Guest blog by Dean Amory
Young Adult and New Adult Romance Novels are a booming genre.
In North America, romance novels are the most popular literary genre, comprising almost 55% of all paperback books sold. According to The Daily Mail, sales of Young Adult and New Adult Romance Novels jumped almost 150 per cent in just six years. Figures compiled by Neilsen Book Scan are even more dazzling: In 2014 more than 3 million books in the category were sold, compared to only 981,000 in 2006! Whereas it is estimated that women buy up to 90% of all adult romance books, Young Adult and New Adult romance books have managed to attract a considerable number of male readers.
As a genre, Young Adult and New Adult Romance hasn’t changed much over the years, because neither has the subject matter that appeals to the readers.
The reason that romance is such an eye-catching genre, is because of the heart pounding thrills that drive the story. The road blocks, obstacles, and struggles that each of the characters must face to develop the love between them is an emotional trip that any reader would love to explore.
The various sub genres: young adult, new adult and adult romance, are largely determined by the protagonists’ age and aims at drawing readers in by having the main characters struggle through the same emotional issues as the reader before gaining the love which they set out for.
The common theme in these novels are young people turning into adults and discovering love and the responsibilities of life.
Typically, the main character in these books is a late teenage or early tween heroine who is trying to figure out who she is and wanting to fit in and be noticed. In the process, she is struggling with her emotions, and often getting into conflict with her environment.
In the Young Adult Romance Novels, paranormal elements, dark forces (spirits, werewolves, vampires, zombies or whatever) and universal threats (extinction, plague, extra terrestrials) help to attract young readers.
In the New Adult Romance Novels, the life phase focused on generally moves from an high school environment to college and transition to work. Paranormal elements appear less frequently and, if they do, are less important. Instead, the emphasis is on a more mature sexual experience and / or deeper psychological analysis and description.
Inter racial and same sex relationships, as well as more controversial topics including poverty, addiction, criminal behaviour, rape, abuse, domestic violence and personality disorders are addressed in some novels. Adults used to be ashamed of admitting that they are reading Young Adult and New Adult Romance Novels. But not so anymore!
Young adult fiction, thankfully, has conquered the literary recognition it deserves. And It’s not just children who are reading these books! Industry experts estimate more than a third of them are actually bought by adults.
It’s no surprise these books are finding a growing audience: there are countless amazing young adult and new adult novels to choose from, and with promising novels coming out every month, chances are that once you have found one series you enjoyed, you too will return for more.
There are plenty of good reasons why adults love these books.
Actually, young adults often feel embarrassed to confess that they are reading Young Adult or New Adult books, whereas more adult readers have come to accept and appreciate the reasons why they love reading this kind of novels:
– There is something endearing, fresh, compelling and innocent about young love that makes it irresistible. Stories about young love are about starting the path towards becoming yourself. They are open minded, unpretentious, have a strong sense of hope, and take us to a period in life where imagination still reigns and cynicism isn’t present yet.
– The characters are easily relatable: the main character’s behavioural traits and goals mostly are clear from a very early stage in the story, allowing readers to communicate more openly, honestly and candidly with them than is possible in most adult novels.
– Since the theme is universal, we can draw from what is happening in the story and learn from the characters’ behaviour and growth how to conquer problems in our own life.
– The stories have a clear plot: generally, you know what to expect when you start reading.
In Young Adult novels, the protagonist, who is usually female, is going through a rough period and meets a bad boy. As the story evolves, a good boy enters the story and with time, she discovers that she’s in love with him. But there are obstacles to overcome and misunderstandings to clear before the pair of them finally become an item and their love is accomplished.
In New Adult novels, though the story is basically the same, you are likely to find more explicit sex scenes, thought monologues and flashbacks. Also, since the characters are usually older here, elements from their personal history may return on stage and complicate the plot.
– The first cut is the deepest. Teenagers have this capacity to love unconditionally. Their life is filled with new emotions, new perspectives, new dreams and new experiences and every decision has the potential of creating a totally different future. Because they are about a phase in life when everything is new and felt more intense, also the drama is more intense in Young and New Adult novels.
– To some adults, reality is a disappointment. They want to experience true love and, live all these emotions and believe in a happily ever after, but often can’t. Reading about it is the next best thing and has the power to turn every day into a love story.
Young Adult and New Adult Romance Stories are exciting and interesting because the reader knows they almost always end with a positive outcome. In general, good people who believe in and fight for their relationship will likely be rewarded, which offers hope and feeds optimism.
– Teens and young twens are still at the outskirts of society. They aren’t really part of the system yet, which allows them to revolt and kick ass. As such, they remind us of our own ideals, which makes it easy to feel empathy for the characters and be empowered by them. Watching them grow and learn from their mistakes, makes us reconnect with our younger self, which makes the characters easy to root for.
– Parents and teachers may choose to read Young Adult and New Adult books to stay connected to their children or students.
– The novels provide an opportunity for escapism: There is nothing that makes you feel better than reading about people who become happy. You also know that any emerging problem can be easily solved by reading the story all the way to the end.
