Let’s Talk About: What is New Adult?!

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Hello peeps. I haven’t done a discussion post in a while, since last year actually, but this past month me and  Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too were discussing some of the books we were reading and debating whether or not they fell on the New Adult category. This, of course, if because we’re doing the 2017 New Adult Reading Challenge, created by Cátia herself. This is not going to be long…


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If you type in “What is New Adult” on google, this is what shows up:

New adult (NA) fiction, also rendered as newadult fiction, is a developing genre of fiction with protagonists in the 18–30 age bracket. …New adult fiction tends to focus on issues such as leaving home, developing sexuality, and negotiating education and career choices.

But if you keep looking, you will find some other definitions that fit the category, such as:

New Adult books focus on the period in life where you are becoming a proper adult. The characters are usually between about 18 – 25 and are generally either at college or starting their first job. The category fits in between YA and Adult books. It has a similar coming of age feel as YA books but rather than people experiencing their first kisses the content and issues used are more mature such as first serious relationships and heartbreak. (Link)

These are not exactly different, but they make it sometimes hard to properly define a book as NA. Why? Mostly the age bracket.

There is no doubt that New Adult books are usually set at a time that a person is going through the transition into adulthood, and sometimes that involves getting into college, figuring out what to do if you don’t want to go to college, figuring out life after college or after something major shifts in your life. Leaving home, big changes, first job… those are no brainers. A book set in college are the easiest to determine whether they belong in NA or not, because they are the DEFINITION of NA.


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But some books are harder. I remember that the first time I read Wallbanger I thought it was NA, because the characters are young and it has such a light funny vibe to it, that I easily associate with the genre. But then someone pointed out that Both Caroline and Simon have fixed and stable jobs, are both at their own houses, and are for all intents and purposes, ADULTS. So yeah, this whole categorizing books is not easy.

On another hand, me and Cátia recently read Good Boy and were left wondering if this would be considered New Adult or not. Both characters are over 25, but Jess is starting grad school and it at a really hard limbo in her life, but both characters have been “adults” for a while. It does deal with themes of growing up and finding her own path, but in the end, Cátia decided that this book was NA to her, while I classified it as just a Romance.

I think that ultimately the most confusing thing about this whole discussion is the age. Some people define the genre from 18 to 25, while others extend it to 30. And honestly, nowadays, when we are finding our paths later and later in life, I think it’s possible to have a NA book where the main characters are over 25.

Another issue is that a lot of people think that New Adult books ALWAYS include explicit sex and/or profanities. No guys, NO! There’s NA that doesn’t have sex at all. There’s extremely mild NA. I’ve read YA books spicier than some NA books I’ve read.

Then you have the opposite, and books that deal with all the issues mentioned above are classified as Young Adult. Remind you of anything? Yeah… Fangirl… that book should be put firmly in the New Adult category.


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I try to follow the definitions set above. I’m just not very strict about the whole age interval thing. So, here are some things that a book has to have for me to classify it as New Adult:

  • one or both characters, under the age of 30:
    • going through some life changing event;
    • starting, being or finishing college;
    • finding themselves;
    • looking or starting a new path in life;
    • anything that i think makes up the life of a brand new adult person!

There are some other things that I expect to find in my beloved NA romances, such as lots of sex, but again, that is not mandatory or a given. I do think it’s a normal time of one’s life to think, discuss it and experiment with it.

If both of the main characters have a defined place in life and are not dealing with any major thing, I usually don’t classify it as NA, even if they are young enough to be put on that category.


This was just for me to clarify how I look at New Adult and what I see as it. But I know that a lot of people have several different definitions of what constituted this category. And I want to know them!

Also, is there any book that has been classified as New Adult and you don’t agree with?
Or any that is not in the category and you think it should be?
How do you define NA?

Hit my comments and answer these questions, I’m curious!

Let’s Talk About: Buddy Reads. Do They Influence Your Opinion on a Book?

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Hey guys! I haven’t done one of these in awhile, right? Well, as you might know from reading some reviews on my blog and whatnot, I’ve been doing a lot of buddy reads lately, mostly with Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much, but also with Kat @Life and Other Disasters and Sara@Freadom Library. This made me wonder, how influenced are we by someone else’s reading experience?

