New Adult is a relatively new genre, a bastard love child of a ménage between Young Adult, Romance and Erotic fiction. It features predominantly attractive 17+yo characters in college (university for Aussies) and are just starting to find their way in the adult world. The genre is a powerful concoction of romance and eroticism and is producing some hugely popular and compelling books that the people are consuming with gusto.
Abbi Glines is a hugely successful writer who had her beginnings as a young adult indie author. Her debut novel, Breathe – a YA contemporary romance - was released May 2011 by Wild Child Publishing. She has since released more than 12 other books in the young adult/new adult genre (this woman is a gun!), all of which readers rate between 4 and 5 stars on Amazon and many of which have hit bestseller lists around the world.
I was introduced to Abbi’s work through my wonderful publisher, Simon & Schuster Australia, who have arranged for me to meet Abbi in Sydney in a couple of weeks when The Reading Room will do a dual interview with the both of us (yes – I feel special!). I’m a notoriously slow reader, so it has taken me a wee while to start her books, but once I did I found them an easy and satisfying romantic read.
Let me honest, this genre isn’t my genre of choice. I’m ashamed to admit I am a literary lover through and through, and sometimes struggle to engage with more commercial styles of fiction. Abbi’s books, however, are kind of like eating lollies (candy for American’s). They go down real easy. I actually managed to finish one of her books within a week, which is a record for me.
At first I found the first person points of view a bit disconcerting. At my age I find it difficult to track back to the innocent time when I still believed in the longevity of passionate love and I initially had trouble identifying with characters, Amanda and Preston. They have muscles, and lovely legs, and go out to see bands most nights of the week. Their time is their own. It's been a long time since I lived that kind of life. Then last night, as I was finishing Just for Now, I had a revelation.
Twenty five years ago I would have gobbled up everything Abbi Glines, and others like her, write. As I read through the scenes where Preston and Amanda finally get it together, I am transported. I remember this. The nagging need to be with a new lover every minute of the day. The way a new man shuts out all other thoughts and priorities. Abbi captures the intensity of the kind of relationship we all long for when we are young – with someone who’ll love us fiercely and exclusively, a passion that burns with the fire of youth. When we are young we believe this kind of love continues as it begins, and Abbi captures that sense of forever with great vividness.
At middle age, and after many relationships, my heart is like a returned soldier: it’s misshapen, covered in scars and has a few chunks missing. I doubt it’s capable of the kind of love Abbi’s characters find any more. These days it has its eye on other prizes. Love that grows deep with history and experience. But it’s not so old and beaten that it can’t reminisce a little, and I can see the incredible attraction these books hold for women of all ages – those who are young and still believe in the lasting spark, those who have been around the block a few times and want to be reminded of the wild fury of young love.
Just for Now is the last book of Abbi’s Sea Breeze series. Not being aware of the other characters history didn’t detract from the overall story. I fell in love with Preston. I have a weakness for bad boys. Not that he’s bad at all. He’s just had a rough start in life and, in spite of the kind of neglect that would terminally damage most people, he managed to survive and become a decent person.
Preston is a player and I found it interesting that Abbi had to preface descriptions of his promiscuity with ‘man’ – ie man whore, man slut. It made me realise (yet again) what a sexually biased society we live in when there is no male equivalent for insults such as slut and whore. But that is a post for another time.
I also enjoyed the way Abbi ran the sexual tension between Amanda and Preston, who both knew that no one would approve of their relationship, and this added deliciously to the intimate scenes.
If you enjoy a light read and want the satisfaction of strong romance with a healthy dose of smexy scenes then Abbi’s work is for you.
See also Haylee Nash’s review of Because of Low (also Sea Breeze series) here: