The rise of 'steamies': British publishers get wise to American craze for teen erotic fiction

'Irresistible' by Liz Bankes is the first in a new genre to hit the UK billed as 'Judy Blume for the Fifty Shades of Grey generation'

“I cry out as a sweet explosion spreads from between my legs throughout my body, and as I do his mouth finds mine.” Welcome to the world of “steamies” - a new erotically-charged genre of fiction for teenagers that has been described as “Judy Blume for the Fifty Shades of Grey generation”.

Irresistible by Liz Bankes, the story of a 16-year old girl torn between caring Dan and wealthy bad boy James, was released as an ebook earlier this month, the first British book of the new genre.

Steamies are described as “escapist romances, featuring young women, the same age as the readers, exploring their first sexual desires and their first sexual experiences” by the book’s publishers.

The bandwagon has already started rolling in America with titles including The Vincent Boys, by Abbi Glines, and Nightshade by Andrea Cremer proving popular.

Brenda Gardner, managing director at Irresistible’s publisher Piccadilly Press, said: “Young Adult publishers have been looking with envy at Fifty Shades knowing we couldn’t do anything like that. Everybody was trying to work out what would be the next big thing.”

The publishing industry discussed the issue over the summer amongst themselves and with booksellers. “We thought there would be a way of doing it. But it’s not about graphic sex, it’s about passion,” Ms Gardner said.

Simon and Schuster UK has picked up titles by Glines, Nicole Williams and Steph Campbell for a series of “hot romances set at college or university” aimed at young adults.

Bankes, 26, said her book was the kind “I would have wanted to read as a teenager: full of gossip, some rude bits and sequences that would fade to black if they were in a movie. For me a steamy is all about the emotional connection of first love, and the sheer excitement of first lust.”

Judy Blume’s Forever, published in 1975, was one of the first young adult novels to deal frankly with teenage sexuality. The subject matter meant it was banned in many schools and faced censorship.

Ms Gardner said the steamy was a new genre although admitted it did draw heavily on Blume’s novels. “There are parallels, it’s a much more contemporary look at the issues of being a teenager. Bringing it up to date there’s more danger.”

The publisher said offers young people a sexually charged story where one partner was not a vampire or a werewolf.  “Recently everyone went to the paranormal. There was a dearth of contemporary love stories.”

Ms Gardner said: “Some parents may not be happy with a 14 year old reading it, but many of that age group are sophisticated. They would probably be reading Fifty Shades or Jackie Collins if there wasn’t something like this; a book that gives young people something to identify with.”

Irresistible is Bankes’ first novel, and she is about to start work on a second. “Some publishers thought it was too racy but others didn’t think it was racy enough. The booksellers will decide where it goes and hopefully soon there will be a steamy section.”


Extract from Irresistible by Liz Bankes:

The four-poster bed is enormous. I slide my legs around on the duvet as Jamie goes back down to the showers to get my stuff. He leaves me his T-shirt to wear.

There’s a huge window covering most of the opposite wall so the room is flooded with moonlight. It looks out over the grounds at the back of the castle.

If I went and looked out, I would be able to see the pool house. Where Cleo is waiting. I shift on the duvet again, more uncomfortably this time. What happens now?

I’m interrupted by the trap door opening and Jamie lobbing my bag into the room. ‘Watch out! You’ll break my...clothes,’ I say. He lifts himself up into the room and doesn’t acknowledge my comment.

He’s just in his jeans and the moonlight bounces off his muscled chest. I get a flashback to the passageway and an echo of what I felt ripples through me.

Then he stands at the end of the bed and drops his jeans. Slightly in shock, I say the first thing that comes into my head. ‘Easy, tiger.’

He completely cracks up. I start laughing too and struggle to get my words out. ‘That . . . was ridiculous, though. What . . . What are you doing?’

‘Sleeping. Are you going to take up the whole bed, tiger?’

We both slide under the covers and lie there, looking up at the ceiling. The question forms in my head, but I can’t say it out loud. What happens tomorrow?

‘Oh my God, tomorrow!’ I make him jump. ‘

What?’ he says.

‘It’s results day.’

‘I don’t suppose you have anything to worry about.’

‘No . . . Well, I don’t know. I need five Bs to stay on for 146 sixth form. It’s just . . . I’d hoped to . . . do something else. Like, travel or something. It feels like from tomorrow, everything’s set.’

He doesn’t reply. I realise I don’t even know what he’s doing next year. He must have got his results last week. Unless they do it differently at private school.

Arts and Entertainment
Kathy (Sally Lindsay) in Ordinary Lies
tvReview: The seemingly dull Kathy proves her life is anything but a snoozefest
Arts and Entertainment

Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boy

Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig in a scene from ‘Spectre’, released in the UK on 23 October

Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap

Arts and Entertainment

Poldark review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Brayben is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Carole King in Beautiful

Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

    War with Isis

    Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
    Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

    A spring in your step?

    Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

    UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

    Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

    Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
    Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

    Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

    If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
    10 best compact cameras

    A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

    If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
    Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

    Paul Scholes column

    Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
    Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
    Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?