Question about romance in YA verse NA novels.

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jjmacdonald

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I've been working on a series for a few years, and I'm starting to question if YA SFF is the correct area. The story is based on a sixteen-year-old girl and was written for a 15/16 - 21 female age group. I've had a few beta readers (age 15-19), and none of them had issues with the story's content. All spoke highly of the romance that develops with the MC, but it's not meant for a younger girl. I'm wondering if the NA tag would be more appropriate.

And no, there are no steamy scenes or erotic content. There's a sweet coming-of-age romance subplot that happens throughout the story. But yes, there are teens. Sex does happen but it's "off-camera."

I've no issues changing this to a NA tag but I was wondering if anyone else has run into this dilemma.
Thanks!
 

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I've been working on a series for a few years, and I'm starting to question if YA SFF is the correct area. The story is based on a sixteen-year-old girl and was written for a 15/16 - 21 female age group. I've had a few beta readers (age 15-19), and none of them had issues with the story's content. All spoke highly of the romance that develops with the MC, but it's not meant for a younger girl. I'm wondering if the NA tag would be more appropriate.

And no, there are no steamy scenes or erotic content. There's a sweet coming-of-age romance subplot that happens throughout the story. But yes, there are teens. Sex does happen but it's "off-camera."

I've no issues changing this to a NA tag but I was wondering if anyone else has run into this dilemma.
Thanks!
Definitely sounds like YA SFF to me. Plenty of YA books deal with sex, drugs, all sorts of deep issues and situations. To give you an example off the top of my head, the excellent Folk of the Air series by Holly Black is YA Fantasy and has a sex scene in it, though it is very tastefully done, so much so that I imagine younger readers won't even know that anything more than some making out is going on.

NA seems to be a genre that has almost become a sub-genre of romance. Most of the NA books I see are romances, like the popular Off-Campus series by Elle Kennedy, along with Colleen Hoover's books and Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. Also NA seems to feature solely people of college-age, so nothing younger than eighteen, I would assume.
 

jjmacdonald

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Definitely sounds like YA SFF to me. Plenty of YA books deal with sex, drugs, all sorts of deep issues and situations. To give you an example off the top of my head, the excellent Folk of the Air series by Holly Black is YA Fantasy and has a sex scene in it, though it is very tastefully done, so much so that I imagine younger readers won't even know that anything more than some making out is going on.
LOL! I learned the hard way that teens aren't as naive as we adults think they are. They may not know exactly what's happening, but they know far more than they let on :)

And my daughters wonder why my hair turned gray when they were teens...

NA seems to be a genre that has almost become a sub-genre of romance. Most of the NA books I see are romances, like the popular Off-Campus series by Elle Kennedy, along with Colleen Hoover's books and Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. Also NA seems to feature solely people of college-age, so nothing younger than eighteen, I would assume.
I'm old. When I was a kid, it was a single bookshelf for Fantasy and Science fiction. The rest of the book store was all the stuff my mom read.

Thanks of the reply!
 
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I've been working on a series for a few years, and I'm starting to question if YA SFF is the correct area. The story is based on a sixteen-year-old girl and was written for a 15/16 - 21 female age group. I've had a few beta readers (age 15-19), and none of them had issues with the story's content. All spoke highly of the romance that develops with the MC, but it's not meant for a younger girl. I'm wondering if the NA tag would be more appropriate.

And no, there are no steamy scenes or erotic content. There's a sweet coming-of-age romance subplot that happens throughout the story. But yes, there are teens. Sex does happen but it's "off-camera."

I've no issues changing this to a NA tag but I was wondering if anyone else has run into this dilemma.
Thanks!
As far as I know, Young Adult has an MC who is 14 - 18 years old, and is targeted at readers age 12 - 18. New Adult has an MC who is 19 - 21 years old, and is targeted at readers aged 17 - 21. Agents and editors won't market a story featuring a 16 year old girl as NA.
 

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The story is based on a sixteen-year-old girl and was written for a 15/16 - 21 female age group.

21 is outside the YA demo. And, pragmatically speaking, a 16 y/o MC is going to mostly target teens aged 14-16.

I'm wondering if the NA tag would be more appropriate.

F0r a 16 y/o MC? No, absolutely not. NA characters are, afaik, always legal-adults -- mostly college-aged kids, or fresh out of college.

And NA as a genre has a certain expectation of graphic erotic content. Which isn't to say you can't have erotic content in YA -- which you absolutely can -- but you're dealing with different expectations.

And no, there are no steamy scenes or erotic content.

NA has a rather strong genre expectation of erotic content.

I've no issues changing this to a NA tag but I was wondering if anyone else has run into this dilemma.

If you try to release a book as NA that doesn't include explicit erotic content, you will very likely receive a lot of negative reviews claiming that it's not really NA because you don't have explicit erotic content. I've heard this issue discussed before, but I can't remember the books in question that got review-bombed for using the tag because they didn't include erotic content.
 

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We used to have a sticky around here that was called something like "Yes, your YA can have SEX!" šŸ˜‡ I think it was unstickied because the YA market more or less spoke for itself (or we just let Shady's Edgy YA thread do the same work). You can definitely have sex in YA.

Teens are having sex. So they definitely can read about sex. Don't make it erotica (and you clearly aren't), but sex can happen on- and off-screen.

As others have said, the NA market is expected to have post-high-school main characters and be more of the romance or erotica market.

Along with getting beta readers (great job! And excellent that they're your target market!), do a lot of reading yourself in the YA fantasy market. It will give you a good idea of what's allowed.
 

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