I know I hate it. But this post over on YA Highway made me think a bit.
Teenagers do stupid things. Being a teen is all about experience crazy emotions -- from ecstatic happiness to lowest-of-the-low depression. And insta-love is a part of that. When you were a teen, how many times did you get crushes on guys/girls just because they were hot? All the time, right? That's what a crush is when you're that age. Usually those crushes fizzle out fast, and you're on to a new one the next week. I still get crushes like this.
So many insta-love isn't that far from reality. Sure, my crush-at-first-sight experiences all ended in heartbreak, but maybe some everlasting love has really been forged out of a single look.
The issue I still have with insta-love, though, is that YA characters never see any consequences for their sometimes rash actions. In the real world, if you go ahead and declare your feelings to that cute upperclassman you've been talking to... chances are it's going to end in heartbreak, a few days of tears, and then a swearing-off of love forever. It's going to hurt.
It never hurts YA protagonists. They never get to a point where they think, "Wow, it was pretty silly to believe I'd actually fallen in love with this person. We're totally not going to be together forever."
YA romance is full of happily ever afters, and not enough growing-up moments.