Crushes in Young Adult Lit
One thing that I've been pondering for a while now is the status of guys and crushes in Young Adult books. It's been a while since I've had to think about it as anything more than it was but recently my views on it has changed. Even though the heroine may be coping with grief or learning that she holds the key to unlocking a prophecy, or even just looking for a boyfriend, with all her faults, she still comes across as likable and adorable or in some way appealing to the guy.What I'm looking for recently is the uncertainty. When you have a crush, you don't know whether he likes you or not or what you should text back to him or if his awkwardness means anything at all. You're awkward and he's awkward and it's all just so confusing on where you two stand. Should you ask him if he wants to do something? Should you wait until he asks you? There's no black and white and that's where I think YA goes wrong.In several books, the heroine completely humiliates herself in front of him but he's romantic. Maybe she falls in love with somebody else and doesn't realize that her dream boy is right in front of her. So many things can go wrong in these scenarios but there's very little mention of the nervousness and awkwardness of actually crushing on him. I get frustrated because while the heroine is beating herself up for not talking to him or doing the wrong thing, she doesn't show anything that I'm feeling. I have a crush now and it's the most nerve-wracking and exciting thing. Everything is confusing but it's also wonderful and I wish that YA would convey this authentically.Even in YA, if something goes wrong, it's still perfect. Something good will come out of it. There will be a happy ending or a lovely romantic gesture. I love reading this books because this is what I want a relationship to be like but there's nothing to help anybody through the awkward phases.But in young adult, if I were a heroine, I would have tripped in front of him or accidentally done something and he would look at me with soulful eyes and share a secret. He would show up at my door with flowers. I'd see him with another girl and go home heartbroken and convinced that he hates me. He would do mixed signals. I would finally admit that I like him and we would get together. It would work out.In real life, I wish that something would happen like in a book. But I know it won't happen that way. In a way, I enjoy the uncertainty and awkwardness because whatever happens, it will be that much better if it happens. In a YA book, you can guess what will happen. In life, there are no promises. That's what makes it lovely, and that's what I want to see.But the problem with it all is that there isn't the uncertainty and awkwardness because in YA, there will always be a happy ending and she will most likely get the guy. It annoys me because although I love a picture perfect romance, I don't know whether or not crushes will work out! The problem is that in YA, I wish there were more times when the girl doesn't get the guy and it works out. Or it's really really really awkward at first and gets better and it is real.Authenticity in relationships is really helpful. Not everything in life can go as well as in a young adult novel and I wish there were more "real" romance stories. Or maybe stories about guys who aren't perfect. Because, let's face it, guys aren't perfect. Girls aren't perfect.What I want in a YA book is the story of the couple who have fights and go on a really awkward first date and are best friends and that's why their relationship works. They go on group dates and spend time together and go out for coffee and most moments aren't full of intense passion but the few that are make their nights. I just want to see the type of relationship that I've seen my sister have or that I would like to have because that's the type of relationship that most people are going to have. That's the type of relationships that we have seen. I also think that YA should address when people get together because of "convenience" and how that's different from other relationships, because that's another thing that I've been noticing with the people in my grade: people will get together because it makes them look good or they're friends or other things. There's a difference between a girl getting together with a guy because of that and actually falling for him.Must every guy be tall, dark, and handsome? Must every heroine spend years as a single girl and then POOF! have two perfect guys fall in love with her? That may happen to some girls but it doesn't happen to the majority. I love the storybook romances that we see in YA, but it'd be nice to see a few ones that I could actually relate to and that I would see around me. I just want to see YA without the big romantic gesture and where everything works out perfectly. I want to see YA where it's uncertain and awkward but things are still wonderful.Isn't the whole point of YA to relate to real teens? But how can they relate if there are no real relationships? There are books that pull of relationships well and I read those but I want to see more.What do y'all think?