A look at “Instalove” in YA books.

27 Apr

I’ll admit it, I’m not the best at keeping up with other blogs. BUT! I am trying to get better about seeing what other book bloggers have to say about blogging and books in general. So I often spend my lunch break clicking links (occasionally falling down rabbit holes) and generally discovering awesome content by others in our community.

With that said, I came across a fantastic post from Stephanie over at the Cuddlebuggery Book Blog. The post was “Shit I’m Sick of Reading Part 2” and in it Stephanie discusses her hate of “Instalove” in YA books. I’ve been formulating a post on this same topic for a while now and it was great to see another blogger discussing her thoughts on this plot device (and do it so magnificently).

I do tend to find the idea of “Instalove” in the YA genre (and other genres for that matter) rather grating and at times obnoxious. This usually happens when the main character meets an incredibly attractive guy (with his hair flopping over his forehead just so) in the book, they share a cute moment and are then instantly FOREVER IN LOVE with each other.

In a lot of those cases I find myself mentally quoting that line from between Keanu Rivers and Sandra Bullock in speed Speed. You know, the one where Jack says to Annie, “I have to warn you, I’ve heard relationships based on intense experiences never work”. And I want to yell this exact phrase at these characters and maybe suggest they base it on sex instead (I’m totally kidding on that), except the characters can’t hear me and the authors probably don’t want to listen.

As an adult in my extremely late 20s (I refuse to think of myself as anywhere close to thirty) I find myself eye-rolling when i see “instalove” occurring in a novel I’m reading. As adults we know this is not how good, solid relationships form. We know that while you’d like to close the book and think they lived happily ever after, the truth is they probably left for college, someone did something stupid and broke the others heart. This was then closely followed by a bitter breakup ( I’m not projecting here, I swear).

However much the idea of “instalove” annoys adult-me, I’ve got to admit that I do see where it comes from and why the authors use this plot device in YA novel after YA novel.

It’s because it actually happens.

I know, you’re snorting in disbelief now (I would be too, honestly), but hear me out. I’ve spent the past few years working with teenagers and they are quite possibly the most dramatic and exhausting group of people on the planet (not that I’m telling you anything you didn’t already know). These kids really do the “instalove” thing and to them they don’t realize how crazy or unrealistic it actually is. They met a guy, go on a date (or make out at a party or a football game) and the next day they are telling me how much they love him and how perfect they are together. I even saw one of these girls planning her future WEDDING to a boy she just met a MONTH ago. Forget Prom, she was going all out and shooting for the stars there.

I sat there and watched this play out, trying desperately not to laugh or launch into the lecture about love and maturity that was already writing itself in my head. Instead I smiled and nodded at pictures of dresses

So, while I am still in total agreement with Stephanie that the entire idea of “instalove” makes me feel a little like tossing the book down in frustration, it really is rooted in the behaviors of the teenagers in our society. And that thought terrifies me a bit.

I’ll leave you with this super awesome gif Stephanie included in her original post (and that I’ve seen reblogged countless times on Tumblr) just cause it’s funny and relevant:


Posted by on 27 April, 2012 in Ranty Blogger


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5 responses to “A look at “Instalove” in YA books.

  1. diaryofateenagereader

    16 July, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Really great post – I’ve often been annoyed with ‘instalove’ in YA books mainly because I feel like many authors don’t make it believable to the reader, even though people might fall into ‘instalove’ in real life.

    As someone in her late teens (just realized that sounds a lot like how you described your age to – I can’t admit to being close to 20!), I still wish more YA authors would fully develop a relationship instead of resorting to unconvincing instalove.

  2. Lauren@THCW

    27 April, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Great post! I think it’s just one of the pitfalls of being an adult who enjoys reading YA lit. We are not teenagers, we don’t think like teenagers, and we get frustrated when the characters in the books we read act like teenagers (because they are teenagers.

    I keep telling myself if I want my characters to act like adults, then I should probably read a book about adults, for adults. But I don’t wanna. So I guess it’s time to embrace the instalove.

    Also, I would like to point out that in Speed 2, Annie and Jack had broken up. Guess basing it on sex didn’t work out for them either 😉

    • Breaking the Binding

      1 May, 2012 at 8:32 am

      Hah, very good point about Speed 2! Perhaps that’s a good lesson for teenagers to learn then?

      I’m with you though, I don’t wanna read a book about adults, for adults. So I’m with you and plan on embracing the instalove with open arms!

      (crap and now I have that creed song in my head….)


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