Recommends: The Death of Courtship and the Rise of Instantaneous Love in Modern YA

A good friend (and fellow blogger) of mine has been following the Twilight posts and recently asked me if I didn't want to blog about a disturbing trend she had noticed in YA literature lately, that is, the tendency for the main character (usually female) to fall in love with the designated love interest (usually male) with almost no time passing, very little courtship, and sometimes entirely 'off camera'. I had noticed this rather recently in "Wither", but what I hadn't realized was how endemic the phenomena is becoming.

I'm not sure how I feel about this phenomenon. On the one hand, I'm not a big romance genre fan, so I sometimes don't mind it so much when a book signals HERE IS HER MAN. SHE LOVES HIM BECAUSE HE IS THE ONLY PERSON IN THE NOVEL WHO ISN'T A JERK. LET'S MOVE ON NOW. Indeed, I could have done with a little more of that in Twilight (although, of course, the "jerk" qualifier would have to be excised) and a little more actual plot. On the other hand, I thought the love triangle in "The Hunger Games" was supremely well-done and absolutely vital to the characterization of the main characters because it felt so real and messy and genuine.

I encourage everyone to head over to J.D.'s blog and check out her thoughts on modern literary courtship (or lack thereof) in a lot of recent YA novels. She's decided to split the post into a couple of parts, so also stay tuned for her follow-up post as the novel in question gets closer to publication.


Nathaniel said...

Oh man, I fucking hate this trope. That's not love people! That's lust your feeling. God.

cmerced said...

In the book "Demon Girl", the main female character managed to fall in love with not 1, but 2! ppl in the SAME DAY. Total time passing was 1 day!!!! For crying out loud.

J.D.M. said...

Oh, wow, you weren't kidding. Thanks for the link love, lady. :D

And I still think you should do the Wither deconstruction. Anyone else who agrees, I'd like to see a show of hands.

As far as romance lit goes, I'm kinda on the same boat. I don't actively seek it out, but if you're going to write a romance book disguised as something else (i.e. horror, sci-fi, fantasy, etc.) at least make the romance genuine. Is that too much to ask?

@cmerced: Are you serious?!? Two men, one day?? Ouch. (Now I'm going to see if my library has Demon Girl because I must see this for myself. I'm beginning to think I'm a masochist.)

cmerced said...

You ARE a masochist. Fair warning, do NOT read it. It WILL be painful. That said, I think it would be easier to get it on kindle because I think she JUST published this and Idk if libraries will get it. I wouldn't. Here is the link:

Cupcakedoll said...

I was just thinking about this yesterday! It seems like the guy is becoming... almost a macguffin, like an object that exists just to move the plot, and the girl, along. The guys are fading. I noticed the trend in several YA paranormal romances lately, seems to be a post-Twilight phenomenon, though not necessarily Twilight-related.

The companion phenomenon of a love triangle including one mysterious dangerous guy and one boy next door is definitely Twilight-related. Which can work well (Hunger Games, as mentioned, rocked.) but mostly the theme is just distracting, it's like having "SMeyer's Influence Was Here." written in the margins.

Mime_Paradox said...

Huh. I really wouldn't have thought to correlate such love triangles to Twilight. It always seemed to me that they were just an inversion of the two-women-one-man triangles popular in mainstream fiction, where one is the girl next door, and the other is the more unpredictable, less "safe" woman, such as with the Betty/Archie/Veronica love triangle or Luke/Leia/Han in Spider-Man. Male/Female/Male inversions weren't particularly lacking before Twilight, either: The Phantom of the Opera, Disney's Beauty and the Beast and Pirates of the Caribbeancome to mind.

Scyllacat said...

I remember (can never forget) my first crush, since the aftereffects lingered for 19 years(!), but I imprinted like a duckling in, if not one day, no more than five. Looking at romance as wish-fulfillment fantasy, my adolescent self would soak up love at first sight that was actually reciprocated.

And Nathaniel, it's not "lust," it's infatuation. It's real. It can turn into love. It occurs spontaneously and usually does last for years.

Post a Comment