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A Reader of Fictions: Instalove

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


or, Why You Should Not Include Instalove in Your Novel

Alright, I knot this topic has been mused on forever, and that we bloggers are all agreed (well, most of us, anyway) that instalove has no place in our fiction. However, I'm astounded by how often I see instalove pop up, even after years of bloggers saying that your book will get rated down or removed from our to-read lists if you include this dreaded romance element. Authors clearly aren't getting it. So many times I've been reading a book that was headed towards a 4 or a 5 rating that I had to rate down significantly for suddenly going that way for no good plot reason whatsoever. This happened just last week, so I need to vent. Yes, instalove can work in EXTREMELY RARE CIRCUMSTANCES, like Halley's Comet rare. In every other circumstance, we will hate your precious characters for being disgusting and moronic.

What Is Instalove?
Just as a little refresher, let's rehash precisely what instalove entails. On a simple level, instalove is characters who have met and, so they say, fallen in love in a matter of days, or, worse, hours. These couples have known each other for hardly any time at all, and, perhaps worse, they have been in a state of crisis the entire time, meaning that their emotions have been running haywire, so, generally, they are mistaking crazy hormones for a lasting connection. They tend not to have any knowledge of what the other person is like outside of running for their lives/saving the world/whatever. Instalove involves a profession of feelings, often with an accompanying promise that these feelings will last forever, completely unshakable and unsinkable.

Why Is This So Awful?
Generally, instalove tends to be a cop-out for writers. More often than not, I find that instalove has been used in place of creating an actual bond between the main couple. Instead of showing me what a powerful relationship the two leads have and how they support one another, would sacrifice themselves for one another, the author tells me by having the leads pontificate constantly about how much they love one another unto eternity and would die for one another. Bloggers complain about showing instead of telling, and this is a prime example. On top of that, instalove couples tend to use overly flowery language, so sappy that I could pour it over my pancakes for brunch.

Why Instalove Is Pointless
What authors perhaps forget sometimes is that readers don't necessarily believe what they're being told. Oh, X just confessed his love to Y and asserted that his feelings would never change. Surely, Author A would not mislead, so this must be the most epic romance since Romeo and Juliet! Listen up, authors, we see through this formula. We really, really do. I never believed in Romeo and Juliet's love, and so I'm certainly not going to be convinced by your characters wordy protestations of love, because, sorry to tell you, but Shakespeare you are not.

Here's the thing, guys. This trap is SO SIMPLE to avoid. Let me let you in on a little secret: JUST STOP TELLING US HOW IN LOVE THEY ARE. Use the couple's actions and conversations to show us that they have a real and potentially lasting connection.

No matter how much I'm shipping a couple, if they confess their eternal feelings to one another within the space of a couple of stressful weeks, I immediately want to kill them with fire. Okay, maybe I don't want to go that far, but I would totally be willing to singe off their eyebrows so they can look as stupid as they have just proved themselves to be.

My confidence in a couple when it comes to instalove is inversely proportional to how much the author beats me over the head with how perfect and in love they are. If they simply trade 'I love yous,' then I roll my eyes, shout a brief epithet at the book, and carry on. That alone will lose the book about a .5 from the rating in most every case. If the couple vows to love one another ad infitum, I laugh my head off at them and lose any connection I had to the characters. This loses the book at least a full point off of the rating. If the instalove goes all out with the main characters uttering nothing but cheesy platitudes of affection, all while mostly not liking one another at all or ever having a real conversation about nothing (because let's be honest, most of a relationship is talking about nothing, the boring, everyday stuff), then I bring out the snark and rip the book into little wobbly shreds of illogic. As a reviewer, I try not to be snarky in most of my reviews and take more of an analytical approach to cut your book off at the knees, but you pull this shit, and you deserve EVERY sassy, insulting gif I can find on the internet to throw at you in judgment. Also, you deserve NONE OF THE STARS.

