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Despite the few who haven't caught on yet and still believe that "kids hate reading," we all know that these days, reading is popular.

"I'm just like Belle from Beauty in the Beast, because I love books," teenage girls are saying, while teens of both genders are sitting down to enjoy things like Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Eragon, Lord of the Rings and other more obscure titles.

This is just what we've been hoping for, isn't it? Kids and teens finally taking an interest in literature. It has finally become cool. They're thinking of themselves as rebels or nerds or hipsters, all of which are just new versions of the word cool.

Ah, finally people are spending their time having actual constructive hobbies. 

...Or are they?

Here I am going to explore just how this isn't necessarily true; how sometimes your time can be better spent playing a good, mind-building video game or watching a wholesome, creative cartoon. Some books.... a frightening percentage of Young Adult books, are frankly, crap.

There would be a lot to cover, so in this deviation, I specifically want to talk about the romance... or lack thereof; and by that I mean, a shallow, twisted, hare-brained counterfeit version of love.

To start off, I will give some definitions and pair them up with words to show you what I mean and what I don't mean.

Real Love: Not a feeling, though it can produce them. The conscious choice to be selfless toward someone despite changing feelings and circumstances. Has nothing to do with yourself in any way, shape or form; i.e, "I love him because he's always there for me," etc. To love, by its nature, is to will the good of the beloved, even if it means not always giving into their wishes. To love is furthermore, to be willing to do anything to achieve the good of the beloved.

Attraction: The action or power of evoking interest, pleasure, or liking for someone or something.

Romantic Love: Romantic Love is a combination of Real Love and Attraction, though the latter may not constantly apply.

Fake Love: Attraction falsely calling itself Romantic Love, though it lacks the even more crucial element of Real Love.

Here are some examples of Romantic Love portrayed in Young Adult literature:

From Maximum Ride:

Fang turned his head and gave me one of his classic half smiles—you know, like the kind of smile Mona Lisa would have had if she were a guy. A teenage guy with longish scruffy hair, dark eyes, and a leather jacket. Mmmmm.


I love you. I love your smile, your snarl, your grin, your face when you're sleeping. I love your hair streaming out behind you as we fly, with the sunlight making it shine, if it doesn't have too much mud or blood in it. I love seeing your wings spreading out, white and brown and tan and speckled, and the tiny, downy feathers right at the top of your shoulders. I love your eyes, whether they're cold or calculating or suspicious or laughing or warm, like when you look at me.

From Heroes of Olympus:

Percy smiled at her - that sarcastic troublemaker smile that had annoyed her for years but eventually had become endearing. His sea-green eyes were as gorgeous as she remembered. His dark hair was swept to one side, like he'd just come from a walk on the beach. He looked even better than he had six months ago - tanner and taller, leaner and more muscular.

Percy threw his arms around her. They kissed and for a moment nothing else mattered. An asteroid could have hit the planet and wiped out all life, and Annabeth wouldn't have cared.

Besides being puke-invokingly cheesy, what else is wrong with these?

Well... If you don't mind the cheesiness, not too much, right? It's not so much what they are, as what they're lacking (I'm talking about the books as wholes right now, not the individual paragraphs). The thing is that, ALL the "romantic" parts are merely shallow paragraphs like this. That's it. No mention of anything besides attraction whatsoever. The focus is completely selfish... "I can't be happy without you! I love you for ME."

In Hollow City, the new sequel to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, the main character, Jacob admits that he only went on the adventure because, "I love you, you idiot," and then goes on to literally tell us that he didn't do it because of "some stupid sense of duty." He selfishly does it to get satisfaction from being with his girl, not because he's overly concerned with doing the right thing, or any of that nonsense. 

Then to make it even worse, after his girl convinces him that he "could never be with her," he decides to go home. Note: she doesn't convince him that she'll be all right... just the opposite. They're in great danger, hence the reason she wants him to leave. So what does he do? Insist that he stays and helps her anyway? Nope, he decides to look out for himself. No relationship here, nothing to be gained, right?

