Mar 23, 2010

Why YA romances don't need to change.

The secret's out. I loved Twilight.
I have to post this. Some of you won't agree with this post--and that's okay--but this is my blog and I'm going to say it anyway. I LOVE YA ROMANCE! I loved Twilight. I loved Hush Hush. And probably a few others people might consider 'bad romances'. What I don't understand is why people hate them (and would urge tearing them apart?) because they thought the relationships in them were not "healthy". I'm happily married and I can't even begin to tell you what the definition of a "healthy" relationship is. What I'm trying to say is that I don't read YA for relationship advice. I read YA for FUN.

Here is the story I don't want to read: Girl meets "average" looking guy. Average looking guy tells her all his feelings at the exact moment he feels them. Boring. No one wants to read that.

Instead, I want the guy to be hot. I want there to be friction and tension and for her to lust after him. And in the end I want them to get together and be soul mates. This is fantasy. Why can't I get all those things? And I do. I read YA because it gives me those things. I read it not to learn but to be entertained.

Final thoughts. Are these types of books sending the wrong message to teens today? Probably. But I honestly don't know or care. I read to be entertained.

Oh, and just for fun...Below is my cousin, me, my sister--in Forks. I'm rocking the Team Edward shirt b/c I loved Twilight. I loved it so much that when I had the opportunity to go to Forks (this is 1st beach) I took it.

24 comments:

Palindrome said...

I did enjoy Twilight, the first one. I did not enjoy Hush, Hush.

I do think they're sending the wrong message to teen girls but I too read to be entertained so reality goes out the window for me. BUT that is not the case for some impressionable teen minds, not all will act that way in relationships but too many do already and I think Twilight and books like Twilight are adding to that insanity.

Great post though! I love to argue. ;)

Summer said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with loving YA romance--I know I enjoy it! And I hate to say this, but if teenagers are really dumb enough to believe a romance in a book, then maybe they need to learn the hard way...

Adriana said...

For me what I don't like is when the girls don't have a personality they become obsessed and their whole life revolves around the guy kind of like Luce in Fallen or even Bella. I enjoyed Hush, Hush though because Nora had more to her than the other two. It really depends on the plot though for me.
I also read for entertainment which is why I enjoyed Twilight, but I'm team Jacob, I never liked Edward. :D

Donna said...

The issue with a lot of YA romance, and a lot of teens are catching into it, is the doormat female MC, the insta-love that tends to happen and the deux ex machina that ensues in order to keep them together. Basically it's starting to become an old cliche.

If you want a more realistic YA "romance" without the boring, read Albatross by Josie Bloss. It mirrors Edward and Bella's relationship from a different perspective, and it's how a lot of us see it. In fact, Bloss wrote Albatross as a direct rebuttal to the likes of Twilight because she felt that the wrong message was being sent to teens.

You see the fantasy and there's nothing wrong with that. I actually have Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse sitting on my bookshelves despite how horrible I think they are. Very guilty pleasure. If you can see the fantasy in it then there is nothing wrong. But many prepubescent teens that are reading it don't, which is where the problem lies. The girls that can't differentiate Rpattz from Edward, those that think Edward is the ultimate loving boyfriend and him disabling his girlfriend's car so she can't see her friends (what few she actually has because she only lives for Edward) is a good thing is a problem. The problem only exists if you can't differentiate fantasy from reality many younger readers of YA fantasy can't, so it's an issue. It's bad enough when you have adults reading other adults in situations like this but when impressionable teens read other teens in situations like this and it's portrayed as being okay, a lot of people are going to have a problem with it.

Palindrome said...

Summer, I was once a teen influenced by media romance. I thought love was a constant battle, as portrayed in Twilight and I wasn't dumb then and I'm not dumb now. But if that's all you see and hear, you get influenced no matter how "smart" you are. And yes, I did learn the hard way. I just think being a teenager is hard enough without perpetuating misogynistic stereotypes.

I still really liked the first "Twilight" book though.

Book Crazy Jenn said...

*Clapping* I think you give teen's to little credit...

I agree, I read - to be entertained, I do not read, fiction, at least because I want to learn how to be a good person, or learn how to cook or learn what a good boy friend is like...

And I think teen's get that - my daughter read Twilight last year, she was in 4th grade and 10 years old...was it to "mature" for her, maybe parts - but did we talk about it, yes...did she go out trying to find a boy who would treat her like dirt or even go after a boy at all...not at all. She's got a good head on her shoulders and she knows who she is...she does not need Twilight to tell her.

She's reading for the same reason's I am - and we talk about the books we are reading...

Teen's are teens, yes - they are impressionable, yes - but there not totally stupid either.

And to talk about tearing a book apart because you think it sends a bad message - I thought we were past book buring and banning books - heck the more you push a child away from something the stronger they want it.

Palindrome said...

who was talking about tearing a book apart??

Sarah said...

http://inwhichagirl.blogspot.com/2010/03/why-ya-romance-needs-to-change.html

Palindrome said...

OH! Boo!! That's not even okay. I'm with Jenn. As long as teens understand it's fiction, read what you love and what you hate to love. ;)

YA romance has been the same for years! It's a formula that makes for great conflict and entertaining fiction. And obviously, heated debates...tee-hee! I love to play devil's advocate!

Sarah said...

