No, this is not a discussion about whether romance is appropriate for YA novels, but rather a discussion of the romance we already find in YA novels.
I, for one, find most YA romances unbelievable and/or just plain creepy. Yes, I know young love is crazy and even a little clingy, but some books take this to a whole new level. In some novels, we see the male love interests take on qualities I would consider to be borderline abusive or worse: controlling what the main character does, who she talks to, giving her mixed signals constantly, etc. The most notable example is, of course, Twilight. However, I’m still seeing some of these behaviours in mostly male love interests in young adult novels. It’s certainly not sending out any great messages to impressionable teens about what is love and what is not.
The other thing I have a problem with in YA romances is that they’re so unbelievable. I know teenagers are particularly hormonal and romantic, but declarations of love after a week or so are just plain ridiculous. In some books, the main character hardly knows her male love interest before she’s saying she loves him. And when she realizes she loves him, suddenly she can’t live without him and has no interests outside her relationship with him. Is that realistic? Not really. Is that healthy? Definitely not.
Okay, I better stop now or I’ll be ranting all day. Yes, there are some great, healthy relationships in YA (Katniss and Po from Graceling), but the trend of borderline abusive relationships is frankly disturbing to me. But now I want to hear your thoughts on the topic: What do you think of romance in YA novels in general? Are the portrayals of relationships healthy? What is your favourite YA couple? Why?