Hi, guys! 2014 is coming to a fast and ignoble end and finally it happened. We’ve hit that point – you know that point. The one we hit where we’ve read so many books, this time of the New Adult variety, that quite a few commonalities have begun to surface and we just can’t take it anymore. We have to rant! Let’s just jump right into this shall we cause we can’t hold off and be nice any longer. BTW this is so NSFW or people under the age of 18 or anyone but us really cause we are all about to start swearing and talking about girl bits and it won’t be pretty.

You’ve been warned.

1. Over-use of dead parents and family members. Pasts – we all have them, but sheesh! The sheer amount of orphans in the fictional US is staggering! Whether it was a [insert your mode of transport here] accident during a freak storm/holiday prank gone wrong or terminal illness that offed not one but TWO parents – enough already. Sure, I know bad things happen – but the ways of offing the folks seems to be growing more and more elaborate. Sometimes it’s not even enough that both parents are gone; sometimes it’s both parents + any and ever extended family member leaving the heroine/hero unloved and unlovable for all time.

swear-words2. The overuse of swear words: When did words like fuck, cock, shit, ass, asshole, slut etc become such a part of the NA vernacular that it is now acceptable–nay, encouraged–to pepper each and every character’s speech and thoughts with these words? Less is more, writers! Less is always more. I understand that the point of NA is to show the transition from youth to adult and to that end, these forming adults need to take control of their language skills and prove that they are now old enough to use swear words. But come on! I am currently reading a book so full of curse words that it’s almost impossible to read. The heroine swears like a pirate. The hero swears right along with her. An 80 year old couple they encounter swears more filthily than any brothel owner I’ve ever heard of. Teachers swear, parents swear, paparazzi swear (she’s a starlet obviously), hotel clerks swear, taxi drivers swear. The list is endless. The only people who don’t swear are a pregnant woman and a 3 year old. Because pregnant women must protect their fetuses and children from these dirty words until they’re 18? If only this were a joke.

And yet this need for swear words to literally fill up a page is running rampant through NA. It has to stop. Swearing never got anyone a job. It never proved anyone’s point well and it certainly never made me want to jump into anyone’s bed. It feels like a cheap trick to convince readers that the characters are maturing when in fact it just makes them seem dumb and uneducated. Don’t get me wrong. A nicely timed swear word (or three) can add emphasis and shock very convincingly but when it’s every other word, there’s a problem.

I'm empowered! Yipee!!

I’m empowered! And had suuuch a great night alone! Yippee!!

3. Female Masturbation. Ok, it’s the elephant in the room. Girls masturbate. There I said it.  But just because they do, you don’t have to use it as a heavy handed way to show how empowered they are. This appears to be the new shocking technique in New Adult. Girls can get off! By themselves! They don’t need a man! And yet, they always, inevitably do need a man and once they find one, they’re too busy having gobs of fantastic sex with that man to worry about all that self love any more. It’s sickening. Writers: don’t use masturbation as a means of showing that a girl is strong or self-sufficient. Again it comes off as a cheap ploy not to bother showing us how strong she actually is in other areas of her life. The idea being, if she’s strong enough to masturbate, she’s strong enough to be alone and be strong. WRONG! Show us that she gets a job on her own or stands up to her domineering mother or that she confronts a bully. That’s being strong, not the ability to touch yourself alone in bed.

4. Alternating Points of View. You get a great book about a girl meeting a nice guy and all is going well until wham! His POV shows up on the scene and you’re struck reading his banal thoughts about how great she smells, how gorgeous she is, or how wonderful it would be to slam her against a wall and kiss the bejeezus out of her. No. Just no. Alternating POVs are the worst no matter how they show up. It’s even worse if it’s two people echoing each other’s thoughts as means to progress a love story. Guys don’t think like that. Ok maybe they do and I just don’t get it (I’m being facetious). But after living with the same guy for 12 years, I can honestly tell you: men aren’t sappy or gooey or ridiculously in love with you. Sorry. And the fact that we have to read this obviously imagined POV from a man’s perspective? Gag.

Reality of a male POV aside, there’s no mystery or tension at all in the book when you know every thought and motivation each main character has as they’re having it. There’s nothing to look forward to and as a result the book is boring. So can we just keep it to a single POV or find some new way to make the alternating POV unique?

Look at me! I’m running…from love!

5. Broken heroine = running from lurrrve. I’m broken – really, really bad stuff happened and now I will NEVER LOVE AGAIN. Well…until the perfect and to-die-for hero beats down my barriers and makes me see that I’ve been a shrew for two thirds of the book!

Judith aside: YES, Onni! Why do they always run from love? Who runs from love? Who runs from people trying to give them hope for a better future or a means to get over a bad event (like both parents dying)? This is the weirdest plot device ever. I get that it’s a means to push the heroine out of her comfort zone and into one where the hero can meet her and save her but come on! Stop it. Stop with all the running! Plus how do these people survive with no money and all the running from town to town? I can barely make ends meet after living in the same place for 16 years! And I’m an adult with a job. I can’t imagine what the running from lurrrve heroine is doing to survive.

6. No one cares about money: Let me set the scene: Young girl, away at college or starting her first job in NYC or other big name city and yet, even with only $16 in her checking account or wallet, she doesn’t care about money! She’s going to go hit up that club, make out with the hot and brooding guy in the corner, and drink a lot! Now I don’t know about you guys but I had two jobs in college just to make ends meet. I studied all the time and lived on white rice and asian pears. It was a sad, skinny time in my life and yet it forced me to face the reality of money. We all need it, most of us don’t have a lot, and when it’s gone, you have to scrimp and save to get more…especially as a teen or early adult.  There’s been a rash of books that show heroines living on her last dollar with no care for the future. Maybe I’m looking at this through my old person lens but this seems really irresponsible of a writer to glamorize poverty and not focus on the need to work reality of adulthood.

Ok that’s it! End rant. Who else has any to add?

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4 thoughts on “Let’s rant about NA!

  1. On point. I’m not prude by any stretch of imagination, but most of the NA nowadays veer in the direction of the Erotica genre. Why don’t you just slap an Erotica genre on your book and call it a day?

    I really can’t find anything remotely original with all the books in this subgenre. It’s like you meet one character, and you’ve met them all.

    • Yes, you are right, Joy! It’s meeting the same character and scenarios over and over. The focus is always on the sexual and never on anything more. As if growing up and maturing needs to be erotic. Let’s face it-it’s not! I wish there were subcategories like NA Erotica. But that’s pushing it way too far and limiting potential readers.

  2. Yes yes yes. I have to add:

    1. It is WAY too easy to get pregnant in NA – either a pregnancy is the entire plot (which I am SO tired of), or it’s the next step after the initial romance. Because once you’re married (after dating someone for 6 months, of course), you obviously have to get pregnant ASAP.

    2. This is going to make me sound like an asshole, but to build on point 5 – as terrible as sexual assault is, and it is absolutely terrible, there are other things that can happen to a person in life to make them who they are. I’m really, really tired of heroines that are afraid of love because they were sexually abused or raped by someone from their past.

    I just think authors need to be more creative – I’m writing my second book, and I’m trying SO hard to come up with alternative pot points that don’t involve any of these.

    • Joelle: agree 100000%! 1. pregnancy is such an odd plot device. It reads like a soap opera thread. “I met him, I loved him, I got pregnant by him…thank god he’s rich!” 2. And yes, there are other ways to grow up! Not just the sexual ones. Argh. One of my biggest pet peeves. Thanks for adding on to our rant.

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