5 Types of YA Romances

As it draws closer to Valentine’s Day, some of us will be inevitably feel like reading an adorable, feelsy YA romance. Love is in the air, and all that, after all! And lucky for us, books offer many types of romantic books, from those who fall in love at first sight, to those that try to, well, stab each other first and then fall in love. Whatever works for you, friend! Love comes in all shapes and sizes!

Today I’m listing 5 types of romance tropes I see in YA books and I’ll add in some books that fit those categories so you can devour them at dawn.


LOVE-TO-HATE ROMANCE

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This is definitely my favourite romance trope because it starts with sass and action and usually fight scenes! There’s nothing like two characters battling wits and cunning only to realise they work better as a team than stabbing each other. How do I always end up shipping the enemies the most?? Who would know. But there we have it. It also puts forth great chances for complex character development, which is a beautiful thing. Sobbing over character development? How dare you accuse me of such.

 

FRIENDS TO LOVERS

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This romance trope is so so super cute because nothing makes me happier than two good friends deciding they need to be more than friends. Plus I feel confident  that their relationship is deep and not superficial and my bookworm heart is comfortable shipping them without thinking they’re going to break up 2 chapters later. Angsty and insecure romances = no go for me, Joe. But best friends who know each like the back of their hands already? BLESS THEM. Plus what you need in life is someone who already knows your favourite food. Saves so much fuss later.

 

FORBIDDEN LOVE BIRDS

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This kind of relationship is usually fraught with danger and risk, which makes it all the more exciting to read about. It can have a Romeo-and-Juliet vibe happening. Lots of stealth. Lots of guilt. And it’s always great when love smashes boundaries of hate or distance or really really tall walls. Let no one say love can’t climb.

 

THE LOVE TRIANGLE

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 This trope has been overdone in YA which leads a lot of readers to cringing and backing away slowly when they see it. But! It can still be done well! There’s a lot of emotional tension when a girl or boy has to choose between two potential lovers. Especially if it’s heart vs duty. And it leads to some fantastically anxious moments of vigorous shipping and picking one’s team and arguing with your neighbour or your neighbour’s cat about if the protagonist made the right choice.

 

LOVERS IN DENIAL

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Even though it can be a bit frustrating seeing two people who should definitely be together but are absolutely both denying it…it can still be super cute to read about! You spend the whole book wondering who’s going to slap them to their senses so they declare undying affection for each other instead of tiptoeing around the matter.

 

Best YA Romances For Valentine’s Day

Considering it’s nearly Valentine’s Day, I decided it’s entirely appropriate to list some of my favourite Young Adult romances. I’m not the biggest romance fan? But it is a squishy moment of intense happiness when a couple defies the odds and gets together. Wild applause from me!

 

C O N T E M P O R A R Y

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  • ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES: This is definitely a tragic sort of romance, but so addictive and beautiful and heart-lifting. I mean, it lifts your spirits and then makes you cry. But all the good books do that, don’t doubt me. Violet and Finch are definitely adorable and the way they help piece each other’s broken lives back together is incredible.
  • THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CINNAMON GIRL: Speaking of incredible….THIS BOOK. It has a “best friend” romance, where Alba and Grady have to figure out if they love each other more than friends or not. The story is entirely adorably gorgeous.
  • SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA: This is another intense cute-fest (that is totally a word, don’t doubt me) where not-so-openly-gay Simon is falling in love with his email-pal, Blue. Except he doesn’t know WHO Blue is. The banter is witty and quick and the romance is slow burning and excellently written. I was squeaking at the end. SQUEAKING.

 

F A N T A S Y

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  • THE PERCY JACKSON SERIES: Can this post even exist without mentioning Percy and Annabeth?! (Or #Percabeth as is their ship name.) I will happily shriek my love for these two. She’s sensible and he’s a dork. Can they be more perfect?!
  • THE WRATH AND THE DAWN: This is a retelling of the 1001 Arabian Nights, where Khalid kills his wives after being married to them for one day. THEN COMES SHAHRZAD. I was worried I would never root for these two because...what kind of guy kills all his wives?!? But trust me: there are secrets. Plot twists. And swoon-worthy scenes. (Also really delicious food, just putting it out there.)
  • CARRY ON: I think Rainbow Rowell is basically queen of cute kissing scenes, and she outdoes herself in her latest book. Simon and Baz are enemies. Hahah ha ha ha…no. Their relationship is full of friction and banter, but ultimately I found myself rooting for these two. ROOTING HARD.

 

S C I  –  F I 

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  • THESE BROKEN STARS: This is definitely one of the most gorgeous books (and covers!) of ever. But Lilac and Tarver?! Ohhhh, they are opposite personalities. She’s a “princess”. He’s a military brat. And their relationship is slow-burning and entirely romantic.
  • BLOOD RED ROAD: Jack and Saba have an “I hate you, I hate you, but kinda maybe I love you” thing going on…which has a tendency to be annoying? BUT NOT HERE. They keep saving each other’s lives and being there for each other in such a tough universe.
  • DISRUPTION: Okay, another “I-hate-you-I-love-you” romance (apparently they’re my favourite?!) but I have to admit Maggie and Quentin are monstrously adorable. Maggie starts off by “using” Quentin in a Grand Scheme to free her father from an evil incorporation. BUT DUM DUM DAAAA of course she develops feelings. I develop feelings. So. many. feelings.

Let me know your favourite YA romances in the comments below!

Author Interview with Wanda Wiltshire and giveaway of Betrothed and Allegiance

Please welcome Australian author Wanda Wiltshire to Boomerang Books. Thanks so much for joining us Wanda.

Congratulations on the launch of your YA novel Allegiance, the second in the Betrothed series. For those who haven’t read Betrothed, can you tell us a little bit about this fantasy series?
Thanks Tracey, it’s a pretty exciting time! The Betrothed series tells the story of Amy Smith, a 17 year old girl with serious health issues, school bullies and a strong feeling that she doesn’t belong. In the first instalment of the series Amy discovers her suspicions are true when she meets the drop-dead gorgeous Leif in what she believes are dreams. After telling Amy she is betrothed to him, Leif urges her to seek her true identity. Soon Amy learns that not only is her birth name Marla but that she is a faery – exiled from her homeland, Faera. Amy – who begins to think of herself as Marla – is swept up in the thrill of her discovery and comes to believe that the only hurdle to happiness is overcoming Leif’s father, the cold and callous King Telophy. She is soon to learn there is so much more to her new reality.

photoWhat’s your inspiration for the land of Faera?
Betrothed was the answer to a prayer and Faera came to me as part of that. It’s the kind of world I long to live in with aspects of it continually being revealed to me. Faera is not like any particular place I’ve seen, but I do occasionally catches glimpses of it in the real world – a shaft of sunlight falling through a lush forest, a beautiful display of colour as the sun goes down or an exquisite flower growing wild. It is a place of old forests, glittering rivers and majestic mountains. The Fae create their homes amongst this beauty but would no more destroy a tree to do so than tear off one of their own wings. Faera is not a perfect world, as Marla soon discovers, but one where the Fae share the resources, do what they love and work together.

Betrothed has been receiving fantastic reviews both in Australia and overseas, have you been surprised by how well it’s doing?
What truly surprises me is that I wrote Betrothed. In the beginning I never actually believed I could finish it, so writing ‘the end’ on the manuscript was one of the highlights of my life. To celebrate I had a tiny book made for my charm bracelet. Sometimes I twirl that little gold book in my fingers and have to pinch myself! What I’ve found with Betrothed is that the people who love it, really really love it. I can’t say I’m surprised about that because I feel exactly the same way. I’m not very surprised either that lovers of Betrothed are looking forward to finding out what happens next. Betrothed did end at a crucial moment, and I know if I were a reader I’d want to know.

Is Allegiance a stand-alone book or should readers seek to read Betrothed first?
Allegiance is the second in the Betrothed series and while I think it could be enjoyed on its own, readers will get much more out of it if they have read Betrothed first. Not only to be up to date with the story, but – love them or hate them – it’s through Betrothed we come to know the characters. We also see changes in Marla between the two books. In Betrothed she is completely dazzled by both Leif and Faera – to the point where she thinks of little else. In Allegiance the illusion of perfection is shattered. She discovers that all is not as it seems in the magical land of her birth. Nor is being betrothed to the Prince the fairy tale she imagined. Rather, she is faced with a series of challenges and obligations in her new life completely unknown in her former one. It remains to be seen how she will deal with them.

