2017-08-13

Should We Hate Romance in YA?


         Every once in a while, I'll check out a book from the library and decide that before I read it that I want to see what other readers thought, so I go to Amazon and read a couple of reviews, and there's always, always one review that says something along the lines of this, “It would've been a good book, if it wasn't for the AWFUL romance! Why can't guys and girls ever be just friends in books?!” 
         And although I am not one of those romance haters, I can understand why people would feel that way, and maybe why I should too. Which, brings up my question of the day: Should we hate romance in YA?


            So romance. I'm personally not a hater, but I'm not a huge fan, once a month I get into this weird mood, where all I want to do is curl up with a work of Jane Austin, L.M. Montgomery, John Green, or Stephanie Perkins, and so I do. But then after that I return back to my top three favorite genres, General Fiction, Science Fiction, and Fantasy. And that's basically the end of my romance novel reading until next month.
          But I don't hate romance novels, and I have no problem with reading books that have a romantic subplot, sometimes romantic subplots are necessary or they help add more to the story.

          Let's look at this debate from both sides, first we have the cons. The cons are against romantic subplots, and they prefer not to read romance novels all the time, which is totally fine. But why are the cons so against love in YA? Well here are a few of the reasons:

  • People can just be friends. It seems like every single girl and guy relationship in YA just can't stand to remain platonic, when in fact in reality, a lot of girls and guys that are friends are just that… friends. No benefits, no nothing. Just two people who enjoy each others company like they would enjoy any other of their friends companionship.

  • Takes away from the actual plot. Sometimes romance simply isn't needed. After all, shouldn't the two main characters be killing bad guys, coming up with a plan, or saving someone's life, when instead they're kissing? Shouldn't they be more concerned with their problems than making out??

  • Insta love. It feels like sometimes the author of the book your reading makes two characters fall in love (or in infatuation) just to make them fall in love. They don't really connect and their relationship doesn't add anything to the story, its just there.

  • The mushiness. Ugh. For the sake of our sanity and our gag reflexes, spare us from the constant PDA and mushy dialogue! No one needs or wants this!!!


            Okay, now that we have looked at some of the cons points, let's examine some of the pros. The pros think romance is beautiful and necessary to most books, they like romantic subplots, and they believe if done right, romance in books can perfect them. Here are their reasons:

  • People fall in love. This is pretty apparent, it's kinda the reason mankind is still around, so why hide this fact for the sake of people who want more platonic relationships in YA? Sure, guys and girls can be just friends, but they also can be more than that too.

  • Adds to the actual plot. Subplots are meant to add to the main plot, and a romantic subplot is nevertheless a subplot, whether it be romantic or not. Love can give characters motives, it can make characters do great or horrific things.

  • It's reality. Most people fall in love at least once in their lives, even some teens actually fall in love, so why shouldn't it be the same in books? Aren't books suppose to be something people can relate to??

  • It makes sense. If you're in a tough situation with someone, there's a chance that at the end of the ordeal, you'll both be attached to each other emotionally, now maybe this isn't the most stable thing, but it does make sense, and it does make for a good story and a happy ending or a tragic one, depending on the way one twists it. 

         All in all, I can see both sides, and I agree with both sides. Although I prefer to not write romance or even romantic subplots, since I have no real personal experience with such things, I have no problem reading them or even with other people writing them.
       And who knows? Maybe one day I will write a romance novel or have a book with that as a subplot, and that day could be soon. It all depends on what I think is best for my story.

        In the end, it's your writing, and it's your story, no one but you can write it for you. If romance adds to your plot and strengthens or weakens your characters in a good way, by all means, do it.

         Like anything, romantic subplots can be used in a way that is good and fun to read or it can be used in the opposite way. It all depends on the author.

So, which side are you on, and why?


Happy Writing,



40 comments:

  1. I believe in a romance if a friendship has been established first. I'm not a big fan of insta love, but I have read books where it made sense in the grand scheme of things. Honestly, it depends. I'd rather romance be a subplot. I think I prefer watching the friendship and subtle feelings forming rather than seeing the actual romance because the subtle feelings, the innocent flirting, and the sweet gestured build tension because readers will want the two characters to be together. Romance happens in real life. I don't even condemn books that imply someone did something (you know) and regrets it because it shows reality. People who do certain things before marriage are 9 times out of 10 going to regret it.

    As long as scenes aren't explicit and as long as kissing doesn't get too touchy feely, then I'm fine with it. I enjoy romantic subplots. To me, they add something to the book.

    All of that being said, there should be more platonic boy-girl friendships where the boy and girl can give each other advice and hang out under platonic circumstances. It would be nice to see and I think society is accustomed to seeing a relationship right off the bat in a book or movie.

