Let's Talk About: Romance in YA Books

Monday, 20 October 2014

I'm not going to lie, I pretty much live for a good romance in an awesome YA series. Back when I started reading YA books (I must have been around ten and had no idea what YA meant) I didn't give much thought to the romantic relationship the main character had; I just saw it as another part of the plot. In fact it wasn't until around two years ago when I really got into YA that I paid attention to it. And then I realised. How bloody hard it is to get right. Seriously. more periods = more serious.

Here are a few issues I have with YA romance:
  1. Instalove. You know what I'm talking about. Where our two love interests meet and bam! they're hopelessly, desperately in love. And they haven't said more than four sentences to each other. I get that it's more enjoyable if we get to see a relationship progress rather than most of the development having started before the book. And I know a lot of YA books happen over a short space of time. But god this annoys me. And people do get it right (somtimes), and unless it's horrendously instantaneous I can usually still enjoy and finish the book.
  2. 'Love/Hate' relationships. Because let's face it; most of the time it's not. It's; 'wow I'm super attracted to you but I'm a jerk' or 'meaningless hatred than can turn to obsessive love in two seconds flat'. Admittedly I could never write a love/hate relationship because they're really difficult to portray, and usually you need a little background to get it going. Which could work, but right now good examples are severely lacking.
  3. Creepy love interests. Okay so this is aimed at one book in particular; The 5th Wave. Nothing could possibly bring me to like Evan and Cassie relationship. Everything about him screams; stay away. There are other examples too; following protagonists around, overly aggressive behaviour, staring at them so intensely I feel uncomfortable, and refusing to let up when the protagonist clearly states she/he isn't interested. Obviously they're not written to be creepy. They just come across this way.
That isn't to say all YA books are like this. In fact there are several relationships in YA novels that I love. They're (nearly always) well paced, have great chemistry and involve two three dimensional characters who are not defined by said relationship.


Cait said...

I hate creepy love interests. *shudders* I hate that it's seen as "okay" if a guy is obsessive or stalks. I mean, NO. IT IS NOT OKAY. It sends a seriously bad message too. I like slow burning romances, but I'm not so upset when there's really fast romances too. Because it can happen in real life! I just get annoyed when books dive straight into the romance with NO character development, because it feels like the writing wasn't done thoughtfully.

Georgia said...

Thanks for the comment :) I'm a HUGE fan of your blog.
Yeah sometimes writers can play out fast romances really well and it works but other times...not so much.

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