I’m thinking this morning about YA as a genre. This is partially in response to a comment a teen made to another writer friend of mine about being sick of so many YA books being about some magical/paranormal kickass girl who falls for some guy where the romance is such a main part of the plot. As both of us actually, you know, write YA paranormal romance our initial reaction was a bit of insult. But then I got to thinking more about it.
I spend a lot of time reading the summaries of books. Stuff I see fly by on Twitter. Things recommended to me on Goodreads. Books reviewed by book bloggers. Stuff friends tell me I ought to read. You can’t hang out in the virtual book world and not constantly be inundated with talk of books (which I find to be a marvelous thing). And after hearing this comment, I got to thinking about how many YA book summaries I have read where the focus of the story is on some forbidden/impossible/unrealistic relationship with some guy. So often with the boring trope of the heroine or hero being the new kid in school. Where the entire crux of the conflict is rooted in this relationship. And…I don’t tend to add those to my To Read List either.
Now, I love romance, don’t get me wrong. But the books that I love, the books that I constantly add to my TBR pile–the romance is not the conflict of the book. Sure it may (and usually does) contribute somehow to conflict, but it is not the primary story. The stories I love are the ones where some huge, life altering thing happens, setting our heroine on a new adventure–where in she meets some guy and has sparks–because I love to think that romance happens, particularly in emotionally charged situations (and contrary to Speed, I don’t automatically think those relationships will fail).
I’d like to think that it’s the former type of YA that this teen was annoyed with, because it doesn’t go deep enough, wide enough into other worlds and insists on a very insular, narrow focus that feels very immature.
So what are your thoughts? Do you like YA Romance? Do you get annoyed when that’s the total focus of the story? This inquiring mind wants to know.