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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Team Healthy Love

One of the major problems I often find with YA books is the relationships. So often, affection is shown only through physical interactions. I’m all for some kissing, but why is kissing and sex often the only way character feelings are developed? I don’t consider pure physical attraction a relationship. It’s not healthy, and I don’t think it’s what we should be teaching our teens a relationship is.
My favorite love stories are those where the relationships are developed. The awkward flirting does-he-like-me-or-not stage is so much fun to read. The dialog is where we get to know our love interests and see them interact, and where we, the reader, falls in love with them.

Image DetailI was drawn to Fallen by Lauren Kate because of the enticing and beautiful cover, as I’m sure many of its readers were. I read the first two books, and I still don’t understand why Luce and Daniel are together. I know there’s physical attraction, and they’ve been together forever, but that doesn’t tell me why they love each other or why it is so important for them to be together. I saw a commenter on goodreads post about not being Team Daniel or Team Cam, but being Team Healthy Love. I think this is so, so true. Girls, if a guy treats you like dirt, why are you still with him? (Even if he is a hot angel.) Why are our authors supporting unhealthy relationships with the romance in their novels?

Image DetailThere are also books like Shatter Me (I’m using this one because it is the most recent example I’ve read) where the relationship is built at first on the actual characters, but is then abandoned to the physical. Why, when kissing is introduced to the relationship, is kissing all that happens after that? What happened to the actual romance, the conversations and interactions that make these characters memorable?

Image DetailThe upside is that all of these less-then-great relationships make the amazing ones stand out all the more. Take, for instance, the Hunger Games. I love the relationship between Peeta and Katniss. (I’m sorry, but Gale is never even in the running.) Is it dominated by physical contact? No. Do we get to know and fall in love with the characters? Yes. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Destined by Jessie Harrell, and every single one of Shannon Hale’s novels are all great examples of good relationships, to name a few.

What do you think? I know I can't be the only one that feels this way, and yet books with (in my opinion) unhealthy relationships are still some of the most popular. Are there any books you would add to these good relationship/bad relationship examples? Or do you disgaree with any of my examples? Let me know, I'd love to hear what you think.



  1. I'm with you on this one. In all of my stories, a kiss is something the characters work up to, so it usually happens near the middle or end of the story. I do love Shannon Hale's characters and the romance doesn't dominate everything. I haven't read the Hunger Games yet.

  2. I LOVE ROMANCE. I love the steps it takes to build the relationships! It's nice to watch it form rather than seeing them stare at each other and then making out.

    YA Tournament of Heroines: Hermione is my Heroine... Care to join?

  3. Rain: I like when the romantic climax is the kiss at the end. It makes it all more worth it, because it was something they had to fight for and earn.

    I think you would enjoy the Hunger Games. They have a ton of hype now, but the hype is totally deserved. :]

    Jen: I agree! :] Romance is the best.