I realize I haven't written on many "random" topics lately––besides my rant about the Wall Street Journal article. So today, I thought I would give my ROMANCE RANT!
I do a lot of (rambling, informal) book reviews (on Goodreads). And especially with recent YA books, I find myself ranting a lot about the romances. Especially because so many of them are the same ... and not very interesting.
Lately, the trend seems to be:
1) The main character is an awkward, and/or insecure teenage girl, who lives in a small town and thinks no one will ever like her and nothing will ever happen to her. In other words, she's a Mary Sue.
2) A mysterious, sexy boy moves into town from some weird foreign place and ends up in one of the girl's classes at school. (And for some reason it always seems to be science class––I guess because ... chemistry? Nyuck nyuck!) OR vice versa: the girl moves into a new town from some weird foreign place, and meets a mysterious, sexy guy at school.
3) Mr. Sexy stalks the Mary Sue for a while, showing up absolutely everywhere she goes. And she's like, "Hmm, that's kinda weird. Lolz. Whatevs." (Because it's not like he's a stalker or anything ... I mean, he's HAWT!)
4) They eventually start making out with each other, usually in a very short period of time. (No need to develop a relationship after all, because they're soul mates!)
5) Somehow the girl ends up mixed up in all the guy's weird problems, and he's all like, "Boohoo! I should have never brought you into this!" ... etc.
I think you get the idea. And we can all probably name about ten (if not more) recent books which follow this outline. But I don't want to seem like I'm pointing fingers here, so I won't. I also see a lot of teenage writers writing this type of story. No, these books/stories aren't necessarily bad ... but they could be less clichéd. And more realistic.
So why is this type of story so popular? Well, because it's what teenage girls wish would happen. I mean, hey––I'm an insecure teenage girl. If some random sexy guy appeared in my life and suddenly fell in love with me, that'd be pretty cool. (Although, I'm not sure I want guys climbing through my window and watching me sleep ... Errrm.)
I guess there's no harm in giving insecure girls hope that one day they'll be in relationships. The only problem is, these types of romances don't happen in real life.
Which is why I prefer much more drawn-out, developed romances. I don't like this idea of "soul mates"; really, it's just an excuse to not adequately develop a relationship between two characters.
I want to care about both characters involved; I'm tired of these stories where the guy is an object to be drooled over, while the girl is just a prop. They both have to have flaws and insecurities. They have to be unsure about their feelings. They have to struggle and argue like normal human beings do––yes, even when/if they officially become a couple. The more you make readers wait, the more badly they'll want the romance to happen ... which is why it pays off more in the end, when it finally does happen! If the two characters get together on page 50, it seems way too rushed and unrealistic.
Some YA books/series with great romances in them (in my opinion):
1) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
2) The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong
3) The Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
4) The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
5) The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
6) North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
7) Graceling by Kristin Cashore
8) Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (Well, she has several good romance books, this one's just my favorite.)
9) Unwind by Neal Shusterman
10) The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
11) The Host by Stephenie Meyer
So, anyone else have an opinion about YA romance? Have an other reading recommendations? Please share! :)