Remember the episode of Friends where Joey goes to take a nap in Rachel’s bed and discovers her “dirty book” about Zelda and the chimney sweep? At the time, it seemed so cheesy — burning loins, heaving bosoms, and all that. But, after reading Fifty Shades of Grey, we aren’t ashamed to admit that some explicit scenes can definitely, um, enhance the reading experience.
Our only hang-up (pun intended) is that Fifty Shades tries way too hard to be provocative, almost completely sacrificing plot and plausibility in its efforts. Meanwhile, those bodice-rippers still feel tawdry, and Nicholas Sparks…well, does a character’s secret terminal illness always have to ruin things for the two lovebirds in the third act? Even the ever-popular, YA dystopian trilogy can leave those of us who no longer stop at breathless makeout sessions unfulfilled.
Luckily, there’s a new genre in town. “New Adult” books aim to fill the void for readers who no longer feel like they’re on the same page as YA heroines. Since the characters are a little older, they also have the deeper level of emotional understanding and perspective that come with a loss of innocence. Now, that's not to say that this genre can't get a little lost in Twilight-y ,“I am his, and he is mine” territory, but hey, even Seal sang “I belong to you, and you belong to me.”
So, think of these 11 New Adult novels as the literary equivalent of a Lifetime movie that promises infinitely more blushing on your morning commute. Forget all about Four, Gale, and Christian — it’s about to get a much steamier in here.