…at least that’s what Publishers’ Weekly said a few months ago, as they announced the creation of a new genre of literature: New Adult. Essentially, it is an identifiable collection of writing that deals with key themes related to early adulthood.
I decided to write about this because as clergy–and particularly those who minister to those in the stage of early adulthood–it is important to know who is shaping the lives of women and men in this phase.
Publishers’ Weekly named six authors who are currently most influential in this genre: Nicole Chase, Jay Crownover, Cora Carmack, Sophie Jordan J. Lynn, and Molly McAdams.
I have never heard of any of them, and I am writing this without finding out anything about them, so I can at least write with whatever neutrality is appropriate. But what is inappropriate is to ignore this genre when we know the general young-adult population (including many who come to church) is already being influenced by the New Adult literature.
I doubt you will have time to explore this phenomenon or the authors who represent it, so here’s a suggestion: form six reading groups (one for each of the authors above), and ask them to become familiar with each author in terms of questions like these: (1) Who is the author? Background? Faith affiliation/perspective?….(2) What are the commendable values that come through in the author’s writing?….(3) What are the values that give pause, and why?
You may have other good questions to add.
Set the timeline for the groups to read and talk about their author, and then ask them to give you a summary report, using the exploratory questions and whatever else they feel is noteworthy. Compile the findings, and have a plenary meeting with the six groups together for further conversation.
Then…consider having a series of sessions in your emerging adult formation program on the theme:…”Faith and the New Adult Literature.” Each week could highlight a selected author and the respective reading group could facilitate the weekly gathering.
But however you work it out, the point is that we now have a new genre of literature that is going to help shape the emerging-adult culture. “Catch the wave” and be proactive in connecting Christian faith to it.