Friday, June 24, 2011

YA Book Trends I’m So Over: Insta-Love

Call me crazy, but I love a little bit of relationship building in the books I read. I like the characters to naturally develop. Insta-love usually equals insta-frustration for me. Why are these people in love? They barely know each other! Sometimes, this can be done well. I’m willing to accept even the tiniest of reasons for this insta-love. I would accept a main character falling in insta-love with a boy because: 1) he smells good, 2) he’s pretty and 3) he was nice to the waitress on their first date. I’m not asking for much here, but when the main character doesn’t even have a reason for this insta-love, how am I supposed to believe it?
These two fell in insta-love because they both 
realized that they enjoy sleeping in public. 
This is a reason for love, people! 
Common interests.
Now, I know that teenagers sometimes have super strong feelings, super fast, but most of these relationships do not last. Insta-love (or lust) in real life can quickly fade into a fizzle. If this was the trend happening in YA books, I would be all over it. It would be real. (I’m not saying every book has to be “real”--hellooooo vampires, witches, etc.). I’m just saying that, more often than not, where there is insta-love in a YA novel, the characters usually end up still being together at the end of the book/series.
Look! These people were in insta-love. 
She thought he had pretty hair. 
But, by the end of the book, she would have realized 
that she doesn't like how he goes shoeless in public.
He's always bringing all kinds of dirt into her house.
She doesn't appreciate it. 
Teenagers are completely entitled to make spontaneous, rash decisions. That’s one of the joys of being a teenager. So, I get where these insta-love situations are coming from. I just wish more of them were a little more justified. Bring on the being in love because the boy has a nice butt!
I know I have talked in circles here, but basically I just want my insta-love to have a little reasoning or, if not, fizzle out every once in awhile. What are your thoughts on the insta-love trend in YA books? Do you have a favorite book where the insta-love was handled very well? What's your least favorite insta-love scenario?


  1. I completely agree with everything you just said. Insta-love is really starting to get on my nerves, especially when characters are willing to die horrible deaths for these people they barely even know! At least explain the insta-love a LITTLE. Some books just ignore reasons completely. Thanks for the post - I'm glad someone agrees with me :).

  2. @Liz. R

    Yes! It seems as if the willing to die thing happens a lot in paranormal romance (and not just YA there). I met you on a Tuesday---on Thursday: "Why yes, I will fight that vampire for you! I love you so much and would do anything for you."

    It's always nice to have someone that agrees with you haha

  3. totally agree with you. insta-attraction I'm fine with, we've ALL experienced that, but insta-love? nuhuh. It's like the authors are too lazy or too impatient to write a proper relationship. It's easier to just say "oh look, they're declaring undying love for each other after 3.5 hours" Great post.

    The Cait Files

  4. @Cait

    Yes! Insta-attraction is totally cool. Because, honestly, people probably experience insta-attraction nearly every day. I see a boy reading in public and it's instant attraction. Definitely not insta-love though! Thanks for stopping by :)

  5. YES! Insta-love is incredibly annoying, especially where there's no reason given. They meet, fall madly in love after saying hello, then live happily ever after. Hello? No getting to know each other? No comparing backgrounds or viewpoints or future plans? Just insta-love and that's it? Not in this reality.

  6. I agree. I don't even really like little reasons, like you mentioned. I just don't find it realistic. I want a bit more, people! lol I write too...and I definitely try and make it more than just "hey, you're cute, i love you" kind of deal. You can find people cute, want to kiss them, date them, whatever. But "omg, you're the love of my life?" right away? Nopeee!


  7. @Alexia561

    Yes! Half of the time I don't even think the two people have anything in common haha. Thanks for visiting!

  8. @Shooting Stars Mag

    I would definitely prefer a little bit more, but at this point, I would even settle for the little reasons. You're right, I would be okay with people just dating casually (because this does happen) if only they would keep the love of my life thing out of it! Great comment :)

  9. Okay, trying this again. Don't know WHAT just happened with my LONG comment. Your blog rebelled.

    I totally get the insta-lust. Who doesn't fall in insta-lust when you're in high school. But that usually lasts only a few weeks. And half the time it's one way.

    As an adult, insta-love doesn't really read as believable. We've been through HS and we know the reality of this.

    But I think, for the younger girls reading these books, and let's face it, although they say "young adult" I'm sure many readers are middle grade to young adult, this is romantic.

    When I was 10, that chaste romantic notion of meeting a boy, getting kissed and having him tell me he loved me was the utmost. I didn't know about reality or complications when I was that age.

    I know these books are readable for all ages, but ideally, aren't the readers younger girls who still believe in the romantic ideal that some boy can come along, have eyes only for them, profess their undying love from the very first moment and are willing to sacrifice their lives for them?

    As much as I know at my age that it isn't the reality, I don't know that I would have wanted to see that level of practicality in every book I read when I was 10-14, even if I had some skewed notion about love.

    Sorry for the super long comment.

  10. @Fiktshun

    Ah, sorry for my blog rebelling! I think I fall in insta-lust almost every day and I'm well out of high school. haha

    You're right about younger girls still believing in the idealized version of love (and insta-love). That sort of is what romance is to them. Looking back, I totally used to believe that I would randomly find this boy and we would instantly fall in love.

    I think one of my main problems with the insta-love is that many of the female protagonists are the ones doing the life risking. A lot of the times they are the ones being thrown into this new world and having near death experiences. The whole thing is just so interesting to me and would actually make a really cool social psychology experiment, I think. If only having participants under 18 years old wasn't so difficult. I would really like to see what actual teenagers think about this.

    You know, I took a hiatus from reading books for fun during my teenaged years. I wonder what I would have thought about insta-love back then. I wish I could time travel (like many recent YA books) and go back to see!

    Thank you so much for bringing up so many good points. :)

  11. I have experienced Insta-Love and it stuck.

    Moved into a new home, went to church that week, walked into the chapel where 500+ people sat. The only person standing up was my future wife--changing places with her father.

    I walked past to my seat, stopped in front of everyone, smiled, said hello...she said hello (smiled back) and we both sat down in our seats.

    I wrote a note to my mother within 30 seconds of that. "Hey mom, did you see that girl back there? I think I'll stay awhile."

    Less than a week later Kathilynn and I were engaged and next month we will celebrate 21 years of marriage.

    NOTE: About 5 years after we were married, I was looking through my wife's scrapbook and guess what I found? The note I had written to my mother. She had saved it and gave it, without me knowing it, to my wife, once we were married.

    What was the attraction? I felt so complete...whole around Kathilynn. That and she was (and still is) by far the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Still get butterflies when she smiles at me.

    So there's your sappy story from a husband and father of 11 kids. =)


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