QUICK RANT: Why Romance In YA Can Be Negative To Readers + YA Relationship Pet Peeves.

Not all characters are horny trashcans, and I’m having a rant about that.

I’ve been gone for a while, so why not come back with a huge ol, totally not bitter, rant?

so a  couple of things to settle before we start:

  1. we’re over 1/3 of through the month and I have posted 0 things whoops.
  2. i hardly posted anything last month???? whoops again?????
  3. college started!!
  4. I’m not even going to ask where 2018 is vanishing into.

Okay, so I know that I’ve spoken about this topic QUITE A BIT in the past, but after talking with Haayida while ranting over a book that we both have some major issues with we started talking about romances and stuff (eloquent) in YA and how it bugs us. And me, being the idea thief that I am, am turning this into a very ranty, very salty, very call-y-out-y post. 

I’m not completely banning romances from all books forever (yes, I definitely have the power to do so), because I actually really like romances (opens binder that holds pages upon pages of ship-related things) and think that they’re great!! I LIVE FOR THEM.

I actually sit there, staring at the ceiling, analysing EVERY SHIP INTERACTION because I ship them so. hard. that I would 14/10 just read the most trashy, pure fluff/boring content just to be allowed to read more about a ship and just imagine the ship in my head buying groceries and having Banter™. I AM TRASH FOR MY SHIPS.

But of course, being who I am, I have to ruin EVERYTHING and nit-pick and pick pick pick and rant rant rant until my point is made.

Screenshot 2017-09-29 18.15.41

sex

Literally, everyone’s having it, in books at least. I don’t know about you, but reading books about people my age having sex constantly just really irks me.

While i think that it’s good for people to have healthy sex lives and make sex this thing that isn’t “OMG YOU HAD SEX YOU’RE GOING TO DIE”, I think that idk… while I like that there’s no shame (and there shouldn’t be!!) I think that sometimes a lot of the time it puts across this expectation to readers that they have to have sex too, and people receiving this message can be young and impressionable.

And it’s totally unrealistic??? Because my friends that are 16/17 aren’t having sex?? people in my year aren’t having sex??? like??? not all teens do, while most characters in books are 16/17 and having sex??? like literally most of them??? idk!! it’s just weird because it’s like??? no??

But I just don’t like how sex becomes this “step” for a relationship in order for their relationship to be “valid” and “genuine” and putting that across to readers? Who could actually be very young?? No thank you?

Relationships shouldn’t be measured by “how far” you’ve gone, whether or not you’ve had sex, or whether or not your relationship is “alright” or not depending on how frequently you do something remotely sexual with your bf/gf.

other ranty thoughts on this topic:

  • Ace people????? like???? hello, they exist too, you know?
  • Sex should not be pushed as an expectation in every relationship!
  • And also: sometimes it’s just unnecessary to the plot?! So it’s not really actually NEEDED?!
  • But also people who aren’t ace may not want to be having sex THE SECOND THEY GET IN A RELATIONSHIP.
  • And also: religion: some don’t believe in sex before marriage!! And characters who believe in that should be allowed to stay true to their beliefs!! (I’d actually love to read a book about where the mc talks about sexuality x religion because I loveeeeee books like that!!)
  • I really want to see a character not want to have sex straight away and not be called things like “prude” or “frigid” or horrible things like that because does it matter when/if they have sex? no!
  • can we have some healthy conversations about it pleasE!!!!!!!!!!!???????
  • DHBGRBGRGB. this has just been bugging me a lot in books lately.

Screenshot 2017-09-29 18.15.41

over-dependancy

Relationships can be super TOXIC, they can become literally all about the romance, and nothing else happens: where they brush off their friends to be with the bf/gf in a way, they don’t listen to other characters apart from their bf/gf, they argue, etc and that’s totally not healthy.

And I find that a lot of books don’t have a good balance of relationship stuff x actual plot. The plot just flies out the window. I’m definitely not thinking about Sarah J Maas books here why would I do that.

Sometimes start acting like one being and really… that shouldn’t be put across to people because you need to be your own personnnnnnnnnnnnnn in a relationship for it to be healthy,,, you know???

ANYWAY, there is a line between healthy communication yet being independent in a relationship, and then when a relationship becomes toxic and intrusive and consuming.

Screenshot 2017-09-29 18.15.41

plain cheesy

this is bad because it straight up just makes me feel uncomfortable to read. I want to physically and mentally hurl into a swamp every time that i read something cheesy. I hate normal cheese, let alone the literary type.

It’s so URGHHHHH let me HURL.

It’s just URBSJSKSKS.

This is bad for readers because honestly?? who wants to throw up while reading??

  • personally, I do not.

I literally squirm in my seat while I read this its,. not good.

THINGS THAT GO HAND IN HAND:

  1. instalove.
  2. love triangles.
  3. any genuine affection displayed between two people on any level.
  4. literally them just looking at each other, like actual heart eyes across the room.
  5. ugh romance.

SORRY, I JUST CAN’T WITH THIS.

Screenshot 2018-07-22 19.04.57

I’m just going to end this there because it’s basically becoming an incoherent RANT (when don’t they tho) and I think you get the point! What do you look for in relationships in YA books? Do you agree with what I’ve said in the post? What do you think? Let me know!

Screenshot 2018-06-02 14.37.45 

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23 thoughts on “QUICK RANT: Why Romance In YA Can Be Negative To Readers + YA Relationship Pet Peeves.”