In the Mark of Athena, Percy admits that he still feels like he "doesn't really understand Annabeth," even though they're in a relationship. Huh? Are relationships just things you get in as a way of getting to know each other or should they be with someone you're seriously sure you want to be committed to? Maybe it makes sense to go on some dates to learn about each other, but why do they need to keep kissing and holding hands and garbage like that if they still apparently "don't really understand each other?" Oh yeah, because Percy thinks Annabeth is cute and Annabeth thinks Percy is gorgeous, and that's all they need. 

Maximum Ride might be the worst. Her love interest, Fang (who, might I point out, feels exactly like an OC made up by an unoriginal teenage girl from is supposedly "her best friend." Unfortunately, we wouldn't know since the author only TELLS us this, but doesn't really show them interacting enough in the story. What we do get are plenty of paragraphs like the one in the example above. That's the height of their love as far as we're shown. Pretty sad.

Now, I'm not saying that in these stories the characters would never try to help each other out, it's just that there is a definite lack of emphasis on the selfless, Real Love side of their Romantic Love, and a HUGE over emphasis on attraction. It's shallow, pure and simple.
Things like these and Twilight (yes, I am comparing the romance aspect of these series to Twilight, sorry) are what give teenagers crappy ideas of being in love. When they base their relationship on the mere selfishness of "well, we both have crushes on each other," and get wrapped up in using the other person like a drug for their own pleasure, forgetting completely about the selfless part, their relationships are NOT going to be truly meaningful, however Percy and Annabeth's might be portrayed.

It's getting tiresome to read about twerpy teenagers and their side-plot soap-operas -"Do I really love them? I just don't know. Gee, I'm SO confused over how I feel about him!" - when the answer is really so simple. Instead of looking at how they selfishly FEEL, why don't they ask themselves what they are or aren't willing to DO for that person?

One of the worst love triangles I've ever read about would have to be from the Kane Chronicles where Sadie has to choose between either Anubis (who is conveniently in hot, teenage boy form for some reason), and some guy with no personality called Walt. Guess who she ends up with at the end? Well, the two boys end up turning into the same person and sharing a body, so she conveniently gets to date both at the same time! What a happy ending. Sadie gets as much pleasure as she can, all wrapped into one. How ideal! Now they can BOTH comfort her whenever she's crying in a corner. Selflessness? What's that?

And what about the Hunger Games, Catching Fire? Katniss has been traumatized by being put in the Hunger Games, a horrendous, evil, scarring event where she finds herself having to kill other children. If she doesn't marry Peeta, the government could get angry and kill her family and loved ones. A war could break out at any moment. You know the story.

And then, this shallow MORON named Gale starts getting mad, because... she doesn't feel like being in a romantic relationship with him? I can see he's really looking out for her best interests there. Oh wait, but he has a FEELING that he loves her. Real Love absolutely wouldn't be saying, "you know, Katniss. I can see that there's a war going on and people are getting killed here. Maybe I can reassess my priorities and not worry about being girlfriend and boyfriend at the moment. Clearly you have a lot on your plate, so I'll selflessly step aside, which would really be best for you in this situation."

But no. He acts like a clown about it and actually gets angry. Now if love evidently isn't looking out for each other's best interests here, then what is it? Giving each other kisses and holding hands? That sounds like a swell idea, Gale. You must be so disappointed that you're unable to do those things in the middle of a crisis.

How about Teresa and Thomas from the Maze Runner series? The book starts out with the guy having no memories of anything whatsoever, and over the short period of time that passes somewhere around the last half of the book where the girl makes a few appearances, they're suddenly madly in love by book two.

Not only was their display of so-called love shallow in the story, but what also showed through was the bizarre desperation with which the romance was thrown in. Maybe considering Romantic Love such an essential is what leads us to water it down in an attempt to make it look easier to develop than it really is.

You can see this happening in real life too.
At schools, sometimes what happens is that kids get bored. When you're all stuck together in a building for that long every day, there are going to be certain phenomena... such as inventing a little game called Dating.

Let me introduce some more words I'm going to use (note: they are my own definitions, not necessarily traditional ones. I'm going to use them to help further illustrate my points).

Being in Love: When two people of equal eligibility have Romantic Love for each other and make conscious decisions to be committed to each other.

Dating: Not to be confused with the act of going on dates, Dating is a twisted, lesser version of Being in Love, in which, two of any people who feel like it are attracted to each other and make the conscious/-ish decision to show physical displays of affection (and maybe text each other a little more).

