How to Tell if You Are in a YA or Teen Romance Novel

I wrote this post in honor of an article I read on The Toast, called “How to Tell if You’re in a Regency Romance Novel” – a tongue-in-cheek poke at some of the more common tropes in that genre. There’s a series of these posts on their site, but none about Young Adult or Teen fiction. Realizing the gap, I contacted The Toast via Facebook, and offered to write a post for them. I never heard back, so here it is for your reading pleasure.

While I’m having fun with some of the story ideas used in YA fiction, I mean no disrespect to any author’s work. In fact, I have read and loved many books that used these story lines or similar ones.

Image by Just2shutter courtesy of

Image by Just2shutter courtesy of

How to Tell if You Are Living in a YA Novel

  1. One or both of your parents are dead. Out of town, or brutally divorced and not on good speaking terms.
  2. You just moved to a new town or you just switched schools. Of course, you are concerned about fitting in!
  3. Despite your good looks and obvious intelligence, you’re insecure about who you are and your place in the world.
  4. You’ve got a special ability or talent, such as playing a musical instrument, hunting with a bow and arrow, drawing things that become portals, excelling at sports, or seeing ghosts.
  5. OR, you have no talent whatsoever until your boyfriend makes you a vampire/shapeshifter/werewolf.
  6. Your friends don’t really get you because of said “special ability”.
  7. You live in a futuristic, authoritarian society that makes teenagers fight each other, run through mazes, submit to highly organized mating rituals, so you join the rebellion/resistance/secret society to change the world.
  8. You’ve got cancer or some other terrible illness that will surely kill you, but doesn’t. Instead, your amazing boyfriend who is the light of your short, tragic existence, is going to die first, thus showing you the unpredictability of life.
  9. You are caught in an inexplicable love triangle between a sweet, super hot boy and the motorcycle-riding mysterious bad boy.
  10. You are dating a vampire/werewolf/shapeshifter/demon/ghost/fallen angel/faerie/merman and somehow don’t know it.
  11. You woke up and just realized you are a seventeen-year-old virgin, AND no matter how much you want to, you can never have sex. Every time you make out, you’re interrupted by a parent, sibling, disapproving friend, or teacher. You have no idea what sex is like. It’s always an emotional build up, but when the time comes (finally) to do the deed, the doors close and you have no idea what’s going on. You find out afterwards that it was perfect and wonderful!!!

Did I miss any? If so, please include them in the comments!


6 thoughts on “How to Tell if You Are in a YA or Teen Romance Novel

  1. Sue Bursztynski (@SueBursztynski) says:

    You are a faerie /vampire/demon princess. You only find out when the cute boy exchange student tells you – and that it’s your duty to marry him(even though you’re both about 16 and at school) in order to save the world. Oh, and there’s an amulet, ring, whatever which only you can use and there’s a dark force after you. Fortunately, the cute boy in your life can help you.

  2. Michael says:

    the alpha male/female of your social group, the impossibly good-looking (but cruel) son/daughter of the sheriff/price/chieftain/mayor, harbours a deep secret that would bring terrible shame to his/her parent. You come to know this secret by accident, and it turns out it’s exactly what you need to know to survive the greatest danger you’ve ever faced…

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