Does YA Romance Annoy You?

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.

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13 thoughts on “Does YA Romance Annoy You?

  1. I don’t mind YA romance being a subgenre. That’s totally fine. I know people love it but I hate it. I know to avoid books labeled YA romance. I’m almost getting annoyed with ALL YA anymore because it seems like every book out there has romance in it. It’s not as big of a deal if it’s only a tiny part of the plot but I don’t want it to be the main focus.

    1. I think there is a tendency, though, for books to be labeled YA romance even if it is not the primary focus of the plot, so I’m not sure that’s the best means of judging whether or not to read something. My YA work is all considered YA paranormal romance and the relationship is not the primary focus.

  2. I’m a much bigger fan of action and character development, and to me that doesn’t really include a lot of romance. Some of it is nice and of course interesting to have, but I don’t want to read about a great female character who is completely wrapped up in her boy troubles. That’s one of the main goals I had when writing my book Gifted–even though there is a little romance, it’s small beans compared to the overall story arc and that was important to me. While I like romance, it’s not the be-all, end-all result for me personally.

  3. I’m weird. Because it just depends on my mood. If I want romance, then it’s fine for that to be the focus. If I’m in the mood for action, I read something else. But then again, I don’t read a lot of YA.

  4. It depends. I can think of a few that I enjoyed, wherein the romance was the conflict, but those weren’t paranormal. :) And those romance-as-conflict books had a good amount of character development and other conflict wherein the characters actually had reasons for what they did, rather than just “Oh, I love him so much!” (particularly when the actions don’t give any reason why the character loves him).

    While my stories might contain a romantic pairing, they aren’t really romances. (Er… At least, none of the ones released thus far are actually romances.) The romance is just incidental.

  5. Even though I’ve enjoyed some romances, I don’t consider myself a romance reader. So when I feel like the relationship is all I’m reading about, I get very bored with the story. Same goes for blurbs that only focus on the relationship. Based on my expectations, it sounds like a very boring story. It’s way easier for me to find my kind of story with urban fantasy because those have more of a romantic elements thing going. There’s always a good mystery or adventure at the forefront. For that reason, I have a feeling the romances I’ve liked would be categorized as romantic suspense.

  6. There’s definitely a lot of YA work out there getting attention, which I think is fabulous. If it’s going to make its way into my “to read” queue, I think it needs an element of unknown or mystery. And one that is beyond just does he like her back? And when I WAS that age, I LOVED books about the times. I liked dystopian literature – Animal Farm, Brave New World, 1984. Today I love The Hunger Games. And I love Red, and Shifting. Books that have danger, mystery, besides love.

  7. I hate hate HATE YA that only focusses on romance. I find it insulting to teenagers that so many adults seem to assume they spend their entire existence wrapped up in the opposite sex. Now, don’t get me wrong, of course the opposite sex is a big deal when you’re a teen, but books are meant to be about the extraordinary meeting the ordinary. I.e., more than boy/girl issues.

  8. I don’t mind if there are romantic elements. But I generally do want the story to be about something bigger. A lot of the ones I read end up being coming-of-age mixed with romance.

  9. I’ve never found myself drawn to romance. It’s always a bigger, better story, with an element of romance thrown in. And I agree, that’s what the brighter, smarter young adult today is looking for. For a story to be deemed romance, the romance has to take front stage and come before all things. In most, and I stress most because there have been exceptions, things I write the romance always takes a back seat to a much bigger bad that needs to be dealt with. Those are the kinds of stories I like to read, and so that’s what I write. Also, YA. I believe adding that element of fantasy or paranormal just allows the reader that avenue of escapism that so many of us seek when we search out the next read.

  10. I haven’t read a lot of YA but as far as romance in anything, I enjoy it when romance is one of the complications or side effect (OY!) in the rest of the story.

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