#POLL: Do All YA Books Need Romance?

Off the top of your head, how many YA books can you name where romance didn’t factor into either the A, B, or C plot? As in, romance wasn’t why our lead was torn between staying in their hometown or heading to their dream college. Romance wasn’t why our lead doubted their investigation into a small-town killer. Romance wasn’t why an otherwise strong character became kind of … meh?

There is no doubting that romance (I’m seriously flopping on finding a good synonym) can make for good plot fodder. I’ve read too many books where it was well used to say otherwise. But I’ve also read many books where the romance was unnecessary. Where romantic relationships overburdened what I thought was the main plot, or simply made things too complicated

This kind of topic could use a whoooleee discussion, but for now, where do you stand? Since YA is marketed towards teens, who are going through puberty and starting to date and etc etc etc, does it make sense for so many of the books to have a romantic plotline?

(as in, teens can relate more and/or it will keep them interested)

Or are authors overlooking some of teens’ interests / missing the mark? Aromantic teens, for instance, may not enjoy books with heavy romantic plotlines.

Time to vote!

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Do All YA Books Need Romance?

A) Yes. The more romance, the better!

B) I don’t mind if it’s only a minor plotline. It would be odd to have several characters and no one even express romantic interest.

C) It would be fine if characters started OFF in a relationship, and didn’t have any drama.

D) We need more books with no romance! Immediately!!

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36 thoughts on “#POLL: Do All YA Books Need Romance?

  1. I am extremely torn between A and D! Some books end up not being about the romance at all and this is extremely true! I remember when I read Moxie which was about feminism and finding your voice, there was a romance that really didn’t add to the story at all. Although I love a good fluffy romance sometimes I just want more books about friendships/

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    1. When I read Moxie, I felt like the author tried to use the relationship to show how boyfriends can support/detract from the feminist cause. I don’t think it was done very *well* but I think that was the intention. It definitely didn’t read like an authentic relationship i.e. felt forced. Sometimes we do need a book that’s just some good fluff though!

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  2. I’m a B, C, D sort of reader! There’s definitely a lot of romance in YA already which is why I wouldn’t go for A, but I’m also the kind of hypocrite who rolls their eyes at a romance-y blurb but then falls headlong into a shipping frenzy when a good love story comes along 😂 As long as it’s not overwhelming the plot (if the genre isn’t actually romance) or a highly unrealistic love triangle, I’m usually fine with it! And I think it’s nice to have more M/F friendships – and not for them to be friends instead of lovers just because one of them is gay lol

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    1. HAhahah, samee here. When a book has a crazy good romance, I have no problem going full heart eyes. And yes yes yes, more male female friendships! I don’t want to automatically assume, oh, okay, there’s a boy and a girl as main characters so those two are definitely going to date. Because that’s pretty much where we are right now.

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  3. Well Sha I am first a romance reader but if you add romance and it does not bring anything to the story or feel forced I’d rather have no romance at all. If the book is a YA mystery I am fine without romance! But yes I like it in most of my reads IFit’s well done.

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  4. I’m a B, C, or D type of person definitely. I feel like Morgan Matson’s books fall into the B category. Sometimes it’s refreshing to read books without romance and just books with friendships.

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  5. It’s a difficult one! I don’t think I strictly need romance, personally, but I will enjoy it immensely if done well. However, when NOT done well then it’s a disaster and it serves no purpose other than spoil my reading experience – so in those cases, keep it out.
    I think more books need to be romance free, though, as authors tend to overuse it and/or use it as a crutch to appear to have written a good story. And also, as you said, all those aromantic people who would rather not have to read about it. There’s room to include everyone!

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    1. I think you nailed it, Sophie, when you said authors tend to use romance as a crutch. It’s like they review the plot of their book and think, alright, but do I have a romance? If a romance isn’t part of the actual plot, isn’t something the character would really need, I don’t think it needs to be added.

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  6. I think D! I LOVE romance, but at this point the market is so oversaturated with it, it’s hard to find a good one. Sometimes it also feels like the author sacrifices a good story or character for the sake of an angsty romance, ya know? This is such a great topic Sha!💜

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  7. I mean they don’t have to have romance, but I like them too. XD It’s a really go incentive for me to read a book lol But I love reading books without all the romantic tension too (though tbh not as much as with the tension) YOU KNOW I LOVE DRAMA.

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    1. THE DRAMA IS THE BEST.

      I hate the drama when the romance is just too forced though, and you’re like, Am I supposed to care about this? or you can tell the love interest was mocked up last minute, and they have absolutely no personality. So then you have a main character all tortured about so-and-so, while you’re like OKAY BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MAIN PLOT that actually HAS details???

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  8. I enjoy romance in books. I’m always a little disappointed if there isn’t ANY romance but I don’t want it to be the focus either. I read one really great book but the MC and her love interest stop on the way to get help for 2 dying people and have sex. Ummmm yeah not appropriate!!

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  9. I think my answers are B and D, because I like a little bit of romance in the plot, but I don’t actually like Romance genre books, where the entire plot is about the romance between several characters. However, I would also love to read more books wherein there’s no romance at all – that would be fine with me, too!

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  10. B or C… but I think it depends on the book… honestly, it would be nice if fewer YA books had unnecessary romantic storylines. It would. I think it’s become a bit cliche!

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      1. Absolutely! I think YA authors do assume readers wont enjoy the book as much without it… and I’m sure that’s not the case!

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  11. We definitely don’t need more books with romance, as most of them have it anyway. I’m fine with either way, but it’s nice to see no romance at all or little romance sometimes … Romance and love don’t need to be the top priority in a teenager’s life!

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  12. I think that YA books can sometimes be ruined by a romance that was forced on the characters and didn’t have the proper foundation. So I would be happiest with option B, although having more books out there without the romance angle, in general, would also be good!

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  13. B, C, and D are all a major yes for me. Do I think we should have books with romance? Absolutely. Have I loved a lot of books with romance? Absolutely. But there are definitely not enough books without it. I really don’t think there’s going to be an issue with not having books with romance… So let’s just add more without it, haha! Great post!

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