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I think it’s true for most people – at least it is for me – that when we see someone whose judgment we trust enjoying and raving about a book, we go to that book with a certain degree of excitement and expectation. This is both good and bad, because you enter it with an open mind, but expecting it to be awesome, and sometimes it’s hard to live up to that.

But what happens when you and your buddy are enjoying a book at the same time? You don’t have those expectations, but you do have the excitement, because buddy reading on itself it’s awesome! Right? So, how does this excitement translates to your enjoyment of the book?

I have to admit that I usually buddy read books that I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy, but it has happened a few times now that we’ve read a bad book. One thing I’ve noticed after a few buddy reads is this: buddyreads_2

Sure, this can be due to the fact that Cátia and I think pretty much alike, and are bound to enjoy some of the same stuff. We love the same books, request the same books, so our rating usually doesn’t stray from 0.5 stars of each other.

So, let me talk about another example, for instance, when Kat @Life and Other Disasters, Sara @Freadom Library and I buddy read Anything You Want. Me and Kat immediately fell in love with the book and the main character, but not Sara, she took a little while longer to get there. Did the fact that we were discussing the book and giving her our takes on the character and actions influenced her in any way to be a little more open to it? I honestly think so.

Discussing some part of the book that you didn’t understand right away, or simply didn’t like, with someone else with a slightly different take on the subject, allows you to open your mind a little more, and sometimes enjoy the book a bit more in the process as well.

The same happens when you don’t like something within the book you’re buddy reading. I’m aware that sometimes I hate some cheesy lines, or plots more – that in non-buddy reading books might go unnoticed – because we end up nitpicking some of those things apart. So buddy reading can also lower my opinion of a book.

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I don’t think they do exactly. I do think that sometimes a buddy read sharpens your take on a book. It doesn’t change whether you liked a certain book or not, but it influences HOW MUCH you enjoyed it or not. For me, it sometimes makes the difference between a 4 or a 4.5 stars. Or a 3 and a 2.5 or lower.

For me, discussing a book in real time makes me see that book differently, makes me notice more details, jokes, and even mistakes, that I would maybe have missed it if I was reading it by myself. It’s 100% an enjoyable experience for me, that for sure influences my opinion on certain books.

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Let’s Talk About: How I Rate

discussion_howIrateHello guys! I haven’t really been in the mood to write discussion posts these last few weeks, but I’ve been meaning to talk with you about something that I think it’s important and that it’s different for all of us, book readers, reviewers and book bloggers, and that is: How do I rate my books.


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This is a deeply personal thing, no matter how analytical a person can be about what we read, the truth is that the material will always affect us in different ways, and this is true from everything, from the writing, to the characters, to the plot.

The same rating from two different persons can mean two totally different things, and even the same rating from the same person might not mean that the books are comparable.


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Most of us rate on a system of stars, usually from 0 to 5. Websites such as Goodreads, Amazon or Netgalley don’t allow for anything less than full stars, which I always found quite limitative, because a book can not be a 3 stars book, but also not quite reach the 4 stars, for instance.

So, since I started reviewing books a year ago or so, I decided to use all the decimal points allowed. This brought another problem for me, how to separate some books with such a fine colm. And at the end of the day, does it really matter if a book is a 4.2 or 4.3?

I decided to change to an slightly easier system, but not as limitative as the full stars, and that is simply using the half-stars. I rate books from 0 to 5 stars, using the half stars quite often.

But how does it translates to the rating on site such as goodreads?

Well, I’ve always learned in math that a .5 rounds up, so that’s what I do. If I rate a book 3.5 stars, its rating on goodreads will be 4 stars, and so on. It’s not the fairest thing ever, but I rather round up than down.


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Now, a lot of you have the ability to rate individual aspects of the book, such as characters, pacing, plot, world building and so on, and then do a final rating based on the individual aspects.

While I do take all these things into account, I’m an emotional rater. I rate more on how the book made me feel, than how intricate things really were. The deeper a book affects me, the better the chances that it will get a 5 stars rating.


