Do you love YA? I do! And today we’re visiting with Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon co-authors of Doon – an I-can’t-wait-to-read-this YA book! Welcome!
Romance has become an almost required thread in every young adult novel. At times, it feels as if it’s forced into the story as an afterthought. But romance in YA, like in life, is a vital part of the teenage journey into adulthood. Today we’d like to discuss YA romance as its own unique sub-genre.
What is YA Romance?
YA Romance are those stories in which the main plot centers on the love story—just as in traditional adult romance. But YA romance does have some exceptional characteristics which distinguish it from adult romance, outside of the fact that the main characters are teens.
Trends in YA Romance
a) It’s all about the all-consuming first love experience. As writers it can be a fun challenge to go back to the time when infatuation begins with one look. When you’re so desperate for the boy of your dreams to notice you that it’s like a physical pain. In YA romance we explore a time before bills, parenting issues, and exhaustion, and enter a world of boundless freedoms.
b) Not Happily Ever After. In YA romance we don’t get the HEA, but HEA for now. The relationships typically do not culminate in marriage or even engagement. Do the characters believe they’re meant for one another and that they will be together forever? Absolutely. But with so much of their lives stretching before them, we don’t need to see the white picket fence, 2.5 kids and a Labrador Retriever. Nor would we want to. The end of a YA Romance is about the infinite possibilities.
c) YA Romance is about the “And”. In teen romance, there’s almost always another component that is just as important as the relationship. Some examples:
ROMANCE & Succeeding in a Male Dominated Sport
ROMANCE & Overcoming Destructive Patterns
ROMANCE & Challenging Parents and Deeply Held Beliefs
ROMANCE & Choosing Your Destiny
d) The Strong Female Protagonist. YA romance isn’t about the damsel in distress. When writing our YA novel, DOON, we were very conscious of the fact that teens are seekers. And that they would be looking to our characters as examples of who they themselves would choose to become. So, although DOON is a modern day fairytale, we turned the tropes on their head and make our protagonist the hero of her own story.
e) Complementing vs. Completing. Another positive trend in YA romance is that the relationship is more about the individuals complementing one another vs. the traditional mentality of completing one another. Many stories explore the possibilities of a “soul mate”, but not as a forgone conclusion. “Soul mates” can be brought together through supernatural circumstances or by chance, while maintaining each character’s will and individuality.
f) Best friends play an important role. Friends often play an equally important role in the protagonist’s journey as the love interest. Teens are heavily influenced by their friends so portraying this vital relationship in a positive and healthy way can be an excellent detour from the trend of the “frienemy” that has been prevalent in YA literary for so many years.
So the next time you sit down to read, or write YA romance, remember this genre is about discovering the world by being brave enough to take that first uncertain journey of the heart.
What are some of your favorite YA Romances?
Join us on Wednesday for The Making of an Accidental Author with Adite Banerjie
Veronica doesn’t think she’s going crazy. But why can’t anyone else see the mysterious blond boy who keeps popping up wherever she goes?
When her best friend, Mackenna, invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Veronica jumps at the opportunity to leave her complicated life behind for a few months. But the Scottish countryside holds other plans. Not only has the imaginary kilted boy followed her to Alloway, she and Mackenna uncover a strange set of rings and a very unnerving letter from Mackenna’s great aunt—and when the girls test the instructions Aunt Gracie left behind, they find themselves transported to a land that defies explanation.
Doon seems like a real-life fairy tale, complete with one prince who has eyes for Mackenna and another who looks suspiciously like the boy from Veronica’s daydreams. But Doon has a dark underbelly as well. The two girls could have everything they’ve longed for… or they could end up breaking an enchantment and find themselves trapped in a world that has become a nightmare.
Carey Corp lives in the metropolitan Midwest with her loveable yet out-of-control family. Carey wrote her first book at the age of seven, and currently begins each morning consuming copious amounts of coffee while weaving stories that capture her exhaustive imagination. She harbors a voracious passion (in no consistent order) for mohawks, Italy, musical theater, chocolate, and Jane Austen. Carey’s debut novel for teens, The Halo Chronicles: The Guardian, earned her national recognition as 2010 Golden Heart finalist for best young adult fiction and was recently featured at the 2012 RT Booklovers Convention in Chicago in YA Alley.
Lorie Langdon has over ten years of experience writing online and print advertising for a Fortune 500 company, and left her thriving corporate career to satisfy the voices in her head. Now as a full-time author and stay-at-home mom, she spends her summers editing poolside while dodging automatic water-gun fire, and the rest of the year tucked into her cozy office, Havanese puppy by her side, working to translate her effusive imagination into the written word and continue to build the young-adult-focused blog, HonestlyYA.
- Weekly Lecture Schedule September 9-13
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- Trish Milburn on Setting as Character
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- In His Shoes: Race and Gender in Romance by Wayne Jordan