It’s not a secret that angsty teenage relationships play a huge role in the YA genre. With the ever popular love triangles and insta-love, I’m here to say that those are lies that I can’t bear to read anymore. Sure, when I was in middle school and just starting to read YA, I didn’t mind the tropes because I didn’t understand real life yet. At one point, I probably spent more time in fantasy than reality. So of course I didn’t get that people don’t fall in love after two weeks and that relationships take so much more effort than ever portrayed in fiction.
I guess I wanted that enchanting story for myself, like I’m sure so many other readers do. But now that I know better, I want the genuine awkwardness that really comes with starting and ending a relationship. I want the slow progression to falling in like with someone. And most of all, I want characters who are together because they actually enjoy spending time together and are truly more than friends.
Seriously, who has a relationship where every issue is about jealousy, you spend everyday together, and you don’t occasionally get sick of them? And do you ever really break up with someone and either remain best friends like nothing happened or completely despise them? Not saying some of that wouldn’t be great, but it’s unbearably fake, even for YA, home of the supernatural.
It’s true that not all YA readers have experienced the less-than-perfect romance, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need to read it. I think I had built up these unreasonable expectations in my head of the ideal story-book boyfriend. When that was obviously not the case, it was clearly disappointing. If I had a slap of reality sooner, maybe I could’ve been happier.
But even before having any personal basis for these opinions, I was already tired with the recurring patterns that made no sense. It takes me a few days to even remember someone’s name, much less know their whole self. And you know, in the first eight months of a relationship, you’re brain’s so high on dopamine that you probably can’t even tell the difference between love and infatuation. So I just don’t understand how these “relationships” are being written anymore by writers who are well past their own teenage years. Maybe they believe teens are naive when it comes to feelings, but I can assure you that is not the majority of us.
I am not saying all this as a romance hater. I honestly do love my sappy romance from time to time, but never that ridiculously fictitious love. I’ve managed to find a few books over the last few years that have successfully balanced between honest and adorable, but those are definitely rare gems. So here’s to hoping the imperfectly flawless relationships get thrown out the window!