17 Great New Adult Novels That Explore Growing Up

    Ranging from college-bound young adults to late-twentysomethings still figuring it out, these books all have protagonists who are new to adulthood literally, metaphorically, or both.

    For anyone who has not heard the term "New Adult," it was coined in 2011 by Dan Weiss and his team at St. Martin's Press and intended to describe books that "bridge the gap" between YA and Adult fiction, books that explore what it means to come of age not as an adolescent but as an adult. They're books that explore newfound freedom and independence, and the choices and developments that go with them. Below are titles that exemplify that idea, whether or not they were actually published as New Adult. (And not many traditionally published books were published as such; the phrase ended up being primarily used as a descriptor for self-published college-set romance.) These books take on everything from losing faith and finding love to financial hardship and familial estrangement, running the gamut from literary to commercial, fantasy to romance and beyond.

    1. Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi

    2. Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

    3. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

    4. Fresh by Margot Wood

    5. The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

    6. Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

    7. Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund

    8. Real Life by Brandon Taylor

    9. Chef's Kiss by Jarrett Melendez, illustrated by Danica Brine, colored by Hank Jones, and lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

    10. Vow of Celibacy by Erin Judge

    11. By Any Means Necessary by Cam Montgomery

    12. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

    13. Trade Me by Courtney Milan

    14. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

    15. It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland

    16. In at the Deep End by Kate Davies

    17. Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett