Guest Author Anna Banks: What I Love About YA Romance
When I was a teen, YA romance wasn’t a thing yet. The closest that we could come to it would be Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which was bittersweet because it was required reading at school. Or who could forget the push and pull of Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe? But as far as YA romance goes, that was pretty much it.
So as a teen, I grew up reading adult romance novels. I couldn’t get enough of the emotional payoff you felt when the two characters who struggled not to fall in love finally did. I couldn’t get enough of the happily ever after, because if the writer was good, she really made her characters work for it. And so the reader felt like she worked for it, too.
But it’s not the happily ever after part I love. It’s the process of falling. For YA, that process is usually the first time the character has experienced it, and it’s likely to be the hardest, best, and most memorable fall of their life. My favorite YA romance will be the one where the characters try to fight it, try to resist it, try to deny it. I love when a YA author takes his or her time with the falling process, when he or she doesn’t make it easy, when there is some point in the book where you want to push the characters’ faces together and say, “For the love of God, KISS ALREADY!”
And when they do kiss, I want to feel like I’m being kissed. And I want to know all the feels from both characters. Give me dialogue! Give me subtle touches! Give me eyes full of emotion! Give me something to tide me over, because we all know that now that they’ve kissed, something bad will happen. Something will rip them apart again and we’ll have to suffer until they’re back together. We’ll have to curl into a little ball and keep reading until our hearts get welded back together again. You, brilliant YA romance writer, will make sure of that, won’t you?
And if our hearts don’t get welded back together again until the second or third book? Well then, you’re an evil genius author and I hate you in the nicest way possible. Books in a series usually release one per year, and you had the writerly balls to make me wait years for the makeup, for the grand finale, for the happily ever after? You unimaginable jerkface. You pompous, self-indulgent masochist. What do you have to say for yourself?
But wait, you don’t have time to answer that. Because you BETTER be writing the next book for me to devour! Oh, and I luff you.