    *looks up at extremely long comment* I get carried away, lol. Great post. How did you get that Leave a comment graphic? Its awesome! :)

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    1. Yes, I totally agree with what you just said (wrote)! I enjoy reading platonic relationships, because I can relate more, but I also enjoy reading more romantic relationships. There's honestly nothing wrong with either of them, unless they do make that mistake and similar ones to the one you pointed out.

      I got the comment graphic after seeing something similar on someone else's blog and thinking it was cool, so I did some research (I would give you URLs, but I can't remember them), and then I messed around with my HTML coding a little bit, I accidently messed it up at first, causing the comment sections to disappear (oops) and that sent me into a nervous frenzy, but eventually I got it right and yeah, lol! I can't decided if it was worth it or not, but I like it. XD

      Delete
    2. Well, the graphic is cool.
      I think if the author wants to focus on the romance more, even if it is a subplot, it might be taking a little too far. As long as nothing explicit is in there, then I'm okay with it.

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  2. I like writing clean teen romance centered short fiction. Most of the time, it's just one scene, and I haven't written any in a couple years, I think. I think it can be a good exercise, at the very least. I don't think I've found much romance I didn't like in my reading thus far, with the exception of too explicit detail/situations. Stories are rarely about typical life. They're about extraordinary situations, so I don't much mind an inordinate amount of romantic plots throughout fiction.

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    1. Yeah, that can be fun to read and write. And it most certainly be a good writing exercise.

      I don't know if I can completely second that stories aren't generally about typical life, being a General Fiction writer, since general fiction is just typical life with just a dash of extraordinary in it to make it a tale worth telling, but I see what you're getting at. And of course, like you said, romance can be used for good! :)

      Delete
  3. This is a really good post Gray. Really good. I agree with you a 100% on everything.

    Also what irritates me is the cliche love stories/scenes that show up in books. One of the annoying and recurring ones for me is the guy that buys the (poor/something happens to her and she loses everything )girl he likes a ridiculous amount of clothes.
    Another one is the mushy gushy speech and the PDA overload. Yuck.

    I am a romantic at heart but as time passes I am learning to love more and more a natural, sweet, and different love that springs from something realistic and not out of some "magical" reason. Usually when that happens its a sign that something is going to end...in the near future. There has to be a reason for the two to love each other.

    Anyway, much rambling! It was a great post :)

    Anna | www.worldthroughherheart.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks!

      Oh, the galore of clichés!!! I totally agree. What is it with clothes in romance novels??? XD

      I'm not really a romantic at heart, but I do have a soft spot for such things. But I like it more realistic too.

      Thanks again!

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  4. I love romance, but only when it's clean and adds to the plot. I'm using romance in my WIP, but I try hard to make sure it doesn't get touchy-feely or too much. I went a little overboard and silly with it in the first draft, but the second draft is going to (hopefully) tame it and beautify it :D

    Great post, Gray!

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    1. I do too, occasionally! I'm not really a big romantic, but I can be a bit mushy at times when it comes to books. :P

      That's good that you can spot the flaws in your WIP's romance and that you are working to polish it to its full potential, I think that's the problem with most books, they don't go back and ask themselves if the romance is practical, like you so wisely did!

      Thanks!

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  5. Bravo. *claps* Let's just keep things balanced and everything will be good. I hope... *trails off*

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    1. Lol, hopefully!

      It is important to show both sides on any debate/disagreement, also it's just respectful. :D

      Delete
  6. Awesome post, Gray!:) I agree with you on both sides.
    -Quinley

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  7. In most of my books, I try to stay away from things like insta-love, and keep a balance. It's hard, but worth it.

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    1. I'm glad you try, that's always good! And in the end, it is really worth it.

      Delete
  8. I'm quite a big fan of romance (so long as it isn't thrown in there just to get more of an audience/attention) if it adds to the plot! I love reading about characters who fall in love with those they have a deep friendship with. :D

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    1. Yes. Romance can do so much for a book, its sad to see it misused.

      I love reading that too, I find it so sweet and cute! <3

      Delete
  9. I tried to write a romance once.
    I failed.
    I failed hugely.
    I'm cutting it out completely in the next draft. XD

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    1. Ouch. Same here.
      Good luck with cutting that! XD

      Delete
  10. I am mostly neutral about this idea..

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  11. Being a romantic at heart, I'm more in favor of romances. But lately, I've been pickier about them. One, they have to be clean. Two, they have to be different - no more cliches unless the characterization is right. I want more romances that start off platonically, and build upon it. I want more later romances (non-high school). More romances of loving people complete with faults. That sort of thing.

    Maybe if more YA romances were like that, there wouldn't be so much hate for romance in YA.

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

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    1. I like a good romance now and then too, but it is hard finding ones that aren't too cliché or mushy.

