Let me preface this by saying I really want to like YA. I think there are probably a good handful of books that I would enjoy (James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, Brandon Sandersons’ Reckoners, etc.) But—
Romance is interesting in fiction. I think it adds something extra to the plot, a bit of intrigue. What I do not like, though, is when romance becomes the driving force of a story’s plot, especially in the fantasy genre. It’s probably why I hardly read YA anymore. When I’m reading a story, I want to be invested in the characters; I want to really love them. But if I have to read 600-plus pages about why person A is so in love with person B and wants their absolute undying affection or else their life is meaningless, I’m going to put the book down. That’s not interesting. Person A sacrificing their life for person B and then person B wading through hell and back to find a way to resurrect person A? That’s interesting.
I count Edgar Allan Poe as one of my favorite authors and one of my biggest influences in writing. Poe believed that one of the most interesting topics to write about was the death of a beautiful woman. I agree with this; I also believe one of the most intriguing things to write about is the death of a beautiful person regardless of gender. What does their death do to their loved ones; how does it affect the world they lived in? Does it affect it at all (it certainly has to to some extent)?
Their are different types of love, the most common referring to that of a family, between friends, and romantic love. They all affect the story in some fashion, but romantic love is the one I think is most often times shoved down readers’ throats. Romantic love should enhance the story in some way, not completely dominate it, and so often the problem with YA is exactly this.
I digress, though. Tame the romantic love and use it strategically; focus on character and plot instead of sacrificing them for unnecessary triangles and moping.
*Side note—I might also be quite over the YA dystopian trend as well. Please, let’s move on to the next thing. To each their own, though.