Back to that little secret on instalove avoidance. Author A might be thinking "but if they don't tell one another how much they care, how will the reader know?!?!?!?! Besides, isn't communicating your feelings important in a relationship?" Why, yes, Author A! You're right, communication is in fact utterly vital in a successful relationship, which is why you should probably focus on having them communicate about more than just how in love they are and how much they want to bone. This does not a relationship make. They just freaking met, so they have plenty of time to fall in love; there's no rush! If you don't hold the readers' hands and tell them how to feel, we can make up our own minds, and will likely enjoy your book much more as a result. The romantics can imagine that your couple has fallen in love for realsies and will go the distance. The cynics can imagine them parting ways at the end of the crisis and applaud you for having the characters be so honest about not knowing precisely how they feel yet. We can read what we want into your writing. Scary, I know, Author A. However, another little secret: we totally will anyway, so you might as well write it in a way more people will approve of.

Instalove Will Always Make Me Stabbity When:
1. The couple has no reason to be interested in one another besides sexiness - Instalove annoys me in 99% of cases, but I will feel less likely to be malicious when reviewing your book if I can at least see that these two people do have a real connection and shared interests. At least in that case, I can assume the misguided declaration to be a case of teenagers not knowing any better than to confess their feelings during the honeymoon phase of their relationship. I'll feel more pity for them than rage.

2. The heroine is terrified of the hero - You know what's not love? Being afraid someone will kill you. I will never, ever ship it. Sure, he might not really be a bad guy, but she's only known him for four hours and doesn't know yet, so she probably shouldn't assume she's in love with him. That makes her a naive ignoramus, and the whole romance utterly creepy and horrifying. This would probably be just as maddening with a hero afraid of the heroine, but I don't think I've seen that.

3. Accompanying a love triangle - If you take nothing else away from this, know that there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY THIS CAN WORK. EVER. THE MC CANNOT BE IN LOVE WITH BOTH OF THEM. AS SOON AS SHE/HE CLAIMS TO BE, I WILL STAB THEM IN THE FACE.

To Conclude
As I said, there have been some very rare occasions where instalove did not bother me, but these are exceptions to the rule and not hope to cling to that surely your book will fall into that category. Yeah, it might, but it's best to assume that it does not and work on their relationship until you don't need to assert their love to make people feel things.

Readers, what say you? Am I right? Did I forget anything important?



Blogger Unknown said...

Excuse me....hahahahahahahaha. LOL. That was really, really, really entertaining--and the best part? ALL TRUE. I WILL RATE YOU DOWN IF YOU ADD INSTALOVE AND A LOVE TRIANGLE. It will not happen, dear author. Although I wish you well on your endeavor, I am no longer interested in your character's love life (lives?).

Another thing? When the Main character is in a love triangle--and ONE CORNER OF THE LOVE TRIANGLE IS RELATED TO THEM. (Ahem, TMI.) Excuse me again--EWWWW.

Is that not one of the GROSSEST things ever? Also, your GIFness is very appropriate for this post. (:

(Sorry for ranting!)

Megan@The Book Babe

November 28, 2012 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Nori said...

What a fantastic post! Thanks for saying all these things! I can deal with love triangles because in all instances (pretty much ever) it is clear who the one person the main character loves more is. Seriously, it is clear and never really a surprise...

Also, one of my issues with the instant love thing is the false message it sends to readers. Like you said, there is so much more to a meaningful relationship than the constant love talk and physical attraction. And the more excellent examples in this literature, the more hope I have of the world (okay so that's a bit of a stretch, but you know what I mean).

November 28, 2012 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Lynsey Newton said...

I do believe you can be in love with more than one person at the same time...(hello Vampire Diaries).

November 28, 2012 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger Lindsay Ribar said...

Overall? A+ for this post (even though I fear I know which book from last week you're talking about -- eek!). However! One thing!

As much as I'm generally annoyed by love triangles, I absolutely think it's possible to be in love with more than one person at the same time. Relationships can be monogamous; emotions aren't bound by the same kind of rules. That said, it's a rare thing indeed that I actually BELIEVE that a fictional character's in love with two people at once. But that's usually more the author's fault than the fault of the premise, if that makes sense.

Also, I might just give my left kidney to see a YA book where there's a love triangle and then they just resolve it by settling down as one big happy polyamorous family. :)


November 28, 2012 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I believe in LUSTING after two people at one time for sure. But true love?

November 28, 2012 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Well, I do strive to be entertaining. :)

The love triangle where I'm supposed to think she's super in love with both dudes just CANNNOT fly with me. How can I believe that her love with both of them is epic? Note: I can't!