You’ve created a handmade bookmark to give to the winner of the giveaway below, can you tell us how this started? How did you start making bookmarks for fans of your books?
I love interacting with Betrothed’s fans. They give me such wonderful encouragement and feedback on all aspects of my writing – from my style to the characters, to the story itself. Making the bookmarks is a kind of connecting experience and a way I can show my appreciation for the support my readers give me – mostly through my author page on Facebook. And it’s a lot of fun too! I can see myself making bookmarks for each of the books in the series.

Are you still planning to write six books in this series?  What can you tell us about the next one?
Right from the start, I knew the beginning and the end of Betrothed. That hasn’t changed. However, as I’ve written Marla’s story, more and more details have been revealed to me. In that way the series has grown. When I started writing and realized her story wouldn’t fit into one book, I thought her adventures might fill two. Two very quickly became three, then four. Five and six came to me sometime later. Honestly, I can’t see the series growing any bigger than that. The seventh book will be a prequel and occurred to me when I started to get images of how the land of Faera and its first inhabitants came to be. As for the third book, I can tell you the title is Confused. I will also say that as different to Betrothed as Allegiance is, so too will be Confused to each of the books that came before it. Sound confusing? Stay tuned.

Anything else you’d like to share with Boomerang Books readers?
Only thanks for having me, Tracey. I hope readers of Marla’s story fall in love with it. If so, come and join me and other Betrothed lovers on my Facebook page. I think it’s a friendly place to be.


Giveaway Details

Prize: Wanda is giving away a copy of Betrothed, a copy of Allegiance and a handmade bookmark.

Eligibility: you must be an existing Boomerang Books member to be eligible for this giveaway.  (Not a member? Click here to join; it’s free and easy to create an online account).

To enter:  comment below and tell us what cause you would pledge your allegiance to.

Entries close: midnight, Thursday 31 July 2014

Winner announced: Wanda Wiltshire will help me to choose the winner which will be announced here on the blog.

Read a FREE extract of Betrothed, here, and click here to buy the book.

Read a FREE extract of Allegiance here, and click here to buy the book.

Pass the soap, it’s romance time

Tall, dark and handsome is out of date, according to some of  Britain’s best-known romantic writers. 58 romantic novelists were interviewed to find out what they thought made the perfect man and they believe that today’s romance reader wants someone who is loyal, honest, kind – and able to wield a bar of soap.

The Festival of Romance, a literary festival held dedicated to romantic fiction, interviewed the writers to find out what they considered to be the ideal qualities  for a a perfect romantic male lead. The writers have struck tall, dark and rich off the must-have list, with wealth and bedroom skills taking second place to being a man of good morals and good heart.

And, apparently, a bar of soap.

The perfect man, according to the survey, must be loyal (91%) and honest (89%). But that won’t do him much good if he’s not a fan of frequent showers; personal hygiene  came in in third place with 88% of respondents saying it was a must-have. Perhaps this explains the fascination with the scene where Mr Darcy jumps into the lake. Good hygiene is next to kindness (86%), a sense of humour (86%), and intelligence (85%), with being a man of principles (81%) rounding out the must-have list.

(For those of you wondering where being great in bed came in, it was considered desirable but not essential at 62%, along with good looks(60%). So hot stuff Casanovas need not apply.)

I’ve been amusing myself by imagining what would happen if you moved outside the romance genre and reverse the gender. You’ll have a hard-time finding books that bill themselves as straight-forward romance for men, but plenty of books that are seen as more “boy-ish”, particularly in sci-fi and fantasy*, lay the love plots on pretty thick. The noble quest that gets the girl is always a winner of a storyline and most epics are incomplete without a smidgen of sexual tension – think Aragorn and Arwen,  Captain Kirk and, well, everyone – even Arthur Dent and Fenchurch.

