To tie in with the "New Adult" challenge I'm running throughout the year, I'm asking some bloggers to guest post about issues relating to this category/reading demographic. Thanks very much to Jessica from Cover to Cover for being my first guest blogger!
This post by Jessica Lawlor originally appeared on Cover to Cover on July 26, 2011. It has been edited for this blog post. The original post can be found here.
In the midst of all of the great YA and adult books I’ve been reading lately, for some reason, I’ve felt a nagging feeling that something was missing. Of course, I’m enjoying the books I’m reading, but I’ve been longing for a book that I can’t seem to find…a genre of books that I’m not even sure exists at the moment. And if it does, it’s certainly not getting the attention it deserves. Finally I figured it out. I want to read a book about someone who I can 100 percent relate to. I want to read a book about a girl in her 20′s trying to figure out where she fits in in the world. This got me thinking, where are all the books for twenty-somethings?
While I love YA books and adult books, I can’t help but feel like an entire demographic is missing. I’ve yet to come across a really great book about someone in their 20′s dealing with the issues twenty-somethings deal with; their first couple of years out of college, starting their first real jobs, finding an apartment, dealing with issues of drifting friendships, relationships starting to get serious…the list goes on and on.
Of course, I’m clearly sensitive to this issue since I am 23 years old. Smack in the middle of YA books and adult books. Not quite in high school anymore, but not quite ready to get married and have babies. In most of the books I’ve read lately, the characters are either in high school or are in their late 20′s, early 30′s or even 40′s. Where are the people in their 20′s? Hiding out until their 30′s?
I can name exactly ONE book that I’ve read where the main character was a college student (and I won’t even name the book because I couldn’t finish it). This is a problem. Many of us turn to books because we’re looking to relate to someone, anyone, who we can relate to. An entire group of people (a group notoriously in the news for never wanting to grow up) is being neglected. We could probably benefit from books about people like us.
Since originally writing about this topic in the summer of 2011, some things have changed. The term 'new adult' has been thrown around by publishing houses and book bloggers alike. More and more, readers are expressing the fact that they WANT to read books about people like them. I've read a few more books with characters in their twenty's and fellow readers posted awesome book recommendations in the comments section of my post of other books that twenty-something's can relate to. But, in my opinion, it's still not enough.
I still think there’s a huge opportunity for publishing companies and authors to reach a new target audience. A target audience who likely has time to read for pleasure and money to spend on books! When I was in college, I definitely read for pleasure, but I find myself reading way more now that I don’t have required reading for school or textbooks to sift through each night. I also find many of my friends asking me for more book recommendations now than when we were in college. It could be a great opportunity to invest in a different audience with unique interests, goals and personalities.
What do you think we can we do as book bloggers and passionate readers to keep moving this issue forward?