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While some people think that 5 Stars are almost a myth, because for them a 5 stars rating means a perfect book, and no such thing exists, I do not think like that. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are no perfect things, but a lot of books come really close, and I have no issues doting them with all the stars I can.

If a book makes me feel things, has a kick ass story, characters, plot, and at the end of the read I can’t find a single thing that I would change? Yeah, I’m giving it 5 Stars. 

If you follow my blog at all for a while, you’ll also find that I give 4.5 to 5 stars ratings to a lot of contemporary romances. I love the genre, first of all, and then I think it’s easier to slip up a bit on fantasy or sci-fi…


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Another thing I have no problems with is rating a book 0 or 1 star. It might pain me, because it’s someone’s work, but I am always honest in the way I rate books. So if a book is not for me, or if I feel it deserves a bad rating, that’s what it will get.


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I do! But because I like to read books that I think I’ll enjoy! With this in mind, all of my Netgalley requests and buys, and therefore the books I read, are books that I think I’ll like, or that have been recommended to me by people with similar tastes.

Just because someone has a good average on GR, doesn’t mean that they’re lenient on the way they rate. It means that they know what they like!


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Let’s Talk About: Are (Blog) Looks Important?

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Hey!!! Today I thought it was about time to do a small discussion on a topic that it’s important to me, and that is:

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For me they are. I have to admit that I’m must more likely to look, browse and read a blog and its posts if the looks are appealing. So, here are some things I look forward to while looking at other people’s blogs.

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I love a clean look on a blog. It helps if you only have one sidebar, if your fonts’ colours don’t clash, etc. It will make it easier to read.

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Another thing that I look forward in a blog is organization. I want to reach a blog and be able to find the right tags or sections. But most importantly, have a search bar and an about/introduction page!

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This goes with both of the above. I’m most likely to read a blog post if it looks good. Yeah, ultimately the content matters the most, but if I don’t like how a blog post looks, I might never reach its content.

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I will admit that I do love the use of images in post, whether they’re gifs, book covers, quotes, …, it doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s a break in the text. If you do long posts or tags and don’t use any visual aid, the post gets tough to get through, no matter how amazing the content is.

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People, take your minds outta the gutter here, I’m talking about font sizes! When you’re picking up a theme for your blog, make sure the font that comes with it isn’t tiny tiny small. I’ve found a few blogs that use a very small font and my eyes do not cooperate.


To sum it up this very short “discussion”, I do think that content is more important, but I can only reach it if the blog appeals to me on certain levels. I get tired of looking into a blog if I can’t find a search bar, or if the main page/blog doesn’t show their latest posts. I find graphics useful, and huge blocks of text usually send me away easily.

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Let’s Talk About: Do You Rate Before You Read?

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Hello!!! It’s Friday and I hope I’m somewhere in Barcelona right now, maybe eating Ramen and preparing to go and watch Deadpool or something :D, but today I wanted to talk to you guys about something that kind of bugged me a few weeks ago and I wanted to hear your opinion on the matter.

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As soon as a book is announced on GoodReads, a rating appears. People comment on it and rate it, sometimes based on their excitement, or because they liked the blurb or the title. Sometimes because they didn’t, which was the case that brought this to my attention. But my point is:

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Some people defend that GoodReads allows people to rate based on their excitement level for any given book, but do they? I was checking their Review Guidelines, and they do allow rating prior to the book release, but not for excitement purposes:

Pre-publication reviews. Many of our members receive advance copies of books to review, either through Goodreads giveaways or another source. We have no way of knowing the exact date that review copies are available. As such, each book is eligible to be reviewed as soon as it appears on the site.

I for one am of the opinion that you can comment all you like on a book, but rating should be reserved for after you read said book.

A while back I posted a comment by Patrick Rothfuss to his 5 stars reviews for a book that doesn’t even has a publication date yet, and I’ll leave that comment here again:

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I understand being excited for a book, or underwhelmed by its theme or synopsis, but is it ever OK to grade something that you haven’t read?

