New Adult vs. Young Adult: Book reviews

Okay, here’s a round-up of the latest books I’ve been spending my time with, from best to worst:


Still Alice, by Lisa Genova

I found Still Alice, by Lisa Genova, was both beautiful and terrifying. I highly recommend this book, but only when you’re in the mood to read something truly disturbing (you know how you get in those moods sometime?) The book, and the main character, was so engaging that you get wrapped right up in her life, and her terror, and I’m actually happy I finished the book before going into labour. I need to read something light and happy after this.

It’s about early-onset Alzheimers, and the brilliant women who deals with the slow horror of losing her mind and her loved ones at the age of 50. For me, I found myself relating a little bit. Not that it’s anything close to the same thing, but this whole “pregnancy brain” thing is real and quite annoying. I’m constantly feeling and thinking through a fog, have trouble remembering and concentrating, and sometimes I truly don’t really understand what’s going on around me. I miss my brain. People have assured me it will come back (eventually), but I couldn’t imagine what it would be like for it to progressively get worse. I slowly fade away like that – no one deserves that. Anyway, read this book. Then go read something really funny afterwards.


Velva Jean Learns to Drive, by Jennifer Niven

Velva Jean Learns to Drive, by Jennifer Niven, is another beautiful, sweet story, of a girl who grows up in the Depression-era Appalachians, in a poor and insular society. She marries a preacher but never quite gives up her dreams of grander things. This was so nicely written by Niven, the setting seems to come alive. It’s slower paced, and made me smile at the end.


Delirium, by Lauren Oliver

Of all the dystopian young adult books I’ve read in the past little bit, Delirium by Lauren Oliver has been one of my favourites. It’s not as exciting as The Hunger Games or Divergent, but it’s better written and less indulgent than some other similar ones, like The Uglies or Matched. The concept is that at eighteen everyone is “cured” of love, and goes around living the rest of their lives like lobotomized zombies. Maybe I’m just sentimental right now (could you imagine not loving your own children?), but it got to me. And ended on a tantalizing note. It’s been awhile since a series or trilogy has tempted me to keep on reading to the next one, but I immediately put the second book of this one on my must-read list.


666 Park Avenue, by Gabriella Pierce

I really only picked 666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce up because of the recently-deceased TV show that I kind of got into (but it lost me before it went under). This is fluffy, light and inane. Someone described it as Gossip Girl for grown ups, with some paranormal. Sure. It is the perfect kind of book for me and my flighty brain right now. I also think if the TV show had been more like the book, I might have stayed around longer.


On a Highland Shore, by Kathleen Givens

On a Highland Shore, by Kathleen Givens, is pure romance, with little to no actual sex scenes, so that kind of has that against it. It’s all about a handsome Irish/Norse warrior who helps a Scottish maid … and so on and so forth. Perfectly frothy, but could be more scandalous.

The Alchemist: The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel

This is one of those young adult books that is WAY too young for me. I was ashamed the entire time I read it. It’s like The Magic Tree House books, sort of grown up but not really. 15-year-old twins must save the world from some magical stuff. But you know what, I would have loved this when I was 12.

A friend of mine mentioned there is talk about naming a new sort of book category, a “New Adult” to differentiate from “Young Adult.” It is true there is very little literature out there that can speak to the after-high school crowd. These coming-of-age books are either too young or too old, and there always seems to be some uneasiness to finding middle ground between this. New Adult is more like young adult, but with sex? Or maybe more dystopian murder? I’m not sure. I do think it’s unfair to place a book about university-aged characters in the same category as a book like this, which is much more appealing to the tween crowd. Anyone have any thoughts on this? I hate the fact that just because there is a sex scene in a book about teenagers, it can’t be deemed young adult, but maybe there needs to be a distinction. Or maybe kids in university don’t have sex at all … and we wouldn’t want to be unrealistic!

Word of the day:

Vitiate: to impair the quality of; make faulty; spoil; to impair or weaken the effectiveness of; to debase, corrupt or pervert


One thought on “New Adult vs. Young Adult: Book reviews

  1. If you liked Still Alice you might enjoy Left Neglected which is the same author but dealing with a brain injury. Maybe in between the lighter books?

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