Also, incest romance = not my favorite plot line. Can't imagine why! Oh wait, yes I can, because it's GROSS. Then again, I do want to read Forbidden, so we'll see.

November 28, 2012 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh, and no need to be sorry for ranting. That's what this post is for!

November 28, 2012 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

For me, the fact that it's generally obvious which dude she's going to choose yet still pretends to be insanely in love with both of them makes everything SO MUCH WORSE.

Yes, I do hate the false message. If I started reading YA as a kid, I might have expected to meet someone and instantly be in love and feel fireworks and everything. Real life cannot live up to that!

November 28, 2012 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger Wendy Darling said...

Hah hah hah, I love it when you get all stabbity, Christina! All excellent points, particularly the way you pointed out that the number of "I love yous" in a book is directly proportionate to how convincing that relationship actually is.

I don't mind the love triangle thing all the time, but ONLY when both choices are actually interesting. But more of then not, they feel forced, manipulative, and worst of all, they tend to drag on interminably. And really, it's usually hard enough to find ONE boy worthy of our heroine's time, let alone two.

November 28, 2012 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Haha, sorry about that. As far as instalove goes, your book was in the very minor annoyance category, not the OMG DESTROY ALL THE THINGS one. Oliver and Margo do have a real, powerful connection, and I loved how you side-stepped the other YA tropes.

Well, I see what you're saying, but I guess it depends on how you define romantic love. By my definition, if you want someone else more than you want me, than you don't love me, plain and simple. I've always been pretty black and white about that stuff. Some people can make weird relationships work, though. I mean, I know a couple that swings, and they seem happy enough, so... who knows!

November 28, 2012 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Thanks! I don't usually do ranting posts, but it's been years since bloggers started saying authors should stop this, but I don't think it's decreased at all!

I don't mind love triangles when I don't know who she'll choose. What I take issue with is the girl or guy telling both of them how much she loves them, when she really just likes both of them and wants to do some horizontal tangoing. For example, the love triangle in Masque of the Red Death was awesome, because Araby wasn't trying to claim that she had eternal feelings for either of them!

November 28, 2012 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Lilian said...

I just fell in love with you.

November 28, 2012 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Maji Bookshelf said...

oh yes yes yes! THANK YOU for posting this. I REALLY don't understand authors even though bloggers and readers have repeatedly told them insta love is the WORST turn off in fiction-ville. I also agree about how i gag when authors REPEATEDLY let their characters confess to each other EVERY SINGLE PAGE and profess their love every time they see each other, ugh. I do believe insta love is the easy way out in writing a romance and I just don't find it believable 99% of the time (yes, there is that 1% where the author does it in such an amazing way that you can't help but fall in love with it!)

great post!!

- Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

November 28, 2012 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

You weren't already? *sulks*

November 28, 2012 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, some of these books the couples are a broken record of "no, I love you more" and I really don't see how even the author wasn't bored to tears by their disgusting coupleness.

Every so often, they really, really sell the emotions or there is a justification for it in the book's plot, as with Akiva and Karou in Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

November 28, 2012 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger Lilian said...

*pat pat* Then it would've been instalove. And we can't have that.

I came across this post on Twitter because a link to this post was retweeted. And I switched tabs..then came back thinking "Why am I on Christina's blog? Am I subconsciously typing readeroffictions? O_O" Then I remembered clicking that Twitter link and calmed down.

The thing was instalove is that I actually eat that stuff up when it's a romance novel, but I flip tables when I see it anywhere else.

...That's the one point I am skeptical about. Only because I do believe there's more than one person you can fall in love with in this whole wide world. I think the point is not whether s/he's in love or not, but whose love s/he is willing to sacrifice.

Ah feelings, so complicated.

You are so nice, I have no compunctions about being snarky towards instalove. IF I WANT TO FLIP TABLES, I WILL DO SO.

Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

November 28, 2012 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

True, true. This just made your burgeoning love official. :-p

Funny! Well, I'm glad you found me!

Actually, I feel like in a lot of the romance novels I've read, they went more for the "we hate each other, but, oh wait, we're boning now, it must be love" approach, which I prefer. Still, in a romance novel, you know that's a possibility, and it's all kind of ridiculous, so whatever.

