What exactly is “new adult” fiction?

We view New Adult fiction (NA) as a category of literature—meaning, it gives readers content expectations, but it does not dictate genre-based criteria. Typically, a novel is considered NA if it encompasses the transition between adolescence—a life stage often depicted in Young Adult (YA) fiction—and true adulthood. 

Protagonists typically fall between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, though exceptions may apply. NA characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc. 

Other terms for NA include: Upper YA, Crossover Fiction, and Mature YA. 

New Adult and The Genre! 

New adult works like any other category of fiction. You can have new adult horror stories in which zombies take over a college campus during finals week, or even new adult science fiction or fantasy set off in faraway lands. The category can be combined with all genres and sub-genres for every type of reader to enjoy! 

To make finding these individual genres and sub-genres easier, we have started* a catalog of NA reads here and separated them by genres. There are also lists separating the different NA genres on Goodreads, and you can find those listed on our catalog page at the bottom.

*Feel free to contact us about books that you recommend to be added to our lists!

So what are some common themes and issues we see in NA?

New adult touches on that space between adolescence and adulthood, so there is a wide range of themes and issues to tackle.

Common themes in NA are identity, sexuality, race, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, bullying, empowerment, familial struggles, loss of innocence, fear of failure, etc.

Combine those themes with common new adult issues: living away from home for the first time, military deployment, starting college, engagements and marriages, etc.


Slap a genre on there, and you’ve got yourself a new adult fiction novel!

A Small Note About Themes and Issues: It’s important to note that issues in NA can and do vary by genre.-source: