Assigning the correct category to a book may sometimes be a difficult task, particularly when dealing with a cross-genre novel. That has become relatively more difficult since 2009, with the introduction of a new category: New Adult.
According to Wikipedia, "New Adult" targets ages 18 to 30, which to me as a writer makes only that much sense. Although it has been a while since I was 18, I positively know that my perception of the world then was extremely different from that of a 30 years old man. In fact, at 30 I already had kids and was starting to wonder when I would qualify as a "New Old Man".
Kids nowadays grow up faster than when I was a teenager, and back in the 1970's we felt very much adult after our 16th birthday. In fact, I'm pretty sure that we would have resented being shielded from slightly mature material, such as that which now falls under the NA category. I am not talking about pornography, mind you, only about stuff that modern kids can teach their parents and can't help seeing on TV.
That's why when releasing "An Italian Obsession" I was in a quandary; it is a coming of age novel that has episodes that will sound familiar to kids aged 15 to 17, which includes some strong language and situations. The book was first marketed as a Young Adult novel, but a few comments from readers made me change its category to NA, thus possibly driving away many young readers who could have enjoyed it.
The birth of the new NA category was motivated by probably sound marketing reasons, but I wonder whether by embracing it quickly and unconditionally writers have done a disservice to their readers. It is true that you cannot swim against the tide all the time, but perhaps the time has come to debate the pros and cons of it all....