Monday, 1 September 2014

Why Insta-Love Instantly Turns Me Off A Book



Insta-love! Insta-love is definitely becoming one of my most hated tropes in YA fiction. Don't get me wrong, it's not limited to YA fiction, but that's where I encounter it the most. It's getting so bad that I want to fling my book across the room as soon as I realise I am about to witness insta-love. It can actually really ruin a book for me, just because I get frustrated by the whole ridiculousness of the situation and what it says about love to younger readers.

When I realise I am about to witness insta-love:

The main problem I have with insta-love in YA fiction is the fact that it isn't actually love these characters are feeling. It's lust or attraction, or whatever you want to call it. But it's not love. How can you honestly think you have fallen in love with someone you have known for all of two minutes? The characters know nothing about one another and barely have one real conversations, yet they're suddenly declaring their love for one another. Nope!


When they exchange 'I love you's' within a week or so of knowing each other:

I also worry about the younger readers of YA fiction, ones who haven't had many real life experiences of love. It's terrible to keep sending the message that the instant attraction you feel for someone is actually love, a forever kind of love. It's not. Let's be clear, it's just attraction. It doesn't mean you're going to have a lasting or happy relationship; or any relationship at all. Yes, they might be attractive but they could also be a total arsehole. The feelings that these characters keep declaring as love are really just attraction, and once you come to know a person that might not even last.


What really prompted me to write this post was my recent experience with The Jewel by Amy Ewing. You can read my full review here but, to summarise, I ended up being really disappointed with it. It's a real shame, especially considering how well it starts out and the potential it had. But it gets ruined for many reasons, the biggest one being the insta-love that appears at the 50% mark and springs up out of nowhere. Up until that point you have no love interest at all, then suddenly one is introduced and they have a few encounters and are suddenly ridiculously in love with one another. 


What I find interesting is that some romances that I love are actually probably insta-love, but somehow work and don't feel like it. But what's the difference? I think it's the skill of the author and how they manage to pull it off. Sometimes they need the events in the book to take place over a short amount of time, but still want to include a love story. The way to do it without making it seem like insta-love is to actually have your characters converse with one another. They need to actually interact, talk and you need to make it seem like they have connected in some way. I recently read and loved Trial by Fire, which I thought had an excellent, slow-burning romance that appears slowly over time. But, was it really? When I think back on it, the book probably only took place over a few weeks. Yet the romance in it isn't one I would refer to as insta-love. It never felt like insta-love because the characters spend large amounts of time with one another, get to know one another and gradually get feelings for each other. It's not almost instantaneous from the moment their eyes meet. 

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1) The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)

The Kiss of Deception and The Jewel are two books that ended up disappointing me. The insta-love that can be found in both books isn't the only reason that I didn't like them, but it definitely didn't help. I need a slow burning romance, one that doesn't just come out of nowhere. I need to see two people actually get to know and fall in love with each other. I think those romances work for me because they feel more realistic. It doesn't get my eyes rolling and upset my gag reflex the way that insta-love does.

I really just wanted to see what the general thoughts on insta-love were? Are you a fan? Is it a trope you are getting sick of? Do you have any examples of where insta-love really works? And, most importantly, is it instalove or insta-love or insta love? I still don't know.




Mid-Year Book Freak Out
Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want To Read But Don't Own
The Jewel by Amy Ewing: 2.5/5 Review
Films for Thoughts on Thursday: The Book Thief Movie Review
Five Friday Favourites: Favourite Book to Movie Adaptations
My Weekly Book Haul: 30/08/2014
I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson: 3/5 Review

32 comments:

  1. In the Liebster Awards, I had a couple bloggers ask me what my biggest peeve or turn off was for a book, and each and everything time I answered, "INSTA-LOVE!" Saying this is a deal breaker for me is an understatement. I've put down so many books because of this. (Slammed for example, she knew for like 2 damn days) I wasn't put off by The Kiss of Deception because it felt more like a strong attraction than love. Maybe it was because they didn't really sling the word around like you find in most novels with this aspect. I'm glad someone else is on the #NoInstaLove team. I was beginning to feel a bit alone there for a second lol.

