books

Bookish Perspectives: Romance

I don’t mind a bit of romance in my books. In the current YA market, it is almost requisite for books to have romance. I don’t think this is realistic, because I and most of the people my age who I know do not have any serious romantic relationships, and I really wish that there were more friendships. Romance that is awesome and fun and makes sense is okay, but the worst is when it’s romance for the sake of romance, especially in books like the Splintered series by A.G Howard.

-Shanti

bookish perspectives

There are a lot of things I like about the Splintered books- the wild Wonderland, the magic the powerful female characters-but I thought that the romance was 100% unnecessary. Before we get on to the main discussion, I’m going to show you this signed UnHinged card that I won in a competition. AG Howard seems like a really cool writer, and this is the first autographed thing I’ve ever gotten !

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I get why love triangles are written. And occasionally they’re written really well, like in the Infernal Devices, which worked out well. (SPOILER: This love triangle ends up in a similar way) But Alyssa didn’t need romance. She was had awesome magical powers, she could skateboard and make mosaics, but the romance in this book was written (I feel like) just for the sake of having romance, because all teenager books have romance so this one should too, right.

Love triangles are pretty common in books and very, very uncommon outside of books (at least in my experience). I get why they’re attractive- in the Hunger Games, Katniss has to choose between dark and dangerous Will, and friendly and forgiving Peeta; in the Infernal Devices Tessa has to choose between reckless angry Will and sweet an loving Jem (though both of these characters have dark and cuddly sides as well) and in The Selection America has to choose between someone totally different to her- Maxon and someone who is her home- Aspen. In short, love triangles represent two different sides of the heroine- the one which longs for safety and the one which longs for danger and adventure. (It’s a book so adventure is usually gonna win out at some point) In Splintered, Morpheus is the dark past and dangerous one while Jeb is the sweet and loving one.

But why is romantic love always at the centre of love triangles? I feel strongly for my friends and I have been torn between them at times. Why do heroines need to turn into indecisive idiots whenever a (inevitably good looking) boy steps into the picture? (This is particularly noticeable in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but most heroines encounter this at some point) I love Alyssa, and her courage and willingness to fight for Wonderland was enchanting. The books setting and struggles was very believable, but the romance was not. The romance was a fun aside that had no relevance to anything, made the heroine weaker (I don’t think that love makes you weak- I’m just saying that it’s often portrayed that way) in terms of decision making and was not real.

How do you feel about romance in books? Have you read Splintered, and if so, was the romance unnecessary? And I’m planning to do a Question of Fiction or if YA characters went to highschool later this week, so ideas for characters are welcome!

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10 thoughts on “Bookish Perspectives: Romance

  1. *Whispers* I actually hate the love triangle in The Infernal Devices. AND Splintered. Don’t get me wrong, I think they are well written, but the whole concept of love triangles as anything more than a plot device is flawed. You cannot be in love with two people. If you are, then you’re in lust, not love. (I know that’s a bit black and white, but I really don’t think love – real love – can go three ways). I’d have preferred it if Alyssa had either chosen Morpheus OR Jeb, or – preferably – herself. She’s seventeen. She doesn’t need to be in love right away. It’s unrealistic and sets disappointment in the minds of idealistic, romantic teens.
    Sorry for the rant… I’m a BIG believer in healthy romance in YA novels. Not twisted, juicy versions.
    Beth x
    http://www.thequietpeople.com

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    1. Yes, I don’t mind the love triangle but I hate that its a) so central to the plot, b) so central to the character development. In Ensnared in particular I found that the romance made up the plot and just… ugh. CHOOSING HERSELF- what all YA heroines should do all the time . It’s not about the kissing, or the choosing, its about wonderland *agrees whole heartedly (just to be clear I like how the love triangle tied up- if it;s gonna be about choosing, at least the choosing never ends) Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Beth!

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  2. *hides* WELL I KINDA LOVED THE ROMANCE IN SPLINTERED. hehe. I do agree that romance isn’t always necessary though, but I feel like a good test is…if you took the romance out, could the story still work? And for Splintered…I really think it couldn’t. So much hinges on their relationships and Alyssa’s character development and choices. But, like, for instance, while I love Tris and Four I don’t think their romance was always very poignant for the plot. *shrugs* I think it can come down to personal preference a lot too. SO YEAH. It’s a tricky one.
    Congrats on winning that signed bookmark! So lucky. 😉
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

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    1. Yeah, it was the first giveaway I’d won. I liked the romance too, but I didn’t think that for what it was expressing- Alyssa’s being torn between Wonderland and Earth- it needed to be there in such a large amount. But there were a lot of other things that I liked about the story- the morality, the character development, the world, so while I think it’s worth discussing I don’t think that romance shouldn’t be there. So there’s that.

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  3. ajlksdjlk SO JEALOUS OF THAT CARD. MUCH PRETTY.

    I haven’t read this book, but the idea of a platonic love triangle is absolutely fabulous. And I really love how you analysed love triangles as representations of different parts of yourself — which half you choose to embrace. Fantastic post!

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    1. Thanks! I sort of wrote it in a hurry. I’ll ship people with the best of them, but I don’t think that romance is (necessarily) the most central relationship of someones life particularly for teenagers and I wish that book would represent it

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  4. Hm, I’m afraid I haven’t read any of these books. 😛 I think romance in books is okay, but in general, I don’t think it’s as good as it could be!

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  5. I totally get what you mean! Especially about Daughter of Smoke and Bone. And the Infernal Devices is the best love triangle and is adorable.

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