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Fast Relationships: Yay or Nay?

One thing that many readers and reviewers, including myself, complain about are that relationships in YA novels move too quickly. It often seems like a girl will be walking down the street, bump into a guy, have a furious make-out session two minutes later, and swear eternal devotion once they're done. Of course, this isn't what happens in real life - it takes at least a couple months for two people to go out, and then another few months for the relationship to develop to a decent spot. Yet this is rarely pictured in novels, shows, movies, etc.

The big reason for this is time. It simply takes too long for a relationship to develop at a reasonable rate when you need something to happen quickly. Novels need to hook readers and make sure they never let go, and that won't happen if people are being bored. It's also hard to have a guy and a girl meet, let close to a year pass by, and then have the action start.

Many of the books I write involve an element of romance, so I know first hand how difficult it is to have the romance be both realistic and timely. I think it's pretty much always going to be impossible to have a perfectly realistic romantic relationship start and develop in a single book, but sometimes the author is able to strike a balance where things don't go too fast while not hindering the plot.

So what do you think about fast relationships in books? Too unrealistic, or are you okay with them?


barmybex said...

I'm fine with most books, I've never really thought 'that's too fast', I just go with it. Maybe I should think about it more, but it never really crossed my mind.

Teacher/Learner said...

I totally agree. I think in TV & movies (and even books), writers use a device that makes time speed up, like a calendar flipping through the months or a title that says "x Months Later." That's how they sneak around the time factor ;)

Becca C. said...

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins had a completely realistic relationship in that way. It took a long time to get from meeting to first kiss to "eternal devotion." And the sexual tension was amazing so I never got bored for a minute!

Izzy G. said...

barmybex: A good author can make it so that you don't notice things that are unrealistic because you're so engrossed in the story. In Echols' Going Too Far, for instance, I found it to be so good that I completely forgot the entire relationship developed over the course of a week. But sometimes, for me at least, when the writing isn't as good or the story as gripping, unrealistic relationships are more jarring.

Teacher/Learner: Haha, that's a good method!

Becca C.: I agree! Anna and the French Kiss's romance was extremely well done. Such an excellent book!

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

What a great topic!

It depends on the type of book. In a romance novel, it is expected and necessary.

I don't like relationships to move so quickly in YA novels, because I don't like the message it sends.

Ultimately, I personally like the story lines where the love interest is someone he/she always loved/knew or someone he/she had a previous relationship in the past. I also like series, because they give authors more time to develop relationships.

Izzy G. said...

I also like it when the love interest has been known prior to the beginning of the novel, although it doesn't always work as well. For instance, in the Wings series by Aprilynne Pike, Laurel knew Tamani many years ago when they were little kids, but their relationship moved so quickly that for a while I thought I missed something. Series often work well, though.

Jordyn said...

It really really depends. Saying that all quick relationships are unrealistic isn't true; each novel is it's own story and just as we all have our own individual experiences, so do the characters in the novels we read.

& I honestly haven't read a book with a "too fast" relationship in quite a while.

Julia :) said...

I do think that lots of books (but mostly movies) portray unrealistic relationships. Its why I'm not a big fan of romance. Its just so cheesy and oftentimes you get this idea in your head of what you THINK a relationship should be but thats not actually what happens. But then again it is a book. You can't draw things out forever or else the reader would get bored. So as long as its not terribly unrealistic and as long as its not really the main point of the story I'm okay with it.

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