Lately I've been reading a lot of adult historical romance novels which is why I'm a little more behind than usual on posting reviews of YA novels. And now, by no means am I well-versed in romance novels, but I've found a few things in them that I think should really be applied more often to YA work.
There are plenty of YA novels out there with multi perspectives, but most of them are different from what you'd find in romance novels. For instance, Melissa Marr and Melissa de la Cruz are pretty popular YA authors who use multi perspectives in their works. However, theirs is used more for character maturation and development of their fantasy worlds, showing you how a Faery ruler or a Blue Blood would think. On the other hand, the tension in romance novels with multi perspectives is more often because the character doesn't know what the other one is thinking. Invariably both tensions stem from the same difference in how the characters perceive the world and how they're perceived, but while perspectives by Marr and de la Cruz focus more on the character, I feel like romance novels use this tension to emphasize the character's actions and the imminent resolution you want for the romantic interests. I wish I could read a book with this type of tension or with both types mixed together. One YA novel that I've read lately that's done this well is Witchlanders by Lena Coakley. Ms. Coakley doesn't just use the multi perspectives to show the difference in how a Baen might think from a Witchlander; she also used it to create tension between Ryder and Falpian and what Ryder will think of Falpian's actions.
When I say this, I mean pure hatred. Something that happened that truly sets the romantic interests apart. YA is pretty much filled with romance, but this type is rarer than I'd like. I recently read Unveiled by Courtney Milan, and I loved it because Margaret truly had reason to hate Ash, and it was incredibly sweet to see how his personality slowly undid that hatred. This is just a generality too-- I mean I would love more romance that happens between people with a shared past. More often than not, it happens when the protag. meets someone new, but am I the only one who thinks that having that shared past--that extra obstacle to overcome--makes the romance that much more compelling? It shows us a piece of the protag's personality and allows for character maturation as we see what he/she did then and what he/she does now.
This is one of the issues I find most inconsistent in YA but can not complain about in romance novels. Maybe it's because I know exactly what the outcome will be in romance novels... or maybe it's just because their plots climb steadily all throughout... but I have yet to put down a romance novel that I've started to read. I think a part of this is the short, clipped sentences that romance novels often have (exception being the actual sex/make-out scenes which are much more expanded). Those sentences are so different from those created by the YA fantasy author who feels the need to describe anything and everything. (I'm not going to give an example of that one because that'd be mean). Point is: romance novels are easy to read because of their wonderful pacing. I wish I could say the same of some YA novels.
There are a bunch of YA novels that are like this but not nearly enough. So many of them leave you hanging with such utterly...unsatisfying! cliffhangers. I know that some people really enjoy cliffhangers, but I'm not one of them. I like that romance novels end but can still have more to them--like how some of them become series by taking a character in a previous book and having him/her experience their own dizzying journey. I really wish that more YA authors of series would make its book feel complete on its own (but with still enough potential for expansion).
5. Covers don't matter. Blurbs don't really matter.
Since I'm new to the historical romance novels, I don't really know a lot of the famous authors so the blurbs are meaningless. And the covers? Well, they all look alike. In regards to YA... I don't really buy books based off the blurbs either and while I love the variety of covers that I find in YA, it also makes me sad to think that I, along with many others, may be missing out on a fantastic novel because I didn't like its cover and didn't bother to look at it. I wish there was a way to get over that barrier. I can stop judging a book by its cover... but I also buy my books on Amazon now so that's less of an issue than before. The only other way I can see is to read many, many book reviews from the rest of you :).
What do you think? Do you agree/disagree with what I've found? Do you read romance novels? Can you think of other things that should be applied to YA novels more often?
(Or... want to recommend some historical romance novels to me ;)?)