Showing posts with label love interest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love interest. Show all posts

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Always the Same Love Interests? | YA Talk





If you read a lot of YA, you've probably also noticed that there's a trend in characters.

Meet Love Interest 1:
He's characterized through being
  • the epitome of the nice guy
  • probably has been friends with the heroine forever/ they're maybe even neighbors/ definitely know each other longer than love interest 2 and the heroine
  • always there for the heroine
  • they might have been in love at some point and/or are dating
  • either will mess up eventually or just flat out get ignored when the second love interest comes along
EXAMPLES:
Adam Kent from SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi
Simon Lewis from CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare
Mathias from ZODIAC by Romina Russell


Meet Love Interest 2:
He's characterized through being
  • the new guy!
  • suddenly comes into the heroines life 
  • smirks a lot
  • is sarcastic and ridiculously good-looking
  • not ashamed to hit on her 24/7
  • morally grey ... redeems himself at the end of the trilogy
  • almost always "gets the girl"
EXAMPLES:
Aaron Warner from from SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi
Jace Wayland from CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare
Hysan from ZODIAC by Romina Russell

Why I think it's unnecessary

  • You always know who's going to get the girl. SPOILER: It's always the bad guy after the redemption ARC
  • It's lazy: Seriously, at this point it's almost a stock character kinda situation. If you have to write a love triangle, please try to make it at least a little original. Like this it just seems like I'm reading fan fictions of the same characters over and over again.
  • It's boring and predictable
  • It's so easy to fix: Just throw in a little variation, kill one of them, make one of them unredeemable, honestly, at this point I'm so desperate for decent love triangles that I'd take anything that's even a little different.

What do you think of love triangles with the same characters over and over again?




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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I Fall For Problematic Love Interests | YA Talk




I may not be the only one 

Usually I try very hard to be the voice of reason. But I also have a lot weaknesses when it comes to YA. The second we've got a sexy villain love interest entering the room, I'm suddenly unable to think properly.

After asking some of my friends in the reading community I noticed that all the male favorite characters are usually people that you wouldn't want to meet in real life - especially not in a dark corner.



Top Five Favorite Male Character Answers I got:

- Warner from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
- The Darkling from The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
- Travis Maddox from Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
- Patch from Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
- Jace Wayland from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

I haven't read all of these books, but I certainly noticed that there's a trend towards male villains.


Why are the bad boys so appealing?

  • Confidence
A thing that plays a major role when determining whether you find somebody attractive, is their confidence. When you present yourself well, you're more likely to succeed. 

  • "I do what I want"- attitude
I guess it's also a sense of maturity that radiates from men who know what they want and don't hesitate to for it, no matter the cost. They put themselves first to achieve their goals and that's probably what we all should do - of course within legal bounds. I'm not saying you should build an army of robots and invade your professor's house because he failed you in a class.

  • Danger!
With bad boys, you're bound to make more memorable experiences than with the nice guy next door. If the YA heroines stuck in a love triangle between the good guy and the leader of an illegal rebellion against a totalitarian regime, you already know who she's going to choose. 

We read books because we want to experience new things. We want to see the world the way never could in real life.

So hell yeah I'm going to root for the heroine to choose that guy who robs banks for a living over her childhood best friend! I don't care if he's a mass-murdering insane greedy villain, as long as he doesn't torture puppies.

I'm not ashamed to say that I'm absolutely 100% a problematic villain fangirl. Are you?


Who are your problematic favorites?


Come back next Tuesday for a new YA Talk! 

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hey Authors, Why Is LGBTQ Representation So Hard? | YA Talk



What is LGBTQ*?

LGBTQ* refers to the lesbian/gay/bisexual/trans/queer/and other community.

It basically includes everyone that doesn't identify with the gender they were assigned at birth and/or isn't heterosexual.







What the problem is

If you haven't really paid attention to the lgbtq community before, you probably didn't even know it existed. 
In the common media, all we get is gay representation in form of mostly homosexual men. I mean, there's a token fashion-savvy gay best friend in every romantic comedy movie set in New York. I didn't even know there were such things as pansexuality, asexuality, or even genderqueerness before I dove into the topic after reading David Levithan's "Boy Meets Boy" at university.

And this is the root of the problem. I'm not saying it's your fault if you had/have no idea what all these terms mean. It's not your fault that you've been brought up in a world were everyone is assumed to be heterosexual and identifying as either male or female. 

There are very few books that deal with gender and sex without exclusively being about gender and sex. Most books including LGBTQ* characters are also about coming out. I'm not saying we don't need these, but I'm saying that we need more books that casually feature LGBTQ* characters. 

