Book Talk: Leaving Amarillo

8:30:00 PM

I recently talked about feeling tricked into reading some racy novels (here), and I've realized that while those feelings are still valid (a girl deserves a heads up!), there might be more to the story. I've seen a pattern in some of the books I've been reading and have been recommended lately: they're all part of an emerging genre referred to as new adult fiction or new adult literature.

Basically, new adult literature is the not a girl, not yet a woman genre - it's young adult literature for the twenty-something set. New adult literature addresses hard-hitting issues with the same pace and intensity as young adult literature - it's just that they're sometimes more mature issues than the ones addressed in YA. And with that added maturity, I've noticed, is a tendency for authors to include more mature sexual content. Think True Blood in comparison to The Vampire Diaries.

If the thought makes you a little uncomfortable, fear not, because not all new adult books have the HBO factor. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, for example, is a fantastic college-aged, first person-narrated novel which doesn't include explicit sex. If, however, you're undeterred by this HBO to cable comparison, or you're interested in checking out some books in this new adult genre, I suggest Left Drowning (which I talked about here), or perhaps my latest read: Leaving Amarillo. 

"About a country band's rocky road to fame -- and the ambition,, dreams, and love of the people who make the music," Leaving Amarillo feels like a younger, sexier version of a book I read earlier this year: Shotgun Lovesongs by Nikolas Butler. The only thing more important to Dixie Lark than music is family - after losing both her parents, her relationships with her brother Dallas and their best friend/bandmate Gavin are all she has left. Things are just starting to take off for the band when Dixie realizes she can no longer hide her feelings for Gavin, and she knows she has a choice to make - one that could cost her her family and her career in music.

Dixie is super feisty and an easy character to root for. She's a small town country girl with a passion for the fiddle and a dream of sharing music with the world. I loved how Caisey Quinn was able to infuse a love of music (something I love as well) throughout the book. There's never a time where Dixie forgets why she's there. As Dixie herself points out, it's Dallas who dreams of the big city lights - she's just in it for the love of the game. Her connection to Gavin is something she's always lived with, so this book is less about her realizing her feelings than it is about her dealing with the consequences of them. This is a fun, fast paced novel full of love, longing, and of course, country songs - all makings of a great summer read! It's also the first book in the Neon Dreams series, so if you like Leaving Amarillo as much as I did, you can check out the other books: Loving Dallas (available here) and Missing Dixie, which will be published in October of this year.

How do you feel about the new adult genre? And what books should I be adding to my TBR pile? Let me know down below!

P.S. If you're on the tweeter, check out the hilarious parody account New Adult Hero. So great.

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