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Let’s Talk About: NA Covers – The Good, the Bad and the Repetitive

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Hey people. Welcome to my second discussion post of the year :D. This time I decided to talk about something that I’ve been meaning to talk about for a little while. As you might already know, I judge books by their covers – I know I shouldn’t – and I mostly buy books that have beautiful covers because I’m a sucker for them. So my problem is this: the covers of my beloved New Adult books have issues. That is, they’re mostly terrible!

There’s a certain tendency in this genre to either have a couple in the cover, with various degrees of involvement, or to simply show off a half naked men. Well, both these things can be done really great, and I’m not really opposed to a little eye-candy in my covers, but more often than not the effect is not that great.


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As I said, not ALL NA covers suck. Some are pretty amazing, even with all the troupes in regards to romantic covers you can think of. For instance, the new Hub City series has absolutely gorgeous covers, that are completely different from those usually seen in this genre. Other series that has covers that I love, even though these ones are more typical of NA, is The Second Chances series.

                     

Other series that I’ve read most of, and that has pretty typical New Adult covers, but is done well, is the Chasing the Dream series. I think that what I love most about these covers is the fact that in each of them I can actually see the couple in the book – that is, these covers FIT!

Another example of NA covers that don’t follow the “tendency” are the Colleen Hoover’s books. These covers are all gorgeous. Right?


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When a book has a bad cover, people will judge it by it – come on, I’m sure I’m not the only one! When there’s a naked guy on the cover, or a somewhat “dirty” situation, you will probably assume that of the book as well, right? I’ll give you two covers of two of my favorites NA books, and these are pretty bad and laughable covers – albeit kind of HOT!

Now, I’ll tell you this, the cover for Down and Out has absolutely nothing to do with the book, except that the guy has tattoos, and that’s about it. Why is there a half naked man on the cover? No freaking idea!

And Wallbanger?! Oh my… that’s not even what happens! I swear I went into the book thinking that he liked to nail his conquests fully dressed in the entry hall or something… turns out it’s nothing like that AT ALL! (though walls are banged!)

I could fill this with really BAD covers, but I won’t! I’ll be nice! But did you look at those two and judged the books because of it?


nacovers_3Another huge problem with NA covers is the repetitive motifs, but worse than that is the repetitive use of the same stock images. Sometimes it is done smartly enough that you almost don’t notice that the image is exactly the same. But most often than not you notice, and unless you’ve read said book or it was highly recommended you, you might as well mix up those damn covers that look exactly alike. Want some examples? (here I’ll also use YA books)

              

                                

            

            

               

                   

                

     

Sometimes it’s the same couple but with different poses… yeah… most are not good either…

  

Some of the covers above are quite good and cute, but when they all start to blur and look the same, are they really doing their job to grab our attention? My guess is no…


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I’ll be totally honest here, I would read most of these books above, some I have already, but very few I would like to own a physical cover of. New Adult covers need to stop following the same pattern. They need to be unique. I want to look at a cover and be able to identify it right away, like I can with the Colleen Hoover books, or the new Mercy Brown series. Those are good covers!

Again, I don’t mind a few naked men on the covers of my books, but do it when it makes sense. Do it tastefully. Sex sells, sure, but I guarantee you that some covers dissuade reader to buy the book instead if encouraging it.

So, what do you guys think? What do you like to see on NA covers? Does the incessant repetition of cover cloning bother you? Do you think twice before buying a book with a bad cover?

Quick Question! Which day is best for a discussion post?

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Hi!!! I took advantage of this amazing feature on twitter and I want your votes. I want to start doing regular discussion posts, but I’m unsure of which day of the week would be best. Wanna help me out?

Vote on the poll or leave your answer below, so I can take them all into account. Thank you guys for your help ;).

Let’s Talk About: Sex in Novels

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Hey people! If you’ve been following me for some time now, you probably know that even though I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years (yeah! I know!), I’ve never actually done a bookish discussion post. What?! How is that possible?! Oh well… a lot of you guys do them, and you have brilliant ideas every week, and most of the times I end up agreeing with one view or the other, sometimes I even comment, but I never really felt the need to write a post about any of those subjects. That was true until this past friday…

Josie @Josie’s Book Corner wrote a post entitled Sex in Novels…| Thursday Ramblings, as you probably know because you’re all following her, right? – If you aren’t, you might want to start NOW! – I’m rambling here, moving on…

So, Josie wrote this post, and just to shed some light on this, I usually agree with Josie on almost everything. She gives me the best book recommendations and her discussion posts are always on point, but as I saw the subject, I knew that this would not be a theme we would agree on. Have you read her post? Well, Josie defends her opinion on why she doesn’t think that sex should be featured in books, and as I couldn’t disagree more, I decided to write this post to expose my own opinion on this subject.

