On College – NA & YA Recommendations

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Hello, lovelies! First of all, happy valentine’s day!! I hope you’re having a great time with your beloved! If you’re like me and your beloved is a book, remember to give it lots of hugs and kisses on this special day.

Secondaly, today I’m going to discuss the college representation in Young Adult & New Adult literature and I’ll focus on the differences between the two and what I would love to see more of. I’ll offer examples of the books I’ve read with a college setting and hopefully you wil get some book recommendations along the way.

 

College in New Adult Literature

 

  1. Easy by Tammara Webber (read) – I’m not sure if I would recommend this one, I’ve given a high rating back in 2014, but I don’t trust my taste back then and even then in my review, I state that there are many issues about this book.
  2. The Deal by Elle Kennedy (read) – I actually liked this one as a guilty pleasure, but it was what I would call a NA cliche – hot athlete meets nerd girl, sadly there is slut shaming there. But the chemistry between the characters was pretty cool and made up for a lot of its downsides. (I’m not sure if I would enjoy it for a reread though)
  3. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover (read) – I wouldn’t particularly recommend this one if you can’t stand cheating (like me). I hope I remember correctly and the heroine was in college (I know she was studying music or something??)
  4. Addicted to You by Krista & Becca Ritchie (read) – college isn’t a big part of it, but I loved how Lily (the protagonist) was taking online courses at some point in the series because she was going through a lot and yeah, college is awful. Also, Connor and Rose, who are both geniuses and top of their classes, never look down on her because of that and I thought that was beautiful!!!
  5. Leo Loves Aries by Anyta Sunday (want to read) – M/M romance and I really like the analogy with zodiac signs, I’ve also seen only raving reviews about it.
  6. The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis (want to read) – F/F romance with a college dropout.

 

College in Young Adult Literature

 

  1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (read) – still one of my favourite and I think that’s a book that would describe perfectly my college experience besides the twin aspects.
  2. Let’s Talk about Love by Claire Kann (read) – if you want to see my review of it, check it out here. But basically, I loved it!!!
  3. American Panda by Gloria Chao (want to read) – I actually have an e-ARC of this one and I can’t wait to read it, so many high expectations!!!
  4. Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke (want to read) – I’m not sure if this one works on this list as the main character (Jane) is expulsed from highschool and then joins the community college. That’s not something that happens in my country, you have to complete your high-school studies in order to go to college, so I don’t know a lot about the context. But nonetheless, I’ve heard amazing things about it!!!

What I would like to see more in YA & NA when it comes to College

  • I want to see more characters who are academically driven, who want to study and be nerdy without dreaming about Prince Charming who comes and takes them out of their shells. I’m so tired of this trope. Let nerds be nerds, please.
  • I want to see more emotional-heavy themes about college – homesickness, what it feels to hate your college city, missing your family, disconnecting with your friends from home, having a hard time making friends at college.
  • More books with no romance set in college – romance isn’t everything in life (!!!)
  • More books about high-school graduates who didn’t go to college, I feel like that’s so important – some people just hate traditional education and can do without. I hate traditional education, but sadly can’t afford not to have a degree. *tears*
  • More books about gap years – I think they are the best things ever. If I had the money, I would have taken a gap year to travel and just enjoy my life before continuing with my education, really. It’s such a great concept.
  • More positive friendships!!! I feel like in NA slut-shaming is even more rampant than in YA. So, I really wish there would be more of these.

Differences when it comes to college between YA & NA

  • The biggest one is probably the portrayal of romance, I think you can tell from those thirsty NA covers (I’m mostly kidding, but why is everyone always topless???? where did you shirts go?) that the romance is more detailed on the physical side, more graphic sex scenes and so on, while YA is still pretty ‘and-they-did-the-do’. Now, my personal preference is somewhere in between the two. I think You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone (a.k.a the book I scream the most about on my blog) did a pretty good job at having a good sex rep in YA literature.
  • The books I’ve read in the YA genre that included characters that were out of high-school did a pretty good job at representing college as I know it. I think the books I’ve read tried to deal with some of heavier emotional issues I’ve mentioned before. While I still can’t relate to some NA themes.
  • I’m happy that people are talking more about expanding YA to college experience because NA characters always seem older than 19 – 20 to me. A good choice would be to give YA literature the 19 – 23 characters and let NA have those over 23 characters. To me, this sounds like the best option because I’m 20 years old and most of the times I still feel like a teenager. I’ll end this post on this note where I drag myself.

