Life in a Glasshouse: Five YA Pet Peeves Part 1

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Five YA Pet Peeves Part 1

Objective Teen Romances

(Five because I don't want to ramble on and on.)

(I'll be discussing hetero-normative romances unless stated otherwise because I don't haven't read enough non-heterosexual romances to have a say yet.)

Normally, I'd put instalove here. You know, that trope where two people see each other from across the room and bam! Instant. Connection. I've come to realize, though, that instalove is actually just teenagehormones*. As in, it happens. However, most people interpret teenagehormones as love. Heck, teenagers sometimes interpret it as love. We've all had that one relationship where we were falling so fast and so hard it felt like the world (and our parents) wasn't moving fast enough to catch up. Hence, world sux. Hence, YA romances are ridiculously popular. Hence, publishers got triggerYAPNRhappy.

I think I've established that these romances aren't a bad thing to have. It is a trope that is true to life, albeit mutilated and perverted a bit. Shakespeare did not make up Romeo and Juliet's starcrossed love out of thin air. Teenagehormones were legend.

But, guys. Romeo and Juliet died for a reason.

They were melodramatic*** and gave up their lives because a)they had zero communication and b)they were kind of love-drunk. It's a little sad to see that even back when adolescence was considered adulthood, their actions didn't differ a lot from today's kids. I shouldn't go in depth here because a)I'd go on and on and b)who's here for that?

Teenagehormones, in my opinion, are a completely understandable reason to crush on someone. Some people have love born out of it after some time. Most of the time, in my general experience growing up, in this day and age, teenagehormones often lead to heartbreak, and then other relationships.*** There is no problem with depicting that [insert adjective] first love, as there is no problem with depicting a love that could sustain itself for decades to come. However, the majority of YA books today spell out First Love, not Decades of Love. The real problem here is that it's depicted as OK. As This will last forever and ever. And, you know, first person perspective is as first person perspective does.

But when your narrator ends up with said love interest without any effort (or unbelievable obstacles) and without losing that starry-eyed love, that's when I start sighing.

I'd like to see more objective teen romances. I want to be able to see myself if these two are meant for each other, if they can hold a relationship outside the pages of a book, without having the author spell Tru Luv Forever. (The same can be said for love triangles.)

If objective isn't going to pop up anytime soon, then I'll take believable. I might not be a romantic, but that doesn't mean love can't move me.

(Continued in next post.)

*Not a mistake.

**Also, your interpretation of Romeo and Juliet might differ from mine.

***I'm not here to invalidate all high school relationship-born romances. Just here to criticize the terrible ones I find in YA. That is all.


  1. I found your post hilarious. I know that first love rarely works out, but I like to read about it anyhow. It's kind of like why do I want to read about lives that suck and heartbreak when I have that in the real world? But all the same, I get what you're saying...found you on follow friday and am a new follower.

    1. And I completely understand that. Books aren't tailored just for me after all. :)