Skip to main content

Discussion of NA + Mini Reviews


Today's post is a little bit of a mash up. At the end of the post, I'll be giving two short reviews, one for upcoming release, This Splintered Silence and one for the All The Bright Places audiobook.
But right now, I want to have a short discussion about an area of YA that's very small. It's college aged YA. Sometimes, it's called NA (for new adult), but the category isn't widely used, and, sadly, NA has come to mean sexy YA. This turn has started to destroy that market as its 18-25 year old intended audience tend to go for YA or adult reads instead.
What got me thinking about the need for more upper YA was an amazing post I came across on Twitter by Vicky Who Reads (you can check it out here) who discusses how YA is forgetting it's core audience... teens. She discusses how we need to serve all teens both younger (bridge from YA into MG) and older.
Off the top of my head, I can only think of two books that feature college protagonists (Fangirl, Emergency Contact, and Nice Try Jane Sinner). While I'm sure there are more, the majority of YA takes place junior year regardless of the themes or traits of the characters. While YA taking place all throughout high school, there is so much getting published that the umbrella of college YA can totally expand whether branded as upper YA or NA.
If you look at trends in the age group reading a book and the age of the protagonist in the book, kids almost always read up. Once you're out of your early years of high school, though, like with middle school, you hit an awkward ceiling when reading up becomes jumping to characters close to middle age with problems and concerns that are hard to imagine will ever be your own.
That's why many upper high school and college students stay with YA, which is wonderful, but there needs to be more characters applying and going to college to allow teens to have a preview into that experience and the challenges that come with it. Considering people often name college as one of the most interesting times of life, it's strange that we don't have many stories that highlight real protagonists starting to navigate the changing world of college and it's unique challenges. Though publishers seem to choose books mostly by seeing what is doing well (even though Fangirl is one of the most beloved books in YA), it's hard to vote with your dollar for work that barely exists. Hopefully, publishers will listen to what teens ask for and help make room in the market for stories that have previously been erased.

Now for the mini reviews:
This Splintered Silence by Kayla Olsen (November 13)
I was really hoping to love this one. The basic story is that Lindley Hamilton is faced with running the space base that she lives on when all the adults suddenly die from a mysterious virus. Though they think the kids who have been born at the base are immune, they're quickly proven wrong when members of the second generation start dying as well. Their mission is to beat the virus before it takes everyone. As thrilling as that sounds, though, the writing just couldn't carry the story. Unfortunately, even in the most pressing moments, everything felt one dimensional and lethargic. Though I love the idea of a future YA taking place in a space colony, this book can't quite deliver.

All The Bright Places (Audio Edition) by Jennifer Niven
As everyone who's been following my blog knows, my favorite book of all time is ATBP. After my best friend read it, she wanted to discuss all the details, and I realized I didn't remember them (I read the book almost two years ago), so I decided that I'd explore it again. While I had a hard time rereading in print, I picked up the audiobook and had a blast listening as I worked. I'd almost forgotten how wonderful it is to be read to. The book itself holds up, and, as for the narration, I loved the voice actor (Kirby Heyborne) who narrated for Finch. While Violet's wasn't my favorite, I quickly adjusted, and I loved that Jennifer read her own author's note at the end.

Mentioned Above...
Nice Try, Jane Sinner: Review Here
Fangirl: Review Here
Emergency Contact: Review Here
All The Bright Places: Review Here

Links of Interest:
Ultimate Halloween Booklist: List Here
Little Monsters: Review Here
How Do You Read?: Here
The Cheerleaders: Review Here

Comments

  1. This Splintered Silence sounds interesting! I'll have to check it out!

    And I do agree that it feels like most of YA is written for high schoolers. One that does have college main characters is Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi. It's a pretty good book and I like the parts that are told through text. Unfortunately I can't think of another one.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Books I'm Looking Forward To: April

Everything feels extremely uncertain right now, and authors are rightfully concerned about their books that are debuting in the coming months. Right now, Amazon is delaying book shipments, bookstores are being forced to close, and libraries are not providing in person services. While none of that this good news, it doesn't mean that books will be forgotten during this time. If anything, we need books and the arts in general more than ever. We've all turned to Netflix and reading and music to take our minds off of the situation, and these artists need our support too.
Luckily, there are tons of ways to do this. While authors aren't getting to hold traditional book launches, many are transitioning them to places like Instagram Live, so make sure you follow the authors you love on social media. Continuing on the social media theme, it's now more important than ever to talk about the books you enjoy online and leave reviews on Goodreads and Amazon to spread the word.
Anoth…

Fear of Missing Out

Fear of Missing Out by Kate McGovern 
Overview: Astrid has a form of brain cancer called astrocytoma that causes a star shaped tumor to form near her brainstem. Though she was in remission, two years later, the cancer comes back, and Astrid becomes convinced that she won't beat the disease. She starts to pursue options that will allow her to have a life in the future, namely, cryopreservation. After essentially freezing her body, she hopes to wake up when there's a cure for her cancer so she can rejoin the world and see some of the milestones she fears missing.
On the road trip to tour the Arizona facility, though, Astrid makes other realizations about her life and eventual death that alters how she sees her original plan. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 Astrid is relatable. She has a touch of dry, witty humor that makes her relatable. She loves her friends and family deeply, but she also has a conviction to follow what feels best for her. I appreciated how she always tried to stay ho…

