But why? Why do I love reading about teen romance? I guess it's the same reason I love reading young adult fiction in general. It's all about firsts. We all remember that first time we really fell for a guy, don't we? The boy we grew up sitting next to in math class. The one who never noticed us. Or maybe it was the guy who caught up to us in the parking lot after school to ask us to the Prom. Those first moments where we thought our hearts would practically beat out of our chests. Our hands were clammy and our mouths went dry. Those were terrifying moments, but at the same time, they were exhilarating and fun and beautiful and life-changing.
Every time I read a new teen novel, I find myself looking for those romantic moments. I want to relive the heart-stopping beauty of it all. I want to experience the heroine's hope and uncertainty. I want to know her happiness when she finally does realize that the hero cares about her just as much as she cares about him.
The truth is, a novel doesn't even have to be all-romance all-the-time for me to feel this way. Just look at The Hunger Games. (*Somewhat Spoiler Alert if you haven't read the books) The initial story-line has more to do with how much Katniss loves her sister than any boy in the story. Still, from the moment we see her with Gale out in the woods, we wonder if he's the one. Will they fall in love and manage to stay together somehow? Or will her decision to volunteer for Prim change their fate? Then when Peeta confesses his crush on her during his interview at the Capital, we feel our hearts go out to him. Does he mean it? Is he really going to be forced into a competition to the death with the girl he's always had a thing for? Even though the romance isn't the main focus of the series, it's a huge part of what kept me turning pages.
It's the same with Harry Potter. At the beginning, it's all about friendship. These kids are too young to know love. But we watch them all grow up and we keep turning pages to see who will end up with who? Will Ron ever tell Hermione how he really feels? Will Harry live to find true love? These are questions that carry us forward even when they aren't the main story questions.
Then, of course, there's Twilight. Romance is the focus here. Love is the point of it, really. Love is
the reason we read it. (and maybe even re-read it) It's human nature to root for love. To long for it and to take great satisfaction in it. To even mourn it when it doesn't work out the way we'd hoped. We do it in our own lives, of course, but those are stories that take months - sometimes years - to figure out and to experience. With a novel, we can watch two people meet, fall in love, argue or face death and danger, and eventually come together in one successful and satisfying ending all in a matter of hours. There's something so rewarding about that, isn't there?
So tell me, do you love reading teen romance? What are some of your favorite romantic couples in YA fiction?