Musing By Moonlight: A Small Rant on Inevitable Romance in YA Novels

musing by moonlight

Welcome to my new series of posts Musing by Moonlight, where I take the opportunity to get off my chest anything and everything to do with books.
Or maybe not.
Depends how I feel.

A small rant on inevitable romance in YA novels

I primarily read Young Adult (YA) novels. I love them. I love teenage angst and normal things like going to parties because I never did, and I love the firsts of a new relationship you find in nearly all YA books. YA basically revolves around teen romance – you’re hard pressed to find a YA book that doesn’t have romance in it. It sells, so it’s what editors, publishing houses, and consumers want. So it’s what authors write.

But I am sick to death of seeing over and over again a teen girl falling in love with a boy who may or may not be her soul mate just because they spend some time together. I’m not naming any books in particular, but I’m talking about epic soul-shattering LOVE with a boy who just happens to be spending some time with our main gal. They probably argue all the time. There may be sexual tension. What I can guarantee you is you can basically pick any boy and any girl from any book, stick them in a room together, and watch the ‘I can’t live without you’ begin.

  • A boy and a girl thrust together and forced to survive in a hostile place? LOVE.
  • Two people working together to plot the downfall of some higher authority? LOVE.
  • One dead character and the other the only person who can see/hear/touch them? LOVE.
  • Road trip? LOVE.
  • Support group? LOVE.
  • Partners in school? LOVE.
  • Childhood best friend? LOVE
  • Student/tutor? LOVE.

JUST STOP IT.

TEEN GIRLS ARE DESPERATE FOR LOVE AND APPROVAL, YES, BUT THEY DO NOT ALWAYS FALL IN LOVE WITH THE FIRST BOY/ONLY BOY THEY SPEND TIME WITH.

It is completely possible to spend time with a good-looking boy and NOT fall in love. These beautiful people confuse attraction and lust for love, yes, but it does make me wonder if we can just pick up any old boy with a crooked smile and washboard abs and plop him down in the story and our lead girl will fall head over heels for this guy, too.

Because it doesn’t matter who he is. Only what he is.

What about having stuff in common? What about believing in the same things? What about having hobbies that complement each other? What about real attraction beyond crooked smiles, and deep blue eyes?

Really? YOU WANT REALISM IN TEEN ROMANCE, HOW DARE YOU.

No, not necessary realism. Just, fuck, give me something different. Stop producing the same stories over and over. You can predict who the love interest is the instant you meet them.

And the sad thing?

YOU KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT THERE’S GOING TO BE A LOVE INTEREST.

Nemo
Nemo

About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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11 thoughts on “Musing By Moonlight: A Small Rant on Inevitable Romance in YA Novels

  1. Rain Jeys

    I get where you’re coming from. I have to disagree though. I fell in love in about a day and a half when I was 17 and have been with him for almost ten years, married for over nine. Especially when you’re a teenager, love doesn’t work on a mental level as much as on an emotional one.

    Two people working together to plot the downfall of some higher authority? – that IS believing in the same thing, isn’t it?

    I think you can predict the love interest quickly because YA novels are written very tightly so they introduce the love interest early on. And in anything with a modern setting, we do assume that the girl ha spent time with other boys who she didn’t fall in love with.

    I agree there should be more emphasis on WHAT they are attracted to (other than washboard ads and dreamy eyes), than just the fact that they are attracted, but I don’t think love that is fast and intense in any way unrealistic, especially for young adults.

    1. Nemo

      I’m not saying teens falling in love with The One doesn’t happen, I’m saying in fiction is happens all. The. Damn. Time. Where’s the variety? And congratulations, BTW!

      1. Rain Jeys

        Thanks! 🙂 I guess that finding The One is a huge deal, and a coming-of-age thing, and YA deals with coming-of-age issues. It’s just something a lot of people can relate to, or want to.

  2. mohiletanvi92

    Nice post. I do agree with you, in a way. I like reading YA novels too. But they do tend to become repetitive sometimes. These novels have a way of portraying characters. Like the typical, quintessential romantic ‘hero’ in films. But then again most of them are ‘romantic’ novels so it doesn’t make sense to find some kind of a reasonable, acceptable logic in them. They are enjoyable reading sometimes 😛

    1. Nemo

      I do see your point – the romances all kind of read the same and they all blur after a while! What I want to know is, WHY are so many YA novels for girls romances?

  3. Kara @ Great Imaginations

    Totes agree. I am sick of the same thing over and over again. Real life doesn’t usually happen this way. Congratulations to the commenter above, but what she has is really rare. It would be more realistic to show THAT in books.

  4. Miranda @ Tempest Books

    Yeah, I definitely agree with this post. Usually in YA fiction, like almost every single freaking book, you KNOW that there’s going to be a love interest. And it’s usually the first boy that walks onto the page. And it doesn’t matter who he is…it’s going to happen. I wish that YA books were more realistic, too, especially when it comes to romance. I feel like it’s giving teens this unrealistic idea that they’re going to meet a boy, and then immediately fall in love, and then stay with that ONE BOOK forever. That just doesn’t happen!!

    1. Nemo

      Yep, the first boy we meet, we KNOW that’s gonna be ‘the boy’. You can tell. There’s NO mystery whatsoever. Even when they hate each other! I don’t mind so much that it’s unrealistic because I hope most girls can tell the difference between fiction and reality, but it does bother me how obvious everything it and how often it crops up.

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