New Adult Books (You May Not Know About) That Are Worth The Read

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Like a lot of readers, I got sucked into the New Adult craze back in…2013-2014? I loved the new-ness of it and the edgyness but looking back on the NA books I’ve read, it sucks to admit that a lot of them are not as good as I thought they were back then. I feel like it’s so hard to find a good new adult book nowadays. Authors I used to love seem to have taken up residence in dramaville/clicheville and just plain bad *cough* Colleen Hoover *cough*

Nowadays, I have such a low tolerance for NA books and hate anything that is too dramatic, too cliché, too much sex or just too fucking tragic. Unfortunately, other than a few rare gems, I haven’t found many really good NA books lately. Here are some of my favorite NA books that you may not know about that are absolutely worth the read! (I hope). Covers linked to Goodreads.

NA Books (You May Not Know About) That Are Worth The Read:

Remembering Joy (Joy, #1) Finding Joy (Joy, #2)
This series kind of inspired this post. I reread book one this past month and I loved it so much the second time around. The original covers for this series were…pretty awful, unfortunately, which is probably why a lot of people didn’t pay attention to this series which is a shame. I love hate-to-love books and revenge stories and this one is pretty unique. Adam knows Alexis from his past (she didn’t know him) and he HATES her. He sets out to get some revenge on Alexis, his plan is to get her to fall for him then dump her while ruining her life along the way. Things like sabotaging her career. What he didn’t plan on was falling for Alexis, which will make things tricky if he plans on having a shot at any kind of real relationship.

Undecided (Burnham College, #1)
Sorry but I hate this cover. The original one wasn’t the best cover either but it was so much better than this clichéd sexed up version of this cover. It’s a good thing this book is damn fucking good because I just pretend that I can’t see this cover. Seriously though, all cover comments aside, if you haven’t read this book yet WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??? This felt like one of the good ol’ NA books that I loved so much and it made me miss the genre. Low on dram, clichés and cheesy sex and it has such a great slow burn, friendship and romance.

All Broke Down (Rusk University, #2)
Ah this book, I feel like I didn’t hear much about this series when it first came out. I only read books 1-3 and although I liked them all, I loved this one so much. I loved Dylan and Silas and their characters, separate and together as a couple. Dylan was passionate about environmental issues, civil right, politics, etc. which is what lands her in the same jail cell as Silas (she gets arrested at a protest). They start off with a great friendship and develop a slow building romance which was great to watch unfold. I read this book before any of the others in the series so you do not need to read them in order.

Unspoken (Woodlands, #2)
Another rare gem in NA, I read this years ago and I also read this series out-of-order (this is book 2) and fell in love with this book and these characters. I felt terrible for Mary who was made into a social pariah for simply turning down sleeping with some douche who then decides to spread rumors about her which take a life of their own. I loved how strong Mary was emotionally even though all the rumors really got to her and I loved that Bo didn’t care about the rumors and had her back, always. I made it to book 4 in this series but this one was my favorite.

Deeper (Caroline & West, #1) Harder (Caroline & West, #2)
This one is such a powerful series! It focuses on revenge porn which is something really awful that is all too common. When Caroline’s ex-boyfriend uploads their sex pictures, it destroys her image, her reputation and her life. Starting a new relationship is the last thing Caroline needs right now, especially with a guy like Wes. But despite their best efforts, a complicated and slow friendship grows between them. With everything else going on in their lives, a romance may not be the easiest thing, but it will definitely be worth the fight.

The Darkest Part (Living Heartwood, #1)
Although this has a trope that isn’t my favorite (previous romance between the MC and a brother, who is now dead), I loved this book. It felt like one of the old school original NA books that were low on the drama and high on the angst and chemistry.

Have you read any of these books? What are some of your favorite NA romances that are not as well known? Let me know in the comments!

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Nereyda is a 31 year-old mother of two girls with addiction to Friends, fashion, books, Pinterest, Netflix, the color black and a little bit of everything else. Also, the world's worst texter...
  • Angel @Angel Reads

    I’ve read a couple of these books here. But most are new to me, adding them to my tbr right now. Thank you for these. I am starting to branch out into NA and need some recs.

