Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. July 2nd’s theme is a Character Freebie, so I’m going to round up my favorite New Adult ensembles. (edit: Apparently I can’t read, because July 9th is the freebie day. Next week will be favorite childhood ensembles).
New Adult is an…interesting age group, one that it seems publishing has taken to mean YA, but with sex. I kinda don’t feel that way about? Sure, NA should have more mature themes, but like YA I feel that it captures characters who are in their late teens and early twenties, and are experiencing the formative years of adulthood. In my definition, there might be sex, but it’s more a general tone/mood of the book that *could* include characters in their late twenties.
Super vague, I know, but I really like New Adult as a category because it offers a lot of possibilities and a little more distinction than just an overall “Adult” category.
Anywho, these are my favorite NA ensemble casts, with me playing around with the definitions of NA and ensemble a little bit.
Giant Days by John Allison
New roommates Susan, Daisy and Esther struggle to survive their first year of university—and navigate the world of adulthood, new romances, sexuality and coursework. I absolutely love this comic series. It’s one of my all-time favorites. While straight-edged-but-slightly-neurotic Daisy and disaster-goth Esther are hilarious, slightly-feral-Susan is my favorite character. Her relationship with McGraw is just precious. There’s a big supporting cast and all are drawn and described so perfectly. I’m on issue #44 and about to binge another seven issues from my library’s Hoopla subscription this month.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Do I really need to describe this one? And yes, I do consider this NA (I’ll consider upper-YA) due to the age of the protagonists and the fairly graphic subject matter. It gets a bit grittier than your average YA, but the entire cast is amazing and I really love the high fantasy heist concept (you um, might see a couple more heisty books on this list). While the Shadow & Bone series is absolutely YA, I believe that King of Scars is NA, since the protagonists have aged out of the YA category by several years.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Absolutely, 100% totally NA. Debate me. In the future, humanity is divided in castes. Some castes, like the Golds, are higher than the others and have more privileges. Others, like the Reds, toil in poverty. Red Darrow believes that his labor in the mines will transform Mars into a paradise—until his wife is executed and he learns his entire existence is a lie. Mars is a paradise and the Reds have been lied to. Darrow becomes part of the revolution and is transformed into a Gold. And he will bring down the entire caste system. While I disliked Iron Gold and won’t continue the series, I really loved the original trilogy and the supporting characters. It’s violent, twisty and political and I love it.
The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker
Enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon is good at her job—until she irritates a high ranking official and is given an impossible mission to get her out of the way: kill the assassin Sicarious. This was one of the first indie books I ever read (and one of the first steampunk novels that I really enjoyed, probably due to the fantasy setting and lack of corsets), and I adore this series, particularly the ridiculous group of ne’er-do-wells and misfits Amaranthe assembles and transforms into the Emperor’s Edge. I haven’t read the most recent books in the series but they are on my TBR!
The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
So we’ve established that I am complete and utter trash for royal family alternative history, right? And this is straight-up Kate Middleton fanfic, with American college student Bex playing the part of the Duchess of Cambridge and Nick as a far more attractive (and less dickish) version of Prince William. While the focus is mostly on Bex, there is a large supporting cast that helps her win the prince and transform into someone worthy of wearing a crown. Love, whatever the price?
Until the End of the World by Sarah Lyons Fleming
About 5-6 years ago I went on a bit of a zombies kick (no, this had nothing to do with The Walking Dead, which I don’t like because it’s so fucking slow and I need more zombies!). While there are some great series, nothing really compares to Fleming’s Until the End of the World series, which takes a group of twenty-something New Yorkers and plops them into the start of a zombie apocalypse. Preppers, zombies and fantastic friendships, galore! If you like zombies but want something that’s both zombies and um, actual character development (this is not a dig on TWD btw), this is the series for you.
Mordacious by Sarah Lyons Fleming
I was having serious Until the End of the World withdrawals until I stumbled across this companion series (I know, I know, I should 100% have an Amazon author’s alert set up). Mordacious follows loner Sylvie Rossi (and her best friend Grace), who get stuck in a New York hospital on the day the world ends (thanks, Sylvie’s mom). Unable to escape, they are stuck fighting for survival in New York City with a group of survivors. There are mild spoilers in this book for Until the End of the World, but this trilogy is absolutely amazing. At about 500-800 pages a book, it’s a bit lengthy but I was riveted the entire time—there is a big cast and I was invested in each of the main secondary (and main) characters. Admittedly, after book 1 the still-scary zombie threat takes a backseat to still-human assholes, but it’s amazing.
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey Mcquiston
Like I said—I am trash for alternate royal history. Trash. Trash. Trash. Take me out and compost me already. First son Alex hates the Crown Prince of England, but after a very public incident they are forced to make several appearances together…for the sake of diplomacy. Sparks fly between the two and they descend into a clandestine affair. Of course, being two very prominent figures with cadre of security and close family friends, clandestine is um, really more discrete than anything. And as much as I liked Alex and Henry, I really, really liked the supporting cast more. POTUS was fucking hilarious, Rafael Luna is the hero I never knew I needed, and Zahra is the literal queen. There is queer and POC diversity up the wazoo. This is the real White House.
The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas
Honestly, I can’t really remember what this book was about because I read it (and its sequel) when it first came out, but I do remember that it has my favorite detective of all time—Veronica Mars. As a total Marshmallow, I am pysched for the new series. Once I convince my wife (yes, I somehow married someone who was 1. not a reader and 2. not a Marshmallow), we are going to do a Veronica Mars marathon. All three seasons and the movie. On second thought, I…might have to do this alone. She really is not a fan (yeah, I dunno). As for this book, it’s everything I love about the show and features all of the supporting cast that made the show so fantastic.
Check Please! by Ngozi Ukazu
Figure skater Bitty transitions to hockey in order to secure a scholarship to his favorite college, and despite being very reluctant to take a hit from the bigger boys, he wows his team with his impressive skating and even better baking. Drawn in the form of a vlog and up-ending stereotypes of hockey bros, bro culture, college and boys who bake, this is—I lied. Check Please! is tied with Giant Days as my favorite comic of all time. Bitty is a precious little cinnamon roll and I want to protect him at all costs. And the entire hockey team is just incredible as well. It’s queer as hell—read it.
So what do you think?
Any books you think I miscategorized? Any suggestions on what NA I should read next?