Throwdown Thursday: New Adult vs Young Adult Genre

Since the beginning of time, similar things have always been compared to each other: Pepsi or Coke? Lemon or Lime? Boxers or Briefs? And books are no exception!

In January, I announced that I was taking Throwdown Thursdays–an original feature on my blog–to the meme-leagues by making it a monthly meme others could join in on.  The idea is I select two combatants and the blogger is the one who decides who wins. This can be done through a series of three rounds or my listing the pros/cons or however they see fit. Then, we all publish our posts on the last Thursday of the month and see what everyone else selected as the winner.

If you participated, please add your link to the linky below!

New Adult Genre vs Young Adult Genre

I pretty much rotate my reads between 2 genres: New Adult and Young Adult. I suppose part of the reason is that I am close to approaching my mid-twenties and both genres have certain appeals to me now that I am trapped in the middle. That’s why I find it so hard to classify my blog as one or the other (unfortunately, “series” never seems to be a category for me to choose).

But if asked: if you could only read New Adult (NA) or Young Adult (YA) novels for the rest of our life, what would you pick? I would be a little torn but I’m going to try and break it down now….

Round 1: The Drama

College Drama vs High School Drama

What matters when you’re 16 probably won’t when you are 22!

The reason I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary but seem to devour NA contemporaries is mainly because of the character’s ages. I don’t want to read about what I consider to be petty high school drama. It’s not my idea of a good time to read about a girl who desperately needs a boyfriend at the age of 16 because her life wouldn’t be complete without one (spoiler alert: it will be complete) or a character who is angsty just for the sake of being angsty/a teenager.

I’m not saying that these aren’t valid concerns for YA readers. I remember what it was like to 16 (yikes! that statement makes me sounds so old) so I get the source. But I didn’t enjoy that drama when I was 16 and I sure don’t find it entertaining to read about now.

Which is why I think NA contemporaries appeal to me more. Because I’ve recently experienced the college lifestyle, I understand the problems those characters face a lot more. Like trying to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life, dealing with big family changes and balancing your romantic life with real life.

Winner: New Adult. This is mostly because I am closer in age to these characters and understand their struggles.

New Adult: 1 | Young Adult: 0

Round 2: Sub-Genres Available

Contemporaries vs Every Genre Possible

Limited choices vs unlimited choices


When is comes to New Adult novels, the market is predominately contemporary romances. Which is great if you enjoy that type of thing. I find these novels are great books to read in between paranormal or science fiction series because they provide a change of pace and can be “lighter” reads when you need them to be. But if you are looking for something in the science fiction genre, you might have a harder time finding it.

Part of the problem I see, is that NA is a seemingly “new” genre. I think it has always been here but is now gaining recognition. It’s a new, emerging market that is definitely picking up steam. And with that comes new opportunities to branch out into the many different genres out there like Steampunk or Supernatural. It’s just taking awhile.

Whereas YA is an established market. It’s easily recognizable and so you have a lot more at your disposal. There are novels for every genre and then some. It’s HUGE and so there is a lot of books out there to suit every reader’s taste.

Winner: Young Adult. While its market might be saturated in whatever the current trend is, you can’t beat the number of options currently out there!

New Adult: 1 | Young Adult: 1

Round 3: Character Depth

Often Complex Backstories vs Whatever Works for the Story

Do you feel closer or further away from the characters?


Part of this relates back to Round 1 with the drama but the majority of this relates to Round 2 more.

I feel like in NA contemporaries you get stronger character development because what else is there really to the stories? Most of the time you are trying to figure out what happened in the past to make this character jaded or afraid to love. While not all stories are rooted in tragic pasts, a majority are and I find these help shape characters into fuller, often complex, people.

Perhaps it is simply because I don’t read a lot of YA contemporaries and mostly stick to dystopian or paranormal, but I often feel like I know less about a character in these reads. Developing the character to the point where you get to know everything about them often isn’t a priority because the bigger focus is on the grand scheme of the plot. Which is totally ok! Chances are you want to read that novel because of the political situation or the promise of lots of action so it’s ok if the characters are super-duper developed.

Winner: New Adult. I feel like a lot of characters fit into neat little molds of their genre in YA and we are happy with that. And that isn’t to say that it doesn’t happen in NA because there are definitely stereotypical tropes throughout that genre as well. I just like the little dash of variety we seem to get in NA when we explore characters personalities and personas more.

New Adult: 2 | Young Adult: 1

Ultimate Winner: New Adult

Final Comments: This one was SUPER tough for me! It took me a really long time to come up with a Round 3 because this topic is so broad and there are always exceptions. But I feel that as I get older, I’m starting to step away from YA reads a little bit more each year and exploring the exciting world of New Adult.

What are your thoughts?

Leave a comment below!

Next Time: Single Character POV vs Alternating POV

Comments 2

  • I agree with you though I give both these categories an equal chance! YA has lot of variety among the fantasy and dystopia genre which I cannot live without and NA has something completely different to offer which I cannot live without either! So yeah I need both these in my life! Great post!

    • Thank you!

      Yes, I find I need a bit of both in my life. But as I get older and my interests change, I really see myself phasing out YA a little more. Not because I feel like I am too old but because I hope that NA will evolve more. But I don’t see myself not reading YA books ever–I’ll still read them many years from now I think.

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