A lot of blog’s out there are probably going on and on about their favorite YA couples. After all, it is Valentine’s Day. Or maybe you’re taking a quiz about who your ideal YA man is (toss up Jesse de Silva and Jack Force, though Kingsley Martin might’ve over taken Jack in that department). But I’m not here today to talk to you about book boyfriends or happy YA couples. No, I’m going to talk about couples we hate. Because you can’t have love without hate, right?
A lot of these picks are my own, but I’ve had help with some of the nominations from my Good Reads friends. You’ll notice that while a lot these couples have unhealthy relationships, some of them are perfectly healthy couples. Albeit, boring. My goal with this piece is not to explore the unhealthy aspects of YA relationships, but to look at some of the relationships that make us cringe and sort of get an understanding why they just don’t work. And yeah, I suppose you could also say that it makes SAD a little more bearable knowing that at least you have independence while others have…..
10) Kate and Henry (from Aimee Carter Goddess Test): Meh. That’s what I think when I think of them and they’re so boring I probably would’ve forgot about them had someone not nominated them for this list. This relationship is the epitome of insta love. In fact, I often view Henry as a prop or some sort of award for Kate. God knows, the only role he played in the second book was just to impregnate Kate. Seriously, he didn’t even have to do the impregnating thing that’s what sperm banks or Ryan Lavery
is for. And for for that matter, just give Kate a trophy rather than a man. I get that fictional characters get their happy endings, but I feel like the love interest shouldn’t be a prize and that’s what you get in this series.
9) Clary and Jace (From Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments): This one is my pick and probably a controversial one at that. But I really don’t like this couple. I think it’s becuase of all the incest and that it made incest such a popular trend in YA. I can understand how you could have a lingering feelings for a guy you thought you liked that turned out to be your brother, but you shouldn’t be acting on them. And once they found out that they weren’t siblings and got together the couple was just sort of flat. And Clare resulted to using incest again as a plot device. Incest, people, does not equal romance. Never. Ever. Ever. Oh, and to that individual who called me a bigot because I didn’t get brother/sister love (um, no). No. There have been studies showing that it’s physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive. Plus, have you read Flowers in the Attic
? Do you want your kids to end up like…never mind.
8) America Singer and either that prince dude or that guy who’s named after a ski town in Colorado (from Kiera Cass’s The Selection): I just don’t get this triangle. Then there are fan girls galore who think both Maxon (the prince) and Aspen (Colorado Boy) are the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’ll give them this, the relationships in the book aren’t that offensive when compared to other books in the genre. But I do remember getting annoyed with both guys. Aspen for having the I’m a Man You Don’t Know Anything complex and Maxon for just being a wimp/having no opinion of his own. It also doesn’t help that America is one of the world’s most blandest characters ever. That’s actually one of the most prevalent theme that I’ve found when writing this list. Bland characters=horrible couples.
7) Bliss and Lawson (from Blue Bloods and Wolf Pact
by Melissa de la Cruz): This is another personal pick. Once again, Lawson isn’t offensive as far as YA love interests goes, though he definitely has his moments of assholeness. And while I can usually tolerate a lot of alpha douchery in YA, there are other reasons why I don’t think this pairing works. I think mainly it’s a pacing issue within the series and it sort of makes any chemistry this couple would have lacking. We had time to like Bliss old love interest and when he was killed off in the series, Bliss left the canvas till the last book. Oh, she had her own spinoff where she met Lawson, but even if you read the spinoff the couple comes off as disjointed. Lawson merely seems to be thrown in there to give Bliss and a happy ending and give Blue Bloods an alpha douche. Plus, grief sex people! Grief sex! If you watched All My Children
, you know it killed the show (once again, this relates back to Ryan Lavery
). And in a way it sort of killed Bliss’s storyline here.
6) Adam and Juliette (from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi ): Another meh couple. I like Adam alright, but Juliette’s purple prose and whiney attitude really wears me down. I’ve also heard that in the second book (which I haven’t read yet) the chemistry is a lot more palatable between her and Warren. But if these books follow typical YA format we all know who Juliette is going to end up with (gag me now).
5) Zoey Redbird and Whoever (From the House of Night by PC and Kristin Cast): Anyone who is paired with this girl is doomed and I only read like the first two books. I think the reason pairings with this character doesn’t work is because she’s an awful lead and not in the usual meh way. She’s just a bitch and not the good kind of bitch.
4) Megan and Adam ( From Leigh Fallon’s Carrier of the Mark): Another perfectly boring couple. I’m finding that’s the trend either perfectly boring or so outrageously abusive that it’s not even funny. This one falls in the boring category-oh, and they’re sort of a pale imitation on one of the most annoying YA couples of all times (Bedward). Except, of course, the book takes place in Ireland so that makes it different.
Ireland=Cool, Megan and Adam not so much.
3) Bethany and Xavier (from Alexandra Adornetto’s Halo Trilogy): They were nominated, but even if they weren’t, they were still getting put on this list. I think what’s so bad about this couple is that they’re just so unrealistic. You can really tell this book was written by someone who lacked experience in relationships. And the constant telling (i.e. Xavier has to talk about his manhood like every other page) just grates on my nerves. As for the interaction, it’s bland at best. In a weird way, I’d say this is a fairly realistic depiction on teen relationships because let’s face it a lot of teen relationships are shallow. But romanticizing shallowness….
2) Evie and Jackson (from Kresley Cole’s Poison Princess): This book’s couple was doomed from the start. It features an airhead heroine and an asshole hero. Got to love that combo (well, apparently booksellers think we do). The think that bothered me the most about this relationship was like it was going back in time. I felt as if I was reading one of my mom’s 1980’s bodice rippers not book that was written in 2012. And the premises for this one was great too. Okay, so I’m still sore about it. But this relationship just makes me want to do a PSA about domestic violence it’s that bad.
80’s style bodice rippers are thirty years old. Please, let’s not rehash the romance genre’s nasty past.
1) Abby and Travis (from Jaime McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster): A lot of people like this couple and a lot of people don’t as evidence from the opinions I saw when I posted about this on Good Reads. But regardless, there are blatant fan girls who troll people’s reviews claiming how wonderful Travis is and how everyone who thinks he has an abusive bone in his body is the spawn of the devil and if that’s true, then I guess I’m the devil. Travis is so obnoxious it’s laughable. But I even think if he was the most charming YA protagonist I still wouldn’t like this couple. In addition to romanticizing abuse, the characters are just pretty undeveloped especially Abby. I will give McGuire this, I think the Vegas trip (not the stupid wedding end, but that other trip where she unrealistically beats the house and is allowed in a casino despite being underage) was an attempt at developing the character. But instead, it turned out to be another lame couple propping scene. Look, when you have to have your supporting characters pimp your main relationship then there’s a problem.
There were a lot more gag-tastic couples mentioned that I didn’t put on this list. If you’re interested in seeing them you can view the conversation here