Stop Accusing Everything of Being Instalove

I am so fucking sick of seeing reviewers claiming every single YA with a romance is ‘instalove’.

What is insta-love?

It’s when the main character meets her (or his) romantic interest and is instantly willing to proclaim love and change the world and risk everything to be with that person.

I’ll give you some examples of insta-love:

  • Romeo and Juliet. The most famous teen lovers in the world.
  • Tony and Maria. They see each other at the dance and fuck everything up. Also based on Romeo and Juliet.
  • Bella and Edward. Actually no, it literally takes a couple of months before Bella realises shes in love with Edward.
  • Cinderella and Prince Charming. He tore apart the kingdom looking for the girl he danced with once for one night.


What’s the big deal?

First of all, even if the romance has taken a long time to develop, apparently it’s ‘instalove’ because the characters have shown some kind of attraction to each other from the first moment they met.

That’s not instalove, that’s called ATTRACTION and it fucking happens when you find someone you like the look of and think, ‘Oh, he makes my lady parts sweat’ and you might like the idea of shagging him. If you’re not attracted to someone, you won’t develop a relationship. I can’t believe I need to spell that out. Are these criticisms written by lonely bitter people who have never been in a relationship?

PS I have never read a romance that is long-term best friends suddenly fall in love because I just don’t buy it, sorry peeps.

Ignorance in Criticism

I think it’s just a way for someone to say they didn’t like the romance. Lots of reviewers accuse any character they don’t like of being a Mary Sue. For those who don’t know reviewer lingo, a Mary Sue is an author self-inserted character who is perfect and is the answer to everyone’s problems. Think Ebony Darkness Dementia Raven Way from My Immortal. Certainly not Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. who simply because she is talented at archery and surviving gets accused of being a Mary Sue. She isn’t, but people who don’t like her simply accuse her of being one because, I don’t know, maybe they don’t know how to write a proper criticism? I saw someone accuse Katniss of being a Mary Sue because “she saves everyone”. Um, sorry (not sorry), but that’s called BEING A HERO. So even if a female character makes a male friend, it doesn’t mean it’s INSTALOVE, even if they end up as a romantic couple in the end.

Is insta-love really just a teenager’s crush?

On an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina, who was sixteen years old, had to pass a series of tests to prove that Harvey was her one true love. She passed with flying colours, View Spoiler ». I distinctly remember one of Sabrina’s aunts responding to someone who was surprised Sabrina passed, that “It’s always true love when you’re sixteen.”

Oh, The Horror!

And even if it IS insta-love, what the fuck is wrong with a teenager thinking she’s in love with a boy from the first moment she meets him? Teenagers are still physically developing and their brains aren’t equipped the way adult brains are, so everything is way more intense and teen brains literally make them take risks and seriously who is criticising instalove like they expect teenagers to act like adults? Seriously?? If you want someone to act like an adult maybe go and read an adult book where they have to worry about mortgages and taxes and keeping tiny dependent humans alive.

Three Stages of Love

Guess what the first stage of love is?


The second stage?


The final stage is attachment.

And guess what? In these books so many people mistakenly accuse of insta-love, it’s merely a sexual attraction between the two characters at first. SO WHAT if it develops quickly to attraction? THEY ARE TEENAGERS. They do everything quickly. And even if they THINK they are in love, they might not be really, but they’re the narrators and it’s their story so they think they are in love. Just because they SAY they are in love, you can be cynical enough and figure out they’re not.

Personal experience

Maybe the reason the criticism annoys me so much is because I actually did experience something similar to love at first sight. The very first time I met my husband, I knew he was special, right? I fell head over heels, developed a massive crush, got to know him, fell in love, and married him.

Oh wait, that’s how it works, right? How are you supposed to develop a relationship with someone if you’re just ‘meh’ about them all the time? If there’s no attraction, no feelings, no love? Really? Is that the kind of relationships you want to be reading about? Is that what teenagers are like? Do you really expect teenagers to be wise and cynical about falling love or do you want to see them jump in head first the way teenagers actually are?


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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2 thoughts on “Stop Accusing Everything of Being Instalove

  1. Dawn

    I don’t label all books with instalove but when I think there is an instance of instalove in a book, it’s a total deal breaker and I will lower the rating significantly.

    My more recent instalove accusation was The Traitor’s Game where the guy hated the girl because she falsely accused him of a crime that would have gotten him hanged if he hadn’t have escaped. He lived with this resentment for 6 years and the second he saw her, he was in love-WHAT? NO! I try to use the label sparingly, but I agree with you with the quick draw accusation.

    Great post.

    1. Nemo

      The incident that sparked this post was someone accused Wil from The Glass Spare of instalove, and it’s o obvious she doesn’t have any feelings for the guy and even thinks in the book how she’s not in love, so how the fuck is it instalove? It really pissed me off.

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