Wednesday, August 10, 2011

When YA Romance Grows Up

We all have our reasons for adoring YA romance. I think one of the best summaries I've come across is this one here, from the Chocolate and Spice blog.

I think another reason I love to revisit the early days of falling in love is because my husband and I were high school sweethearts. I was dating one of his friends when we first met, and we totally fell for each other. I ditched the other guy, and the rest is history.

If my life were a YA novel, that's where you'd see THE END. And they lived happily ever after.

But flash forward a few eons (at least that's how ancient I feel these days) and here's the scene you'll see: Me, curled up in a leather chair on the upper floor of our modest house, now married to said high school sweetheart.  I'm reading my ARC of Brodi Ashton's EVERNEATH, (go pre-order yours now, if you haven't already) and hubs is downstairs, watching TV on the couch.

The ending of EVERNEATH (without giving anything away) depicts a teenager doing something so beautifully selfless, and so driven by love, it is absolutely making me weep.  And then I hear this:

Baaaaaaabbe! Why are you still reeeeeeading? You said you'd spend some time with meeeeee!

Me: I'm almost done. Did you fold the towels?

Him: No!

Me: You know I hate it when you pretend not to hear the dryer buzz. Since I cooked dinner, AND cleaned the mess, do you think you can go fold the towels? Then I'll come watch TV with you.

Him: Fiiiiiine. *Grumble Grumble Grumble*

Five minutes later: Baaaaaabe! You said if I folded the towels you'd come sit with meeeee! Why are you still reading?

*Sigh.* So much for love-driven acts of selflessness, right?

So why AM I still reading? Because sometimes, I miss those days when all we had to be was in love, and the rest took care of itself. As much as I love my husband, I miss the days when I had no idea that one load of laundry could yield a pile of white t-shirts to rival Mt. Everest. I miss being able to read without feeling like I'm neglecting someone. I miss not having to cook if I don't want to. I miss sleeping in a bed where I can sprawl out, steal all the covers, and not worry about being awakened at some ungodly hour by a meaty, fast-asleep paw landing on my head.

Those are the things you never hear about in YA novels.

But then there's the flip side.

I love waking up every morning to kisses on my face. I love getting hugged and kissed before I leave for work. I love snuggling up next to someone before I fall asleep. I love that he holds my hand, whether we're walking together or just sitting on the couch. And most of all, I love moments like the one at my aunt's wedding, when hubs and I were slow dancing. He sighed, wrapped his arms around me, and said, "Babe, I love you. You're my whole heart."

*Sigh again, in a good way this time.* So what happens when YA romance grows up? It changes, for sure. It's not as idealistic, and it's not always perfect. But what doesn't kill it only makes it stronger and deeper, and in its own way, it's even better.

You'll still find me in that leather chair, though. I'd never want to BE 17 again, but I sure as heck want to re-live as many vicarious versions of it as I possibly can! How about you?

The day my YA romance grew up: October 14, 2006


  1. 1. OMG you are so beautiful on your wedding day.
    2. I actually was thinking about this when I was reading FOREVER and Grace was all, "I could imagine running away with him, and he would play guitar and I would stack my books on the table and we'd drink tea, la di da." And I was all, "But who will do the dishes, Grace? And fold the laundry? WHO?!?!?"
    Probably Sam would, in that relationship, but still.
    I know how you feel.

    PS: I love love love being married. David puts up with so much you-know-what from me that if we weren't Jews I'd nominate him for sainthood.

  2. OMG! That's my old blog (which is now dysfunt due to clash between erotic romance and YA. LOL. The two different camps didn't quite mix, and the direction didn't go as originally planned.)

    I love YA romance because it takes you back to the simplier days when none of our grown up responsibilities existed. Back when all kinds of possiblilites were ahead of us (not that they still aren't, but you know what I mean). :)

    You look gorgeous, Gina!

  3. Beautiful picture!

    That is what makes YA novels so fun--and why I like a little romance in every story.

    Although--I have to say that what happens after the happily ever after is the best part of real life!

  4. That wedding picture is stunning!

  5. Oh my goodness, you looked so beautiful on your wedding day! And I love the description of your marriage--it's real, and still wonderful.

  6. Oh, wow, Gina, this post is very lovely. And you look gorgeous in your wedding picture, although you don't need me to tell you that because the five people above me have already said this. :)

    And I agree what you said about why people love YA romance. There's something really magical in reading about high school romance that might not be completely realistic (ie: "Why haven't you done the dishes yet? What about the bills?"), but is real enough for us to believe in it.

    LOL Leigh Ann's comment made me laugh, especially since I JUST finished Forever this morning. Grace and Sam are just so hopelessly in love that it is so cute.

  7. I can totally relate to missing the days of being able to read as long as you want without having to deal with other people needing you for something. Now, unless I'm reading after everyone is in bed, I usually get interrupted a million times!

    Beautiful wedding picture:)

  8. Gorgeous wedding picture, Gina! And I'm glad you're able to focus on the upside of marriage, because the problems really start when people forget that side of things!

  9. SUCH a pretty pic. I wrote about romance (YA especially) today too :)