8 Nov 2012

GUEST POST: Reflection

Title: Reflection
Author: Jessica Roberts
Publisher: S/P
Pages: 304

Bright, spunky Heather Robbins has escaped her small hometown and is anxiously beginning her freshman year of college. Rising above her rocky childhood, she’s found a place where good things are finally starting to happen: her own private apartment, refreshing college classes, and an intense attachment to a mysterious and rugged classmate, Nick Richards.

But when her dreamy college life turns out to be nothing more than a wonderful dream while resting in a coma, questions threaten.

Now, Heather must press forward to unlock the real past, and find the answers buried deep in her mind. What she unlocks instead is a roller coaster ride through flashbacks, embellished memories, and a whirlwind romance.

And when it’s all over and she comes face to face with the truth, will she lose everything she’s fallen in love with?

Author Links:

About the Author

JESSICA ROBERTS grew up in the San Francisco, California Bay Area where she spent most of her time playing sports alongside her six siblings.  She was crowned Miss Teen California her senior year of high school, and went on to Brigham Young University where she graduated in Human Development.  Her love of family, church, writing, athletics, and singing and dancing keeps her life busy and fulfilled.  She currently resides in Utah with her husband and three children.

Guest Post: The “New” Category In Books

I’ll never forget the day I packed up my childhood bedroom, crammed all my belongings into “The Jescort” (my 1984 white Ford Escort clunker), and headed off to college.  It was a peculiar season in my life.  I was without a guardian for the first time, I had almost no money to my name ($500 in my checking account and a new Visa with a credit limit of $1000), and I was moving to an unfamiliar town and state I’d only ever seen in pictures. 

Yes, I was naïve and unprepared, but I was also a hopeful young woman on the threshold of womanhood, with a healthy desire to live out my dreams.

This desire began my senior year of high school when I decided to stop messing around and start making something of my life.  It was also the year I developed a penchant for reading.  Though I read the classics mostly – the Bronte sisters, CS Lewis, Jane Austin, etc. which fast became my favorites, I found that I was also drawn to the more modern, easily engaging Young Adult (YA) authors – Judy Bloome, VC Andrews, Beverly Cleary, and so on. 

Despite my newfound love, I soon became frustrated by the lack of books that included topics I truly craved to read about.  On one end there were “teen” books filled with fun yet overly predictable story lines, and on the other end, “adult” books that were flat-out irrelevant to my circumstance.  After all, what did I know or care about a thirty-something year old depressed divorcee who spends her summer at a lake house and falls in love with her artist neighbor?  Yawn.   

No, what I really wanted to read about was leaving home and starting a life on my own: the awesome new apartment, the “leave-class-whenever-I-want-to” college experience, and the thrilling first feelings of falling in love.  In truth, though still in high school, that was all I could think about.

It was back then that I realized the missing genre in books.  I wondered why there wasn’t a category of writing to fill the gap between the teen years and adulthood, that 18-25 year old range, the pivotal transition period when a person has graduated from teen life but isn’t quite an adult yet.    

Well, it seems I wasn’t the only one. 

In November, 2011, St. Martin’s Press agreed that the Young Adult (YA) age range in books was too broad, and decided to introduce the “New Adult” category, a crossover category that spans between YA and Adult.  Taken from Wikipedia:

New-adult Fiction or post-adolescent literature is a recent category of fiction for young adults first proposed by St. Martin’s Press . . . [who] wanted to address the coming-of-age that also happens in a young person’s twenties. They wanted to consider stories about young adults who were legally adults, but who were still finding their way in building a life and figuring out what it means to be an adult.

. . . This age group is considered to be the lucrative 'cross-over' category of young-adult titles that appeal to both the young-adult market and to an adult audience.  Publishers of young-adult fiction now favor this category as it encompasses a far broader audience.  The chief features that distinguish this category from Young-adult fiction are the perspective of the young antagonist and the scope of the antagonist's life experience. Perspective is gained as childhood innocence fades and life experience is gained, which brings insight. It is this insight which is lacking in traditional young-adult fiction.

Is it any wonder, then, that New Adult books are already capturing the interest of teens and adults all over the world?  Books like Easy by Tamara Webber, Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire and Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park are three of many college-set books that are fast becoming big sellers. 

And why not?  Arguably, those college years are the most thrilling, independent, self-seeking, and decadent years of a person’s life.  As a teen, it’s exactly what I wanted to read about.  And as an adult, it really hasn’t changed that much; the magic of those years still resonates in me.  Perhaps that’s why I, too, chose to write within this new genre.

My debut novel, Reflection, is a New Adult romance about a bright, spunky high school grad who leaves her rocky childhood and small hometown behind, and ventures off to college.  True to the genre, Reflection is more than teen fluff yet fresher than the heavy, adult stuff.  It’s a book about growing pains and growing up, living and surviving, dreaming and fulfilling one’s dreams.

So, what does this new genre mean for you and me, whether you’re eighteen, leaving home in a puttering, white Ford Escort to fulfill your dreams, or you’re thirty-something, living out your dreams by creating a family and home of your own? 

I believe it means that there will finally be a place in the book world where all of us dreamers will feel right at home.