I should disclose that my opinion is obviously influenced by my very adult age – I’m 31!!! – and the fact that I was raised in a very liberal environment with 3 older siblings. I probably should also mention that I’m agnostic (just because)…

I’ll be using quotes from Josie’s post within the discussion – all quotes are from her.


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As you might have figured it out by now, I’m in favor of sex in novels, and yes, I’m being general here. It’s obvious I don’t think it should feature in children’s books, because – DUH!!!, but in any other type of book, yep, I’m all for it.

Now, hold your horses people! Let me get into it, ok?

We have enough of this in our erotica novels, and even more all over the internet. Why should we start sexualising the pages of our novels? 

Sex is a natural part of life, and it’s a good part of life! The distinction between what is erotica and not, shouldn’t be on the basis it it features sex or not, it should be in terms of description and explicitly. Should ALL books that feature sex be explicit?! Heck no! But that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t include sex if the story calls for it.

We have enough media promoting sex to young people (…) think that including sex in Young Adult novels, is just sending reassurance to young people that it’s normal for them to have sex, being 16, 17, or maybe even younger. This is not something we want to promote.

It’s true that we live in a hypersexualized society, unfortunately yes, it’s very true, but eliminating sexual content from novels doesn’t mean that this trend will disappear. Books should reflect the life and problems that people face everyday, not what society SHOULD be like. I respect everyone’s beliefs, but sex is a BIG part of teens and young adults lives, people are having sex, it’s natural, sex is a normal part of everyday life, it’s no different from any other event in one’s life (except that it’s probably way better).

What I’m saying is: sex shouldn’t be a big deal! Is it an important thing? YES! Should it have limits and be respectful? Obvious! Should you do it only if you’re ready? ABSOLUTELY! But its importance depends on the people involved. Some people will think it’s this huge Earth-Shattering HUGE decision kind of thing, while for most of us Sex is just Sex! (Am I being too cold here?)

Traditionally, sex is a personal experience between two people, coming together in love.

The idea that the sexual act is synonymous of love actually irks me a bit (sorry!). To make it clear, I’m not crazy about the whole “one-night stand” thing, but LOVE is something that comes with time, while lust, attraction and sexual desire are much more immediate. It’s a bit naive of us to think that the two go hand-in-hand for most people, because they don’t, and that’s OK! However, a sexual relationship can be a stepping stone for deeper feelings, and sometimes it happens the other way around 😉 .


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If you’ve seen my blog for the past couple of months you know this already, but here it goes: I LOVE NEW ADULT BOOKS! And yes, I like that they include sex, and I even like that they include EXPLICIT sex (cofcof, I live vicariously through my books… whatcha gonna do?!).

Out of all the life experiences that we could be exploring with the New Adult genre, from university, to mid-life crises, and so much more, we are focusing on sex? 

It’s true that some New Adult books focus too much on the romance and sex, and forget to actually have a plot, but that’s not true for all those books. And in some cases the sex part of the relationship is important for the development of the relationship as well as the characters. Sex is a big part of most of new adults’ lives,  whether they’re in a relationship or just doing the casual thing, so it’s natural that that reality is mirrored in New Adults’ books.

I finished a NA book just a couple of days ago – best NA book I’ve ever read, by the way – where the MC’s relationship with sex was of vital importance to the plot and the story. The book dealt with how to live and have a normal sexual relationship when you were a victim of sexual abuse, and even how to actually acknowledge that you were a victim. It’s an important message and a book that I highly recommend, and it touches on the fact that your body might react to something in a different way that your mind does, and that doesn’t mean you gave consent (my review will be up in a couple of days).

