Young Adult vs New Adult

Hello everyone!

Today I’d like to discuss the difference between Young Adult (YA) and New Adult (NA). As a reader genres are important distinguishers for the books content. I am primarily a YA reader but I’ve begun to stumble upon the phrase “New Adult” more and more. It made me wonder, what is New Adult and how is this genre defined and different from Young Adult? Lets find out!

Young Adult

Young Adult books are books typically about teenagers and first/coming of age experiences. They can span different themes and worlds and include various other genres, but typically they explore the protaginists “firsts”; their first adventure, first romance, first heartbreak, first mystery, etc. They are usually targeted at audiences between the ages of 12 and 18, though many people (myself included) read YA novels outside of this age range.

New Adult

New Adult developed from the adult audience of YA novels and is meant to help bridge the gap between YA and Adult fiction. It was developed and coined in 2009.  The target audience is people between the ages of 18 and 30, typically including more mature content than is found in YA books. This can include topics such as starting college, first jobs after graduation, first serious relationships and much more. With the added maturity comes the inclusion of more mature content, such as sexual experiences, language and difficult topics dealing with mental health, addiction and abuse, though these are not all necessarily included in a book to make it NA. Most NA’s are careful not to cross the line into Adult fiction however and tend to lean closer to the YA side, encompassing similar stories with older protaginsts and more mature mentalities and details.

Though I don’t believe in censorship, I highly recommend not reading NA books until the age of 16-18 or older, not only because of the potential for mature content but because it may include experiences the reader may not be able to easily relate to yet.


The biggest differences include

  • The protaginists age
  • Potential experiences in the book. EX: highschool first love vs first year in college/serious relationship
  • The target audience age group. YA is between 12-18. NA is between 18-30.
  • Maturity of content

Though there are differences between YA and NA, they still follow the “firsts” theme commonly associated with YA novels. Its a bridge between YA and Adult fiction, and has allowed for an entire new genre of books and possibilities to flourish. There is some conflicts still with NA fiction but it seems to be a growing genre we can find more books in here soon and has led to some extremely popular series.

That’s the run down on YA vs NA! What are some of your favorite NA books? When did you first discover NA, or was this your first time hearing about it? Are there any other questions about the two genres I didn’t get a chance to discuss? Let me know in the comments below!

Good Hunting


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