I’m about to say something that’ll make me sound like a horrible, blasphemous, cynical monster. Ready?
Often, my favorite YA romances aren’t the Happily Ever Afters—they’re the ones that run their course and end up falling apart.
I’m not talking about tragic love stories, where one of the characters dies or the two lovers are separated by obstacles beyond their control. I’m talking about the stories where two people get together, discover they’re not right for each other, and learn things from that failure. The Happily Ever After (or Happily for Now) absolutely has its place—those stories are really satisfying to read, and they give us lots of hope, which I think is important. But it bothers me that nearly every YA book I come across focuses on the beginnings of relationships without ever exploring the more difficult middles or ends, where most of the work takes place. So many people learn about relationships by reading, and I kind of feel like we’re dropping teens at the tops of beautiful, scenic overlooks and then bailing before we tell them how to climb down or get home. [Read more…]