Thursday, March 13, 2014

Love in YA

So today's thoughts are kind of a bit of a rant, and it stems off of the review I gave on Throne of Glass on Tuesday. I already mentioned that I love the book, but when I was sitting down and thinking critically, I realized that the characters were all mainly romantically-inclined love-struck fools.

And I mean, let's be fair: love is an extremely powerful emotion. Disney plays with the concept of True Love all the time, and Harry Potter was saved from death by an ultimate act of love from his mother. I totally agree that it's an amazingly powerful emotion and that it can drive characters to amazing things.

But do we sometimes forget that there's more emotions we can feel than love (the romance kind)?

We've seen it a million times. Girl/Boy meets another girl/boy and there's a spark, and their lives are never the same, and all because they love each other. Thus the majority of the book is spent by their chasing after each other in one way or another. Pretty much sums up at least seventy-five percent of YA fiction, right?

And don't get me started on the fact that they tend to fall in love with each other after only a few hours/days together.

What about hate? And I don't mean the: girl/boy gets irritated by girl/boy, who purposely picks on the first girl/boy because they like them a lot. I mean: girl/boy's blood boils when they think about certain people, or certain laws, and it drives them to commit felonies.

Fear? Not: girl/boy is terrified of losing girl/boy because they just found each other and realized their feelings for each other, so they need to stop the evil before one of them disappears for good. I mean: girl/boy is terrified of death, or any punishment that awaits should they get caught, but knows that unless they stop the evil, it will carry on and continue to destroy everything.

Is my point making sense?

And what about the fact that a lot of familial relationships are toned down so that the plot can focus on girl/boy and girl/boy? The parents and siblings can sometimes be villain-ized so the main character is often 'alone' and therefore more susceptible to the charms of the significant other that comes along. Why can't we have a main character who's fighting for their loved ones first, and their love life second?

What about friendships? That girl you've known x amount of years and is always there for you. That guy who doesn't want anything but somebody who'll talk sense into him when he's thinking crazy thoughts.

This is coming from a girl who's constantly getting guys to want to go out on romantic dates with them. This is coming from a girl who has extremely few friends, because everybody else wants something more. Is that really the kind of society we live in? Where it's expected that everybody has a boyfriend/girlfriend, and if they don't it's expected they're searching?

I'm not saying that the romantic love we see so often is fake. I'm saying it's overdone. I, myself, have fallen prey to the concept of searching for that one mysterious guy who catches my eye, who for some reason finds me interesting. I have, it's true. But at the same time, I've come to realize that it's my friends who I can turn to, and it's a friend that I want more than a boyfriend.

Why can't we see more of that in YA right now?

I mean, if anything the least you can do is make the characters know each other for awhile. One of my friends is writing a book where the MC's first love is a guy she knew her whole life. Another has her MC know the love interest for a few weeks/months before anything gets super serious.

Remember, I'm not saying that love should be a taboo. I just think we too much of our attention on a romantic kind of love, instead of highlighting the other kinds of love that are out there, too. Love that, sometimes, we seem to be oblivious to.

Here's an exercise: if you took your love interest away, what else would your MC have to fight for?

Stay Crazy,


Thoughts or Questions? Let me know what you think!

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