If there´s ever been a genre that´s loved and hated in equal proportions then it´s definitely New Adult Romances. NA romance books are often tacky and full of unrealistic, unrelatable fluff no one needs- That´s what I´ve heard.
As a devoted NA Romance reader, I have to agree. There´s often too much of everything often squeezed into 350 pages. These books carry topics any of us would gladly walk away from without batting an eyelash yet we crave these things in our NA romance books. Weird. The usual tropes? Virgins, rich characters, unrealistic sex, love heals the mentally unhinged, and instalove. In some cases, it´s a combination of all.
But do we really crave what NA romances offer?
I often wonder what NA romances would be like if there were less drama, less intensity, less cheesiness, less explosiveness. Would it really hurt to give the mountain gorillas disguised as gorgeous and powerful CEOs a break? Do characters always need to have dark pasts for us to love them? No and no.
I also wonder what kind of effect it would have on authors and readers if characters were suddenly 100% relatable. I mean- Let´s take the average Joe. He´s full of flaws and above all- doesn´t have an ass in his weird fitted jeans. He comes home, orders take-out then falls asleep on the sofa before the delivery guy arrives because he just came home after a 12-hour workday. Do authors want to write about your average Joe, who´s life is just as exciting as a slice of toast? Probably not. A reader could mistake them for someone they´re trying to forget while reading. Escapism is a thing.
Authors provide an outlet for readers with their stories. They offer us a way to forget our mundane lives and be a part of something that raises our blood pressure. This is done in the form of exaggeration. By amplifying emotions, reactions, and actions. Things are often so intense that a reader can often thank their lucky stars that average Joe is snoring in the next room.
But, what if…? Is there a possibility people could actually like a romance story they can relate to? Would it be so terrible to read about an insta-attraction and to watch that form into more rather than being hit with an instalove? Hmm… I think it wouldn´t be terrible at all. Not sure what other readers think, though.
Personally, I like to see less exaggeration and more relatable stuff. Call me dull but sometimes less is more. Less drama can still have a positive effect on readers.
No book character has to lose their job, their best friend since Kindergarten, their left leg and their unborn baby and have to deal with infidelity in 230 pages. Each of these things can be traumatic events on their own if delivered properly and with care. I mean- We often experience chain reactions in life but none as drastic as some authors like to paint out. Or, I´m just a fool living off the grid and have no flipping clue about real-life dramatics. Could be – Who knows. I´m no expert.
Losing your job can have a negative effect on someone´s relationship. This can lead to depression or break a marriage. I can see a second chance romance from this storyline.
You can lose your best friend if that friend has a new relationship that´s toxic. Let a new Hero swoop in and whisk the best friend off her feet. This can be turned into a New Adult romance that includes abuse.
You can have an accident and be forced to become disabled. This can definitely be traumatic for any romantic relationship. I can see this as a new beginning NA romance.
Pregnancy loss or infertility has been a reason why couples split. Why not include this topic into a romance and draw that cruel event out?
Adultery is another topic that has no problem standing on its own. Cheating isn´t great but authors sure as hell can work this one into a romance and draw it out in a trilogy.
Or how about this: How about writing a story about a couple who´ve grown apart? Simple. Effective. Realistic. People forget how to love each other if they´ve been together for some time.
I guess what I´m saying is that authors don´t need to stick with the usual tropes. They don´t need to bombard their characters with so much tragedy. One tragic event is enough to send average Joe to therapy.
Speaking of average Joe. He can be a desirable and flawed character if an author´s willing to make their readers see him as such.
Authors don´t need to over-exaggerate events for the sake of wanting to touch a reader´s heartstrings.
Less is often more. Simplicity can have a greater impact on readers than anything too intense.
For the record: Yes, I know there are authors who write less dramatic NA romances. Trust me when I say that I´ve read their books. But I think it wouldn´t hurt if more authors tried their luck with something as simple as a simple NA romance.
Also good to know: I´m not fully against overly dramatic NA romances. I´ll still read them if they sound interesting. I prefer simple stories, though. There are quite a few readers who wouldn´t want to change anything about the majority of NA romances… and that´s perfectly fine.
What do you think? Do you agree? Are NA romances too over the top or do you believe they´re perfect the way they are? What would you like to see more in NA romances? Let me know in the comments below. I´d love to chat ❤
As always, I appreciate the time you´ve taken to read this blog post. I hope you enjoyed.
Much bookish love,