I love young adult fiction. With wondrous tales of fantasy, science fiction, love and the paranormal, young adult fiction offers the most bang for your buck. I thrilled to The Hunger Games trilogy, fell in love with love while reading Anna and the French Kiss and dreamt of becoming a wizard while reading the Harry Potter series. Though I am well past the age of most protagonists in young adult novels, I still find these coming of ages tales the most exhilarating books to read.
Having said that however, young adults books are far from perfect. Many novels in this category are riddled with cliches. So, I thought it would be interesting to write a series of blogs about annoying cliches in young adult novels starting with instalove.
For those who are not familiar with the term, instalove refers to characters who fall in love the instant they meet without any foundation for their relationship. These couples are often attracted to one another physically. Think Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare’s popular play. Instalove is, to me, distracting and annoying to read. When I read a book, I want to see the characters fall in love. I want them to build a friendship first before taking the plunge into a romantic relationship.
So I am going to write about five couples in young adult literature and talk about what makes them fall into the category of instalove.
5. Nico DiAngelo and Will Solace- The Blood Of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Okay, so I don’t hate this couple per say. I just hate how rushed their relationship was. When I started reading The Blood of Olympus, the fifth and final book in The Heroes of Olympus series, I had high expectations. I thought Riordan did a fantastic job building the world and the characters in this Percy Jackson spinoff, especially Nico DiAngelo. He had a minor role in the Percy Jackson series. So when I found out that we would be seeing things from Nico’s point of view in The Blood of Olympus, I was ecstatic. Nico had a tragic backstory. After losing his sister and mother and being isolated from campers at Camp Halfblood due to being the son of Hades, Nico unwittingly falls in love with Percy Jackson. Nico spends most of the Percy Jackson series and the majority of The Heroes of Olympus series trying to suppress these taboo feelings. It isn’t until the fourth book in the Olympus series, The House of Hades, that Nico’s secret was revealed.
In The Blood of Olympus, I expected Riordan to confront this issue. However, instead of having Nico talk to Percy about his feelings, we are treated to a conversation that lasts only a few sentences in which Percy is clueless the entire time. I wanted Nico to be happy, that’s why I either wanted him to have a real conversation and make peace with Percy and his feelings or find someone else. And he did find someone else, but Will Solace, though a great guy, is an underdeveloped character who was shoehorned into the end of the book just for the purpose of being Nico’s love interest.
Will made his fist appearance in The Last Olympian, the final book in the first Percy Jackson series. He then appeared in The Lost Hero, but both parts were so small that when he appeared in The Blood of Olympus, I forgot who he was. Again, I am not opposed to this couple, I like them, but the moment Nico met Will, it was obvious they had a connection. I wish there was more development with his couple.
4. Will Cooper and Layken Cohen- Slammed by Colleen Hoover
So, just like Will and Nico, this is a couple that I like. I think they are cute together…the few times we actually see them together. After meeting each other in the street and enjoying a spectacular first date at a slam poetry reading, Will and Layken immediately fall in love. However, once it is revealed that Will is Lake’s teacher, the couple has to end their relationship before it even began. I would have been more on board with his couple if we saw more than one date. Sure, there were some moments during the course of the novel where they bonded, but opposing forces were always pulling them apart, making it nearly impossible for them to do anything other than make out and fight. I liked the book and intend on reading the sequels, but I didn’t buy that Will and Lake were in love enough to move in together at the end and raise their brothers.
3. Jason Grace and Piper McLean- The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
Oops…Rick did it again. Jason and Piper, what can I say about them? They are cute together, but that’s about it. Unlike Nico and Will however, I cannot stand this couple. There is no substance to them. Every time Piper talks about Jason, she comments on his looks. Their whole relationship was based on a fake memory and they do little to make new ones of their own.
2. Tris Prior and Tobias “Four” Eaton- The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth
I had such high hopes for The Divergent Trilogy. I really enjoyed the first book, and Insurgent was okay but Allegiant…I have nothing good to say about that book. Tris and Four’s relationship suffered from a serious case of instalove. They fell for each other the moment they met and, just like in Slammed, they spent most of their time making out rather than forging a connection. This leads to the problems they experience in books 2 and 3, where they lie and argue all the time. There is no growth or development in their relationship, which I think is a result of instalove.
1. Bella Swan and Edward Cullen- The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
Okay, so I haven’t actually read these books, but I have seen the movies and can tell you right now that Bella and Edward define instalove. In fact, Bella is so infatuated by Edward that she forsakes her friends, alienates her family, gets married and has a baby all at the age of 18. From what I have seen in the movies, there is no foundation to their relationship. She thinks he’s handsome, and he can’t stay away from her. That does not make a relationship.
Young adult fiction is, for the most part, fantastic and fun to read. As an aspiring young adult author myself, I find it is important to study both the merits of this category and the cliches. Instalove is lazy writing, a pitfall I will do everything in my power to avoid.
Do you like instalove? Is there an instalove couple you just can’t stand? Drop me a comment below.
Stay tuned for the second installment of YA Cliches next week.