Saturday, January 5, 2013

Romance Overload

When was the last time you read a book that was romance free? When I asked myself that question I had to look back quite a ways. In 2012, of the books I read for enjoyment, only 4 did not include romance.

I think this is just insane. I really like YA romance novels, but when I really start to think about it I start to realize how much romance really plays into books today. It seems like today we are experiencing a romance overload.  I'm not sure what to think about all the love stories out there.

There are all sorts of kinds of romance books out in the YA community. There are the traditional romance novels that center on the relationships. There are stories that focus on something else but have romance on the side (lots of these). And finally there are love triangles and insta-love, both of which are becoming pet-peeves in the bookish community. And these are only the example that I can think of, I'm sure there are more out there.

Now, don't think I don't like romance. I love romance stories, but I REALLY like it when a story is good without there being romance involved. One good example of this is Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, there is no romance in that book at all and it is phenomenal.

Some books that do well romance free, I think, can be good for teens to experience because they can give examples of how people can be strong and independent individuals without the need to have a romantic partner in their life.

I really think something what hooks people to some books is the romance (me included), and if it weren't for that relationship, the book would really not be all that interesting. Of course, that is only if the book isn't romance centered, but I think you've got the idea.

This really is a complicated subject. I'd love to know your feelings, and I'm curious to find out how many books you read for enjoyment in 2012 that did not include a romance factor.


  1. You are so, so right about everything you said. It seems that authors are scared, almost, to write a book without romance, because they are scared no one wound read it. I am sure I hardly read any books with no romance in 2012, but I would definitely love to see an author focus on something else.
    My biggest problem with this is how unrealistic it can be. My life is completely romance-free right now, and when that changes, it's not going to be as magical as it is in YA books. It seems like all stories end in a couple having the perfect kiss while fireworks go off and then they live happily ever after, and that's just not the way most real relationships are.
    That said, reading about romance can be an entertaining, swoon-inducing activity, and, when done well (i.e. no insta-love) it can be fabulous.

  2. I love this post. Looking back, i think the reason the Harry Potter series did so well was because it focused on friendships and growing up and there was just a splash of romance here and there. It's true though. Pretty much every book I've read this past year was centered around insta love and romance. I never really thought about it though.

  3. This is such a FABULOUS discussion, Erika, and I was actually thinking about this recently! One of my favorite series ever, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, is super popular and teens everywhere LOVE it. It has an appeal to middle grade, YA, AND adults, simply because of the fact it has no romance in it whatsoever. It instead focuses on sibling relationships, which is extremely important and more relevant than romance in today's community. Not only that, but almost my entire circle of friends at school don't have a boyfriend/girlfriend. It's actually realistic to NOT have a boy/girlfriend, because of the sheer number of kids that don't have one. That stuff mainly comes along in college, and while I do appreciate a well written romance, it's just not realistic for every single book to have a romance in the YA genre.

    Fantastic discussion, Erika! I totally agree with everything you've said, and I definitely think there should be more romance free YA books.

  4. This is a great discussion! I have to admit, I'm a pretty big fan of romance, but it definitely does not need to be in every YA book. I feel like if I want to read a romance, then that's the kind of book that I'll look for. But if I'm not in the mood to read a book centered on romance, then I'd like the opportunity to do that. I don't like how every single book I read bombards me with this relationship that I never actually wanted to read.

    Romance is a good genre, and it should of course still be written. I love reading it. But the fact that such a huge percentage of YA books focus heavily on romance seems unnecessary. Also, like Aneeqah said, it's often extremely unrealistic. As a teenager in high school, it definitely seems to be a lot more common to not be in a relationship.

    Personally, I really like the books that don't have a ROMANCE, but they do have relationships. You know, it's not so much true-love-conquers-all-blah-blah-blah but actual, realistic relationships that aren't always healthy. It is normal for some teenagers to be in relationships, but it's often not a swoony romance. It's You get these situations in the darker contemporary books that deal with a lot of issues as opposed to the light, romantic ones.

    This is a topic I could go on and on about. :) But I definitely agree with you--we need more YA books that have no romance in them!


  5. Erika, I don't think I've ever read any discussion post on romance overload! This is a great post. I totally agree with you, literally every YA book has romance in it. Personally, I love it. I'm a total romance junkie when it comes to books. :) I usually have a hard time enjoying a book when there IS no romance.. :O I think I'll have to check out Eon, and see what I think of it myself. Thanks for this awesome post, Erika!

  6. Wow, this was really eye opening! I do like books with romance in them and I tend to read contemporary YA (which is full of romance!) more often. However, when I looked back at the books I had read, many which were not contemporary also included romance. As I mentioned, I do love books with romance but I think this is getting a bit much. Not every book NEEDS to have romance.

    This post was awesome! :)

  7. I never really thought about it like that, but you're so right! Romance is my favorite genre so I guess it doesn't really stick out. Sometimes when I'm not in the mood for a romance I'd go for some more action/adventure YA with romance as a side story and not the focus, but it's usually fantasy books where I find the most lack of romance, but when I read fantasy books I always wish for more romance. It's really a catch-22. I can't get rid of romance in my books cuz otherwise I'd be bored. Guess it's good for me lol

    Ning @ DABR

  8. Completely agree with this! That's why, unless it's under the Romance category, I want to read books that give you bits and pieces of everything. That's the way I try to write my books, and really, its usually more fun when it's understated. Then you get to go binge on some quick lovey dovey read lol