In early December, a friend and I were joking via Twitter that New Adult, the hot new subgenre starring protagonists ages 18 to 25, should be renamed more evocatively. My buddy, a new adult herself, noted, “I prefer Adult 2.0 or Au Courant Adult.” But after discussing the steamier nature of some of the books, we settled on “Sleazy YA.”
It seems U.K. newspaper The Independent feels similarly about New Adult, because they’re attempting to rechristen the subgenre “Steamies.” In a recent article they published, the paper cited the blushworthy works of Abbi Glines and Liz Bankes, up-and-comers in the genre, as evidence that YA had gone 50 Shades.
Now Twitter joking and trend pieces aside, do New Adult books have that much sex in them? I’ve read quite a few, and I’d say that like most books out there, there’s a range. Are they as hot as 50 Shades, or any other erotica out on the market? Oh my no, though I know that Glines’ work has made some of my fellow publishing friends blush quite deeply. In some ways, 50 Shades has become such a cultural touchstone that sometimes, in more general publications, the title seems to stand in for “any romance novel ever.”
For parents wondering if their kids should read New Adult, I’d liken the sex scenes in most to what a contemporary romance features. Because, after all, that’s what many of these New Adult titles are, contemporary romances starring characters who still attend frat parties (though I had a friend who hit the frat scene late into her 20s … ) and worry about grades and finding their place in the world. Were you reading Danielle Steel and la Nora in high school? I was, too.
When talking with YA authors recently, I asked, are these books really any steamier than many young adult books out there? For the most part, the resounding answer was “Um … no.”
The thing that makes New Adult so addictive, assisting in its meteoric rise in popularity, is the passion that these characters feel for each other. And I don’t necessarily mean in a graphic way. They’re obsessed with each other, just the way you were with that frat boy freshman year, remember? It’s the depth of feeling that works, that makes any romance in any genre work, for that matter.
And for me, a journalist and aspiring author, that’s the real story here, that self-publishing has allowed authors to prove that there is a huge market longing for books about dramatic, early twentysomethings, who, yes, sometimes have sex, sometimes on the page, sometimes off.
So call them what you will, Steamies, Sleazy YA, Adult 2.0 or New Adult, these books are fun and sexy. Only you can decide if your kid is old enough to read them, and if you’re really curious, why not pick up a title yourself? Who couldn’t use a trip back in time, to remember how much fun college could be? (It’s especially fun if you can close the book and remember you’re not actually in college anymore.)
I’m going to keep watching this new genre with interest, as I do with all publishing happenings. In the meantime, I just remembered that we need to send an email to request those new Glines titles …
Here’s the thing, soap operas are filled with predictable, cliché-ridden plots. This is why we love them! We knew the instant Teá and Sam went into labor on the same night that there was going to be a baby switch. Once Duke tossed Jason into the river it was obvious he couldn’t really be Anna’s Duke. We all know Sabrina’s going to get an amazing makeover for the Nurse’s Ball and Patrick’s going to profess his love for her juuuuust as Robin returns/proof that she’s alive resurfaces, depending on Kimberly McCullough’s directorial career.
I used to think my grandma was a GENIUS because she always knew what would happen next. (Now she gets pissed that I know more than her, thanks to “The Facebook.” My grandma is 93, she doesn’t really get the Internet, she just knows she doesn’t like it.
But this crazy storyline right now, with Spinelli knocking Maxie up after she lost Lulu and Danté’s baby?! I do not even know what is happening right now. I seriously don’t know what’s going to happen. I mean, I figured Maxie would try to pass of the baby as Lulu’s, but iw. (Also iw, having sex, like, one hour after you have a miscarriage? Is that even possible? Why are you making me think about these terrible things, Carlivati?) I saw on Serial Drama that one commenter said maybe Brit, worst doctor in the world, messed up the results, and maybe Maxie hadn’t lost the baby after all. And I thought oh! That sounds good. And I realized I totally have no idea where they’re going with this.
It’s an unusual feeling for someone who’s been watching the same show for the past 20 years. I’m not sure I like it. You’d better come up with something good, Carlivati.
… because nothing says ‘Believe me, I’m totally sane!’ like thinking a shirt with SHOULDER CUT OUTS is appropriate court room attire. You’re never going to convince people vampires exist this way, Lucy!
(How great was it to see Lucy, Mac, Felicia, and Alexis in a scene together?! I think I’m obviously going to have to send Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati a valentine.)
