? Man, this whole adulthood thing really sucks. Luckily, gas was super cheap back then. As were movies, but that’s another subject for another time.

Dealing with the beginning of adulthood can be anything: moving out, going to college, having your first long-term relationship, joining the military, family issues, drug and alcohol issues, identity, etc. The list could go on and on and on.

So, this bodes the question: Is NA is affiliated with sex? Is it automatically assumed that in any NA book there will be sex and lots of it? What if the nineteen-year-old character is dealing with an ill parent? Must she have lots and lots of sex, too? Is this the assumption?

What if a book is in the New Adult category, but it has little to no language and is rated PG, but everyone is categorizing it as Young Adult because it’s so squeaky clean? Then what? Should it really be categorized as a Young Adult book even if the characters are in their twenties and in college?

Flat Out Love by Jessica Park is a favorite of mine, and you know what? It’s New Adult and has no sex. None. Zilch. Nada. Like zero. So here’s my question, if this book were being released today would it be placed in the Young Adult or New Adult category? And would there be some major uproar because the expectation is that there will be sex since the characters are in the NA age range? Am I wrong? Is this becoming the expectation that if a book is categorized as NA there will be lots and lots of bong chicka bong bong?

My books are clean reads. My characters are entering adulthood, out of high school, and dealing with some major stuff: owning a business, going to college, dealing with grief, falling in love, family issues, etc. But yet, most people classify them as Young Adult because they’re so Pollyanna.(Side note: I prefer Little House On The Prairie.) So, what do I do?

Can this perception change, or is the stigma already set in stone that NA equals sex? Do authors who write books about characters who are in their early twenties but keep it PG categorize it as a Young Adult book? Will we see an influx of books being categorized as Young Adult even if the characters are twenty-two, twenty-three, and so on because the authors kept it PG? Will Young Adult be known as the sex-free category? And what if a Young Adult book has sex in it? What if the characters are sixteen and seventeen years of age? Is the book now New Adult? They can’t even buy a lottery ticket or vote yet, but yeah sure it’s New Adult because of the content. Geez. It’s enough to make your head spin. (I need an Advil.)

I’m on a rant. I usually don’t go off like this. Check out my other blog posts. They’re all full of happy stuff like bunny rabbits and flowers and such. I guess I’m just trying to figure this all out. Has NA become associated with a song?(Cue Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”) What do you think?