Photo by frankselmo on Flickr WANA Commons
(Please ignore that the couple isn't really of YA age)
First, let's definite Insta-Love. In my mind, insta-love is when characters meet each other and are swapping "I love you"s (or intending to spend the rest of their lives together) just a few pages later. It's when you don't see much in the way of a building relationship and the characters are suddenly just inseparable.
There's a lot of this in YA and it's starting to get a backlash. Readers and bloggers seem to be looking for more relationship development. Something more than an instant connection that the author then tells us is love. I admit, I was in that camp for quite awhile. Until I started reminiscing about my own YA days. And here's what I remembered...
When I was a freshman, I started dating a junior guy. If you read my diary from back then, you'd see I selected him over the sophomore I was considering because I thought it would be cool to go to prom. (My memory has erased this shallow decision, but I supposed the diary doesn't lie.) Anyway, he asked me out by way of a carefully-folded note, and three days later told me he loved me.
I almost broke up with him right then. I'll be honest, it freaked me out. Three days? But I took some advice from another not-so-worldly freshman who told me I should be flattered. So what did I do? I told him I loved him back. And pretty soon, it was true, whether I was sure of it at in the beginning or not.
So what does this have to do with my opinion on insta-love? It made me reflect on the teen psyche. How strongly I felt back then - sure that we would defy the odds and be high school sweethearts forever. And how quickly emotions come over teens (girls in particular, perhaps) because of all the hormones raging through their systems. I mean, think of a rock concert and all the girls lining the stage screaming "I LOVE YOU" to the musicians at the top of their lungs. They don't even know those guys, but they'd pledge their love in a heartbeat if they could. And I know there's more than one actor who I've felt a connection to through a movie/TV screen.
So while many ADULT relationships are based on an organic friendship first, no rushing into using the L-word type pattern, why are we critical when books for TEENS do this? Teens are different. They don't operate on the same dating level as adults (by and large -- there are exceptions to everything, of course). Every day feels like an eternity when you're young; waiting is not in teen DNA.
And this thought, in turn, makes me wonder if it's just the adults reading YA that are sick of insta-love, or if teens are over it too? I'd be really curious to know the answer to some of these questions. So please, start discussing!!