Fan-mance: A false type of love, derived from the words "romance" and "fan-fiction" (seeing as fan-fictions are a good place to look for it). Can be either a disproportionate mixture of Attraction compared to Real Love, or just Attraction on its own. Unlike plain Fake Love, Fan-mance can come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it be furries with multiple partners or animu characters that are married to objects, this "love" is rarely looking out for the good of their love interest. Pleasure is key.

Fan-Fiction: A fantasy reality (differing from a mere fantasy world) where universal principles of logic do not apply, resulting in strings of words that can give the illusion of making sense when in reality are mere nonsense despite what we apply them to. Example: An object can remain blue, even if it stops being blue. (Assume for the sake of the example that "being blue" has the same intrinsic meaning in both halves of the sentence). Another example: You can love someone merely by using them for pleasure or other personal means.

I'm sorry if I ripped on any books unfairly. Some of them I read a while ago, so I apologize if anything I remembered was inaccurate. I do, however stand by my point and that in general, romance from YA books is nothing but rubbish. Be careful what you read.... it can rot your brain.


Inspired by… by the esteemed, Seamus the Famous.

Oh yeah, and if I see love described as "the sudden urge to kiss them," ONE MORE TIME...

Read my other deviations about literature and how not to write: 
Are you being overly dramatic?…
Why is there so much debate over what makes a Mary Sue?…
Do stereotypical bullies really even exist?…
A list of the most common cliches in story telling:…

Add a Comment:
Adam-Walker Featured By Owner May 18, 2015   Writer
I think that this guide will come in very useful one day.
ComanderSprings Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2015
Yay, this was a great read! It helped me a lot :)
mmpratt99 Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2015  Professional General Artist
:clap:Yes!  I fully agree!  Young Adult books are mostly puke-inducing crap!  Just absolute rubbish fit for only hamster bedding!
PeanutbutterSandman Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I am. So. Glad. Somebody finally took a swipe at James Patterson.
MakingFunOfStuff Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2015
Haha! One of my least favorite authors, to be honest.
CuteCat213 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
When looking at your advice and how to actually put it into practice, you're essentially advising back to the age-old Show, Don't Tell, right? Encouraging us to focus more on the emotional development of the characters in question instead of the physical aspects. That's what I try to do in my writing: emphasize more the emotional interactions of my characters, and I HATE using words like 'beautiful' or 'handsome' in ways like 'she's gorgeous' ect. One of the ways I like to use it --and have recently-- is having my characters place trust in each other for the first time and talk about their difficult pasts, and when they finished, one of them told the other they were 'pretty', not in looks, but in that they possessed a beautiful soul. (Because if you can't stand the other person, looks and attractiveness don't matter much, do they?)

One thing I'm very curious of, if you've read it (or anyone else who sees this comment): what is your take on the 'romance' of Ayla and Jondalar in the Earth's Children series by Jean M. Auel? (I think I spelled her name right...)
Lily-Lucid Featured By Owner Edited Feb 24, 2015   Writer
Yeah, I totally agree with you. I'm so tired of reading romance in YA. Can someone PLEASE write a YA novel where there ISN'T some annoying-ass love triangle/rectangle??? Or at least the romance is taken care of QUICKLY?
REIdepenguin Featured By Owner Edited Feb 21, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
that's very interesting. one of the reasons why I don't read much YA books now is because I grew tired of the fanmance. the Divergent series broke the camel's back for me. I couldn't even Finish insurgent because the angst was so terribly handled.

though I kinda disagree with you that all YA books and romances are complete and utter shit. I'm the kind of person who believes not everything is completely "black" or completely "white" and that good current YA romance is bound to exist.
if you know any good YA romance I'd love to know of it ^_^
TTT-THE-RED-KING-TTT Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
soooooooooo naruto + hinata = fake love huh I figured 
roses504 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This is really helpful, though I do support Percabeth in Heroes of Olympus, I didn't let my bias get in the way. I completely agree with you, and I will definitely use this info to write a better example of love interests in my story.
KawanoTsuki Featured By Owner Edited Aug 5, 2014
Very refreshing article, thank you very much for writing it! A lot of the couples you mentioned always irked me while I was reading the books. I never really knew why, but now I do! 

