Thursday, July 18, 2013

New Adult vs Chick Lit

I've been involved in an interesting conversation with my SCBWI critique group. The question was raised "Do you ever get the feeling that "New Adult" is a new, less offensive term for "chick lit"?..."
Here are some of our ideas on the subject.
Me: I hope not.  YA to New Adult defines a barrier between high-school and college. Looking back it's all the same to me, but to someone in high-school it is a HUGE difference. It's the difference between the involvment of parents or no parents.  I would serious avoid the term chick lit. It sounds girly and cheesy
Antje : Yes and No. I think New Adult is a little more on the dark side, creepy stories for ages 18 and up. But good point. Chick lit seems a little "out" these days. (I was told) that my story was way to serious historically and emotionally to put into this category. I think this was a good statement defining this new category.
Ishta: Chick-lit would be the Traveling Pants books or some of Maureen Johnson's earlier stuff or Sarah Dessen. I don't think any of us are writing it. Protagonists with the mentality of a high-schooler, but old enough to legitimately buy booze. I thought "New Adult" just meant "YA with actual sex". But maybe I'm wrong.
Lindsey: I haven't done a ton of research on it, but the few blog posts I've read have listed titles that strike me as very chick-lit-y.  I'm not criticizing - Meg Cabot is my favourite form of brain candy - but I wonder if this is more about marketing...
I agree that the difference between high school and college is a huge one and I agree that readers at that stage of life would probably enjoys books about it!
I was thinking of adult writers like Sophie Kinsella - young heroines, in or just out of college, definitely having the sex...
Kate: Just as a point of clarification - I believe that "Is Anybody Out There" by Marion Keyes which may be 'serious' chick lit is really New Adult. Kids out of high-school, maybe with or without sex, but looking at adult ups and downs, loves and losses... getting too close too soon, finding jobs,  I think that's the epitome - learning the lessons of life - New Adult example. Europe has been producing these our whole lifetime and Japan has been writing their stories for longer than that. America is late to the New Adult level of quality writing.
Me again: The term Chick Lit to me means romance and sex.  New Adult sounds more like the ups and downs of real life, even if it's fantasy or sci-fi New Adult is about maturity.  The two terms would be the difference between me buying a book or not, so yes, it has to do with marketing as well. 
I don't think we really came to a consensus.

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