– Young Adult and New Adult Romance Stories are inspiring and empowering. In the life of a teen, every new event and decision has the capacity of creating new perspectives for a totally different future. In considering the possible consequences of the main characters’ decisions, we enter a world with new morals and new choices that invite us to consider applying them to our own daily actions.
– They are good adventures, because traditionally the hero and heroine fall in love very soon, but have to conquer a lot of opposition and go through a roller-coaster of experiences and emotions before finally finding love in each other’s arms.
– Stylish packaging and marketing helped them expand beyond their initial teen audience.
Have you ever looked back at your life and noticed you remember it in segments defined by the relationship you were in? If you did, I’d like to recommend you some of the more unconventional Young and New Adult Romance Novels.
Amongst them, the “Young Love” series definitely is amongst my favourites. If you’re done with romance stories that rely on princes, werewolves or dark secrets, than here is a set of refreshing contemporary New Adult Romance Stories about ordinary people that deal with love, loss and growing up.
Sean’s high school phase was determined by Katherine. Though Katherine wasn’t his first girlfriend, she definitely defines as his first love: the person and relationship all later significant persons and relationships in his life are compared to.
A difficult relationship.
In the first novel, Young Love Part1: A Schoolyard Love Story, Sean and Katherine fall in love. Theirs is never an easy relationship. When Katherine doesn’t agree with his life style, he realizes he will lose her unless he drastically changes his behaviour. His desire to please Katherine forces him to start looking at himself, other persons and events in his life with new eyes. Nothing he does however can save their relationship from capsizing. When the relationship becomes a threat to her studies and understanding with parents and teachers, Katherine still ditches him. Since Katherine keeps repeating that the break up is only temporary and that she can’t imagine life without him, he starts out very optimistic about his chances to win her back. Soon however, he discovers that broken things have sharp edges and that trying to fix them can be very painful.
Young Love, A schoolyard love story, is a refreshing high school romance set in Europe, Flanders, in the early seventies of the previous century with a total lack of stereotyping, that has it all: it’s witty, bittersweet, touching and rich in culture and history. The story depicts all the uncertainties and overpowering emotions that come with true young love in a most original and genuine way.
Readers will appreciate the realistic depiction of the tortured hero’s psychological struggle after the heroine ends the relationship, especially when it becomes clear that both young people remain drawn to each other anyway and struggle to regain their balance during the rest of the school year.
Dealing with loss and struggling with growing up
In the second novel, Young Love Part2: First Love’s Shadow, Sean tries to move on with his life. After some time, Katherine asks him to reunite. But she ads a condition: “Until the end of the school year only”. Sean would go to the end of the world to date Katherine again, but the added condition makes it obvious to him that Katherine’s view of what they mean to each other is very different from his own. But maybe, once they go together again, Katherine will change her mind and not keep him to the expiration date she is putting forward? Are second chances really possible? Can recreating the past help the young couple to create a different future? And is Sean even willing to accept her terms?
In this imaginative, surprising and complex page-turner, which will certainly appeal to all fans of young adult and new adult romance novels, the author has brought a vivid, clever and heartfelt portrayal of what it’s like to be a teenager in love. “Young Love Part 2, First Love’s Shadow” is a gripping story in which the distance between lost and found is often less than a text line long.
Relatable and no nonsense
The success of the books is due to their simple, yet intricate storyline. This, in fact, is the kind of situation many young people go through. Young love, the loss of love, the internal struggle and the continued search for love are all captured beautifully in these novels, allowing readers to easily identify with the story’s main characters.
Life (especially life as a teenager) is rough at times, and novels offer the greatest of sanctuaries from reality. As I met and came to love people like Sean and Katherine, I realized that these novel characters do not only inspire us, but also remind us of the fact that we are not alone in our experiences.
In his Young Love novels, Dean Amory chronicles the hero’s life through the thrills, heartbreaks, joy and despair of the final years in high school and the consecutive transition to a labour environment.
YOUNG LOVE is a wonderful contemporary romance. Dean Amory does an excellent job at at giving us humor and characters that have depth, and portraying love, heartbreak and fate in this great coming-of-age story. He gives us the thoughts and musings of young adults, and shows us that in a world seemingly without a cure, there is always hope in one form or another.
Dean Amory is a master at writing characters that come alive on the page. The emotional tension between Sean and Katherine is beautifully written. You really get a good sense of what both characters are feeling. The sweetness of young love. The anguish of regret. The sadness of time lost. Not only did I fall in love with Sean and Katherine, but I really enjoyed watching Sean struggle to become the person he wanted to be and remain honest and consequent, even when his decisions came with an obvious cost.
I don’t know about you, but I totally love high school romance stories, especially when they involve young people trying to become the best they can. I highly recommend this book. It’s a wonderful read, and it leaves you with a sigh and a smile.
Dean Amory, real name Edgard (Eddy) Adriaens, was born 21.09.1953 in the Flemish city of Aalst. After finishing high school, he worked at a few local SMEs as a correspondent and assistant (sales) executive. In 1986 he was recruited by Bacob Bank, and started as a relationship manager. After the bank’s merger with the Dexia Bank, he moved on to be an Electronic Banking Expertise Officer at Dexia, later renamed Belfius bank.
Visit the author’s website: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Jaimelavie
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