The last few weeks have been kind of an epiphany for me, as a writer and as a reader. At last, I’ve been able to read the books I wanted to write, the books I wanted to read. The result of that was a high number of sleepless nights, absorbed in Tammara Webber’s Easy and Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster.
Have you heard of New Adult literature? Upper-YA? Mature Young Adult? College-Lit? It’s very likely you haven’t since the publishing industry (editors and agents) have been saying (for quite a while now) that such books would be a “tough sale,” wouldn’t have a readership, wouldn’t find a specific place in the bookstores, bladibladibla…
I have an immense respect for publishers: They are one of the most noble professions. However, in this specific instance, I think they are WRONG. Not a little bit wrong, VERY wrong, alla ‘New York Times Bestsellers list’ wrong. If you don’t believe me, check out the rankings of Tammara Webber and Jamie McGuire’s latest novels (both authors are self-published).
How many times have I heard an agent telling me people at college didn’t read? Hellooooo…? I read A LOT when I was a student, so did my friends (boys and girls). Also, assuming readers would choose novels with protagonists strictly of their own age doesn’t reflect the current reality anymore. We’ve all heard of the “Twilight Moms” (I’m one of them as I read the Saga while on maternity leave). We read about a specific age because we want to re-live or re-explore the feelings specific to a certain time in our life.
The “In-Between Years”—in genre literature, from 18 to 23 years old—have been totally ignored in favor of the Teenage Years. I love YA fiction, but there are many topics and realities that aren’t addressed (and cannot or should not, to respect younger readers’ sensitivities). It’s not just the topic themselves, but also the way they are dealt with. The first time we leave home, the first time we’re on our own in the “big bad world,” the first time we’re given a chance to define ourselves in front of people who don’t know our family, our childhood friends, our background…
I remember pitching Oxford Whispers to agents. As the title makes it very clear, the novel is set in Oxford University. Very often, I would hear something like: “This is a great premise, but, maybe, you can have your characters in boarding school rather than college?”. A big fat NO. I’m sorry but that’s not the same. For example, the way you explore your sexuality at 20 isn’t the same as when you are 16. Therefore changing the age of the characters takes away most of the specific experience in a book.
I devoured Harry Potter and Twilight, but I’m ready for the next step (see my post), so are many other readers, I believe. So let’s dive into the exciting reading experience authors like Tammara Webber and Jamie McGuire had the courage to write. Well done on them!
What do you think? Are you interested in the “In-Between-Years”? Or do you prefer sticking to either YA or Adult fictions?
To read my review of Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, click here.