Soooo... The World Is More Than a Little Scary

I'm not sure what exactly I want to say with this post. It feels like there's nothing left to say in a way. Over the last few days, the United States has come to realize just how serious COVID-19 is. It's a reality that people in Europe and Asia grasped long before most Americans. I think that we're all starting to realize just how much our lives are fundamentally changing. How long this will actually impact us.
I've seen a lot of different reactions on Twitter. Understandably, there's a lot of heartbreak over lost vacations, concerts, and book tours. A lot of us were using things like this to keep motivated. It's entirely understandable why these choices have been made, but it doesn't make it any less hard. So, I guess what I wanted to say first is don't feel bad for feeling bad. Yes, there are people losing much more from this, and we should be doing everything we can to help them through this time, but beating yourself up for being disappointed …

Guest Post Claire Bartlett: Unpacking Fairytales

This week I want to welcome author Claire Bartlett to the blog to talk about the fascinating history of fairy tales throughout culture and how they play a role in her new book, The Winter Duke (out March 3). I've been a huge fan of fairy tales my entire life (I even wrote a giant paper on the Brothers Grimm for a school project once), so it was so much fun to read about the history of a couple tales that Claire uncovered in her research. If you missed the last time Claire was on the blog to promote her debut, you can find that post here.


I always wanted to write a fairy tale retelling, and it only makes sense to me now that I'd combine fairy tale, history and fantasy to create The Winter Duke. Fairy tales have long been intertwined with history, and in fact it's now estimated that fairy tale tropes go back thousands of years, being retold and reworked to fit audiences. Many of them were somewhat cemented in the public mind after being written down by the Grimms, among oth…

Top Reads of 2018

This year's best of 2018 list has tons of new categories to fit all of the amazing books I read this year. I've had the chance to read so many advanced books and recent releases, so most of what I read were books that came out in 2018. I mostly choose contemporary, so I've started with my favorite debut as well as the best books in other genres I've ventured into. After that, I have smaller categories in the contemporary genre. I hope you find new books to love and give to your friends and family for the holidays. If you're interested in learning more about the books on the list, click their titles to go to my reviews. Let me know if these are some of your favorites in the comments, and tell me your favorite books!
Best In Genre Top Debut
Nothing Left To Burn by Heather Ezell Nothing Left To Burn gave me the craziest book hangover. I was so immersed in the story, and I couldn't stop reading to do anything that I actually needed to be doing. There is a toxic relat…

What If It's Us

What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (448 pages)
Overview: Ben and Arthur meet at the post office during a flashmob. Well, Arthur followed Ben into the post office because he thought he was and, and, just as they started talking, in true form with Arthur's New York fantasy, a flash mob erupted. When the boys and split up, Arthur loses his chance at connecting with Ben, but when he can't stop thinking about him, he explores ways to reconnect even in a city of a million empty faces like New York. Even if they can find each other, with Arthur going back to Georgia at the end of the summer, will it even be worth it? Overall: 4/5

Characters: 4.5 I'm not sure what to say about the characters. I liked them enough, but I didn't feel any real attachment to any of them. I liked the cast of friends, but they all lacked a certain weight that would give them a stronger sense of reality. My favorite relationship in the book was the friendship between Dylan and Ben.…

Nice Try, Jane Sinner

Nice Try, Jane Sinner Lianne Oelke (420 pages)
Overview: Jane wants to forget the past. Forget the high school that expelled her. Forget the people that watched her fall from grace. Forget her family who thinks that prayer is the answer to everything. Facing community college at Elbow River as a last resort graduation option, she signs up to be on House of Orange, a new web reality show, to solve her housing problem. Though she knows to expect the unexpected, House of Orange and its inhabitants test Jane in ways she never imagined. Maybe the year won't be as bad as she imagined. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 I LOVE Jane. There are very few main characters I can say that I appreciated more. Her sarcasm, dry humor, and outlook on life echoed my own thoughts, and I loved how she was so introspective. It is fascinating to listen to Jane work through her own thoughts and recognize her behaviors as masks for other feelings. I also thought that Oelke did a wonderful job with her depiction of Ja…

Starry Eyes

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett (417 pages)
Overview: Glamping should not include getting stranded in the middle of the woods with your ex-best friend. But life doesn't always go as it's supposed to. When Zorie agrees to go with her friend Regan and her crew on a summer camping trip, she doesn't know Lennon will be there, and she's certainly not expecting the group to abandon the two of them in the middle of the California wilderness, forced to complete a multi day track back to civilization. It turns out, though, that an adventure in the woods might be just what they need. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 I thought that all of the characters, including the adults, were given dimension. I loved the parental dynamic between Lennon and his moms as well as Zorie's relationship with her step mom who never considered Zorie less than her own daughter.
Lennon and Zorie are also awesome characters. Zorie has to battle her intense anxiety and relinquish control while she's stuck in…

How It Feels To Float

How It Feels To Float by Helena Fox (May)
Overview: Biz has a lot of sadness in her life. Her father died when she was age 7, her group of friends abandon her, and her best friend gets sent four hours away to live with her father. The world is too much, and Biz can't just float anymore. Exploring Biz's racing thoughts and grief, the book chronicles her discovering what it means to be honestly okay. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 The characters do come vividly alive but in a sort of passive way. Biz seems almost removed from herself, like she's telling the story about her life instead of speaking as they happen. Because of this, it's like seeing Biz through a foggy window and everyone else through a kaleidoscope.
I do love how supportive her mother is, her relationship with her younger twin siblings, and the mentorship and friendship she finds from an elderly lady in her photography class.
She also has an interesting relationship with her father who comes to her in hallucinati…