Books About Twenty-Somethings

July 3, 2017 books, discussion 8

Talk To Me

is a no-nonsense discussion feature on this blog. No-nonsense means I’m too lazy to make it look pretty. It’s exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to pose a question or tell you my own opinion about something, and I want to know what you think about it! Obviously feel free to write up your own post on the topic and link it in the comments.


We all know about the omnipresence of Young Adult books. Books about characters in their teens hold a certain appeal, perhaps because we learn a lot about who we are and who we want to be at that stage in life. But where are the books about twenty-somethings? I’m in my early twenties, and I’ve been desperately looking for good books featuring characters my age. Obviously they exist, but I feel like they are few and far between. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m finding it much more difficult to find books about people in their twenties than YA or adult books. I was shortly excited when New Adult emerged as a category, but then I realised New Adult mostly seems to be erotica (nothing wrong with that obviously, but not quite what I had in mind). So where are all the books about people my age? Some of the ‘older’ YA books, like Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, focus on people going off to university, but they are few and far between.

My Opinion

I love reading books with characters of all different ages. However, there’s something special about finding your own experiences reflected in a book. Where are all the books about navigating that awkward/awesome stage of life when you’re technically an adult, but haven’t really quite adapted yet? The books about going to university, starting your first ‘real’ job, making friends as an adult? Books delving into how it feels to have your first (and second and third) ‘adult’ relationship and what happens when it all falls apart? The books about figuring out how to survive when all your childhood friends move to different places and you’re left behind, or the books about moving to an entirely different place for your job where you know no one? The books focusing on how it feels to grow apart from old friends and make new ones? To fail at what you thought you would be doing for the rest of your life and instead figuring out what you actually want to do?

There are so many fascinating topics to write about for this stage in life, but I’ve barely seen any of this in books. I know there are probably plenty of books for all of these examples, but I don’t feel like they’re easy to find. Maybe it’s a marketing issue, or a question of demand, but I would love to read books about all the things I described above and more. Is it just harder to find them, because they’re not being advertised as much as YA? Are not that many authors interested in writing about these topics? I’ve heard some cries for NA books which don’t only focus on the sexy side of things on social media, so I can’t be the only one who feels this way.

Your Turn!

What do you think? Would you like to see more books featuring people in their twenties? Or do you think there already are a lot, and I’m just not very skilled at finding them? Feel free to recommend books in the comments!

8 Responses to “Books About Twenty-Somethings”

  1. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    I think this age range is SO underutilized by authors/publishers! Because I think you’re spot on- there are SO many changes that twenty-somethings are dealing with, so much upheaval, that it can be a really great market to tap into. Plus, you don’t have to worry as much about being “appropriate” because no one is under 18 haha. But I think that is probably what turned NA into smut-fest, so maybe we should leave that out ;)

    It IS hard to find anyone in your life situations I feel after YA. Like- any time I read about someone my age in books, it’s usually crazy over-dramatic, and almost NEVER fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi. It’s all angry housewives who kill their jealous lover or something? Idk, maybe I haven’t looked hard enough, but I simply can’t relate to murderous rich people, tbh.
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    • Vlora


      It is SO underutilized! I would usually try to come up with some good adult books to recommend, but I literally just read a book about murderous rich people I couldn’t really relate to, so I have no leg to stand on. :D I like the Mercy Thompson books, if you’re looking for some fantasy and you haven’t read those yet. :) I just find good books with people my age (or even older) so much harder to find??
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  2. Jess @ Curiouser and Curiouser

    As someone who’s currently struggling through their 20s, I’d love to read more books featuring people in their 20s. I definitely think they’re out there, but it does seem to be an age range that isn’t focused on enough and I think a lot of that is because your 20s are so messy! Being a teenager isn’t easy, and it’s fantastic there’s so much YA out there for teens, but so many YA books wrap up so neatly and it’s just not right that a person’s life is all wrapped up and complete when they’re 18. Obviously some people want to escape into fiction to get away from realism, and when you’re a teenager you usually have your parents to fall back on, but when you’re in your 20s it’s really time to learn what being an adult actually involves; it’s time to learn how to negotiate adult relationships, how to pay bills, how to afford a car, how to pursue a career, how to maintain friendships. Does that make for thrilling reading? Not necessarily, no, but we need more interesting characters going through that stage in their life.

    Basically I completely agree with you. Great post!
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    • Vlora


      Thanks, I’m glad more people feel this way! I’ve seen this sentiment quite a few times, so I wonder why people our age are so underrepresented in current literature (or maybe just so much harder to find), as surely there must be people who are interested? Is it because in our twenties we’re suddenly all so stressed we buy less books? :D
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  3. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    I feel like I’ve read quite a few books about 20-somethings, but they’re all sci-fi and fantasy since that’s what I read, so they’re not really about college and all that. I still like them though because, as of 20 something myself, I still feel like I can relate. You might be right though that there aren’t a whole lot of contemporary 20-something books out there. And you’re definitely right that there’s a whole slew of topics that could be covered in those types of books. Maybe there’s not a market because twenty-somethings are just so busy and don’t have as much time to read? LOL. I feel like even a lot of bookworms take a break from Reading during college, myself included.

    I guess for me though, it’s more important that I be able to relate to who a character is and how they react to their situations than to the exact situations that they’re in.
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    • Vlora


      I guess I was mostly thinking about contemporary! Do recommend some of those books you’ve been reading. :D I agree that it’s more important to relate to the character than the situation, but I’d still like to see some characters going through these milestones! I look forward to reading more again once I’m done with uni haha!
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  4. Chelsea

    YES! Yup. Uh-huh. *nods head* I’m with you, and I think its why I’ve been unintentionally moving away from YA a bit. I’m definitely still reading some, but I don’t find myself gravitating to it like I used to. Being in your 20s is so messy and full of growth and wouldn’t that make for some great stories? Speaking of Rainbow Rowell, I actually think she does a great job of exploring different stages of life in her books – college in Fangirl, young working people in Attachments (which I love and recommend), and a married couple in Landline. I just wish she wasn’t the only exanple I could think of…us twenty somethings need love too!

    • Vlora


      I feel you! I’m still reading YA, but sometimes I’m just craving something else. I’ve actually read all of the Rainbow Rowell books you mentioned, and you’re totally right. I never really thought about her books representing different stages of life, but that fits really well. I especially liked Attachments, because it showed how gradual change can affect your life for the better. The protagonist just changed some small things over time, and he was in such a better place by the end of the book than the beginning. I still maintain the ending to the romance was super weird though haha. That said, Fangirl is one of my all time favorites, because I could identify with Cath, and I loved all the characters and the story so much!
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