AT THE SAME TIME? REALLY? EQUALLY IN TRUE LOVE WITH BOTH OF THEM FOR THE END OF TIME? I think you can love more than one person, but it's the synchronicity I can't handle.

All the tables in the area have been notified.

November 28, 2012 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger Bibliosaurus Text said...

Completely yes! This is why I abandon books, or constantly roll my eyes at them. Nothing kills a story faster for me than instalove, and you are spot on about all of the proclamations of adoration taking the place of ACTUAL SUBSTANCE. I'm so over these books.

November 28, 2012 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

You are truly awesome, my dear. Instalove should be taken out the back, burned with fire and buried under the patio.

There's a UK TV advert (I can't remember what it's for so I can't find it), where a couples' meeting, marriage and divorce all take place over three minutes in a pub. THAT'S how insta-love comes across.

And then there's the cheesy lines *voms* or nicknames like 'my siren'. Ugh!

November 28, 2012 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Bahaha, instalove does seem like that. Or it should. Unfortunately, we're supposed to believe they live happily ever after. To which I say PSHAW.

NICKNAMES. I did actually like Pushing the Limits, though. lol.

November 28, 2012 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Steena said...

This filled me with so much joy this morning. I especially like the Titanic gif.

I sometimes wonder how often instalove happens without an author really thinking about it. It is no excuse, you should have enough at least ONE honest person edit your draft and point out such things. But how often is instalove there because the author isn't looking at it from a reader's perspective? They know they're characters, they know their story (hopefully) and if a relationship feels too established or established too quickly because they're already together in an author's mind? I sometimes wonder this too about mysteries and thrillers, where the author already knows the ending and is challenged to lead up to it without giving it away or being too tropey. The answer is obviously that these writers need to become better writers and learn to express their story without these crutches. So maybe the real question is, what editor keeps passing these as decent enough for print?

November 28, 2012 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Bahahha YES. THIS. There are VERYYYY few instaloves that have ever worked for me. I don't get why so many authors think we buy it. BLAH.

November 28, 2012 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Bahaha, I'm glad you liked the Titanic gif. I wanted it, so I hunted the internet.

Seriously, I just DO. NOT. GET IT. Someone along the way ought to have been like "You know what? This would be a lot better if they didn't just SAY they love each other."

Oooh, I like that idea. Maybe since they know the characters' futures, the love is more developed in their head than on paper. Still, that's something a crit partner or editor should catch!

November 28, 2012 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

The number of them in publishing is truly baffling.

November 28, 2012 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Lindsay Ribar said...

I think you've just hit on exactly why instalove is so prevalent in YA: it all depends on how you define romantic love. And when you read about one character saying "I love you" to another character, you're reading one character's definition of love AS INTERPRETED BY one author's definition of love, which makes things... let's say "murky." And when you add to that the fact that these characters are mostly teenagers, the definition is going to get skewed even further by crazy!crazy!hormones! and inexperience and such. Which doesn't make the really bad cases any less annoying, but does explain them a little.

Of course, when hormones and inexperience lead you to (FOR EXAMPLE) declare your love for someone and drastically change your life for them in under two weeks, there are going to be consequences like crazy (hopefully). All of this is my long-winded way of saying that I'm in the middle of working on edits for the second book, and damn if this post (+comments) didn't give me a bunch of new ways to think about certain things....

November 28, 2012 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger callmebecks said...

I think I might <3 you forever for this post. I'm trying to come up with a response, but all I have is:


November 28, 2012 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oooh, I am so clever. That's a seriously good point, but I guess if an author's going to swerve off of the norm so far as what love really means, then it might be good to indicate that somehow. I mean, I can see in The Art of Wishing from Oliver's perspective that he's been around the block more than a few times, so he's perhaps got a better idea of what works for him and can be fairly practical about a snap judgment. For Margo, though, I can't help going "honey, slow your roll." They do have a wonderful connection to one another, and I think they have a much better chance of lasting than a lot of YA couples, but I'm very much for being careful with the "I love you" stuff, because you might have to retract that statement later, which would be SO AWKWARD. Basically, everyone should spend more of their childhood reading, so they know what can go wrong and overthink everything like I do. Or maybe not...

