Dear Denizens of the YA Reading Community,
If you and I are friends on GR, you might have noticed my status update which read something like:
“I am so over forbidden romance.”
If you are the curious sort, you will want to know what brought that on and since I feel like obliging, I shall tell you. You see, I was reading the synopses of books that are due to be released sometime in the near future when I realized, to some dismay, that all of these books share one thing in common: all the protagonists fall for forbidden guys giving rise to forbidden romance which sounds more thrilling than it is, really, it’s not even scandalous. No one’s married or anything. They are sometimes different species but hey, that didn’t stop Bella.
I understand why this trope is utilized so often in this particular genre. I mean, teenagers are subversive, books that are about rebellion will fire them up (*cough*Hunger*cough*Games) and what is more polemic than forbidden romance? Honestly.
So what if he (or she) is a different species than you, hell, he doesn’t even have to be alive, you CAN and WILL fall in insta-love and bear down on him/her with the force of a raging meteor. And then there will be major smoochage and then many, many tears followed by some angst and perhaps one or two weeks of extreme black despair after which things will regain their rosy tinge, the bad guy will be slayed and happily ever after waits (only if there isn’t a sequel). If there is a sequel, there will be more forbidden romance and the presence of one (or many) mean girls who will stake prior claim on the guy and then we will be accorded a regurgitation of book one except with more adjectives and greater pathos.
I am rather tired of this forbidden romance trope. I will confess that my next writing project does (maybe did, no, it definitely does) involve a forbidden romance and I am smacking myself upside the head for that. Thank you. I shall endeavor to change it if I can.
But the thing is, the forbidden romance trope is used in a very superficial way. Except in Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma in which the implications of the forbidden romance were true and horrifyingly real. THAT’s what forbidden romance is. Not “omg, he’s a vampire and I’m a werewolf, our babies will be weird hybrids who will have fangs and be furry at midnight!” kind.
I know you are thinking that I’m being a complainer. And petty at that. But you know what?
I’m campaigning for all the eligible dudes who are NOT forbidden and NOT as beautiful but still have lots to give in the way of boyfriend materials. What about the best friends? And the guy in your math class (incidentally, math has never been conducive to insta-love, there is something about math that is a turn-off romance-wise, I guess?)? Or the dude who bags your groceries and has a very nice smile that he flashes in your direction? I’m just saying. Can we have normal romance?
Okay fine, if you want to get paranormal about it, how about your werewolf best friend who helps you when you get furry during the full moon? No?
I would whine that the girl never picks the human but I finished Everneath recently and the girl most definitely bat for the human team. (I’m not giving anything away, it says so right in the blurb.) Anyway, the point of this rather pointless ramble is that I wish the forbidden romance trope would be given a break (so Romeo and Juliet can go back to their eternal rest, look at how their story turned out) and we can be spared the angst. (And I might as well put it out there, writers should never EVER ever use the term “soul mate.”)
Angst is not good for potatoes.