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What are some of your favourite books set in college? And what do you wish to see next in YA and NA books concerning college? 

 

 

40 thoughts on “On College – NA & YA Recommendations

  1. Claire @bookscoffeeandrepeat says:

    What I dislike about NA is it’s sexual nature or sex content. The way it’s marketed is sexual (like the topless models) but it makes sense because there’s sex in the book. Sometimes I want to read books with little to no sex, like in YA literature. I have no interest reading all the ‘smut’ but I end up having to deal with them. It’s why I had to stop reading the Addicted Series. TO ME, it’s neither relatable nor entertaining. I think Fangirl is my favorite from this list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      I think the covers are a little bit hyper-sexualized at times because even NA books which didn’t contain that many sex scenes have covers like that. I’ve seen some series that had women on their covers switch to topless men as a marketing strategy – probably because that’s what attracts the audience. I don’t know. I would love to see NA literature expand itself with wider subjects. But I suppose it doesn’t happen because there’s this thing going on about how people don’t read books without romance. :-/

      Like

  2. Caro @ bookcheshirecat says:

    This is a really great post!! 🙂 I would love to see some books set in college with no romance as well, because it’s not like everyone immediately gets romantically involved – at least not me. I am sad to hear that The Deal contains slutshaming, because I was really excited for the book 😮

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      Same here! And sometimes it feels so overwhelming to read those books so focused on romance. I mean, YA can be like that too, but the romance is still light. In NA, it can be the entire story and reading NA made me feel like I was losing out on something entirely by staying single. It’s a bit annoying. Yap, the book is really fun, but the protagonist has this phase where she calls everyone who looks at the hero a ho.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. bwbookreviewers says:

    I’ve never read NA personally because the covers just look like cheesy romance novels. Perhaps I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover but I think we all do.

    Anyway, I wanted to suggest a YA book that takes place in college that wasn’t on your list. It’s We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. It was one of the best books I’ve read so far this year and features a f/f romance.

    – Chantel

    Liked by 2 people

    • A. Grace says:

      Same honestly, I find myself reading a lot of YA geared to older readers (ie college-aged) or focusing on older characters (18+) but I just can’t get into NA at all because of how much the covers put me off.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Marta says:

        I’ve read NA before, but I mostly agree with both of you. It’s not really my genre and most of the time I stick to YA because of the covers, but mostly because of the content. I would really love to see NA grow more and focus on many more things than it does at the moment.

        Like

  4. Raven @ Dreamy Addictions says:

    What I hate about NA books are the too much sex content and also the topless male covers. These days, there’s no difference between NA and Adult books. I’ve read so many NA books that felt like reading an Adult book because everything was pretty much explicit. NA books mostly focus on romance and less on the story. However, I didn’t find that problem in NA fantasy books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      SAME! And I’ve noticed the same about NA and Adult being very close to one another, which is kind of annoying because there are obvious differences in real life. That’s interesting, I haven’t read many NA fantasy books. What are some of your favourites?

      Like

  5. Marie says:

    Thank YOU so much for all the recommendations! I really want to read more books set in college, and both Nice Try, Jane Sinner and American Panda are on my TBR. I can’t wait to read them 🙂 Let’s Talk About Love is on my TBR, too, mainly because you said such amazin things about it 😉
    I don’t read a lot of NA books, mostly because they often focus on the romance and I agree that there should be more books that take the college experience as a whole, without focusing on romantic stories. I agree that pushing back NA to 23+ would be great, I don’t know but to me, young adult feels like it could really expand to the 19 – 23 years old with the college experience 🙂
    Great post!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      Anytime, Marie!! I really hope I will find some more amazing books set in college because I need them!! Same here, I’m not anti-romance at all, I love my otps, but I’m a very character development, plot focused person – who’s got for romance when you have these? Yes, I think YA could do very well expanding itself to these ages, it could tackle many awesome issues.
      Thank you very much! Glad you enjoyed it!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. windowsillbooksblog says:

    This post is amazing! I really, really, really agree with some of your suggestions for college based novels, especially the academically driven (because dang, college is hard and I know these characters have tons of homework to do!) and positive friends ( my friends are the ones who help me through college, so book characters in college definitely need them too!) So I totally would love to see more of that!

    And yes, Fangirl is my all time favorite book set in a college!

    Again, fantastic post! Happy reading!