Just curious, have you seen the movie How to Train Your Dragon? If so, what do you think about the relationship between Astrid and Hiccup?
AurumArrows Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Student Writer
Your tips are really helpful. I've never been an "expert" at writing love interests because, well, it's just so confusing.  I hate how YA books are written nowadays. The relationships are so... flat to say the least. Heck, they make me avoid the science fiction genre entirely since they're pretty much clones of the Hunger Games. 

As another  person below said before, old couples are the best to read about. It makes me tear up when I think about all the things they went through together. That, and i find it slightly easier to write about them than teenage love (even though I'm a teenager myself). 
deathtopink300 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2014
Thank you so much for writing this!!! This is why I hate Percebeth(It's the most cliché romance in book history) and Sadie/Walt/Anubis(She's practically having a threesome just because she didn't want to make a choice)!!!
xXMaploryXx Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Honestly this is so on point. Love your deviations about literature! Keep making more please!!
unicornomics Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2014   General Artist
My favorite types of love interests?
Old married couples,the kind that are clearly in love not the eternally bickering comic strip type. Like the couple from "Up"
MakingFunOfStuff Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014
They were 10000000 times better than Percabeth xP
nightshade43 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014
"Do I really love them? I just don't know. Gee, I'm SO confused over how I feel about him!"
Wait, isn't that romantic comedy in its entirety? They always annoy me for their over reaction and stupid behaviour.

I really like your analysis, and I feel part of the problem is that authors
a) Don't understand real love and how it applies to fiction or
b) Children are stupid. They wouldn't be able to identify real love so why bother?

It's like how stupid children cartoons can get. You get clever ones like Adventure Time that are actually deep once you analyse it, and then there's Max Steel. Pure, boring, uncreative drivel that rips off things from far superior shows.
Why do they even BOTHER with romance in teenage fiction? As a teenager I loathed those parts. I wanted action and suspence and wicked monsters. But then again I read the Hobbit, Harry Potter, Black Beauty and Terry Pratchet's Disk World series as a teenager.
Lily-Lucid Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2015   Writer
Vanetias Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2014  Student
Hm, if I were to ask, what do you think is a 'good love interest' from any medium of fiction/story/genre? 
MakingFunOfStuff Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014
Hmm. Good question.

I'd have to say that I can appreciate Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley, and here's why:

They don't milk it. They're on an adventure and they know it. They don't *have* to make their romantic relationship a priority and they understand that there are in fact, bigger things (like defeating Voldemort. Harry is even prepared to tell Ginny they can't be together and only considers being with her after everything is resolved).
Because they don't treat romance like the ultimate thing, it doesn't become this annoying half-plot like in practically every other YA novel. Romantic relationships only make sense when you're doing it for the purpose of being committed to each other (like in marriage). 

That's why when people say, "but Percy and Annabeth went through hell together, so they obviously love each other," it's not the same thing. You could do that for a friend. The only unique thing about a romantic relationship would be that you want to get married and have kids (err... unless you're just in one for physical displays of affection... which is what doesn't make sense to me). But anyway...

A "good" love interest is somebody who doesn't make it all about romance. A good love interest is someone who not only puts themself last, but understands that for the good of the person they love, they don't always "need" to be in a relationship or kiss. 

So, I like Harry and Ginny. They only get in a relationship and show physical displays of affection (accept for one kiss) when they are pretty much ready to consider getting married. There are no pointless bits where they're just teenagers who are only capable of what, kissing? J.K Rowling even makes fun of that with Ron and Lavender, so that's great in my opinion.
AnEnemySpy Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014
I always felt that the Harry/Ginny romance came completely out of nowhere. One day, the two of them are friends and then he suddenly feels attracted to her. I think Ron and Hermione are a much better example.
MakingFunOfStuff Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2014
That's true, they didn't interact much.
You're right, Ron and Hermione are a better example of what I was trying to portray. 
Chronophontes Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree with those who say that love isn't "self-sacrificing".  It can be; I think it requires a willingness to make sacrifices, but that willingness need not be called on, and usually isn't in any serious way.  To me, love is growing together, maybe (probably) enduring some rough spots. Love can also be real without being reciprocated - think of most parents.  (Not all, of course.)

