I don’t think that I have ever done one of these before, but I wanted to talk about people’s reactions to insta-love / insta-romances in teen and YA fiction. As someone who left the further education (A levels) a few months ago, I feel like have more interaction with the teenagers of today than most other book bloggers that I see in the community. I wanted to give my two cents on the topic, but don’t want anyone to think that this is a direct attack on them.
What is Instalove?
1: When someone who just meets you thinks that you are their soulmate and they want to spend the rest of their lives with you and have kids with you. Usually you don’t feel that same about them. After your first date with someone they are already talking about marriage. that’s how you know they instalove you.
2: A male or female who thinks they have fallen in love with someone and that person is in love with them just because they got a glance, a smile or some small interaction in the minutest sense.
What’s the Problem?
Many people see insta-romances as things that are unrealistic in the real world, and mark a bad relationship between two characters, with little character development in their relationship, because they meet and instantly fall in love. The relationship between the two characters is often quite central to the main plot of the book, so the author in the name of pacing, has the time between the characters first meeting and them being in love with each other/ in a relationship being quite short.
What do I think?
I think that these insta-romances are actually quite realistic. For starters in YA books, the characters are teens. They don’t have to make good relationship decisions, they just feel the need to make them. Having had friends who fell in love with someone without having a conversation with them (or even knowing their name). The relationships didn’t last particularly long, but you could fit the plot of most YA novels into that time, several times over. Teens do do this, and more often then people would like to admit.
In addition to this, the plot of the novel will have an effect on the relationship. If my friends can stick it out with people who are not right for them for months when they have nothing else going on in their lives, imagine how easy it would be to do the same if your world is falling apart (either metaphorically or literally). The romance in these books (or at least the SciFi, fantasy and dystopia that I read) is the subplot, so will also not be the main focus of the character’s lives. With things like saving/changing the world/community to worry about, is it all that surprising that these characters don’t notice the cracks and red flags in the relationship that us readers (who don’t have the same pressure on them) can?
Furthermore, in most cases, as I mentioned earlier, these books often take place over a short space of time. While the characters might be in a relationship for that time, there is no saying how long they stayed together after the events. We treat and judge their relationship as if it is forever, because that is all we see of these character’s lives, but for all we know they break up six months down the line, because as the dust settles, they realise what the audience has known all along, they aren’t right for each other.
In situations (for example The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins) where we do know that the characters stay together for a long time, there are many years in between. We don’t get to see the relationship develop from the teen fling (okay now my example is beginning to make a little less sense, but you know what I mean) to a proper healthy relationship. There is lots of time in between the last chapter and the epilogue for people to talk and get to know each other better. While there will be couples that don’t make it, they aren’t the ones we right stories about.
In conclusion, I think that insta-romances are realistic in teen and YA fiction, yet like the next person, I think that it would be better for the story if they didn’t happen.