Me too :) That's why I posted this in reply to that. I get the flaws. But I'm going to love what I want to love. And that's all there is to it. Right or wrong. I don't care.

Palindrome said...

You tell her, Sarah!! That's why I like you. ;)

J. Kaye said...

I am a Twilight fan. ;) And I too love YA romance books!

Summer said...

Well, maybe I was too harsh, but then again the only experience I have to draw from is my own, and I'll be honest--I don't know jack shite about today's teenagers and how good their level-headedness is. I mean, look at Romeo & Juliet. That story has been around for hundreds of years, and thankfully you don't see too many 13 and 14 year old couples committing dual suicides. But what if someone rewrote R&J for modern audiences? There would be a hayday, don't you think, about bad influences? Yet R&J was required reading in my 9th grade English class.

I read adult books when I was a teen, and now that I'm an adult, I read teens books, so maybe that's my problem. :-) When I was Twilight age, I was sneaking my dad's espionage novels and devouring Patricia Cornwell novels, so I was busy planning my future as an FBI agent-slash-medical examiner.

So I apologize, Hannah, for saying what I said, because I like to think that young people wouldn't fall for something like that, but then again...humans as a whole aren't always the brightest when it comes to...well, anything.

This could really go on forever, but I agree that the quoted article was rather harsh. It takes all kinds, folks. All kinds.

Sarah said...

Summer--I didn't think you were too harsh. I had to learn the hard way.

Oh and for my 50,000/50 Challenge. I so haven't done anything today. I got side tracked with this. Ranting. So I'm going to now stop blogging and go back to working on my own 'bad romance'.

Palindrome said...

Summer, no need to apologize. I wasn't offended, you'll have to say something really cruel to hurt my sensibilities. And those of us who learn the hard way are much better than those who don't learn at all. ;)

Sarah, LOL!! Me neither. I'm home sick from work and have had the google reader running for 6 hours. It's almost Lost o'clock, catch you on the flip side!

Jen said...

Ahh to be a teenager!!! I'm with you on this one, though I didn't read Twilight I love a good YA Romance Novel. I read to have adventure, excitement, get out of my everyday life!!! I want tension...lust...love...drama without that I don't want to read!!! I don't want to learn from books all the time, sometimes I just want one hot novel that I can't put down!

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

I've read the other post, I can see some points the blogger made and I can see some points you've made. Personally, I love YA Romance. And my motto: If I don't like a certain genre/author/subject, I don't read it. Yes, kids, it's that simple. If you don't like it, don't read it.

Tiff@FictionDistrict said...

Oh, I definitely think it's a horrible message to send to young teenage girls. I'm actually a little disgusted by it. Furthermore, I think that the whole comment about them being "dumb" enough to fall for it is really sad and in bad taste. Since when did being young and naive become synonymous with being dumb? I was young and naive once. I also got a perfect score on my verbal SAT when I was in 7th grade. I wasn't dumb.

But....that being said, there are a number of things in the media that send horrible messages to young people. The video game industry wants you to think that these M-rated games are targeting older men. Yeah, I worked in that industry out of high school. Those games target teenagers and a lot of parents don't care.

The problem, in my opinion, is not necessarily the EXPOSURE to these messages, but what happens AFTER that exposure. The burden then falls into the hands of a parent.

Writers should be able to write whatever they want to write. It's an art form and they have creative freedom. When that material targets young people, parents have a responsibility to help their kids learn to differentiate fact from fiction. This is my opinion; I'm not changing it, but I don't require anybody to agree.

KrysteyBelle said...

Ooh. Good topic. I love the Twilight books too. Although, I do admit to skipping huge chunks whenever I reread Eclipse. Did she really need to devote those many pages to Rosalie's and Jasper's back stories, and to the bonfire?

I read Hush Hush in about a day, and enjoyed it, but I felt like it was way too much like Twilight. Girl gets hot new bio partner. Girl falls for him, knows he's dangerous. He wants to kill her, but instead falls in love with her.

...MY NAME IS ELENI AND I AM A BOOKAHOLIC... said...

YES!! Thank you :) I agree w/ everything you said!

Nicole said...

I wish other people were more tolerant of what others perceive as a good story. If you like Twilight then awesome and if you don't, then don't read the story. Everyone has their own preference and people have different perspectives when reading a book. I hate it when people tell me what I'm taking away from a story, such as it sending a bad message on romance. To me, when I read Twilight, I didn't get that bad romance vibe but instead a story about devotion. To each his own. Great post! Totally wish I was at Forks!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I love this! Thank you!!!!! I was trying to add to what you wrote, but I can't. You really did say it all. Another blog I read just before this one complain about guys always being referred to as hot (guilty as charged). What's wrong with that? They do exist, you know. But as long as the girl falls for him for other reasons than his looks then it shouldn't be a problem.

porcelaine said...

I applaud you for speaking your mind. I think there's a lot of emphasis placed on what's appropriate for minors without much said about the household it's being brought into. The expected policing and restriction on the author's end should never be imposed. As a parent, I have some influence on the things my child encounters. If I felt it was unsuitable one would think that would be enough. However, since the reins of parenting have been ceded or loosely held, society is expected to pick up the pieces instead. I don't feel it's fair or an outsiders responsibility to do my job.

utterlymoi said...

I'm not a Twilight fan, but you got me curious... luv some TrueBlood. BTW, that pic is awesome! I luv pics :) Great post, too!!!