    -Lo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      Thank you very much!! Fangirl is probably my favorite book set in a college too, because it’s very relatable and actually sets up some realistic expectations about how college will be. Happy reading to you too!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Kat Impossible says:

    Love this post! I was totally that nerdy kid/not-yet-grown-up-tween in college and rather stayed home during test season rather than go out with classmates. They thought I was SO boring hahaha the thing is, studying for me just meant reading the same thing over and over again for an hour or two. To this day I am glad I didn’t have very demanding classes. Anyway, while I would love to have more academically inclined characters, I also feel like I can’t really connect to that mostly American setting as uni is very different where I live (for one, you don’t have to take out a loan to go there).
    I can’t say I have dabbled too much in NA, but mostly their hyper-sexualised covers aren’t too appealing to me. I know that not all books in that genre are that way, but it gives them a certain kind of rep, even if that’s not all the books are about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      College!Kat sounds a lot like how I am right now in college, so heeey! To be honest, most of my classes have teachers that want us to study just like that – which is a bit frustrating because I end up not remembering much after a while. My memory is pretty good, something that always helped me in college. YESS, college here is so different too, we don’t have to take loans either, though it’s only free if you have certain grades. But even when you have to pay a tax, it’s not that high as it seems to be the case with Americans. I feel like the thing I relate the less with the American setting colleges is how huge sports teams are, I don’t even think we have sports teams. It’s funny.
      Same, I’m really hoping that the genre will get better and start dealing with more serious topics too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kat Impossible says:

        A lot of my friends skipped classes when they could, but I always had to go because that’s how I remembered best when I read my own notes afterwards haha
        Oh yes!! We have to pay something as well. I went to a private university and even that was still affordable. But we didn’t have sports teams either. In general, American schools have so much extra-curricular stuff. Also in High School and that’s just never even been an option in the schools I went to.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Marta says:

        I KNOW, they have so many clubs! I’m so jealous sometimes because book clubs, film clubs, sign me the fuck up!!! Our high-school had some teams, but they weren’t very serious. Though I never really cared because I’m probably the least sport-oriented person in the world.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. What's She Reading? says:

    I’d recommend you try out some of Jessica Park’s books. She has a series called Flat-Out Love and then another stand alone that came out last year called 180 Seconds that I really, really enjoyed. They both have romance and I would classify them as more NA, but I feel like 180 Seconds especially talks about social anxiety, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. emmareadstoomuch says:

    this is SUCH a great post. i love the college representation in Fangirl even as it makes me so sad/anxious sometimes. i am obsessed with your list of what you’d like to see in books about college, and therefore you should probably write a book about college so that i can fulfill that

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      I know what you mean, Rowell’s books tend to be quite depressing, but I still love them so much! Awww, that’s the cutest thing!! ❤ I'm actually thinking about book ideas right now, I've been meaning to write a book for some time now, but I can't find my inspiration to sit and write. But maybe I'll follow your advice and write something from this list! ❤ I'm glad you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Rebeccah @ The Pixie Chronicles says:

    Thank you for the list! I admit, I don’t read many books set in college because there is just SO much sex and lack of actually feeling like the books REALLY takes place at college. It’s sort of like how college is represented in movies…it’s not all frat houses and parties filled with hot people and zero studying. That’s fun every once in awhile, but let’s get a hint of realism please. Not everyone can live the life of a supermodel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      Same here, sadly! I love how YA books are starting to focus on the college characters too because I think the genre might make it easier for the authors to write about some more issues. Hahaha, yap. My college is full of girls, we literary have 10 guys in our year (and we’re 300), so I never had the feeling that I could live a NA novel at college.

      Like

  11. Vani | Off-Color Literature says:

    So excited for American Panda! I liked Nice Try, Jane Sinner, too.

    Another good YA set in a college is Not Now, Not Ever. It’s HUGELY nerdy, which is so fun.

    Like

  12. storieswithelsa says:

    I am new to the whole WordPress book community thing so I didn’t know that this was a thing?! We’re actually having discussion about New Adult (this is a term I just learned a few minutes ago) and characters in college?! I am a fan of young adult book but a girl definitely gets tired of having to read again and again about high school like I’ve already graduated lets move on please. And especially since I’m graduating in less than two years, it would be great to read stories about people just graduating college or handling an internship experience. I am really excited to read American Panda and I loved Fangirl. I hope to see more diversity in YA/NA books. Great post!

    Like

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