YA Books and Romances

From Books, Tea and A Onesie.

So I’ve been doing my best to participate in the Blog Olympics hosted by An Overthinking Teenager of Books, Tea and a Onesie and Emily of Always Opinionated Girl. But with most of my subjects’ pre-midterm exams happening this week, I wasn’t able to participate much other than entering in giveaways and commenting on blog discussions. But one of the discussions had got me thinking and I decided to post this (and the week is done so I’ve got time now).

Emily @ Always Opinionated Girl opened up a Blog Discussion entitled, “Do books need romance?” and the said topic has a very personal effect on me. For one thing, I love romance and that’s evident from the book-related posts I’ve posted so far, as well as my admission for owning a mushy heart. For another, the Young Adult genre have been interconnected with romance for as long as I could remember. Most of the time, romance is even the core subgenre of a YA novel. Why is this?

Here’s what I think: Teenagers, as proven by scientists, are a bag of hormones. Whether you like it or not, the teenage years are the years in which we feel things are all too new and all too much. Imagine yourself living in a black and white world your whole life and then out of nowhere, a blast of technicolor rushes in front of you and it’s too overwhelming. You don’t know what’s red or blue or green yet.

There isn’t any specific time when this would happen to you. But it’s inevitable to everyone (there might even be 30-year-olds out there who are still experiencing this. Like Sheldon Cooper.) One of those usual new territories you have stepped into during teenage years is infatuation and admiration to another person. But reality oftentimes don’t go as we planned. So we root for the characters in the novels we read to enact the fantasies we imagined.

I guess that’s why romance in young adult novels really sells out. It’s not because of the lack of realism in romance that most young adult novels depict. As Emma Scott has said in my interview of her (and I know she’s a new adult writer but what she said really hits every story of every genre with romance in it), writers “hopefully tap into some universal feelings while maintaining a bit of fantasy.”

Anyway, Emily mentioned three YA novels that didn’t contain any romance. These are 1. Percy Jackson series 2. The Book Thief 3. Thirteen Reasons Why. I’ve personally read the first (oh, duh) and third book and while the element of romance was there, it wasn’t the main focus of both books. The second one, The Book Thief, I still have to read and is somewhere in the long line of my TBR list.

So I want to add three more novels I know–not necessarily have read–that doesn’t have romance in them.

  1. The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
    If any of you will argue with me that this series is not a Young Adult novel, then go to Wikipedia. And anyway, Sophie and Josh Newman, the main characters of the series, are fifteen-year-olds. So…
  2. The Outsiders
    One of the first Young Adult novel ever to be written. And written by then fifteen-year-old S.E. Hinton. I haven’t read this yet but from what I’ve read about the history of the young adult genre, The Outsiders was more about the struggles of teenagers during the 1960s.
  3. Harry Potter Series
    Before you will crowd me with comments about Cho Chang and Ginny, I want to put it up there that I meant the first three stories–when Harry and Co. were too busy dealing with Voldy to be in love. Like with Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the romance only appeared when the characters were old enough to acknowledge them. And that, in my opinion, is an amazing feature these two series have compared to the more modern YA novels these days.

How about you? What are your thoughts on the apparent connection between romance and young adult literature? Do you know of any YA novels that does not have any romance?

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