Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Instant Love and Why it Ruins Everything | YA Talk

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Either you don't care or you hate it. At this point, instant love has become a common trope in YA and honestly - it makes me want to cry.

There's no better way to ruin a reading experience for me.

What is instant love?

When two characters barely know each other, yet very quickly proclaim their undying love to each other.

You should think that instant love is only a plot device in novels that aren't really about romance.
In reality though, I've come across way too many instant love relationships in novels exclusively about romance and it's shocking.

You'd think that in a novel that has no other plot than the blossoming of a love between two people, the author would actually make an effort to make it seem realistic. I've encountered more instant love relationships in romance novels than I'd like to admit.

Authors, Why?

You'd think that the journey is the best way about traveling. I guess this doesn't apply to 40% of YA romance writers. Why make the protagonists fall in love instantly? What story do you want to tell if they already fell in love? Why, why, why? Yeah, it's easy and convenient, especially if the romance is only a side plot. I have news for you:


Why I'm so angry

  1. Because it ruins my day every time
  2. Because it makes every other aspect about the book irrelevant, if I think about that book in retrospective all I see is the terrible romance subplot the author was too lazy to develop
  3. Because sometimes there is so much lost potential
  4. Because I didn't sign up for this

When I want to read about romance, I want it all and from the start. I want to know to be able to pinpoint the second the characters fall in love and I want to be able totell exactly what makes them special to the other. The most fun thing about romance novels to me is especially the lead-up to it. I won't care about a relationship unless the beginning is strong and the characters got me hooked individually.
Logically, if that is missing, why would I care? Why would I care about two people that I don't even know? Character building is essential for characer-driven novels, especially for romance.

And yeah, if we're talking about a novel that isn't only about the romance, get out. There is NO justification for a poor instant-love romance side plot in a novel that isn't about that.

What are your thoughts on instant-love in books?


  1. "If you don't have the time to put effort in developing a romance plot don't add a romance plot" There, you summed up exactly what I think about instalove. It's not like romance is essential to every book, especially when the story focuses on other themes, I really don't understand the need to put badly-written romance everywhere. I've stayed away from so many books because of that.

  2. My entire Shakespeare class talked about insta-love in Romeo and Juliet and two people for some reason liked it? And I still don't understand why. They did give good reasons for having the love story like only the love of the two young people can bring the houses divided. I couldn't get past the fact that they knew each other for about three days before they killed themselves.

  3. As an old person (all of 30 now) I often see my little sister, who is still in HS fall in insta-love with boys. It's not real love, but for YA novelists, perhaps it's an easy thing to do. It's one of the main reasons I just don't do many romance novels. I don't think I've ever seen one really done well. I'd much rather read a novel where that isn't the main objective.

    For example, I loved "Ready Player One," but have no idea why Cline just had to add that romance in. Yes, it did help with character development a bit, but I would have been much happier with the ending if it hadn't turned into a weird romance novel scene. Why couldn't the book just have been about the awesomeness of discovering the easter egg?

  4. Exactly. It ruins every book for me, no matter how good the rest of it is.

  5. Romeo and Juliet isn't a love story... Shakespeare wrote it with the purpose of ridiculing instant-love ;) So many works of his are misinterpreted, when actually they're full of dirty jokes and making fun of other people.

  6. Yeah from a writing point of view I get that it's easy, but it's just so lazy???
    Oh I loved RPO, too. Absolutely agree, I found it really unbelievable that he ended up to meet and fall in love with his "celebrity crush". Really ruined the experience a little for me :/

  7. I guess insta-love happens in real life, but in fiction it comes across as lazy writing. I just finished a book where a girl steps into school on the first day of 10th grade, and a boy instantly falls in love with her. She barely makes it two steps into the building before she’s in love. I *facepalmed* so hard.

  8. I personally do not like insta-love. I try to look at it as an immature vie won love form teenagers. I know I had such as stage and i am certain most people have had such a stage as well. However, it is not real love, yes it can become real love but not so fast. Love takes time and commitment. And it is not the same thing as obsession. Which is what most teenagers have, which is what I had. I think authors should write more realistic this subject by making it clear it is an initial attraction, very strong yes, but then take the time to evolve it towards love. I have read some YA book which did this and I loved it. Angel Fall by Susan Ee evolves the relationship so slow from "he looks hot" to "I wish it was possible" and you don't notice any romance until the last book.

  9. There is no such thing as instant love, it's superficiality. :P Yeah, the facepalm is the main reason why I'm against that stuff.

  10. Yes!! Of course everyone has those crushes, but it's important to put emphasis on the fact that this ISN'T LOVE!! You're so right. I'll definitely look into getting this, I heard a lot of great things about Angelfall.

  11. I cannot STAND instalove! It makes me so mad every single time. I can handle a lot of annoying tropes (including love triangles), but this is one that makes me ask all the same questions you do.

    One thing that does irritate me though is when people call a relationship instalove when it really wasn't. You know, some books take place over a few days or weeks, while others take place over months or years. One book that I read recently that I initially felt was instalove-y was Throne of Glass, until I thought more about it and remembered that the events had taken place over several months. But I've seen people call this relationship unrealistic, while I don't think it was (and this is not the only time I've seen this happen).

    Sorry for rambling on your post!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  12. Oh I get exactly what you mean. Plot duration vs narrative time something like that. I get why people call this instalove. I mean, you can still have a relationship that feels insta-love-y even though the characters knew each other for quite some time.

    Real loving relationships between characters have to be told, not shown. I never read Throne of Glass and probably won't until the hype dies over. I own the first book though. Isn't that a love triangle, too? I can't be bothered to check it out tbh.


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