So if the men of romance have gone all squeaky clean and ultra moral, do this mean that the perfect woman (or hot alien type  if you are Captain Kirk) has been similarly scaled down? Are we swapping exotic love interests for the clone next door? Will there be less women on the cover in space suits of a bikini-ish persuasion or shall we just expect to see sci-fi going straight for the shower for some titillation? (Star Trek and that T’Pol decontamination scene, I’m looking at you.)

Or what about the ideal female romantic interest for readers of fantasy? If we’re less worried about stunning good looks, social status and monetary wealth, does this mean we can downscale from the traditional female love interest being a princess, high priestess or absurdly hot goddess? Do the ladies of fantasy still need to have great big tracts of land and a libidinous bent, or is a kind heart and good shower after a hard day orc-slaying deemed sufficient?

If you’ve got opinions, the Festival of Romance has opened the polls to ask readers what they think makes the perfect man. The poll closes at midnight on 19th September 2011 and the results will be posted up shortly after.

 

* Just a quick note, I’m not saying that girls don’t read sci-fi/fantasy but that I have noticed that sci-fi/fantasy are often assumed to be of interest predominately to men. I enjoy reading many fantasy and sci-fi novels as do lots of women I know. I know men who love reading romances. If you’re reading outside the traditional reading list divides, more power to you. There’s plenty of great books out there in all shapes and genres.

Who will be your Valentine? The Romance Top 10

I don’t normally do the Valentine’s thing, so it was a bit of a surprise when the doorbell rang this morning. Whatever could it be?

On seeing the large lump in the postie’s hands it became obvious it wasn’t a huge bundle of flowers or a carefully gift-wrapped pony (a girl can hope) but my latest delivery of books from Boomerang. Despite the day that’s in it, the contents of my package weren’t very lovey-dovey. If I had fancied something a little more romantic though, I would have had some excellent guidance. According to the list of the Boomerang Top 1,000 books in 2010 that I recently got my paws on, many of you have been dipping your noses into books of love, lust and just perhaps a little period drama. The most sold Romance novels by Boomerang in 2010 were:

  1. Master Player, The
  2. Stormy Greek Marriage
  3. Country Midwife, Christmas Bride
  4. Quarterback Daddy / Valentine Bride
  5. Mavericks Virgin Mistress / Unbridled, The: Mills & Boon Desire
  6. Australian Boss: Diamond Ring
  7. Going Down Hard / Once A Rebel
  8. Charade / Imminent Affair
  9. Wedding At King’s Convenience
  10. From Russia, with Love / Scent of a Woman

I can’t link to most as they are sadly no longer available (romance books have a faster turn-over than Warnie’s dates) but just look at that list.  I’m fascinated by the descriptions – for example the intriguing Quarterback Daddy/Valentine Bride combo.  The second book in the pair, Valentine Bride tells the story of beautiful Irina who enters into a green card marriage so she won’t have to return to her war-torn homeland.

I’ve been known to enjoy a romantic interlude occasionally but sadly Irina’s story will no longer ring true for me, as will no book that uses the “marriage as a quick and easy way to get a visa” plot. As someone who has actually gone this route, I can tell you that partner visas are neither quick nor easy. My green card resulted from beating the Department of Immigration around the head with approximately 3 kilos of legal statements and affadavits until they cried Uncle.

How do I love thee? Here is the 300 pages of forms, certified documents, statutory declarations and accompanying appendices. Oh, and a huge processing fee.

It must be love. I have the paperwork to prove it, if not the gift-wrapped pony.

My package included Naomi Wolf’s Beauty Myth, a dissection of modern stereotypes of female beauty and the societal and personal obsession with that beauty, and Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, which explores meat-eating and the ethics of it. Nothing says romance like examining theories of consuming and shaping human and animal flesh. Mmm hmm.

On a slightly lighter, or at least more comedic note, there is Last Chance to See; Douglas Adams’s journey across the world in search of its most endangered creatures (hence the title), and On Writing by Stephen King, which I have finally decided to upgrade from my e-version to a real book as it is just that brilliant.

So, not exactly a package spilling forth with romance and all things torrid and bodice-ripping. But, as I got it on Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided that makes it official. Boomerang Books, I will be your Valentine!

Now, where is that gift-wrapped pony?