THERE'S A BOOK TWO!!! I didn't know that. Holla! Well, I'm glad this helped get your creative juices flowing. With that knowledge, I reserve my concerns about their relationship until I see what happens next!

Side note (and I know you're not responsible for this stuff): I wish pubs would make sure Goodreads knew about which books were parts of series, because I keep thinking I'm reading a standalone and then find out later that there's another book coming. No wonder I thought the end wasn't wrapped tightly enough. It wasn't THE END.

November 28, 2012 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I'll take it. :)

November 28, 2012 at 2:22 PM  
Blogger Lindsay Ribar said...

Heehee! YES, there is a book two. I mean, obviously there is a book two! EVERY YOUNG ADULT NOVEL HAS TO BE PART OF A TRILOGY DIDN'T YOU KNOW THAT. Seriously though: when I saw your review, it occurred to me that I couldn't tell whether or not you knew it was a trilogy, which made me realize for the first time that there was nothing anywhere on the internet (let alone the book cover) saying the story wasn't finished. Which is why books 2 and 3 are now listed on Goodreads. I'm sure the pub would've put them up eventually, but....


You're spot-on about Oliver. He is a combination of mostly-practical and super-feelingsy! And for now, let's just say I'm totally with you about Margo, too. :)

November 28, 2012 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger Lindsay Ribar said...


"Basically, everyone should spend more of their childhood reading, so they know what can go wrong and overthink everything like I do."

Uh, high five. I'm convinced that too-many-books syndrome is why I'm still single. So there's that.

November 28, 2012 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

HOW COULD I FORGET?!?! Also, I totally did not know, but I added an addendum to the review about that, because, knowing there's more, I would mention some of my plot thread questions, but assume they'll probably be taken care of, particularly with her best friend, who I want to see more of btws! I added book two on GR. Excitement! Only over a year to wait! Haha.

I did really love that Margo was mostly logical about it, in that when he talked about his past, she was all "why would I be jealous? That doesn't impact me." High five for that. Also, the quote that I included. She had a self-awareness which I really enjoyed, thus why her declaration of STRONG FEELINGS threw me. Hormones are crazy little bastards. :-p

November 28, 2012 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger Lindsay Ribar said...

Once again: you are the best. Thank you! Now I have SIX WHOLE PEOPLE who know that there is a book two! (And yeah, Naomi features quite a lot in book two. Rah rah.)

High five! Super happy those things worked for you. Hope that ending ends up working, too. Time and revisions will tell.

November 28, 2012 at 3:33 PM  
Blogger Emma said...

Get out of my mind! You've pretty much nailed all the reasons as to why I was a YA snob for so long. I have yet to find a great YA where there's no hook up at all. Any recommendations?

November 28, 2012 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Naomi! That's her name. I'm so awful with names these days, it's ridiculous. Often I'm referring back to the book for the MC's name as I write the review for the book I literally just put down. Oy

Woo! Good luck on the revisions!

November 28, 2012 at 3:40 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh, I missed that earlier comment, but, yes, I blame all of that Jane Austen and chick lit I read when I was 12-17 for my perpetual singleness. Well, that and a few personality quirks. Still, it's a big factor!

November 28, 2012 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

No hook up at all. Well, I just read Orleans by Sherri L. Smith. It wasn't a five star for me, but it was solid and had NO romance. Doesn't come out until March, though.

Others with no romance:
Every Other Day - Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Zom-B - Darren Shan
The Age of Miracles - Karen Thompson Walker (from what I remember)

This list is not impressive. O_O

November 28, 2012 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger roro said...


November 28, 2012 at 3:53 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

Okay, so I have three things to say:

One--Instalove never EVER works for me. If there is instalove, I am knocking off a star. Not once have I read a book where I founf it believable. I don't care if it's puppy love or not. Just don't say I love you then.

Two--In rare cases the love triangle works for me. I read your comments and I agree about Masque of the Red Death. That is a fantastic, well-written love triangle. It takes really strong writing (awesome characters) and a lot of tension to make this work.

Three--I firmly believe you can be in love with two people at once because I have personally been there. But it only works for some people--the extremely emotional. Me. Ha.

Loved this post.