Naturally, love is hard if not impossible to define.  1 Corinthians 13 has always been my own standard - "am I loving like that?"  But then there's M. Scott Peck, who defines love in effect as dutiful performance of duty, however repulsive.  Repulsion is not part of ANY love.

I've never liked romances much, not so much because of the silly approximations of "love" as because of the silly approximations of people - prettified stick figures with an occasional Mary Sue thrown in.  Most romances are pornography for people who don't like pornography.
SylverFire-Lilithe Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Interesting. I like your point of view. It's refreshing.
luna4everandever Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014
I agree COMPLETELY! I mean, c'mon people, DO YOU NOT KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY DISPLAY THE WONDERFUL THING THAT IS LOVE??? I haven't read those books, but, I can infer from this piece that the display of 'love' is pretty doggone bull crap. Thank you for this piece, I'm writing, er, typing, a novel, and this will help! AMAZING! Once again, THANK YOU!!!
Mu10 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This is actually going to help me with my character's love interests, I'm aiming for real love so thanks for posting this marvelous piece.
JWA2277 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist

This is  also a good cultural comment, what we read {spend money to say we read or have on our shelf for everyone to see  but not riley} shows us where the world is going today!

The concept of "love" As selfless, or sacrifice is lost on the world today. Everyone seems to be in it for themselves and nobody wants to give up anything for anyone else.

I would love to be in real "Love", but modern girls today... they just don't get it.

"I have my life and career, and all that I want.... Ho! I suppose I need a boyfriend or husband too because my besties have one. Kids and babies are cute, so I should have a a few as well. When it gets tough I will divorce, {with no responsibility at all} and treat the kids as hokey pucks to spite one another, or just throw them out for the world to raise."

Don't get me wrong MEN {or lack their of, overage boys} are just as much to blame for this society rot, throwing away woman when yo don't like them any more.

takes two to sink the ship "bad steering and bad crew"

MistressofQuills Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014  Student Writer
Wow this is great.  I agree with every concept you bring up, though I can't say I didn't enjoy reading a lot of the books you critiqued anyway.  I know that wasn't your point, though, so it doesn't matter:) I love how you defined you terms before you went into the critique - you basically said that the love portrayed in the crappy examples isn't real love - in other words, it isn't mature love.  I also appreciated that you started this whole thing out by saying that reading is cool now.  It is, and I love that it is! I'm an aspiring novelist, so I love hearing from people that reading is "in" again... it puts me in business=P  But anyway, well done on this deviation! It was well written, well said, simple but deep, and a very witty, enjoyable read. Thank you for sharing!
MakingFunOfStuff Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014
Thanks for your comment! :D

Yup, I enjoyed most of these books too. Every book has its issues it seems, but at least we can just ignore those parts, or even learn from them. Good luck with your writing, by the way. 
MistressofQuills Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2014  Student Writer
You're welcome!

You're right, but I think it's every author's ambition to do well in every aspect of their writing, especially the important ideals such as real love~  At least, that's what I aspire to do:aww: Thank you!
MakingFunOfStuff Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014
I agree, we should have truth as our goal, not settle for cheap, corny, shallowness. "But they're just kid books" <--- screw that. When I was a kid I didn't enjoy shallowness anymore than I do now (wait, actually I am still a kid, I forgot. But you get my point).

It seems like corniness is only good if it's for a joke or something. Not in something you're expected to take seriously... (kid or not).

MistressofQuills Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2014  Student Writer
Haha yes, I get your point and I wholeheartedly agree with you.  I grew up reading a lot more than most kids my age, and WAY more than any kids do nowadays (lol that makes me sound really old=P), but I think that a lot of kids would prefer a book that's interesting and challenging over one that's too easy to read and simpler than their intellect level... Did that make any sense? :XD:

GoldenNocturna Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014  Student Writer

While I winced when you ripped into the Hunger Games, Maximum Ride, Percy Jackson, and fan fiction, you do have a lot of valid points. What I think is the problem with YA romance is that no one--and I mean NO ONE--ever talks about crushes/infatuation. It's ALWAYS straight up 'love'. I've never been in a relationship, but even I know that you can't find your soul mate or true love in your teens; you're just not mature enough. So whenever I write romance between teens, I always describe it as a crush, not love. It just makes more sense to me.

