Category Crossing: YA Authors Writing Adult Books in 2023 (+ 2 Adult Authors Going YA!)
Over the last half decade or so, there have been so many great YA authors making moves in the world of romance. Though anyone can read either YA or romance, the intended audiences for each are different and require something slightly different from the author — fewer high school scenarios in an adult romance book than there would be in a YA being just the tip of the iceberg, of course. But perhaps the thing that keeps me excited in seeing authors flex their skills across categories is just that. You get to see how an author can try out difference voices and styles while also seeing where and how their work has some unifying themes or tropes.
This year, there are so many authors who got their start in YA moving into the world of adult writing. Many are indeed trying out romance, but there are authors writing in other genres as well. In addition to highlighting some of the new adult books by YA authors, this list includes two authors who have done the opposite, getting their start in adult fiction and publishing a YA novel this year.
Of course, this is likely not a complete list, and it does not include YA authors who’ve already published adult titles, such as Trish Doller, Emily Henry, Kosoko Jackson, and others. Note: if you subscribe to the What’s Up in YA? newsletter, some of these will be familiar, as I tackled this in a newsletter earlier this year. But it should also bring you even more interesting titles, as I’ve pulled up even more authors making those category leaps.
Let’s kick this off with our adult authors going to YA.
Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert
Bradley is an all-around good guy. He’s a football player, has his OCD pretty well managed, and he excels in school. Well, minus the class he shares with his former best friend Celine.
Celine is conspiracy theory obsessed. She’s a content creator and has built a following over things like aliens and UFOs and more. Problem is, despite how popular she is online, she’s not cool in real life. Even Bradley abandoned her for the cool kids when he could.
So when Celine signs up for a survival course, she’s surprised to see Bradley has, too. They’re forced to work together and as they join forces in order to win a big prize, they might discover they still have a lot in common…and maybe even start to feel some sparks.
This is one of the first releases from David and Nicola Yoon’s new imprint, Joy Revolution, which will publish stories by and about people of color experiencing just that: joy.
Imposter Syndrome and Other Confessions of Alejandra Kim by Patricia Park
Patricia Park’s first novel, Re Jane, was for adults and earned wide critical acclaim. Now Park is writing a YA novel following a teen struggling to fit in as a Korean Latina American. She feels too much like an outsider at her wealthy Manhattan school, but in her Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights, she doesn’t feel Latina enough. Add to these challenges is the fact Ale recently lost her father, and now, all she wants to do is escape. College will be a fresh start. Unfortunately, when she’s entangled in a situation about a microaggression, she’s thrust even more into the space between fitting in and standing out.
This one is supposed to be funny and insightful and it looks like such a solid YA title about identity, future-building, and more.
And now onto a pile of YA authors trying their hands at adult!
The Blonde Identity by Ally Carter (August 8)
Want a grumpy-sunshine romance with plenty of delightful banter and a spy plot? Cha-ching. Ally Carter’s got you covered.
When a woman wakes up in the middle of the night in Paris, she’s got a headache, there is an extremely attractive man standing over her telling her to MOVE and fast, and people are out to kill her. Why? Turns out that she’s not the one they want but she’s the twin sister of spy who everyone wants dead. That attractive man promises to help keep her safe, and they traverse Europe in hopes of playing a couple on honeymoon to evade the criminal organization at her heels.
As she learns more, though, the woman begins to wonder who she can trust: this man she just met or the memory she seems to have lost somewhere.
Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo (August 1)
This is for readers itching for a story of family legacy, featuring a cast of Dominican American women.
Flor can see the future and that skill means she can predict when someone is going to die. She informs her sisters that she will be holding a “living wake” to celebrate her life, and now her three sisters are wondering if she knows that she’s about to pass or there’s something else going on entirely.
Told over the course of the three days leading to the wake, this story unravels family secrets among and between the sisters, the cousins, and more.
For Her Consideration by Amy Spalding (February 21)
A queer romcom set against the glittering world of L.A. and celebrity, this first adult novel from Spalding follows Nina, whose life changed after a devastating breakup three years ago. She’s lost a lot of spark and interest for her former life as a script writer and is living with her aunt in the L.A. suburbs as she figures things out.
Ari Fox, a young, sexy, and very out actress rising in the L.A. scene, calls a surprise meeting at Nina’s talent agency and now Nina’s calling it quits might itself be calling it quits.
The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi (February 14)
This one is pitched as Mexican Gothic meets The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and is a gothic story about marriage and family secrets.
The man who married Indigo Maxwell-Casteñada, heiress of a family fortune, was able to do so on one condition: don’t ask about her past. But when Indigo’s estranged aunt is dying and they must return to her childhood home, the man becomes curious. He begins to snoop. And then he finds the shadow of Indigo’s childhood friend who simply and suddenly disappeared. Despite Indigo’s warnings, he starts to look deeper into her history and finds that her secrets are just that for a reason.
Love at First Set by Jennifer Dugan (May 23)
Lizzie loves the gym, but her bosses do not think she has any real skills except to staff the front desk. So when Lizzie says she’ll be the plus-one to the son of her bosses at the wedding of his sister and their daughter Cara, she finds herself accidentally convincing the bride to leave her groom. Whoops.
Desperate not to be implicated in Cara’s decision, Lizzie is going to play along with whatever she’s asked to do. Even if it means being a bit of a babysitter to Cara as she works to build a new life for herself. She’d planned that perfect wedding and marriage, but now what?
Turns out, the “what” might be Lizzie.
The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest (February 28)
If you’re here for a bookish romance, look no further. Lily has been wanting to get into editing children’s books, even though it is outside of what her Black family expects of her. Unfortunately, she’s been editing nonfiction and is stuck; one thing helping her through is maintaining a letter-writing friendship with a fantasy author whose work she admires. They’re building a nice connection…and then he ghosts her.
So when Lily needs to find a date to her sister’s wedding, she asks her new neighbor Nick. Nick…might just happen to be the very fantasy writer Lily’s connected with, but she doesn’t know that quite yet.
Throne of the Fallen by Kerri Maniscalco (October 3)
Readers who love Maniscalco’s YA series “Kingdom of the Wicked” will recognize the world in which this is set, but absolutely no knowledge of that series is needed to dive into this mystery-meets-romance-meets-fantasy story.
The Prince of Envy is no one’s friend, and he’s okay with being called every terrible name in the book. Now he’s received a cryptic note, and he knows that his reputation won’t be getting any better as he pursues success in a deadly game into which he’s been pulled. There’s a hitch: Camilla.
Camilla, who is a painter, is being pursued by all of the wrong people. She’s now center of a blackmail plot and knows she needs out of this game as soon as possible.
Now Camilla and Envy are avoiding demon courts, exiled fae, and more dangers on their terrifying — and potentially deadly — journey through the Shifting Isles. Yes, both of them are desperate for retaining their reputations and safety. But the real danger might be if they start to fall for each other.
These are not all, either. A few more YA authors trying their hands at adult books this year include Cassandra Clare with Sword Catcher (October 10), Claire LeGrand with A Crown of Ivy and Glass (May 9), and Chloe Gong’s Immortal Longings (July 25).