Genre, revisited

I discovered a few months ago that there is in fact a term for ‘can’t call it young adult, because the characters are rapidly departing their teens’. It’s ‘new adult’, which means, so far as I can make out, ‘young adult but with slightly older characters and more swearing’.

This is useful to know. Because really, Speak Its Name is, in structure at least, closest to those old-fashioned boarding school books where we see a little bit of the main character’s family but everyone else’s is pretty much irrelevant, the focus is on a group of people of about the same age within a confined space, and all the action happens in term-time.

But with less coyness about same-sex attraction. And more swearing.

I don’t like the term much – ‘young adult’ always sounded patronising to me, and ‘new adult’ feels even more so – but it’s useful to have something to put in the search box.

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