Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Saturday 18 September |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Daudi Okelo and Bl. Jildo Irwa
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Romance in Teen Fiction

Image One/Jeffrey Bruno

MercatorNet - published on 08/01/13

An examination of the majority of today's publishers and authors in teen fiction reveals that many subscribe to a romance of sexual attraction rather than emotional intimacy.

If you’re familiar with contemporary teen fiction you’ll know that romance features strongly. But it’s worth examining what the majority of today’s publishers and authors seem to consider romance to be.

In the first place, much of it would be better labelled sexual attraction: intense (and often instant) physical chemistry that may or may not extend to emotional attraction.

This chemistry/attraction soon takes over everything else and becomes the purpose (or obsession) of the characters’ lives.

For dramatic tension, authors throw in a love triangle/square/pentagon: a third, fourth or fifth romantic agent who competes for the protagonist’s chemistry. (How often does this happen in real life? And when it does, is it something to be envied?)

So everyone is into the same person, or, as has been apparent more recently, everyone is into everyone, because they’re all attracted to each other, so why can’t they just swap around?

Examples abound but include Twilight, Shatter Me, Halo, Wings, The Romance Diaries, Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood, Lorien Legacies, Wanderlove, False Memory, etc, etc.

Call me a pessimist, but how does this inspire the healthy ‘give and take’ that good relationships require?

And is there an alternative? I believe there is, and it can be termed holistic romance: romance that involves the whole person. It means the (preferably only two) characters know each other well, beyond physical qualities.

Stories featuring holistic romance show the attractiveness of many dimensions of the human person; things like character, intelligence, courage, humility, humour… virtue. They show how real, whole-self-giving romances are so much more interesting, and of course have a better chance of longevity.

Examples are harder to find among recently published titles, but some include A Posse of Princesses, Crown Duel, Princess Academy, Stargirl, Seraphina, A Waltz for Matilda, A Rose for the ANZAC Boys, Secret Letters, The Girl from Snowy River, and Cinder.

Suggestions are welcome! (Recently published titles, if possible)

Clare Cannon is the editor of and the manager of Portico Books in Sydney.

Originally published on MercatorNet on July 30th, 2013.


Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
Mathilde De Robien
How a lost masterpiece of sacred art was discovered thanks to chi...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.