Oh, paranormal romances in the YA market...
How you torture me! How you force me to live up to impossible standards of awesomeness! Why, oh, why?!
*takes a deep breath and stops stomping the floor*
So. YA paranormal romance. Fun stuff, right?
I can't get enough of it, although there are certain aspects that make me cringe. Actually, just one in particular: the romance.
I know what you're thinking: "Why would she read paranormal romance if she doesn't like the romance???? Is she brain dead?"
Nope. Not brain dead. Yet...
Anyway, let me explain myself. I don't dislike reading about romance. I do dislike reading a romance between teens who have recently met and fall head over heels in love in a span of ten pages. Maybe even less.
To me, love is something that takes time. Attraction is different. If you like the way someone looks or behaves, attraction knocks on your door pretty quickly. But love? Quite the snail, if you ask me... That's why today I wish to share an example of how romance can take its sweet ol' time. An example that is near and dear to my heart: Daniel Meade and Betty Suarez.
For those of you who don't know, these two were coworkers and best friends on the recently departed TV show, Ugly Betty *wipes tear from cheek*. Throughout four seasons, Betty fell in love with other dudes while Daniel slept around like a whor-
Well, you get the picture...
So when the show was abruptly (and unfairly!) cancelled, fans were clamoring for a Betty/Daniel hookup. I, of course, was on board for the relationship to finally happen. But then I watched the finale, witnessing how Daniel got the clue regarding his feelings for Betty, and how she chose a career over everything she'd ever known. They never got to say goodbye at all--Betty just left for London and didn't hear a peep from a grieving Daniel.
Until she bumped into him over there.
And he told her that he'd quit his job to "find himself" and start from scratch... with her by his side.
Sucks to say that Betty didn't end up smooching him or telling how much she loved him, too. Wanna know why? Because she didn't. Yet. But the finale suggests an eventual relationship between them. They stayed together in the end. Fans just didn't get to see it.
Because it would've felt rushed. Betty needed time to see Daniel like the soul mate he really was for her, even though he already knew that she was the one for him.
I know TV and YA books are two different things, but sometimes I see a clearer picture in HD resolution. Romance, the real kind, doesn't happen overnight. Physical attraction can lead to a deeper connection, but writers have to make sure that the connection isn't just a product of how hot the supernatural dude is. Make the MC care about hot supernatural dude for other reasons, which reveal themselves cohesively throughout the book. Let true love feel as real as you felt it when you experienced it for the first time. But never rush into something without a good reason why.