I should really rename this feature… Rant of the Week seems more fitting than YA in Real Life…
Oh, romance. Romance, to my great disappointment has seemed to become a permanent fixture in YA novels. In every novel you read, there always seems to be a romance of some kind. Now, romance is great and all, but seriously? Every. Single. Book? This itself is unrealistic. Not all situations produce a romantic relationship. But it seems like that is almost always true in YA books. Sigh.
Insta love itself doesn’t represent reality well. At all. In real life, most people first experience crushes and then dates, and then love. In YA, it all seems to happen in an instant. YA characters don’t seem to develop those tiny crushes over time. They seem to meet a person and fall in love a few seconds later. Seriously? They also don’t go on dates. While it is understandable, (if you’re busy saving the world, when do you have the time to go on a date?), there still should be some courtship of some kind. Instead in typical YA romances, not only do the characters seem to fall in love at first sight, they also tend to skip the whole “getting to know you” stage of the relationship. A guy could be a murderer and the girl wouldn’t care. What?!? My other issue with insta love is that it can place more value on physical appearances, but that’s for another post.
Knight in Shining Armor
Why are knights in shining armor so popular? We are in modern times. Girls don’t need knights, not that that wouldn’t be nice but… why can’t we be strong independent women? And not to mention not all girls have knights in shining armor in real life. Even if they do have a “knight”, his armor is probably a bit rusty. YA does a fantastic job of creating strong heroines. But it also does a great job with pairing the heroine with a male, who is perfect in every way, and usually helps and identifies with the female’s cause when the female is perfectly capable of tackling the problem on her own. I’m going to stop here, but stay tuned for a YA in Real Life about Feminism.
Enemies / Romeo and Juliet
“They say there’s a thin line between love and hate”. Okay, you got me on this one. Both love and hate revolve around passion. But let’s just say all the couples I know in school and in my family have never hated each other before they became romantically involved with one another. In fact, in school they only time enemies become lovers is in Romeo and Juliet which we were forced to read Freshmen year. Other than that, I can’t name any couples who started off hating each other and are still in a relationship today. Sure, some people had… err, not so great impressions on their current significant other, but that’s as close to enemies as they get (in my experience, at least).
Stupid Love Triangles
This one is the worst representation of real life. How many love triangles from YA novels can you name? Now compare that to the number of love triangles you can name in real life. Do you see a difference? I feel like one in every five books has a love triangle of some sort. And I’m being a bit generous with that statistic. There’s Peeta and Gale with Katniss in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Ren and Shay with Calla in Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, Dorian and Chaol with Celaena in The Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas, Simon and Jace with Clary (sort of) in The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, and Alex and Julian with Lena in Delirium by Lauren Oliver just to name a few. And I was just getting started – I could go on and on. My point is, while love triangles seem to happen everywhere in YA, they don’t in real life. Sure, you might hear about two people pining over the same person, but that rarely happens to the same extent as in YA novels. In YA, the heroine always seems to have two guys fighting over her. But how many girls do you know have two guys fighting over them?
What do you think?
Do you agree or disagree?
Can you think of any other romances that don’t reflect real life?