Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Do You Hate Insta-Love?

Do you hate insta-love, the YA phenomenon where two characters meet and then declare their everlasting love for each other only a few pages or chapters later?

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.


  1. Good post, Becca. I am not a fan of insta-love either. I would rather see a slow building of actual feelings or even two people who hate at other at first. At least that way, you get to experience their growth.

  2. Definitely, there should be growth :) Relationships are messy and hard, and I wish we got to see more of that.

  3. Yes I agree. While I'm a huge fan of the biggest Insta-Love story in history (Romeo & Juliet), I do get sick of stories without consequences - R&J definitely had consequences for their actions!

  4. Your comments about insta-love made me think, as I'm not a fan of it either. It does seem very much in books that they're in love within a couple of chapters, and that's that. However, it's true that a crush is like that, and can encompass your whole world for a while when you're a teen.

  5. Yes, Cally, that's what I love about R&J! It isn't just a fluffy love story, it's about human nature.

  6. I think as a teen, I expected love = happily ever after. So reading stories about it only reinforced the idea in my head. I was a pretty naive kid though. Now I enjoy a slow burn with a big finish. I love the little moments that help to build the relationship.