Readersforum's Blog

February 19, 2013

Sex in Young Adult fiction – a rising trend?

'Steamies' or New Adult fiction are increasingly popular

‘Steamies’ or New Adult fiction are increasingly popular

With the publication of one of the UK’s first ‘Steamy’ novels imminent, Alice Vincent reports on the rise of sex in Young Adult fiction and the readers who can’t get enough.

Irresistible is a girl meets boys story. The debut novel of Liz Bankes comes with a 15 certificate and features heavy petting, a country estate and a Facebook account being hacked. Its publisher admits that Irresistible is an attempt to capture the Fifty Shades of Grey success within the teen market, and in the United States raunchy teen literature has been flying up bestseller lists. But is there any more to so-called “Steamies” than a marketing ploy, and how many teenagers are really getting their hands on them?

Steamies are better known in the trade as New Adult Fiction. The genre was coined in 2009 by the Manhattan publishing house St Martin’s Press to reflect a slightly older group of readers who were indulging in teen, or Young Adult, fiction. Goodreads.com, which has 14 million members, is an American social networking website built around users’ reading habits. They first noticed users labelling books as New Adult in May 2011, and since creating a New Adult genre page in September 2012, 14,000 titles – a 500 per cent increase in two years – have been listed as such.

Three of the titles on the current New York Times bestseller list have been Goodreads-listed as New Adult: Someone to Love by Addison Moore, The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen and Hopeless, the third novel from New Adult author Colleen Hoover. Two of the three titles feature on their covers beautiful young things entwined in passion. Goodreads founder Elizabeth Chandler says: “It’s definitely a trend”.

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