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Romance Clichés in Young Adult

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If you’ve ever read a romance novel, you know that there is a standard formula: Girl meets Boy, Girl falls in Love with Boy, Boy does something stupid, Girl and Boy break up, and, in the end Girl and Boy get back together, living happily ever after. Of course, there are always minor variations on the equation. Girl could hate boy in the beginning. Girl could do something stupid. (Although we all know, it’s always the Boy’s fault. #kiddingnotkidding)

Young Adult romance is no different. They play into the same old high school romance equations and clichés. These clichés include, falling in love with the best friend, the nerdy girl falling for the high school jock, the nerdy boy falling in love with the high school prom queen, the good girl turning the bad boy good… the list goes on and on.

I’m here to talk about books that didn’t play to the clichés and did it right.

SPOILERS:

The Hunger Games is a prime example. Katniss could have fallen in love with Gale, the best friend. Suzanne Collins played up the love triangle, which is also a cliché, but ultimately Katniss ends up with Peeta. Some people may disagree with me, but Peeta was the better choice and the unexpected choice.

The Harry Potter series is another excellent example of unexpected romantic connections. Everyone thought Harry and Hermione would get together, and even J.K. Rawlings admits that it should have been that way. I, on the other hand, love that Hermione got with Ron and Harry got with Ginny.

My last example is the classic, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Jo and Laurie is an obvious match. At least he thinks so when he proposes, but she turns him down. In the end, just when she believes she’ll spend her life alone, her perfect companion finds her.

So remember when writing romance into any book, leave the clichés behind and mix up the math. Make your writing fresh and your romances intriguing.

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