Especially to the readers who are emerging out of YA novels and into NA, we are romanticising the idea of being an adult, giving the impression that when you step into the wider world, your experiences with men/women is going to be all about sexy times and this is just as bad as the portrayal of some romances in YA, in my personal opinion.

This is true, not everyone stepping into adult life will find a partner that easily, but for those who do, even the most imperfect relationship, will most likely involve (some kind of) sex. New Adults who chose to remain celibate (for whatever reason) are a minority, so an adult relationship will most likely involve some steamy, sexy times, as well as everything else. If you chose to read a New Adult ROMANCE, it’s pretty clear that it will include sex – because it usually does in real life. The thing that in most cases doesn’t happen is that you’ll find that perfect someone that easily, but hey, it’s a ROMANCE! Sexual chemistry is important in a relationship!

Could most NA books have better plot? YES!!! Do they all need to describe the sex scenes so explicitly? Hmmm, probably not, but if it’s well written, it’s really nice to read… But it’s unrealistic to have an adult relationship portrayed that doesn’t include sex.


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About YA… this is another can of worms… Should sex be present in YA books?! I’ll say YES as well, and I’ll explain my opinion.

Sex should be present whenever the plot calls for it. If we’re talking about a romance of any sort within the YA universe, then it’s only natural, that at some point, the main couple engages in sexual activity. BUT, contrary to NA novels, I believe that the act should be implied and not described.

YA BOOKS DON’T HAVE TO INCLUDE SEX WHEN IT IS NOT PERTINENT, OBVIOUSLY!!!

An example of a YA book that does explicit sex right, in my opinion, is Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi – you have absolutely NO DOUBT about what’s going on, but the only thing described are Juliette’s feelings 😉 – by the way, LUCKY GIRL!!! Another example of pertinent sex in YA is in Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, where everything is implied – non explicitly – and it makes a lot of sense in terms of the progression of the story and the romance.

Mental health, growing up, self discovery, and much more. Of course, I suppose you can argue that sex is a part of self-discovery and growing up but I don’t think so, and I really don’t want to promote sex among a teenage audience.

I have to disagree with Josie here, because SEX is most definitely a part of self-discovery and growing up. The teenage years is when your sexual identity is defined, when you start to feel urges and changes to your body. Acknowledging that is important, because sexual maturation is a normal part of growing up. Also, a lot of teenagers have problems and insecurities regarding sex, body confidence or sexual orientation and identity, if we want books to be diverse, they should include all these problems, in all the shapes, forms and acts that they come in.

For instance, Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block, might have a lot of problems, but it deals with the main character sexuality and how her intimate relationship with her transgender boyfriend might work. These are important subjects and they should be talked about.


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I’m in favor of sexual content in novels because I think that sex is a natural and normal part of life. I was never shy to discuss it, and it never bothered me to share or talk about the subject, so I have no problem reading about it, and I enjoy it. I realize that my level of comfort with it had something to do with my age and my upbringing, and I understand that not everyone will feel so open and relaxed about this topic.

Having a sexual content within a book doesn’t immediately means that you’re reading “porn” – though let me tell you that some books are highly superior to some of the stuff flying around. Most of the times, sex is dealt with taste, whether it is explicit or not.

“But YA is aimed for kids! The books shouldn’t even touch the subject!!!”

Let me ask you, in which century are you living? Because kids nowadays have a clear understanding on how things work. Given that, I think it’s only beneficial if they read about it in safe books, that show that it should be done with respect and feelings. That protection is important. That it’s ok not to be sure. It’s ok not to do it. And it’s ok to do it. NOBODY SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF SEX! When you start taking the topic off the table of discussions, out of books and schools, and general media, that’s when you’ll lack information and the worst will happen.

It’s always safer to talk openly about these subjects, than to confine them to being unbreachable topics. Talking about these stuff leads to understanding and confidence. Reading about them makes you feel understood and less alone.

Sex is natural. Sex is good. (I hope no one here is still under the impression that babies come from… whatever they say they come from in your country.)

So… almost 2000 words later, I think I’m done! I hope I didn’t step on anyone’s toes here 😛 . So, what do you think about this subject?