I like romance novels. When I have time to fit in books that aren’t young adult books, romance tops the list. Well, along with mystery. And non-fiction.
I have to admit, I am very particular about romances. About what is called a “romance.”
What I want is simple: couple meet, stuff happens, happy ending.
I’m not a fan of things that make either part of the couple look stupid or shallow. So, I’m pretty particular about how current or ex boyfriends or girlfriends are depicted, not because of “oh, don’t like cheating” but more because it’s almost impossible for me to read about a horrible partner and not judge the person for not realizing it and moving on.
I’m also not a fan of first love, true love. But, weirdly enough, I am a fan of the “woman moves back to her home town after years away” storyline.
Most important to me, though, is two characters I like and respect and want to see together; a plot that makes sense; and a happy ending.
For a romance, to me, that means only one thing: the couple are together at the end of the book. I don’t need to see marriage and/or babies; but I don’t want to see death and break-ups. End it in death or the couple not together, and what I see is a contemporary book with romantic elements, but NOT a romance. And if someone recommended such a book to me when I asked for a romance, I’d throw the book at them when I got to the end.
Which brings us to teen books and teen readers.
Is a romance for teens different than a romance for adults?
I say that while librarians or publishers say yes, teens say no.
I read romance in high school. Typically, Harlequins, but other ones, also. In the library, frequently, I see teen readers read adult romance. Sometimes I wonder if part of the reason is the lack of happy endings in books that are called teen romances.
Now, I get that a teen romance is not going to have a “happy ever after, marriage and babies” ending. Honestly? I wouldn’t want that, the idea that the teen romance is the One True Love. (See note above about First Love, True Love.) But, on the other hand, to call a book a romance and have the couple not be together at the end — a Happy For Now — annoys me to no end, because I believe, a thousand percent, that when a teen wants romance that includes the couple being together, still, at the end of the book.
So, what do you think?
Does a teen romance have to have the couple together at the end of the book?
What is your favorite teen romance to recommend to readers?
And what title have you seen recommended that leaves you scratching your head, wondering, “does the person suggesting that even know what a romance is?”
Oh, as for favorite teen romance? Right now, I’d have to go with Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.
As for head scratcher: in looking up various lists, I saw Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher come up as a “Love & Romance” book. Admittedly, it was on Amazon. But still. No, just no. I’d say that such online store lists are a reason why librarians will still be in business, but I’ve seen some weird recs on library listservs so librarians aren’t always better.