    • I would recommend starting with some of the older NA books since those are really good, not like the sexed up ‘NA’ books that are probably really just erotica that exist right now 🙂

  • I used to read NA a lot, but
    nowadays I feel very similar about this genre. Thanks for sharing your
    favorites. I don’t think I’ve ever heard about Joy series before. I’ll check it out further. Unspoken by Jen Frederick
    is a new-to-me book as well. It sounds a little bit angsty. Is it low on angst?
    I used to enjoy books with angst, but lately I gravitate toward low on drama

    I actually have similar post in
    drafts. A while ago Jenna from Reading with Jenna asked for some NA recs and I
    started that post, but then real life kicked me in the butt and didn’t post it.
    I guess I need to find time and finish it. I put Undecided and Rusk
    University series on my list too. By the way I listened to Rusk University
    series in the audio format and the audiobooks are great. Highly recommended. Urg,
    this new cover for Undecided… I totally agree about it, it’s an average distasteful
    sexed up version. I even have a post on this matter in my drafts. It looks like
    a have a lot in my drafts. Lol.

    Thanks again,
    I like this kind of posts; it’s a great way to find books that went under my

    • I heard the Rusk books on audio too and they were really good. Ugh, the Undecided cover…
      I hope you finish up your post so I can check out your recs 🙂

  • I am so with you on the cover for Undecided. The first one was so much better. I HATE this cover. The book was awesome though. I was super into NA for a while too and have lessened my reading of it. I will have to check the others here out. Great post!!

    • I liked the orginal cover much better too Grace. Oh well, I hope her next book is good.

  • I LOVED Unspoken by Jen Frederick. Recommend it highly.

    Great recommendations!


    • YES, such a great books! I even bought it on audio so I could listen to it again.

  • kindlemom1

    Some of these I didn’t know about at all so thanks for the recommendations! I was sucked into this genre when it first appeared (so to speak) as well and then had to take a much needed break from it. It might be time to start it up again though. 😉

    • Oh man, I needed a break too, mostly cause all the books sounded the same after a while. I would love to find good NA books again but they are harder to find than unicorns…

  • I’m the same way with NA lately. Anything with too much angst and drama and cliche parts just make me roll my eyes. I’m excited for these recs!

    • Don’t forget about the sex, because I’m convinced all NA books now are 60% sex, 40% drama, angst and cliches. I hope you find something good here Lauren 🙂

  • Ahh, Nereyda. We’re like spirit sisters because the books that I’ve read on your list…I LOVE THEM! I completely agree with Undecided (I’m not a fan of the new cover but I actually really liked the old one), Unspoken and All Broke Down. All of those books are fabulous and I second everything you said about them.

    The others that I haven’t read? You can bet your ass that I’m going to read them now. If you loved them, I know that I will too.

    Great post, Nereyda! Keep up the good work.

    • I liked the original cover too actually. I just pretend that the old cover is still on my ebook. And yay, I hope you find some good books Rowena 🙂

  • Oh man, I remember when NA popped up EVERYWHERE two or three years ago. These are all new to me, but I’m digging the revenge theme of the Joy series. Unspoken sounds like my kind of book too. I miss the ole NA days, I feel like we’re only getting carbon copies nowadays.

    • Those two are so good so I really hope you get to read them Amber 🙂

  • Oh yeah, I was sucked into the NA craze a few years ago, but rarely read them now. I do love Cora Carmack. I love that whole series, although I think my favorite is the last one.

    • That’s because NA now just isn’t what it used to be. It all just sex and drama and no thanks.

  • Now, I thought I was pretty well read in NA (you know, before I got a bit tired of the genre) but turns out I am definitely not as I’ve only read Cora Carmack’s books. I am adding all of these to my TBR, I totally trust your bookish suggestions. Also, they sound quite interesting. I’m kind of craving some good old romance as well and NA always delivers on that front. Just need to catch up on a few books and then I can indulge (yay).

    • I was kind of obsessed with NA books for a few years so I read a lot. Some really good ones, some mediocre ones and some really bad ones! I tried to feature some of my favorites that are not as well known, hope you try some of them!

  • I have steered away from NA as well, I was never a big fan anyway. I haven’t read any of the books on your list. I believe I have a copy of Undecided, didn’t it used to have the legs on the cover?

    • Ha, yes it had 3 pairs of legs on the cover. I guess it made people think it was a love triangle kind of book, which it wasn’t, so the author decided to change it. Such a shame that she decided to sex it up… the book is really good though so I guess that’s what counts.

  • Erika

    Loved Deeper/Harder! So emotional and good!

  • Ha! I’m with you on the stereotypical NA. I have Deeper, if it made your list, it must be worth reading. It’s been gathering dust here lol

  • I’ve only read Darkest Part from your list. I do own Undecided since you loved it, but I haven’t read it yet. I’ll try to read it soon! I’ll keep the others in mind too Nereyda. Some of my all-time favorite NA remain Easy, Wait for You, and The Summer Series (by C.J. Duggan)

  • oh yeah I didn’t get hooked on this genre till early last year if you can believe that. I really loved Cora Cormack’s series. All three books so dang good. I do want to read Undecided and I see I need to try it out soon. Some of my fav authors for this genre is Penelope Douglas, J.Lynn and Linda Kage.