Soap opera actors often hop from soap to soap. In rare instances they play the same character, a la Skye Chandler Quartermaine, hopping amidst the ABC daytime dramas, but more often than not, they take on an entirely new persona. I remember when I discovered that my beloved Lucky No. 2 had hopped to another soap, thanks to a commercial. I felt downright betrayed! But it is the right of the actor to flip-flop amongst daytime dramas, and we all pretend that it’s totally normal that Jason Morgan, hitman, is now going to be Dylan McAvoy, veteran.
But on General Hospital as of late, new-ish head writer Ron Carlivati is having an awful lot of fun with this little proclivity. He’s doing something quite revolutionary in the soap world: He’s making the characters notice, really notice when faces are familiar from all of this soap hopping. He’s having so much fun that yesterday he had my beloved Lucy Coe full-on stab John McBain because she was convinced he was Caleb, king (or prince?!) of the vampires, from the erstwhile GH-spin off, Port Charles.
Carlivati spun another storyline where Carly and Skye realized that Alcazar was Blair’s beloved Tomas (Carly even did a google image search, which was delightful because no one on soaps ever seems to really know about the Internet), and off the women went on a wild goose chase for answers. I’m not quite sure where Carlivati’s going with all of this, but it’s very tongue-in-cheek and rewarding for long-time viewers, those who are reviving soaps with ever-increasing viewership, so I say, keep it up, friend! (In my mind, we’re totally friends. The Secret, baby.)
Here’s the thing about this trope, it’s also true in real life! (Which is the thing about a lot of tropes, which is how they come to be tropes in the first place. Deep thoughts, man.) Today we tackle: the self-professed asshole. Oh yes, you know him. You’ve probably dated him! I know I have, he’s very charming, I don’t blame us in the slightest.
General Hospital’s Todd Manning has told Carly he’s a bad person countless times. (Seriously, I actually lost count, because he’s said it over and over again for months and months.) He’s not a good guy, he’s not good enough for her, he’s not good enough for anyone. And yet Carly (no prize herself, let’s be honest) totally fell for him. Just like we did that one time back in college. And high school. And when we were 24. But never after that. You tend to wise up to these dudes at some point (one hopes). You must realize that THEY ARE TELLING YOU THE TRUTH. Right upfront! They are jerks! They are going to, at some point, treat you like crap. And you can’t get mad, because they told you ahead of time, they warned you, and you did not listen, you silly, silly girl.
And the thing is, they’re kind of right. I mean, of course we have the right to get mad, just because you tell someone you’re a jerk doesn’t actually give you license to act like a jerk, we live in a society, man, there are rules. But at the same time, they have a point, they warned us. And yet, for Carly, for the rest of us, sometimes it’s like waving a red flag in front a of a charging bull. Oh you’re telling me to stay away from you? Self-imposed conflict? SIGN ME UP.
And yet we must learn from the Todd Mannings of the world, ladies, even though Carly never, ever will because she is batshit crazy. The Todds will at some point make out with the ex girlfriend who they’re not really over, or stand you up in the rain (always in the rain), or lie to your face about that baby switch (okay, that’s more likely to happen when you’re a soap opera character). But it’s true and let us take heed: when a dude tells us he’s an asshole, let’s just listen, okay?
(Never mind the fact that once you blow him off he will want you even more. Unless you are at least five years younger, and very blonde and very pretty and very uninterested, it will never work. Learn from my and Carly’s mistakes, dear reader.)
Who doesn’t love pirates, amirite? I, for one, celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day like it’s a national holiday, matey — which hopefully it will be one day. Historical romance novels have a whole pirate subgenre, and one of my favorite parts is that the pirate hero is never, like, actually a pirate, oh no. He’s secretly an earl! Or some other titled noblemen! Or a spy. There’s always the possibility he’s a spy. He’s also superhot and misunderstood, but he’ll get through his issues to be true to you, girl. Obvs.
One of my favorite historical romances authors, Julie Anne Long, has a delightful pirate romance called (wait for it) I Kissed an Earl. Oh, yes. The awesomeness grows. Here’s the setup:
Violet Redmond is always stirring up trouble. She’s too smart for her own good, especially in a time when women weren’t given much to do (Regency England, where many historical romances are set). She hails from the superwealthy and powerful Redmond clan and she’s lived a charmed life, but since her older brother Lyon disappeared, family accord has not been what it once was. Dancing with a newly minted American earl (I know, you’ll just have to trust Long here) she learns that he’s to set sail in the morning after a dastardly pirate — a pirate Violet suddenly realizes may well be Lyon. So she stows away on his ship to save her brother, and finally have an adventure.
Long writes a hell of a story, and she takes the pirate trope and wrings from it a heart-wrenching love story. She’s totally going to be one of my keynote speakers at the first official National Talk Like a Pirate Day luncheon. I’ll send you all an invite.