And I think by 'Dating', you mean 'Public Displays of Affection'; dating is...well, as you put it, going on dates (in an attempt for a couple to get to know each other better and see if they're compatible/should further their relationship), while public displays of affection (better known as PDA), is making out in public or something similar (basically an obnoxious, ostentatious 'show' of 'love'). It's one thing to hold hands; it's another to make it impossible for someone to reach their destination by making out in their pathway (I've seen this both in high school AND college  :shudder::unthinking: ).

But yeah, that's basically my view on the whole thing. And why I'll never watch rom-coms and most likely why I struggle to find 'adult' (things meant for an adult demographic) stuff to read.

GoldenNocturna Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014  Student Writer
I also forgot to add that I believe that it isn't necessarily the stories themselves that are the problem. It's the fact that society fails to realize that they're just that---STORIES---that is.
jaio1 Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is an amazing article. I've read most of theses books you mentioned, and I always felt the love was unrealistic. What are some good YA books with "Real Love" in them? Do you think the relationship between Ron and Hermione was based on fake love as well?
MakingFunOfStuff Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014
Thanks for the comment.

Interesting questions :? I do have to give Ron and Hermione credit. They seemed more reasonable and realistic about it than characters from other books (but that's true with almost everything about HP books compared to other modern YA books). 
I don't remember Ron and Hermione's relationship being based on "his adorable freckly face" or her "shining curly hair" more than their real, true friendship that was developing throughout the books. I'd say their relationship was a pretty decent one, though we don't get to see too much of them as boyfriend and girlfriend. 
Personally, I'd probably trust J.K Rowling not to make that part stupid, but I might be biased.
AmaltheaGrey Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2014
I don't think selflessness exists at all, but I agree with you that love is about giving, not only receiving. In fact, I think it's just as much about giving as it is about receiving, but I get your General meaning here, I guess, and I agree with it.
MakingFunOfStuff Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014
Do you mean, you don't think that it's possible to be selfless as in, giving your whole self, forever without fail?

I don't think anyone can be perfectly selfless, but it should be a goal (something you're always reaching for, even if you don't quite attain it), for sure.
AmaltheaGrey Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014

I think that even the kindest actions have a certain aspect of selfishness in them. We are kind to people because we want to be nice, because we want to have a certain picture of ourselves and because we want other people to like us. And that's completely okay as long as giving and taking is balanced. Complete selflessness would be quite unhealthy and, in the end, draining all of your powers if you just give and give and never receive.

But I agree that sometimes, probably mostly in love or in close friendships, you do something for people without asking for a payback, because your payback is seeing these people happy.

MakingFunOfStuff Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014
Well, as long as the selflessness outweighs the selfishness, that seems to be what we call selfless.
It's natural for some good to come to both parties in selfless situations, and the particular good that comes to us (like feeling good inside) are usually more noble things that it isn't wrong to want for ourselves. (Unless it's just to show off or something. But if you mean that you can't help it and you feel justly proud of yourself without going out of your way to brag about it, then it's probably fine).

Personally, I think that the less we expect back, the happier we tend to be. If you just assume you're going to get nothing back it makes things a lot easier, and I don't think it has to be unhealthy if we have a good attitude about it. Right now I'm thinking of people like Mother Teresa.. It seems, there is a reason we tend to view people like this as heroes. It seems payback is nice, but in the long run not the most important thing. You know: better to give than to receive.
AmaltheaGrey Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014
Well maybe it's a question of personal taste and experience but of all the relationships I had, it's been always those in which I was trying to be especially selflessness. I personally think that selflessness is an invention of people with exaggerated expectations, and the truly happy relationships are, in my opinion, always those in which giving and taking wasn't an issue at all but just a natural and balanced change of proves of affection.

Yes of course, who doesn't expect something can hardly be disappointed, but people tend to settle with much less that what they could reach if they'd listen to their desires and wishes. Again, a relationship is not about payback for me, but about the feeling of being appreciated and loved and accepted the way we are, and you certainly will never have this if all you focus on is being selfless. I think selflessness is just a complicated way of being selfish...
Of course people like Mother Teresa are a completely different topic, because all I say here just goes for relationships between people, especially love relationships, and not general behaviour. 
EdenEvergreen Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014
Well put. :nod:

YA, or "young adult" books, aren't the only offenders in the category of mislabeling various forms of attraction as "love," as prior comments have noted.

