I have feelings for realistic romance novels.
I love realistic teen romance novels. I was recently asked to write up a little somethin’ somethin’ explaining why I love the genre so much. But just like love itself, it’s different for everyone and not easily explained. So here goes nothing….
To address the realistic side, as a teen I was never looking for another world to escape into. I barely understood the world I was living in as it was, so adding different planets and realms was just—no. I had enough confusion in my life.
Instead of searching for a place, I was searching for a person. Someone to help me through it all, or at the very least, point me in the right direction for crying out loud. I wanted to read about someone with similar experiences. Friendships, relationships, family, grief, unrequited love, the works. Not all of the characters made the same choices as I would, but in doing so, I saw what could happen. I thought about my choices and the different paths to take, and I truly believe that it has shaped who I am today.
To read about a fictional character that was so real they could’ve been sitting next to me in class really helped me understand the things in my life and, unknowingly, open my eyes to other perspectives. As nerdy as it sounds, I felt like I had this secret group of friends to turn to for advice.
The romance part is simple. Sometimes you just need two characters, on earth, sans superpowers, to catch one another’s eyes and BAM—you feel things and are forever connected to those characters and the book. Chemistry is a beautiful thing and magic in itself.
It’s just like that favorite rom-com you watch on a regular basis (The Sure Thing, please!). You read these books over and over again, skipping ahead to your favorite parts so that you can relive those feelings. The initial spark of the romance, the hope that they’ll just be with each other, and the sheer unbridled bliss when they finally get together. To quote Princess Jasmine, “It’s all so magical.”
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m a feelings junkie.
With realistic romance, it’s so easy to place yourself in the world because you live it. Does this mean I have a limited imagination? I like to think that I don’t. You see, I can daydream the crap out of these books and characters. I feel like I know them. I root for them. I cry when bad things happen to them. I excitedly babble unintelligible things when they FINALLY get together (I’m looking at you Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie). I get mad when they push the other away (So glad Macy came back around for Wes). See? I have a very deep, personal connection to these guys, and I hope others feel the same way.
Will They, Won’t They is one of my favorite devices between characters. And hey, sometimes that question is asked for three books. But guess what? I’m not even mad about it. Jenny Han’s series is a perfect example of expertly toying with our emotions. There were times when I was like, HOLD THE PHONE! And I had to step back and have a deep internal debate on who I wanted Belly to end up with because I was that involved. At this point, three books in, she was someone I had gotten to know really well, and her well-being mattered to me.
So, let me end with this—I have nothing against other genres. I’ve read a bunch of fantasy, sci-fi, etc. novels in my day and while I do have ones that I found to be quite enjoyable, I’ve always gravitated towards the realistic novels. Will I ever really know exactly why? Probably not. Sometimes, like love, it’s best to not question it. Just let it wash all over you.
- Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie (The Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty)
- Wes and Macy (The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen)
- Alex and Leo (The F- It List by Julie Halpern, coming in November 2013)
- Sam and Jase (My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick)
- Owen and Annabelle (Just Listen by Sarah Dessen)
- Anne and Gilbert (Anne of Green Gables series). One word: Carrots.
- Cricket and Lola (Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins) HIS NAME IS CRICKET. HE CLIMBS THROUGH HER WINDOW. He’s the Sam to her Clarissa. AMIRIGHT?!?!?
- Belly, Connor, and the rest of the gang of lovers. (The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Hann)
- Bridget and Eric (Girls in Pants by Ann Brashares), When she’s sick HE TAKES CARE OF HER. AFTER EVERYTHING THAT HAD HAPPENED BETWEEN THEM. Dear, sweet Eric. My precious.
- Julia and Jason (Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill). I mean, come on. He calls Julia Book Licker. What’s not to love?
— By Anna R.