November 28, 2012 at 4:03 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I wish I were smart enough to give up. I just suffer through and complain.

November 28, 2012 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

One - I'm slightly less picky than you on this one, but I can see why you feel that way. Yeah, how hard is it to not have your characters say "I love you"?!?!

Two - I do like some love triangles, but not ones where she's confessing love to both guys at once, which DOESN'T happen in Masque. I also liked the love triangle in False Memory.

Three - Huh. I don't think I'm wired that way. I'd dump both because if I can't choose, then obvi neither's good enough. lol.

November 28, 2012 at 4:12 PM  
Blogger Lindsay Ribar said...

I blame The Scarlet Pimpernel. Unless there is someone in real life who will assume multiple identities, save people from the guillotine and smuggle them to safety, AND love me forever even when they think I've betrayed them? I'm basically screwed.

(Also, I totally do the same thing with character names. Heh.)

November 28, 2012 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh, I haven't read that one. My only mental association with The Scarlet Pimpernel is a terrible miniseries with this ugly old dude (at least to me at the time) as the MC, and I had NO interest. I do have a copy, so I'll get to it someday!

The worst for character names are first person books. Sometimes their name just doesn't get said very often.

November 28, 2012 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger Lindsay Ribar said...

I know exactly the miniseries you mean -- and that is NOT what Percy is supposed to look like. He is supposed to be terribly, terribly handsome, is the thing. The book is interesting, and quite romancey -- and there are scenes where I still can't tell whether the author was commenting on the anti-Semitism of the time, or she just didn't like Jewish people. IDK.

But mostly my obsession was with the 1982 movie, mostly, and the 1997 stage musical. Because that's how I roll.

November 28, 2012 at 4:36 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh good, I didn't make it up! Is there someone you picture as Percy? Oh wow, I just looked at the guy in the 1982 version and he looks like such a ponce! Haha. Maybe I will keep my Austen heroes. :-p

November 28, 2012 at 4:43 PM  
Blogger Lindsay Ribar said...

Oh, he's SUCH a ponce. But he's also the sort of actor where he becomes attractive once you see him talk. Mostly, though, I picture this dude:


The one on the right, with the gold cravat thing. Mmm.

November 28, 2012 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

Delightful post and I concur..show me do not tell me. This is why I love series, because the relationship can slowly develop. Yes I believe in soul-mates, I married mine (25 yrs and going strong) but I want the characters to show me they feel for each other and are compatible. Love triangles..i hate them..isn't life tough enough already?

November 28, 2012 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Fab post! I think that's why I generally hate paranormal romances in adult and YA fiction - because instalove is such a cheap cop out! (I think it's safe to say that Jacob's imprinting on Renesme kind of sums up instalove's stupidity for me). Slow burn relationships are my favorite and that's why I worship authors who do them. D.B.Reynolds for example forever conquered my heart when the main character in Raphael freaked out in the end of the book realizing that he is falling for the heroine and walked out on her. Can you imagine?! A PNR without HEA? Of course I had to read every damn book DB written since. ;)
Another good example why slow burn works well in YA is Brighter Kind of Darkness series by P.T. Michelle. I really liked that nothing was rushed there and that the characters could function pretty well without each other and without declaring undying eternal love *bleh*

A lot of British YA is like that, that's why I like it so much. Instalove is not realistic it's not romantic and if the characters don't work on falling in love and getting to know each other, what's there for them in a year's time? Romeo and Juliette's love worked only because they died before she turned into a screaming fishwife and he became a surly drunk. Because let's face it, - it was a fling based on sexual attraction, the lure of forbidden fruit and teenage penchance for DRAMA.

November 28, 2012 at 7:03 PM  
Blogger Kimberly @ Midnight Book Girl said...

Great post! I can be very forgiving, much more than the average person, but it's very rare that instalove works for me. I think in certain YA books it can work to a point because you know high school girls can be over dramatic about their relationships and how they throw the L word around like it's nothing, however it still takes weeks. I think it's always better if YA couples stay out of the I-Love-You zone and stay in the I-Like-You_Lots zone.

I hate instalove in adult books. There should be months and months and months before they fall in Love forever and ever. There is nothing more annoying than a 30 year old woman meeting a hot guy, falling in love with him and then getting her happily ever after in like 2 weeks.