YA can be roughly defined as:
1. being written with a "target audience" of teen-aged people in mind
2. not being "excessively graphic" in its descriptions of things like violence / sex
3. running roughly 20,000 words (unless that changed since I last tried writing a novel for publication, which is possible since that's been *mutters something incomprehensible* years)

If the book is much longer or shorter than the standard word count (which was 20k, but may have changed), then it won't be published as YA.

That's how you get books without so-called "adult content" (gag) written and published as "adult novels." Either the word count was too high for the YA definition, or else they were not written with a slant toward a teen-age audience.

In all honesty, the way we look at life changes as we age. After we get out of the high school and college scene, our perspectives change. We may still find adventure tales appealing, for example. However, we will want to see more maturity in the heroes -- and villains -- than we thought about looking for when we were younger. ;P

So the "target audience" is key, in anything put out for public consumption. This is not limited to books, but also includes movies, games, etc. It will impact how they are labeled and marketed.


While I agree that one must be careful about honest sacrificial love in books written for youth, I also think that a complete absence of it is problematical.

If the lead couple doesn't show real love, then someone in the background should.

Yeah, most teens are still in infatuation mode. However, they need to know there's more to it than that. Unfortunately, most books in that genre fail to even hint at the possibility of more, unless they're pointing entirely toward lust.

If the young folks have the blessing of coming from a family where the parents have a healthy marriage, that won't be much of a problem. They will have a living example of what to watch for. Unfortunately, healthy marriages are an endangered species, so modern youth need a little help in figuring some of those things out.

Another thing that can happen in real life is for one half of a couple to have and offer real love, while the other does not. I have yet to see any work of fiction address that situation in a realistic manner.

Here's hoping that more writers will put out better quality in the future, or that at least that people will get better at recognizing trash and eschewing it. :)
Liketheisland Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2014  Professional Filmographer

Well. Done. And just in time for Valentine's Day, how 'bout that. Really good point about real love being selfless. I also cringed at how those example passages only list superficial stuff a character likes about someone else, with nothing about mannerisms, quirks, noble personality traits, etc. These are professional writers here. Gotta have that chemistry, people. Don't settle for what's just pretty and convenient. :shakefist: 
SELI-book Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! This is EVERYTHING I didn't like about those books!!
ThePyromancer13 Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Loved reading this, I never really thought of romantic relationships in YA like that before (though neither would you if you'd had your head stuck in all sorts of books all your life, XD) Thank you so much for the horizon broadening!
Lackeysan Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
FANFICTION HAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh my god this rant is awesome. So true.

Although IMO Gale wasn't really flipping out at Katniss directly for not "loving" him back. He never threw any major fit, so he's not that horrible in terms of puke-inducement.
LetaDarnell Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014
I'm a bit confused on fanmance.  Is it the author's love of the characters or a fanfiction that qualifies as a romance genre?
AmmoniteFiction Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Wow, that was really interesting.
I never understood, why so many people around me "fell in love" that quickly.
Sure they broke up after a few months. Then they're a mad, like "I really loved him/her, I will never be able to love again" and a few weeks later, they are in another relationship. And it's "true love" again. -.- :puke:

But your text pointed it out - So many people just think "we have to kiss each other and say that we love us. Then we're the perfect couple."
But it's just like a drug. Love is a drug (when you see it biological) - but everyone seems to think that such feelings are true love. That really annoys me. Like friends of mine told me (they tried to pair off me with a girl I met for the first time): "Just kiss her, maybe you love her!" What a crap!
Either I like her personality or not! A kiss won't change anything! That's the way it is.

Aahh, that whole topic makes me so furious :D
Sorry for writing so much :)
asdflove Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014  Student Writer
To be fair to Hunger Games, Katniss didn't wind up with Gale, she ended up with Peeta, who she sacrificed a lot for (and he did the same for her as well). 

Actually Sweeneygirl310593 put it rather well below.
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