If there’s one thing I hate about YA (and depending on the day, there are multiple things) it’s the fact that all of the main characters seem to fall in Insta-Love. There is, of course, no formal definition for Insta-Love so I usually define it as: “A type of attraction in which the main character becomes obsessed with another character within a short amount of time, usually in under a week. Can result in ridiculous declarations of being ‘soulmates’ or some other variation of the word.”
Okay, I get that you can be very strongly attracted to someone you just met. It’s happened to me before. However, you can’t proclaim ‘love’ on the basis of someone’s looks alone, as seems to happen in YA so much. The (usually) female main character will look at a boy and immediately think of him as ‘cute’, ‘hot’ or ‘handsome’ and spend the next few days mooning over him and generally making a fool of herself. Then, when the boy seems to return her interest, she proclaims that their love is real and everlasting.
Teenage love can be more than a little obsessive because of hormones and a general lack of life experience. But really, not all teenagers are immediately going to fall in love with the nearest good-looking person. That’s why it baffles me why Insta-Love seems to occur in so many YA novels. Of course the polar opposite of Insta-Love is the now cliché Slap-Slap-Kiss when main characters hate each other and then suddenly start making out and proclaiming their love. But that’s a discussion for another time.
Now I want to hear from you: What do you think of Insta-Love? Is it healthy for novelists to portray this as a legitimate type of love when their books are aimed at a teenage audience? Are you as tired of Insta-Love as I am? Or do you think a little Insta-Love is okay?