At the New Adult age and stage in life, people are faced with many of life’s extra-difficult challenges, including the consequences of past and present actions and the lessons of learning how to cope, grow, and move beyond painful, life-changing events. Like life, books about this age are full of such issues, from rape to disabilities to trouble with the law to PTSD. The variety of issues is as diverse as the human race.
For example, in my trilogy The Book of Phoenix, one of the heroes has a disability as well as a difficult past dealing with bullies. One of the heroines has a history of eating disorders. Another hero was in a war, and another heroine had to pull herself out of the pit of alcohol abuse. Characters face an alcoholic and drug-abusing parent, domestic abuse, and unwanted pregnancies. And this is a paranormal/contemporary fantasy series.
Why did I feel the need to mix these real-world issues into a paranormal world? Well, I didn’t exactly say, “Hey, let’s do this.” These characters came to me like this—full of real problems, at least one of which most of us have faced or have had a friend or loved one go through. Most of us have been there and can relate to the characters in one way or another. That’s what makes characters “real,” interesting, and three-dimensional. Their stories come alive in our minds, even when they take place in improbably worlds.
Sometimes these issues add a layer or two to the story, and sometimes the story itself is actually focused on how a character handles the challenge. We enjoy these types of stories for the same reasons we love the characters in them—because we can relate. They help us see how someone else might deal with the same situation or problem that we ourselves have been through. They give us new perspectives and insights we might not have seen before, helping us resolve our own problems or better understand what a loved one has experienced. And they give us hope that we, too, will come out on top like the characters do in most of these stories.
With the help of the NA Alley team, I’ve come up with a quick list of book recommendations that include some kind of special issue. Do you have any other favorites? Please share in the comments! Do you wish someone would write about a particular topic that’s not addressed nearly enough? Share that, too. There are tons of authors reading this, so you never know what might come out in the future.
The Trouble WithGoodbye by Sarra Cannon
Falling Into You by Jasinda Wilder
Forever & Always by Jasinda Wilder
Perfectly Ernest by E.J. Wesley
In Too Deep by Michelle Kemper Brownlow
Honesty by Carrie Butler
Come Undone by A.J. Matthews
Fierce by L.G. Kelso