Book Talk: Romance in Books

Friday 5 June 2015

As you may know by now, I'm not a huge fan of romance stories, or romance in general. However, I recently read The Selection by Keira Cass, and I may be converted. I don't know what it was about the book that made me enjoy the romance but I did. America and Maxon had the right amount of friendship and flirting, but I could see deeper into it to the romance and it didn't bother me at all. In fact, I loved it. 
A lot.

I feel like my biggest problem with romance and the thing that puts me off it is that I read mainly young adult fiction. Yes, I do read adult as well, but when I do, I tend to stick to fantasy and horror where any romance takes more of a backseat. I also read bits of middle grade and children's fiction, but romance rarely makes an appearance, it's more about family and friendship. Young adult fiction has this horrible habit of turning romance into love triangles with emotionally manipulative - and down right creepy - 'love' interests. And I cannot stomach it.

A good example of my point is The Immortals series by Alyson Noel. It's very obviously a paranormal romance, that much I knew from the very beginning. What I did not know was that the main character, Ever, would be torn between two guys, or that one of them would be controlling, demanding, obsessive, and overprotective. To me, that is not love. That is not anything desirable. 
That is abuse.

And from my - albeit limited - foray into young adult romance that is all too common. It is romanticised. It is portrayed as being normal, as something you should swoon over. It is marketed to teenage girls - one of the most impressionable audiences - almost encouraging them to seek out a 'perfect' guy who will get upset if they so much as look at another guy. 

What I liked so much about The Selection is that, while there was a love triangle, I hardly saw it as one. One interest was barely present in the novel, he was cast aside early, and to me he stayed that way. My focus was on America and how she was adapting to life as one of the Selected, forming relationships with everyone in the palace. And yes, while there were bad guys - rebels and one foul girl who should have been dismissed straight way, if you ask me - the love interests treat her with respect and like an actual human being. Okay, there were a few moments where I as an outsider to the relationships thought 'hang on a minute', or errors in communication, but I feel that's normal. It didn't come across as cruel or uncomfortable to read. 

It came across as human.

Let me know in the comments how you feel about romance in books. Share your experiences with young adult love. I'd love to hear it.


  1. I loved the Selection series! I agree with you, romance isn't my favorite, but I thought that Cass portrayed it so tastefully and simply. It wasn't stereotypical.

    1. I've just finished The One and oh my god, it's my new favourite series! Shame I'm nor enjoying The Heir just yet :/ But I agree, it was so simple and tasteful like you said, and it was funny and realistic too.

  2. I basically agree with you on this. I've never had an overriding need to read a pure romance book and I'm OK with romance in other genres as long as it's handled realistically and feels like genuine emotion. I recently did Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami which was pitched as a romance (to me it seemed more like a book that explored death and mental illness, but whatever) and was really emotionally powerful. The characters were very realistic and it was filled with many complex emotions and powerful symbolism and imagery. It was also an adult book, so it was allowed to get into detail about topics normally avoided in YA (for example, nobody in YA ever masturbates). In the end I loved Norwegian Wood and if you want to give another romance a go (even though, as I said, it is way more than just a romance), I'd highly recommend.

    1. I do love books about 'heavier' topics, so I'll add this to my list! Thanks for the recommendation. :)

  3. I haven't read The Selection series... but what do you think of Shatter Me series? It has romance side too


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