Romance. An element that’s almost always present in YA contemporary.
Me being me, I spend most of my time reading YA contemporaries. So naturally, I also read about a lot of romances, which are divided into two main categories: they’re either insta-love or slow burn.
Recently, I started thinking about how both of these categories create such different storylines and really dictate the plot as a whole. Of course, that led me to wonder- which is better? The potentially overused insta-love or the occasionally boring (but sometimes wonderful) slow burn romance?
In this post, I’m going to talk about the pros and cons of both of these, compare them, and then give my final answer to the question guiding this whole post.
Let’s get started!✨
For no particular reason other than I wrote it in the title first, let’s start by talking about insta-love. Oh, insta-love.
As a general rule, insta-love is defined as a romance in a book (and I guess in real life? but we’re talking books here) where the two characters in question fall in love immediately upon meeting. (Or even just immediately upon eye contact.)
Think “Call Me Maybe.” Definitely think Romeo and Juliet, although please don’t get me started on my opinions of it. That’s a whole other post. 😉
While insta-love is looked down on by many readers, as unrealistic and as an overused trope (both completely valid points), it isn’t just comprised of cons. There are some pros to insta-love as well!
The Pros of Insta-Love:
- Sometimes, love at first sight can be romantic. I mean, a lot of people (myself included?) don’t believe in love at first sight, but that’s not to say it can’t be really cute to read about in a book.
- It’s exciting! You’re only on page two and they’re already desperately in love? Now you can’t put down the book until you know exactly what happens.
- It makes the reader invested in the relationship. When the meet cute happens right away, the reader has an entire book to become invested in a relationship. These feelings will make them want to read the rest of the series (if it’s a series) or ask for more if it’s not, as well as break their hearts even more if something goes wrong between the two characters.
With these positive aspects, I also have to list the downsides…
The Cons of Insta-Love:
- It can be unrealistic. Not that I have experience, but it’s hard to believe you could fall into more than insta-like just from looking into someone’s eyes. It can be difficult actually see happening, making it seem unrealistic.
- It often ends in heartbreak for the character and the reader. I don’t remember the last time I read a book where the love interests were together the whole time. With insta-love, there is probably going to be a break-up.
- It’s overused. After reading so many books with this, it’s easy to understand why bookworms are shying away from it. No matter what the trope is, too much is sometimes too much.
Insta-love is complicated. It can be unreliable, unrealistic, and off-and-on.
However, it does have its upsides too. It usually makes for an interesting story, although the dynamic is much different than that of a slow burn romance. The real question is, does that make it a better component for a love story or a worse one?
The second option for a romance is a slow burn. This type of romance in a book is where the relationship takes time to finally reach its full potential. Think Katniss and Peeta in the Hunger Games, or America and Maxon from the Selection.
I was actually inspired to write this post after reading three of Emma Mills’s novels, all of which feature a slow burn romance. I won’t say anything more, but reviews are coming soon. 🙂 The more I read YA contemporary, the more I notice this type of romance popping up, and it definitely has its pros and cons.
The Pros of Slow Burn:
- The relationship has time to develop. The characters aren’t rushing into anything. They’re taking their time and letting the relationship go from strangers (this one is on a situation to situation basis), friends, to more than friends.
- It likely results in a strong relationship. Since they didn’t rush into it, our dear characters might actually stay together?? For books at a time??
- It’s reminiscent of a realistic relationship. Slow burn has the awkwardness of a real relationship and the questions and confusion that comes along with that. Not that I would know…but I feel like it’s an accurate portrayal of real life.
Like anything, it also has negative aspects.
The Cons of Slow Burn:
- The reader can become impatient. After 200 pages of back and forth, the reader’s patiences has likely been tried. It’s possible they would put down the book or even (gasp) (even though I do this all the time) flip to the end to see what happens.
- The reader doesn’t get to witness a lot of the relationship. It’s always slightly disappointing when your OTP finally admit their love for each other on the very last page of the novel and you never get to see what they’d be like as a couple.
- It moves slowly. The story tends to move much slower than it would in an insta-love, which can cause boredom and lack of a thrill.
A slow burn romance presents a whole new dynamic for the story as far as pacing, character development, and the plot goes. Does that make it the better way for a love story to occur?
Now that I’ve discussed both options, the only question remaining is, does insta-love or a slow burn romance make for a better love story?
My personal opinion is that a slow burn romance is overall more enjoyable to read. Not only do I get to watch the characters develop, I truly feel as if the relationship was meant to be and was properly awaited. At the end of a book, I feel more comfortable “leaving” my characters behind because I really felt like I knew them and their relationship.
However, I do see the appeal of insta-love, and I have read books with insta-love that I, well, loved. I also think a delicate balance is needed of insta-and-non-insta love in order to appeal to everyone’s tastes.
After all, at the end of the day, you’re the one reading the book, and you’re the one who gets to decide what you’d like to read. It’s all up to personal preference!
Thank you all so much for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it.☺️ I also hope that you’ve all had a lovely start to your 2019, and that it keeps getting better from here!
I want to hear your thoughts! Do you like insta-love or slow burn better? Why? I’d love to chat with you all in the comments.
P.S. In this post I tried something new with some font-size-changing-coding?! I know the new editor allows this much easier, but oops, I’m still using the old one. Anyway, I’m having a lot of fun with it. XD