November 28, 2012 at 7:06 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

"I never believed in Romeo and Juliet's love, and so I'm certainly not going to be convinced by your characters wordy protestations of love, because, sorry to tell you, but Shakespeare you are not."

True dat. True all of it!!!!

Excellent post and you covered all of the points perfectly while being amusing at the same time. A+

November 28, 2012 at 8:08 PM  
Blogger Lilian said...

Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls (although its YA classification is debatable)

This is hard. There are many where romance isn't prominent...but I guess the main characters have boyfriends/girlfriends.

Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

November 28, 2012 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger Britta said...

Just stopping by to say thank you for signing up for the 2013 Standalone Reading Challenge! Best of luck :)

This is an awesome post! Great gifs too. Haha. Insta-love can totally ruin a novel for me.


November 28, 2012 at 9:10 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Wow! Over 50 comments! Get it!!! Lol

Anywhoosies, I totally agree, ESPECIALLY about only being in live because if hotness. That annoys me to no end. I could write a whole blog post about "sexy" love interests and the fact that they must be actually interesting to be genuinely sexy. I'd also like to know more details than his hair and eye color. Don't we all know little quirks about the people we like? Where is that in fiction?! That makes characters interesting!!

Ok. Sorry. That was mildly off topic. Rant = over

November 29, 2012 at 8:28 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

I have the urge to stand up at my desk and clap right now, but for appearances sake I am not. Still, so so awesome. Bonus points for the Michael Scott gif.

November 29, 2012 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger April (BooksandWine) said...

Aahhahahaha all of the gifs.

Ugh, it grosses me the eff out when a girl falls in love with the hero who scares her. What the fuck, a healthy relationship does not involve a person being scared of their partner and to me that sets a dangerous awful message. (Sidebar just because I disagree with the message being sent/think it's bad does not mean I want to censor/ban books and I feel like I always need to disclaim this when expressing criticism of a book's elements).

November 29, 2012 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger Emma said...

Thanks. I'll hunt these down in the new year. I'm not completely dead inside, and I do like a well written romance between characters, but I think I've read too many bad ones that I've started to get a bit Scrooge-like. Maybe I should make it a challenge for next year to see how many non-romance books I can find throughout.

November 29, 2012 at 11:24 AM  
Blogger Bekka said...

I don't know. I think you can be in love with two people at once. Why should my love for one person take away from the love I have for someone else? Two things can be great without diminishing each other.

I've been thinking about that a lot with the recent surge of polyamory in the mainstream. Logically, my brain tells me "yes, yes, this makes sense" but I know I have jealousy issues so it wouldn't work for me. But to say it flat out doesn't work is undermining the relationships of many, many people out there, and I just don't feel comfortable making a blanket statement like that.

Wow off topic. But anyway, I love this post.

November 29, 2012 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Bahahaha, he's still so NOT my type. I like the cute, nerdy ones. :-p

November 29, 2012 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

No, I totally get it! That would be a really unique challenge. Good luck with it!

November 29, 2012 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

True, though series have this problem just as often, I feel.

Awww, I'm glad you found your special someone. :)

November 29, 2012 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

BAHAHA, Jacob and Renesmee. That shit was so stupid and SERIOUSLY creepy.

I've never heard of D.B. Reynolds, but I doubt my library has those since they're a small press. I did pick up a free kindle copy of Brighter Kind of Darkness, so I'll probably read that one someday.

Romeo and Juliet's 'love' so did not work for em. One of my least favorite Shakespeare plays!

November 29, 2012 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

True, in adult books it is worse, because they really should know better by now. You've been smacked in the face by thinking you were in love before, so shouldn't you have learned something by now?

November 29, 2012 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ha, thanks. Glad you liked it!

November 29, 2012 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Exactly! I feel like it's a such a cop-out to avoid having to make your characters fascinating. If I just TELL the reader how compelling this dude it, surely the reader will swoon over him, even if he is entirely wooden (punned).

November 29, 2012 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Haha, I forgive you. It's the thought that counts.

November 29, 2012 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yes, very much so. Obviously, that happens in real life, but I feel like in the book there should be an ending that shows that guys like that are not a good choice in the long run, because let's not romanticize that business.

