My Biggest Pet Peeve with YA Fiction

Everyone enjoys a good story, and everyone is different. My preferences for the books I read may be different than yours. Just because I do not like something doesn't mean that I am secretly judging you for liking it. :)
This is what I'm not doing.
Picture this, you're reading a book about an epic quest or a troubled orphan or even a nuclear attack by invading aliens. The action is spot on, the dialogue is funny but has a dark edge to it, and the characters are super relatable! Then all of a sudden, two characters make eye contact and lo and behold, you realize, they have feelings for each other! That's all fine and dandy. If you like the two characters together you might smile, if you don't like them, you might roll your eyes and wish that they were with so-and-so.
From that point on, every scene has a flirtatious feel to it, the dialogue barely conceals the passion and romance, and every piece of ingenious description is now turned into romantic fluff such as 'the day seemed especially beautiful to Jane, the world was buzzing with happiness'. Just like that, a switch has been flipped. The cover reads 'Good Book', and the synopsis boasts of moral dilemmas, themes that leave you thinking, and a stunning cast of characters, but instead it should read 'It starts out as sci-fi/fantasy/action/adventure with a romantic subplot, but halfway through the book I changed my mind and made it a romance with a subplot of action/adventure/fantasy/sci-fi.'

I have found many a book that is wonderfully written, but then takes a turn for the worse. The example above may be an extreme case, but my point still stands. If you want your book to have wonderful squishy moments, that's fine. If you want your book to be full of squishy, marshmallow fluff scenes, that's fine, but don't say one thing and deliver another. It disappoints readers, and makes them question your characters, your plot, and your writing ethics.

A few books that give an example of good romantic subplot are:
In the books there is a romantic interest for Kendra. She is a normal teenage girl, of course she's going to have some thoughts towards things like that, but just like a normal teenage girl, she doesn't let this consume her. She has real thoughts and worries and things to do before she can obsess over what the dreamiest thing her crush has ever said to her was. And one of the most refreshing things about this romantic sub-plot is that they both go about it in an extremely mature manner. They don't romanticize it, they realize that they have feelings for each other, but they also realize that they are in the real world, and that to make a real relationship happen, they need to both grow in maturity (and age) first.
-The Unwanteds: Island of Fire
This romantic subplot is dealt with much less maturely, what with the MC being unsure about some things and still trying to figure out his role as a leader, but his teenage angst and unsurety about his feelings doesn't dominate the story.
-The Sisters Grimm
This romantic subplot is one of my favorites. The two are at first horrified that they are attracted to each other, and they refuse to have any mature conversations about it. When one of them sees the future, she is surprised to find that it is the very thing she was horrified about. In the end, it's hilarious and fits the tone of the story very well without overcoming the story.

Anywho, that's all I have to say.
What's your biggest pet peeve when it comes to YA Fiction? Do you prefer fluff or action? Or do you like action-y fluff? (shh, it exists)



  1. My pet peeve is when the girl is incredibly boring when she's not with her boyfriend. That is really annoying :/

    I'll see if I can check out those books you recommended :)

    1. TRUUUUE!

      And YAY! I hope you like them! :)

  2. THE UNWANTEDS. Those books are so good :D. (love your new design!)

    ~ Savannah

    1. RIGHT?! I adore those books. Aw, thanks! :)

  3. I'm tired of people falling in love with their mentors. That's all I can think of right now.

    1. Same. Once or twice? Fine. But every young heroine who is trained by a dashing young man? *rolls eyes*

    2. And what numbskulls are allowing these dashing young men to mentor/train all these impressionable young women, anyway?

  4. This is one of my pet-peeves too! It's also really prevalent on the show Once Upon A Time. A lot of the grown-up characters are typically peasants end up falling for princes just by meeting them for five minutes. The show heavily follows typical fairytale tropes, and some couples have actual deep relationship after initially falling in love, but anytime two characters meet and look at each other for a minute, inevitably a romance ensues.

    1. Right? As much as I love OUAT, it is too focused on the unrealistic romance without enough focus on the characters themselves.


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