The romance genre is all about character. Is the heroine relatable? Does the reader care about the protagonist? A teen reader may not empathize with a heroine’s parenting struggles just as a mature reader might have little patience with an ingénue deep in the throes of first love.
Fortunately, romance fiction offers something for readers in different stages of life. Here are four major categories to choose from:
Young Adult Romance
A young adult (YA) romance focuses on a character falling in love for the first time. It’s all about the teens’ experiences as they go through the emotional rollercoaster of hormones to heartbreak to happiness. Sex and issues about sexuality might appear in some books, but not always. The protagonist can be as young as 13, but the usual range is from 16 to 19 years old.
New Adult Romance
Often set in college, a new adult (NA) romance is not a sexed-up YA book. While navigating complex romantic relationships, the protagonist is also meeting the challenges of transitioning into the adult world, such as a first job or living on their own. Making tough choices, dealing with serious issues and establishing identity are par for the course. The characters ages range from 18 to 25 years old.
The majority of romances fit into this category. The age of the character can range from 18 to 40, but they are frequently in the mid-20 to mid-30 range. Unlike young adult and new adult, the protagonist’s age has very little to do with the storyline. The characters might experience love for the first time or have been in long-term committed relationships. It depends on the story instead of the category.
If you are looking for stories about midlife love, then turn your attention to the Seasoned Romance. This is a relatively new category of romance and the lead characters are 40 years old or older. While it’s not hyper-focused about the protagonist’s age, the character’s past and emotional baggage influences the romance.