November 29, 2012 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Lilian said...

I'm honored. =D

I will always find my way to you.
K-dramas should totally hire me to write their romance scripts.

I eat those hate-turn-into-love storylines up. *O* And yes, romance novels are half ridiculous. On the other hand, I hate ones that end with the lady getting pregnant. STOP USE POOR INNOCENT BABIES AS A PLOT DEVICE. (even though I know you hate babies)

I..I...don't know (my love life is not that eventful...*ries*)! Why can't you meet both of your true loves at the same time? AND MAYBE YOU CAN'T MEASURE LOVE. Like you can't decide which drowning person to save in some hypothetical scenerio?

No wonder I couldn't find any tables.

November 29, 2012 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Sadieforsythe said...

Oh Gawd I completely agree! Instant love based on nothing drives me up the wall. (Instant lust I can understand, but don't pretend it is something more.) The only thing that gets me so irked is love based on the simple fact that a woman speaks her mind to the man, as it that is so rare and amazing. Yes, both cop-outs. Agree. Great post.

November 29, 2012 at 2:43 PM  
Blogger Renae @ Respiring Thoughts said...

Yep, you basically covered it all. Instalove is so prevalent too. I couldn't tell you the last time I read a YA novel where they main characters weren't "in love" within a week or two.

November 29, 2012 at 11:55 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Bahahaha, you should. Oh, how I love kdrama. I wish I had time to watch one right now. BOOK CHALLENGE!

Right? I've LOVED that story line since P&P. Make them snipe at each other or proclaim how they would never go to there and then fall in love against their will and I am reader putty in your hands. I KNOW that I'm being manipulated, but it calls to my heart. Pretty sure this is not a good thing for ever finding a relationship myself. I DO not like babies, but this means that I agree with you. NO BABIES AS A PLOT DEVICE.

Nor is mine. I'm not convinced I can be in love with one person. I'm just sure that if I did meet two 'true loves' at once, I would prefer one or the other. Except for very rare circumstances where the dudes are okay with sharing you, you're going to have to choose one, the other, or neither. If you can choose, you prefer that one more and that's the truth of it.

They've got to do what they've got to do.

November 30, 2012 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Bahahaha, you are SO right about that. Someone on GR pasted quotes from the first chapter of Crash by Nicole Williams, and it totally had him falling for her because she sassed him back (despite her mental narrative about how any woman in the world want to get on that) and turned him down (surely temporarily), thus he feels respect and can love her like no other. OH REALLY?

November 30, 2012 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I find a decent number, but the instalove really is overwhelming. I get that teens might jump to conclusions and say they're in love, but it doesn't mean they have to be right about it every time!

November 30, 2012 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Lilian said...

I just finished one called OhLaLa Spouses. (shame on me, I should be writing thesis papers, not watching kdramas!) I watched it since it's first episode...then it went rolling downhill. Actually, I didn't finish the last episode because I went on forums and I knew the ending. And it wasn't one I approved of, so I was like "I have no time for this."
I have a feeling if that drama was in book form, we'd be ripping it to shreds with that ending.

I also watched Innocent Man/Nice Guy. It's one of the popular ones this season. And I was so confused 90% of the time with that one. Every ten seconds I was thinking "WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? I THOUGHT THEY WERE ENEMIES? WHA?!?!" Yet people loved it to bits, so maybe I'm the only one. Sweet ending though.

If only every guy that was mean to me REALLY had a secret crush on me as a kid.

I read a romance novel once about sharing...all these guys grouped together and gave her an ultimatum. "Pick one, or none of us." Then she broke down and was like "I can't chooooseee, I love all of you guys!" then the guys were like "We were just joking! We had to check your love for us! Now we have confirmed it, LET'S BONE ALL NIGHT!"
It was disgusting.

November 30, 2012 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Bahahaha, that name. Oh man, I'm pretty sure in book form I would HATE kdrama. There are so many shows I love that I would judge highly in book form. Like, I was meh on The Selection, but if they make the show I will watch the heck out of it. Why? I like watching pretty people drama.

Maybe they did. HOW CAN YOU KNOW?


November 30, 2012 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

the very wonderful experience you will get on dinner with Dhow cruise Dubai

February 4, 2013 at 5:08 AM  

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