September 24, 2010

Guest Post: YA Romance & Sonnet

Tiger from All Consuming Books has decided to write a sonnet and give us an idea on what makes her heart beat faster in YA literature. 

Sonnet: A Cynic Goes Romantic

“Times past, I've grouched and grumbled over love
in fiction, whined about half-baked romance,
and played the cynic, like I was above
being pleased. But really, I'm entranced
by good love stories, totally fulfilled
each time I read convincing chemistry.
I smile at every tender secret spilled
and laugh at snappy dialogue. That's me:
secretly craving happy-ever-afters,
cause what's more satisfying as a reader
than seeing a couple avoid disaster
and find true love? There's nothing sweeter.
“I-love-yous” especially make my day
when they're found in my favorite genre: YA.

Yup, I complain about romance a lot, or at least I feel that I do. I'm quick to point out when I think that a fictional couple falls in love too quickly or has unrealistic dialogue, but that's due in part to my being hardcore invested in love stories: I want to feel the love, and I want to be made happy. Here are a few romantic tropes in YA that never fail to make my readerly heart go pitter-patter.

1. Guy physically saves girl. He definitely doesn't need to do this all the time, but whether he's saving her from muggers, school bullies, or rogue vampires, I love a hero who uses his strength to protect the one he loves.

2. Girl emotionally saves guy. If her acceptance and support give him the courage he needs to accomplish some big task, get over his tragic past, or forgive himself for something he's done, my heart is warmed when the girl's sweetness helps the guy overcome issues he couldn't have managed alone.

3. Girl and guy work toward a mutual goal. Rebuilding a car engine, working on an English essay, bringing down a demon lord—it's all good. It gives me a sense of how they'll work as a couple when they're combining their energies to bring about some positive goal.

4. Humor. Are they capable of laughing at themselves? Are they always trading witty barbs or off-the-cuff jokes? They've already won me over. If they're funny, they are entertaining and accessible.

5. They resist the attraction. Love needs complications. Maybe one of them already has a significant other, maybe they're from different social stratas or belong to different paranormal species, but whatever their reasons are, I find romances all the more enjoyable when they fight it a bit, initially.

6. Sacrifice. When they say “I love you,” I can tell they mean more than attraction or obsession when they actually put the other person's safety and well-being ahead of their own. It's a beautiful thing to see.

These are some of my most-loved elements that make for a perfectly pleasing romantic YA. What are some of your favorites? Are you naturally a cynical or romantic reader, and have your views changed over time?

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