    • J Lynn is not the author for me (not anymore anyway) but oh man do I looooooove Rival by Penelope Douglas. That book is so good, a bit dramatic and super angsty but so good!

  • Jessamine Julian

    I definitely agree with you! The older I get, the less I can stand YA. I have not read anything on your list, but there are definitely a few that I’m excited about now! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • I’ll be 31 this year and this past year I just kind of lost all interest in YA. I’m hoping it’s because the books weren’t that good last year and not because I’m getting older 🙂

  • I’ve only read All Broke Down and Undecided. And both were amazing reads!! Definitely some of my favorite books.
    I found out about the Joy series through you and I really can’t wait to get my hands on the series!
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews

  • Jen Frederick is an author I’ve been wanting to try for a while now, as people always seem to mention her name when they talk about NA that’s actually good (hahaha). Undecided recently made its way onto my radar too, and while I agree that the cover is awful the premise sure sounds good! Have you read any of Dahlia Adler’s NA? I’ve heard good things!

    • I like her older books, I’ve read some of her newer books and the sex just kind of got ridiculous and the drama over the top…in my opinion anyway. Some readers like that.
      I’m sad the cover for Undecided is so bad. It’s like it was one of the rare NA books that wasn’t just sex and the author went and sexed up the cover…sigh. But the book is so good!

  • I adore the Rusk University series and the second book, All Broke Down, is my favorite. I just fell for Silas and how despite his good time guy/player reputation, he was dealing with a lot from his unstable upbringing. Like feeling like he wasn’t good enough. That broke my heart for him because he had so much to offer. I know Cora Carmack has been dealing with some health issues so it might be a while before the 4th book comes out, but I’m really excited for more in the series.


    • Ah okay, no wonder I hadn’t heard more about the series. I hope she gets the chance to continue the series.

  • I’ve never heard of any of these! Except the Cora Carmack one. The covers for Remembering Joy are BEAUTIFUL but I’m kind of iffy on the premise, lol.

    • Oh good that you know at least one! Yeah, the premise for those Joy books sound like such a mess, but they somehow worked 🙂

  • I’ve read some books in this genre, there were a handful that I really enjoyed but most of it was lost on me. I didn’t understand why it’s NA as most of it ends up being erotica. It all feels the same too, not sure if it really relates to a lot of people it’s targeting is it? I’m about that age, or was… and I haven’t really seen the angst and the drama that it seems to focus on as if it’s all that age group is

    • That’s because most NA really is just erotica trying to pretend to be NA, super annoying. And al the generic drama and angst is super annoying now…

      • hah they should have just called it for what it is, like who would care? people would read it. Once in a while I guess if you want to put myself through it, I’ll read it, but the formula is pretty generic across the board

  • Oh I loved Remembering Joy, and had absolutely no idea there were two more books! Thank you for the post. I have read Carmack and Wolfe. I like Cecy Robson’s Shattered Past series, she tackles some tough issues and the characters have heart.

    • It’s just one more book, these are just the newer covers. I really liked book 2, hope you do to. Will check out your rec!

  • Thanks for the recommendations! I haven’t read a lot of NA books but it’s a genre that I really want to get into, hopefully this will help me out!

    • I recommend some of the older, maybe not as well known books to try first?

  • I still enjoy Colleen Hoover, and of course, I’ll pick up anything at all written by her, Halle, Tucker and McGarry. I have several other authors who write NA I enjoy – but I guess these that I’ve mentioned some far also write about ‘older’ new adults? like mid-twenties? I think some of the drama that appears in many NA novels nowadays make the characters seem very immature, and I’m over that.
    I guess sometimes, it’s just me changing (and getting older, too, of course) not that the books have gotten all that different. But what was once fresh and new can seem like a cliché now.
    Great post, Nereyda, I’m gonna check out the Joy books – those covers are gorgeous 😀
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

  • I actually just read Undecided because of raving reviews, but thought it was a bit so-so and nothing special. Maybe that’s just me being more desensitized to NA books, hehe. I love the covers for Remembering Joy and Finding Joy! That, and the synopsis, really drew my attention. OH and I really adore Cora Cormack’s university series! I definitely liked all the books in that one. Awesome recs!

    – Aila @ One Way Or An Author

  • LostinLit Becca

    I loved All Broke Down! It was my favorite of the series 🙂 I need to try those Jenni Moen books!