Take a look through your current shelf, and tell me out of all the books you've read, how many had a romantic element somewhere? If you don't exclusively read non-fiction, chances are the ratio is high. Almost all of the books I've read have a romance hidden somewhere. As hidden as a Las Vegas neon sign.
Now I have a little confession to make, Fantasy is slowly becoming one of my favourite genres, and while I normally don't care about the romance, I can't read a fantasy book without a romantic element in it. I don't think I can handle a romanceless fantasy book. Thoughts like these come to mind:
But, but.. without romance it would be dull!
Who would I root for?
I need a guy to crush over.
And while they seem like shallow reasons to not consider a book, they are unfortunately true. Romance has become such a huge and almost mandatory part of YA books, that I can't imagine it not being there.
But what happens when the part you look for the most in a book becomes the most disappointing? In the last few books I've read, the romance slowed everything down and almost made me want to tear my hear out and feed it to the neighbor's dog. The thing with YA romances is that they're repetitive. Or maybe it's how the authors make them seem like. It's like they all have agreed on a certain plan as to how teen relationships go, and they all follow the steps systematically. Ok, I'm being harsh here. Not all authors write those, but one thing I noticed is that relationships are the no.1 reason a reviewer might hate a book. Take The 5th Wave for instance. Great book, one that I was almost sure would have me hula hoop dancing, but then the romance ruined everything for me. Carrie @ The Mad Reviewer brilliantly discussed the things she wants to see more often in YA, amongst which was no love subplots.
So why do authors insist on adding the luuhhve to their books?
Because it sells. I think. Some people avoid books with too much romance, but for the most part I think it's an attraction (hey, it works on me!). There might be bunch of other reasons... like this crazy one where there's romance because it is relevant to the plot, and actually is important to the overall story. Crazy, I know!
And then there's the I-make-no-sense-whatsoever-why-the-hell-am-I-even-here romance. And right at the bottom of the pyramid is the badly-contrived-love-triangle romance. That last one goes for the kill, and in severe cases might force you to throw the goddamn book out of the window. Don't feel bad, don't blame yourself either; for you have fallen prey to the big ole love triangle, my friend.
So if you ever debate whether you can handle a romanceless book, have a look at this list of annoying romances you came/will come across (From least to most annoying)
4. The No Chemistry Romance: If the reader can't understand why two characters fall in love, there must be something wrong.
3.The I'm Here Because I Said So Romance: This is the scenario where romance has no significance whatsoever in the story line, but is there because the author said so.
2. The Cheese Fest Romance: If two characters spend all their waking hours sweet talking one another, the reader might feel
... And for the number one most annoying romance in books ...
1. The Unhealthy Like A Big Mac Romance: This one wins all the trophies ever made for being a turn off. Unhealthy relationships are not something I want to read about, or recommend to other people. They creep me out.
Hmm, so after this list,I think I can handle a romanceless book. Can you?!