      The romances you want more of are the best kind of classic romances. <3

      Yeah, if there were only more.

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  12. I don't quite consider myself a romantic, but I still have to admit that a book can be enriched by a romance written well. A weakly written romance irritates. So it depends, really- kind of like how theme is handled.

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    1. Yes. A weakly written anything is just irritating in general!
      Thanks for your thoughts!!

      Delete
  13. It's funny, because I actually did a collab post about to do and what not to do for YA romance here. And yes, while I may be a romantic at heart and don't mind some mushiness, it does get overwhelming if there's a ton. I do also agree that there needs to be platonic relationships-- if they ever become romantic in the future, they're slow burn, and everyone knows slow burn = the most painful but the greatest pay off.

    xoxo Abigail Lennah | ups & downs

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    1. YOU DID?!? That's awesome, I'm going to read that! XD

      Yep, good point. Getting emotionally burned isn't fun for anyone, not even characters!

      Delete
  14. I tend to write a tiny bit of romance. It's not mushy or anything that makes you gag, but it shows their love. It's also not inappropriate. Glares and books and movies. My work is Christian based, so when I write these, I keep WWJD in mind. Would I be comfortable letting God read this??? That's a good question to ask yourself. Or, would he want me to write this?
    Thanks for this post! I'm waiting for God to give me the right story to write. I've been praying and asking him to give me the story that will really impact others. Something that will build his kingdom. The hardest thing I've ever done, I did. I even told him to lead me to do what he wants me to do. Even if he wanted me to quit writing and use me for something else, I'd do it. *As hard as that would be* I'm going to do what he wants me to do. Not what I want to do because that leads me down the wrong path.

    So, I kind of went off topic, but..eh. Anyway, the romance level isn't going to be mushy or too much to handle because that can get unrealistic at times, but I might have a bit in there. *shrugs*
    God Bless! :D

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    1. Romance is important since it does happen and there's nothing wrong with writing it, especially the way you say you are!

      But those are FANTASTIC questions to ask yourself, in the end you'll reap what you sow, and you are sowing very wisely right now, LHE.

      I hope everything goes well with your WIP! God bless!!!

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    2. I mean, people want to read something that they relate to. Something that they feel like is written specifically for them. Romance is definitely a common thing. Though, my work will not be dirty. Sadly, that's what most people relate to. *sigh*

      They're affective as well. If you wouldn't want Jesus to read it, then something's not right. I mean, he knows what you're writing anyway, so, would it offend him? I'm glad you think so! Whenever I try to go my own way and do my own thing, I always end up in a ditch along the path I'm not supposed to be on. I don't want that.

      Thank you! You as well. I'm trying to write something that fits my personality and that I can write from some of my own experiences. That would make things a whole lot easier.

      Delete
    3. Ugh, yes. That is sad, especially since I know people like that. :/

      Writing from experience is most certainly a good thing to do!

      Delete
    4. I want to write work that will change people's mindsets. I hope I meet that goal. Not for me, but for them. :\

      It's really helpful. You already know how you feel\felt, so it's a win, win. lol

      Delete
    5. That's a wonderful goal.

      Yep, it totally is. Especially since pain can help heal, and happiness can uplift.

      Delete
  15. I agree with the general tenor of this discussion - a balance, realistic, etc. It's one of those things some people are going to like more than others!

    Personally, with reading romance, I question: where does it take my thoughts, and is it setting unrealistic ideals? For example, is it leading me to have unhealthy fantasies about my Mr Right? Is making it seem normal for most teens to have a partner (leading to discontent because I don't)? Is it distracting my thoughts from more worthwhile things?

    Does that make sense? I haven't been known for explaining myself well, haha. But thanks for bringing this up, Gray. It's a relevant question I think - because we're against low standards doesn't necessarily mean we're against romance.

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    1. Good points. The whole unrealistic ideals, is something I can totally relate to, it's why I personally don't read any of Janette Oak's works.

      You make a lot of sense! :)

      Delete
  16. I have nothing against romance in YA books in certain circumstances. However, if the romance is completely irrelevant to the plot and is just added because apparently "teens like romance" then I have a problem.

    Also, I really do wish there were more YA books without romance, because looking at my bookshelf, I see about two or three, which is kind of ridiculous.
    Anyway, this was a really interesting post!

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    1. Yes, I agree it would be nice to have more books without romantic subplots, but that doesn't mean I mind when they do.

      Also, it does get really ridiculous when the book doesn't need romance, like, what even?!?!

      Delete
  17. OOO this was a really cool post!! Very interesting topic. I really enjoyed reading this!! <3

    Sophy of SophysLighthouse.blogspot.com

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Hi, wonderful human bean.
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