Romance in YA
If you haven’t already figured out by now, I am not a fan of romance. It is extremely rare for me to be fully invested in one, and 90% of the time, I hate them. Why? Because they are (mostly) all the same to me, and seems like they’re getting bogged down with clichés more and more. *coughs*
- When a boy character and a girl character are introduced to a story, you automatically know they are going to fall for each other. Why can’t a boy and girl be just friends? It is possible! IT IS.
- They say the L word before 50% of the book. Your average young adult novel is maybe 300-350 pages. Chances are, you are not going to have enough room to fully develop a relationship within 150 pages, especially if there are other aspects of the book (like world).
- They have seen each other TWICE and all of the sudden they are ‘in love.’ This is one of my biggest problems with romance. Instalove is never okay for me, and 9 times out of 10 it’s going to make me either a) hate the book, or b) not even bother to finish it.
- I was promised a science fiction or high fantasy with GLORIOUS world building, but the plot is completely dominated by romance. NO, NO, NO. If I read a sci-fi, I want world building! Not romance!! Especially if the synopsis makes me think that’s what I’m going to get!
- Plain, average Mary Sue has throes of hot boys pursuing her. I think this one speaks for itself.
- The male love interest is like, totally sexy…and perfect in every way. Is this how it happens in real life? NO. People have flaws, men especially (haha just kidding, there’s my misandrous comment for the
dayweek). Why can’t he be attractive (even if only to the MC) but flawed? That’s much more convincing.
- Love triangles. Yes, there are a select few that work for me (Like the Shatter Me series and Splintered), but for the most part they just piss me off. I can’t stand when a girl (or guy) bounces back and forth between love interests!
- More interaction between the characters so they have time to actually, you know, get to know each other. (Imagine that!)
- (In sci-fi/high fantasy) A romance that takes a back seat to the world building. Are you really going to be worrying about whether a hot boy thinks you’re pretty when your life is in danger?
- A good old-fashioned, ONE boy on ONE girl romance. Why are love triangles so appealing? Would you want your significant other to be kissing someone else behind YOUR back? Didn’t think so.
- A slow developing romance.
- For the L word to not show up until at least after 75% of the book. Then there’s enough time for some actual development, and the characters truly know each other.
- The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. Arin and Kestrel are forced together. They spend a lot of time with each other (and this is over a span of weeks, if not months), and it slowly becomes more. But there is no pining, no lovey-dovey thoughts, and they don’t act on it until the last quarter of the book. Plus, all odds are stacked against them and it’s an unlikely romance.
- Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. Again, an unlikely romance. It started out with hatred, but when Brittany and Alex got to know each other, the hatred faded and they fell for each other.
- The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. There is far more world than anything else, and the romance is very minimal. Cassie and Evan weren’t focused on kissing because their world was in dire straits. You know, priorities.
- These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner. Guess what? Unlikely romance. Seems to be a theme for me, eh? Lilac and Tarver hated each other, were forced together, and slowly became something more.
- Don’t You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire. Charlie and Annie have that lovely slow burn that I enjoy so much, and the romance takes most of the book to develop.
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. The romance between Puck and Sean was barely there at all, but you could still feel their connection.
Romance is very hit or miss with me, but there is a certain style that I love and will almost always enjoy: Hate to love relationships. (Not to be confused with love/hate relationships! I don’t need to get some mental whiplash!) I am a huge fan of catharsis in stories, so when two characters can’t stand each other, then get to know one another and start to see each other differently, it speaks to me in some unidentifiable way. I also like the Stockholm Syndrome types, as long as they’re done well.
What do you think? What are your deal breakers in romance?