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    1. It's just such a ridiculous trope and it's everywhere lately. I much prefer slow burning romances that take forever to develop, they work better for me. I think a lot of people are getting sick of it. I enjoyed Slammed, that didn't bother me so much in that book but I don't even remember why.

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  2. I don't like insta-love either. The feeling lately when I come across it is to laugh hilariously because it is so unrealistic sometimes. I think, like you, there are a few books where it has worked for me, but it has to be handled right. There are times when it works if two characters are just strongly attracted to each other, but don't fall in love at the beginning. Teens do do that plenty, so it's more realistic. But generally? Yeah, no insta-love.

    Thanks for stopping by!
    Tressa @ Wishful Endings

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    1. It definitely has to be handled right. If not, I just roll my eyes a lot and get really annoyed. I think insta-attraction is totally fine and totally normal. But the declaring you love someone after the first date, NOPE! Haha.

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  3. I completely agree! Insta-love(?) is the worst thing, what I always say(well think) is that the reader needs to fall in love with these people too and we(for the most part) don't fall for instalove.
    But I definetly agree that some authors pull it off so much better than others. Still slow burning romance for the win! I mean I need all the swoony feels that you can only get with a slow burning romance. =)
    Great post!

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    1. I know, not sure how to even put it - instalove, insta-love or insta love. They all work, I guess.

      That's exactly it. I need time to get to know the characters and love them, and it's hard to understand two characters loving each other when they haven't and we haven't got to know them at all yet.

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  4. I completely agree with you. Insta!love should be banished. But you're so right. The sad thing is, what we classify as "not" insta!love, in all generality, still probably is. And that's just sad because these books are now advocating relationships that develop in mere days. In in retrospect, when I complain about insta!love in books I then have to take a moment to realise that television series and movies also promote the same behaviour, albeit not in the strength that fiction does.

    That being said, The Kiss of Deception was ruined for me as insta!love made it's way in. The mood dampened and I just could take it anymore. The romance outweighed the supposed "fantasy". Great post!

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    1. It really should be, I am so fed up of it. I felt the same about The Kiss of Deception, there was barely any fantasy to it for me. The romance totally took over the story and that ruined it for me too.

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  5. All I have to say is Amen to this post. Instalove is the absolute worst, I have one exception (Les Miserables), but other than that. No. It's ridiculous, love doesn't happen like that. It's more like infatuation at first sight.

    I've heard that Kiss of Deception and The Jewel have instalove in them. That's so disappointing because I've been wanting to check them out (mostly because of the gorgeous covers), but I can't do instalove. I just can't. It's annoying and unrealistic and sad.

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    1. I am happy to find so many others who hate insta-love! I definitely recommend steering well clear of Kiss of Deception and The Jewel, the insta-love in both is just too much!

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  6. The Jewel.. what a train wreck. The story wasn't so bad, but when that romance popped up.. I really don't get it. Insta-attraction is fine with me, because it's logic. If you like the way someone looks, you feel attracted to them. Love comes over time. You fall in love with someone's personality, it's not possible after one meeting.

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    1. The Jewel was AWFUL! The insta-love was just ridiculous in that one.

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  7. All the agrees! Insta-attraction, yup, I'm good with that, but Instalove? Nadah. Nope. you need to know somebody to love them, their quirks, their bad habits, their good and bad sides. You need to talk, to understand and experience things together, mundane and exciting. I'm not lucky in love, but I know what is and isn't, so yus, all the yes to this post hunny! :D

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    1. Thanks! I have just had so many books ruined for me lately because of insta-love. I am getting so sick of it, I'd rather a love triangle than insta-love.

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  8. Insta - love is one of my biggest pet peeves, along with love triangles. Sure, there were books where it worked but mostly it just annoys me. For example, Hush hush, Otherkin, plenty of paranormal romances, though there is more of insta-lust. But I think that in some cases it works, like in TMI or ReVamped.

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    1. I think some instances do really work, it just depends on how they're handled.

