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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Romance in YA

This has been a popular subject lately. I wasn't going to write about it since so many awesome people already have, but then I changed my mind. Same rules from yesterday apply: conflicting viewpoints welcome, debates welcome, arguments not. Yes, there is a difference.

YA has been featuring a lot of...unhealthy romances lately. Particularly in the area of paranormal.

There are a few different types.

First, we have the stalker boyfriends. You know the ones that sneak into the female protagonist's house and watch them sleep. The ones that never leave the girl alone. And she thinks this is CUTE. Awww so sweet, he's been sneaking into my house and watching me sleep at night. [Let it be noted that I too was one of the teenage girls that though it was kind of cute in Twilight. I am now ashamed to be me.] It's creepy. You know, they have something called a restraining order for cases like these.

Then we have the abusive boyfriends. The ones that constantly try to kill the girl and yet she keeps coming back to them. For the love of writing, girl, RUN! Or they unintentionally cause her pain (emotional or physical) and yet she stays with them.

And then there are the boyfriends that the girl barely knows and yet she thinks he's her soul mate. It's like they meet and then all of a sudden she's running away to be with him. All she knows about him is his NAME. I believe in love at first sight, but I still think you should get to know the person before you're all over each other.

THESE are the people that teenagers are reading about. And this is not okay. And it's not just fiction. Fiction is a representation of society as a whole. Most people that deny that don't want to admit that something so insubstantial has that big of an effect on people's lives. But look at TV. Look at video games. Look at society. Connection?

I'd say so. So why aren't books the same?

Not saying that all romance in YA is bad. There are a lot of great examples. Hunger Games, Wake series, I'm particularly fond of the romance in Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and quite a few of Tamora Pierce's books. There just seems to be a sudden rush of bad romance into the industry now. And unless it's stopped, that's only going to continue.

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