YA Fiction Doesn’t Reflect Reality


Rayne Thompson, Staff

Young adult, also known as ‘YA’ for short, is a genre of writing typically written for an audience from the ages of 15 to 21. Young adult novels can cover mature topics, like sexual encounters, strong language, and adult relationships.

Even so, some of the most popular young adult novels seem to not live up to the standard of healthy romance, specifically when that’s what they’re going for. Readers have noticed that relationships between characters can be downright abusive without intention.

Books like After can rise from nothing and make a name for themselves that everyone knows. Why do these books get so popular effortlessly?

“What’s so attractive? These hunks are literally stalking you!” Author, Jenna Moreci rants on her YouTube channel. Moreci is a fantasy-romance author best known for her novel The Savior’s Champion. She frequently discusses author tropes and gives advice to young authors. She often doesn’t take a liking to the tropes most frequently used in YA such as possessiveness and borderline stalking of the protagonist by their love interest.

Children who don’t entirely understand romance fantasize over relationships displayed in a good portion of Young Adult novels, one with “pure, innocent virgins,” and “rough, possessive bad boys.” Even if this includes objectifying, constant arguments, and sometimes emotional abuse. Unfortunately, authors of YA take things too far, making what are supposed to be iconic couples, into a toxic relationship.

However, plenty of people like YA and romance, even if they realize some of the relationships depicted aren’t healthy.

“I love them, it’s like being in a whole other world,” freshman Eldana Bates said, “although, some are really weird and gross. It’s not very realistic, the relationships seem like a lie.”

How are these relationships unethical? In attempts to create drama and spark emotion in the reader, novels will contain characters who constantly argue, but the author doesn’t know exactly how to resolve the problem they wrote. So, instead the problem is brushed over and repeated in just a few pages with characters going back to possessiveness with partners who can be unhealthily jealous when their significant other is with someone else–like they’re property.

Yes, young adult novels can be thrilling and well written, but like all things, not everything is perfect. YA authors unintentionally feed into a teenager’s dream of the perfect (but not so perfect) relationship when writing romance. It’s a shame people fail to understand the toxicity of these although fictional, relationships in these novels.