Where I confess to never reading NA
So I'm just going to lay it out there. I have not read a single book that is classified as NA. I just can't bring myself to do it. I have several friends who love the genre (hi, there, I hope we are still friends after this), but absolutely nothing about the NA tropes are appealing to me.
These are the typical aspects of NA that seem to be prevalent based on multiple reviews I've read:
- The bad boy who is covered in tattoos that is actually really sensitive deep-down, but who totally slept around with a ton of girls until he meets the protagonist who changes him. Because she is just that special.
- Abuse in some fashion: the ex-boyfriend was abusive, the father, etc.
- Rape. I'm just not ok with rape being used as something that propels a story forward. There are some books that take an honest look at rape and recovering--that's not what I'm talking about here. I find it absolutely sickening when rape is used a story device. Entertainment Weekly had a wonderful article about how TV shows often use rape to propel the story line (the author was not a fan). The article can be found here.
- Slut shaming. For real, when, as women, are we going to say that enough is enough? I don't care how many men (or women) a woman has slept with. It's none of my business. A woman should never be defined by her sex life--or lack there of. When I even see the word slut or whore I just get angry. Stop using those words to describe other women!
- Gratuitous sex scenes. Listen, no judgement here. It just isn't for me. I'm not against smut, but I don't like it in my literature. To me, graphic sex scenes just take away from the story.
- Cheating/relationships that start through infidelity. It seems like at least one of the main characters is already involved with somebody when the two meet. Although this isn't always a deal breaker for me (one of my favorite books is Something Borrowed which is totally about a woman who cheats with her best friend's finance which is such a despicable thing...but I still loved the story).
College stories I have read and loved:
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I loved this story about twin sisters who are starting their freshman year at a Nebraska university. Complete with a cute romance, a snarky roommate, and HP-like fanfiction.
Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis
Bret Easton Ellis isn't for everyone, but I went through a phase where I just couldn't get enough of him. This short, affecting story takes place at a New England liberal-arts college in the 80s. It is one of my favorites.
Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan
This feminist novel follows 4 girls both during their time at Smith and after.
Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
This novel in short stories is really more about that period right after college, but I absolutely adore this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves to read about this age group.
So now I'm going to ask you: Are there any NA novels I just have to read. Please keep in mind that I'm really not at all interested in any of the above bullet-pointed tropes. Like, at all. Seriously. BUT if you have any recommendations about college-themed books that are different from the usual NA fare, I'd love to hear them.
Besides recommendations, I'd love to hear from you. Do you read NA? Are there tropes I missed? Do you think I'm just plain wrong? Let me know!