Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Is Romance Necessary?

February 10th, 2011 by Debbie's World of Books

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I thought why not discuss love and romance in our reading.

I don’t know if this is a new trend or just something I have not really noticed until recently but it seems like every YA book I read has some sort of romance in it even if it’s not necessary to the overall story line. I am a romantic and I love seeing two people fall in love and over come what seem like insurmountable obstacles to be together. BUT I do not like when a romance is tossed in for the sake of there being a romance.  Sometimes I wonder if authors put those in there because they really feel like helps the story along or if they feel that these days you just need to have one.

One example is from a book I recently read and loved, Across the Universe by Beth Revis.  One of the things mentioned in the synopsis is about Amy falling in love with Elder.  So I was expecting this budding romance to play a large part in the story.  So I was a little surprised at how tepid the romance was.  I really did not feel the chemistry between the two and I did not feel like there had to be a romance between the two to make this story a good one.  I could see Elder become fascinated by Amy because she was so different but I did not really feel like there was too much of a basis for them to fall in love.  I even think it might have worked out better if they just became best friends.

Of course there are other books that revolves around the romance and I love them but I really don’t think every book needs some sort of romantic element to be successful.

What do you think about romances in YA books?  Do you think there is a rising trend that a book needs a romance?  Do you think there are any books that could have done without a romance in it?

Posted in Books

13 Responses

  1. Jo

    I’ve always thought you can find romance in many books, even if the genre doesn’t call for it … and not just recently. In fact, I’ve kind of looked for it for years now. Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mysteries, Romance, itself of course… they tend to have a touch of romance in them even when others scoff at romance books.

    That being said, no I’m not a big fan of the way more recent YA books have romance shoved in them. Particularly since they so often have “two love interests – which ever shall they choose?” thing going on. I was more of a fan of the quite romance that was just found in general (and not necessarily by the main characters).

  2. Jo

    Oh, I meant to add westerns. You can find romance in westerns too. =)

  3. dsuzuki

    Yes, I know many books have in the past but especially in YA I feel like now it’s a must have. I’m dating myself but books like Sweet Valley High had them falling in love & breaking up but the main idea of the series was about the sisters, their friendships and problems they face. Not would they end up with their one and only love.

  4. cecilia

    Wow, hard question! I have a romantic, I’ll have to admit, and I actually do appreciate a little romance thrown into the story – and I might even expect just a teensy bit! Now if it’s not a well-written romantic entanglement, then I would prefer to go without. I haven’t read Across The Universe, so I can’t really respond to that.

    Also, I don’t like the “perfect” romance – I like the girl and boy to butt heads, exchange snarky comments, etc. :) I’m seeing a lot of love triangles recently, especially with the 3rd wheel being pretty awesome/decent but still doesn’t get the girl.

    Excellent question! :)

  5. dsuzuki

    I agree I prefer the romances where they have to work at it rather than the “perfect” romance. Perfect can be just a little too boring sometimes. lol.

  6. dsuzuki

    In regards to the love triangle where it’s not quite so clear who the girl should end up with I also think that is on the rise. I kind of like it because it keeps you wondering who will she end up with? I even started a sporadic Who Would You Pick? feature in which readers can pick which guy they would have gone with.

  7. Carol

    Let’s face it, as teenagers one of the things we are thinking about all the time is our boyfriend/girlfriend, and if we don’t have one we’re daydreaming over our latest crush. Reading about romance in YA books is about as natural as breathing. I just wish that not all the guys were gorgeous and the girls beautiful. Those stories with more natural heroines and heroes are my favs. The triangles, I think that’s just wishful thinking!

  8. dsuzuki

    That’s true. I wonder if that’s one reason more teen girls read than teen boys? The romance reels them in.

  9. Tea and Tomes

    I always say that I like my plot with a side of romance and not romance with a side of plot. If the entire novel is about two people getting together, and there’s a flimsy attempt at putting some some sort of obstacle in there to keep them apart, then meh, I’ll pass. But if there’s a touch of romance that is a subplot to the main plot, or even just given a passing glance, then I’m far more interested.

    Best example I can think of right now is Kelley Armstrong’s “Darkest Powers” trilogy. The main character’s 15 and in a situation involving her paranormal abilities coming out. Lots of authors would use this as an excuse to get her to hook up with one character or another for comfort, for support, for the sake of pairing people off. But I’m halfway through the third book and really only now is she starting to consider an interest in somebody, because her life has been more preoccupied with learning to control her powers and to avoid getting killed than with making out and looking pretty. I like how it’s handled. It’s realistic, and it doesn’t have all the emphasis on pairing off just for the sake of pairing off. It’s something other authors could do well to emulate, really.

  10. dsuzuki

    I’ll have to check out that series. I read the first book awhile back but haven’t read book 2 yet.

  11. Pam

    I just learned something today from Joyce Carol Oates. Did you guys know what a ‘shipper’ is? LOL. I had to ask which made me feel stupid, but apparently ‘shipping’ or ‘to ship’ is to pick a story like The Vampire Diaries and fiercely give a damn about the relationship and the outcome like Delena or Stelena. Weirdness. I don’t need romance look at Plain Kate. I loved that book without it.

  12. dsuzuki

    I’m glad Plain Kate didn’t give in and do the romance. For awhile I was afraid she was going to go down that route but pulled back at the last minute.

  13. Michelle

    I’m a fan of the romantic element! Even if it’s superfulous to the plot. However, I want it to be relevant in some way and well done. I don’t want tepid or annoying but I do like having something that can draw you out of the angst or provide a little variety.

    I wonder if it’s more common in series as opposed to standalone books? The romantic part of it all hooks readers in and gives them something to invest in, to see thorugh the plot over a course of books and time.

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