  1. Yes yes and yes. I completely agree with this. While I love my ships there NEEDS to be other things happening in the story or I will get bored. Plus what better way to grow closer together than shared trauma? Plus as a teen, most of my friends aren’t having sex. And personally I am kind of not about that due to a combination of not wanting to deal with how complicated that would make a teenage relationship that likely won’t go that far (yes I am pessimistic about romance), religious reasons, and potentially being demi-sexual?? I’d love to see characters is loving relationships without the expectation that they’ve either had sex or haven’t for a really big and symbolic reason. Sometimes people just don’t.

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    1. Exactly, and i think that it’s become too much of an obligation in ya????? personally, i don’t think that it adds anything to the story or the ship, their romance was just as valid before!!

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  2. I’ve got to say I haven’t read too many YA books where the characters have sex, but I do agree with all the points you made as to why people don’t have sex in their relationships right away, or at all, and I’d love to see more of that represented. Why can’t we see more asexuals in loving relationships which don’t include sex?! I’m really not a fan of the whole over dependency thing when it comes to YA couples (the most famous is Bella and Edward from Twilight right? At least that’s the first I remember as being really over dependant). I feel like in some cases it veers to close to an abusive relationship and that’s never romantic or OK to represent to anyone let along young adult and teenagers.
    Also I feel I’ve made my feelings on love triangles and insta-love well known right?!
    Great post. 🙂 ❤️

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  3. I totally agree with you! I want genuine romance that’s worked for and I can actually ship. And just throwing in loads of PDA and cheesiness makes me nauseous. And really, people don’t have THAT much sex. I mean, people do. But Ace people are valid, and religious convictions are valid, and people just not having time to make out is totally normal, too.

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  4. These are also some of the reasons why I began to read less YA! The cheesiness and recycling of similar tropes and lines are also a huge annoyance when reading YA. When talking about sex I’m always rolling my eyes when watching Riverdale because how can these very hot and mature high schoolers are having shower sex?????? Overall, hugely relatable post 🙂

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    1. i KNOW RIGHT?????? They’re meant to be sixteen, seventeen!! all the tropes, as you said, are just being recycled over and over again and ughhrrr!! nooo thank youuuuuuuuuu!! it’s just not making the book interesting in the slightest? they become so predictable?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. YES to all of this. I’m glad it’s being included but, it’s also not a healthy expectation to set up for younger readers (or even older readers). If a 13-15 year old is reading it they’ll get totally influenced by it and an older reader might start to feel self-conscious. That’s not even mentioning how bad all the sex in books (which is hardly ever mentioned in the trigger warnings) can affect Ace people (and especially questioning people).

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    1. YES!! It’s so easy to influence younger readers! yes, and a lot of the sex is very cishet and doesn’t show dynamics between other couples, as if it’s still taboo to have m/m or f/f relationships or, or those on the Ace spectrum!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love love love reading romances in books, but… sometimes it’s just too much. We don’t need romance in every. Single. YA. Book. Ever.

    And I definitely find it ridiculous and irritating how much they ALL revolve around sex. Like yes, sex positivity is great. But really? I don’t think as many teenagers are having sex as books seem to think. And I don’t like how it’s portrayed as necessary in every relationship. And just… yeah. What you said. All of it.

    Also can we see some teens who just aren’t looking for a relationship yet? And are okay with that? Because that would be awfully nice.

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    1. EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Not. everyone. is. having. sex. all. the. time. it’s. not. necessary. at. all.
      yeah! not everyone is wanting to fling themselves into a relationship at 16/17!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I definitely agree with this! I don’t know if you’ve heard of this, but there is this book platform called Wattpad, where the regular people are allowed to create stories of their own for others to read. And if you read a majority of their romances, they are all about sex sex sex. And it definitely gets tiring because I know that not all relationships are based around that, so I wish not having it would be okay in novels.
    Great post.

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  8. I totally agree with you on most of it. While it’s nice that sex is no longer a taboo topic, it might have become the exact opposite. There should be a balance somewhat.

    Most romance that I read in YA is bad. Not even going to lie. And it’s not because it’s YA and teens are angsty and stupid and ridiculous. No, it’s just because authors make them like that. It’s frustrating to rarely find a good relationship in YA and have to go for NA or Adult instead (although those have issues too).

    I’ve found that books where romance is barely there are the best kind because you literally crave for those little bits of heaven that are so rare and magical. Too much of one thing CAN become boring.

    As for romance overcoming the plot, ugh, so true. I wish authors wouldn’t get distracted or think the readers want that sort of thing. We don’t. We want complex stories. Unless it explicitly states it’s just a romance story, and those are fine as well. Just not when you’re writing a fantasy/dystopia/whatever. Like, focus writer.

    Great topic, Lu. I honestly couldn’t have rambled better myself!

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    1. thank you so much!! Yes, in nearly all the contemporary books teens get made angsty, stupid, naive, or so blind to other people’s feelings and it’s so frustrating to read because no, not all teens are oblivious idiots that worry about our hair or whether or not josie from the cheer squad hates us! and all that just piles on to any relationship that develops in the book and makes it even more frustrating!!
      OMG the slower the burn the better when it comes to romance, honestly.
      YES YES YES!! YES to everything you’ve said!!!
      thank you for this comment!!! ❤

      Like

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