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  9. I definitely think insta-love is becoming way to prominent in YA. Actually it happens a lot in NA too. It's also ruined perfectly good books for me too. My opinion on the book can change quite a bit if insta-love is introduced.
    I'm all for romance. I just don't understand why the I love you's have be thrown out so much. So you said, it's 90% of the time lust and attraction. But even with that and even with the characters actually spending weeks conversing, why do they need to ruin it with an I love you? Why can't the author just leave that out of there? Give it to the second or third book.
    I also think I have a hard time differentiating between insta-love and love at first sight. Not that there's more than a handful of books that actually are love at first sight moments. But with insta-love being in every other book I read how would I know the difference?
    But also like you said, some books have the insta-love but they're done so well or you're just so engrossed with the book that you let you slide.
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

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    1. I definitely agree. My opinion on The Jewel changed a lot once the insta-love romance was introduced, it basically ruined the whole book for me.

      Exactly, I prefer it when the I love you doesn't come until later in the series, it seems more real then.

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  10. I totally agree with you. Insta-love really annoys me and usually ruins the book for me.

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  11. I use to not mind it but I think it got so overly used that now it is really starting to bother me as well. My most favorite love scenario to read about it the friends to lovers trope. I just love that one.

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    1. Ooooh, me too! That one is always so cute and adorable to read. I think that's probably my favourite romance trope too.

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  12. No not a fan of it here either. I deal with it in regular adult ones and it just drives me nuts. Lust. Sure. Love in less than a week...no. Bella Andre is one of the few who has pulled it off for me. They never feel quite like insta-love even though they are. Laura Kaye has done a few good ones as well but for the most part the rest just make me cringe. I wish more authors would embrace happy for nows as well instead of forcing happily ever afters in very short times.

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    1. I am a cringer, and insta-love gets me every time. There are very few authors who can really pull it off. I don't get why it's so huge in books, why can't the characters take the time to get to know one another.

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  13. Ha! I'm about to read both of those books (The Jewel and the Kiss of Deception). I don't know. I think I'm okay with it. I think you're totally right about it not being love at first, and it probably being lust, but I think that if the lust develops into love then I'm okay with it, but if it fizzles, it more of a disappoint me. I don't know if that makes ANY sense, call me a romantic, or whatever :)

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    1. I'm all for the attraction, and I like it to develop into love eventually. Just not in the first five minutes of meeting one another.

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  14. I fully agree with you insta-love and Love Triangles are seriously making me want to vomit. That or just stop reading the book all together. I SEE both of these things ALL the time in YA lit and it is really starting to bug me.

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    1. I KNOW! They're the too most overused tropes, I am definitely fed up of them. I've seen much more insta-love recently, so I'd happily take a love triangle right now, as long as they get rid of the horrid insta-love.

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  15. Agreed! I cannot handle insta-love either. Insta-attraction, even insta-lust makes sense. But not LOVE. I guess sometimes the "love" is precipitated by the dire circumstances in whatever world the book is taking place in. It's kind of this odd combination of attraction, and a misguided trust that ends up working out? That is kind of how I see it anyway. The romance in The Jewel is such a bummer, because it is going to turn away a lot of readers. I loved the book, despite the insta-love, so imagine how much better it'd be without it? Great post, this is such a good discussion topic!

    -Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. I really did enjoy The Jewel, until the romance was introduced. It would have been a much better book without it, I definitely would have continued on if the romance hadn't felt far too rushed. It's a real shame though, the book had a lot of potential.

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  16. I agree, I hate insta-love. It's not really love. Are the authors thinking that teenagers equate love and lust? Not sure if they're purposefully making a statement about that. Anyway, I agree with you about the type of insta-love that bothers me. If they haven't had hardly any conversations or spent any time together, it is super annoying. But even if not a lot of time has passed, if they spend the whole book together, have a lot of conversations, etc. then it doesn't feel like insta-love even though only a week or so has passed. It's funny, but I didn't consider Kiss of Deception insta-love. Oh well! For some reason, the relationship worked, but if I reread it and paid attention, perhaps I would agree with you. Great post! ~Pam

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    1. I really feel like the authors themselves sometimes confuse the two emotions. I really hope to see more books in the YA genre that have a more normal experience of falling in love. Where it takes time and actually getting to know a person. Kiss of Deception got to me because I honestly felt like they had maybe 1 or 2 conversations. I never felt like they really got to know each other.

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