Why not make your protagonist a bisexual woman? Why not make them indifferent to sexuality or identifying as indifferent to the concept of gender? It sounds far-fetched, but people like this do exist, and there are a lot of them. You'd be surprised as to how many people (even your friends) probably aren't heterosexual. We just assume that everyone is because we are bombarded with white heterosexual characters in all media all the time.

Take a look at popular culture!

Can you name a single super popular book with a main character that identifies as other than straight, or is simply assumed to be heterosexual without needing to mention it? Probably not, if it's not a book about specifically queer issues.

I don't understand what's so difficult about this. You may argue that most writers tend to write what they know about and maybe might shoo away from writing about LGBTQ* characters when they're heterosexual themselves. (Just the fact that I have to pretend for the sake of this argument that every writer is heterosexual is ridiculous...)

Well, I have news for you:

The job of a writer is to make stuff. They make stuff up, and sometimes even base that stuff on real events. If they do, they have to do some research. You can't tell me that someone is able to research everything about 18th century France to write a historical romance, but can't be bothered to do some research on queer issues to make it a novel about an asexual in 18th century France? Well, if you can't do that, you probably shouldn't be a writer. 

I'm not saying that every writer has to write about queer characters, I'm saying that instead of jamming out the 16th  book about a white straight girl falling in love with a mysterious dark-haired poetry-loving semi villain boy, they should try writing about a white gay boy falling in love with that same mysterious dark-haired poetry-loving semi villain boy. 

LGBTQ* people exist and I think they are worth representation just as much as heterosexuals. 


Here are some queer YA reads to get you started:

(links leading to goodreads)

  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (lesbian)
  • Luna by Julie Anne Peters (transgender)
  • Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan (gay)
  • Ash by Malinda Yo (lesbian)
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (intersex)
  • Every Day by David Levithan (pansexual, agender)


What are your thoughts on LGBT* reads?

Any recommendations?


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Sunday, June 21, 2015

I Hate Love Triangles | YA Talk


Either you love them or you hate them.
Eventually every reader of YA will come across them. Love triangles seem to be trend that just won't get out of style.

What's a Love Triangle?
Love triangle commonly refers to the situation a protagonist of a novel finds themselves in when two different people are interested in them romantically.

Usually, the protagonist requites their affection or is in the process of learning to love them, hence leaving both love interest in competition with each other.

Some may say "Twilight" started it all, but I think we need to stop blaming Stephenie Meyer for everything that's going wrong in recent YA.

Popular Books about love triangles include
- "Delirium" by Lauren Oliver
- "City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare
- "The Selection" by Kiera Cass
- "Shatter Me" by Tahereh Mafi

Books with love triangles usually play with the "bad boy" character and the "guy next door". I've noticed that more often than I'd like to admit, at least one of them is a super problematic villain. Not sure how that makes any guy attractive though.

Here's What Bugs Me

Love triangles in theory are absolutely fine. If you're looking for them. If you love reading about them, great, but I'm just not. The market these days is FLOODED with hidden love triangles. Most of the times you can't even tell from the blurbs whether the books are all about the romance and only feature the actual topic of the book on the side.
which I am absolutely not. Love triangles never have and probably never will be something that I'm personally interested in.

I've encountered it numerous that I've tried to read a book, let's say, about angels descending their heavenly wrath on the Earth, only to find out that the novel is actually about a teenage girl falling in love with an angel and a demon (any relations to existing books are just coincidental).

This has ruined the reading experience for me so many times. Had I gone on looking for a love triangle and a girl stuck between the evil overlord and the brave hero, I would have bought a novel about that.

Every popular YA novel these days features a love triangle.

Realism? What is Realism?

If you'd live in a dystopian society where every day is a struggle for survival, your number one concern would probably not be which one of the super hot two guys you should choose. I mean, these days it's a miracle if you find a guy that's attractive, smart and respects you, let alone two! If you're seventeen, cut the odds in half.

Here's What I Demand!

There should be something like ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) ratings for book romance like:
- N for no romance
- E for established romance
- X for multiple love interests
While I'm at it, there should be a rating for instant love, but I guess we can't have it all at once. I just want to be warned before I get invested in a book and then get drowned in love triangles. I actually did encounter novels with multiple love triangles, god knows why.

Do you like love triangles? 
Which novel do you think has portrayed them the best so far?


More YA Talk:
15-year-old Protagonists Confuse Me 
Mary Sues and Why We Need More of Them 
Instant Love and Why It Ruins Everything 
Hey Authors, Why Is LGBTQ Representation So Hard? 
I Fall For Problematic Love Interests 
Are Diverse Characters and Representation Unnecessary?

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