Am I Writing A Realistic Teen Relationship?

10599585_10203937879305222_5479328876066497882_nA couple weeks ago, I put up a post about middle-grade and YA needing romance story lines. I got some great comments including this one from my Facebook friend, Debbi:

“I don’t think it’s required. I think it would really help young teen girls to have strong female characters whose story isn’t mainly about romance or thinking about boys. But if it’s going to be part of the story it should be portrayed more realistically than the fairy tale type that girls & women have been inundated with in the past. Sets us up for feelings of inadequacy and failure.”

As I read her comment, I nodded along with her. I think she is EXACTLY right–maybe Debbi, you could have a third career as a young adult author. :) (She already has an important day job and decorates amazing cakes.)

Her comment also made me think about 17-year-old Julie in Caught Between Two Curses because I think romance is a huge part of her story; and even more so, her boyfriend Gus breaks up with her because she won’t have sex with him. That’s definitely not the fairy tale romance–Prince Charming doesn’t turn Cinderella out before the wedding because she won’t “give it up,” but do I portray Julie and Gus’s relationship realistically? That’s what I’m asking myself.

Once they break up, Julie has bigger problems like her uncle going into a coma and finding out her family has a curse on them. But the love life storyline is also there, rearing its ugly head:

  • Gus starts seeing another girl almost immediately, and this is a girl has a not-great reputation at school. (But is that reputation fair?)
  • Gus still hangs on to Julie and won’t quite let her go, promising he still loves her but claiming he has “needs.”
  • Gus becomes jealous when it seems like Julie might be moving on.

As I create this list, I think these are pretty typical human behaviors (of a not nice guy, I realize), and Julie is conflicted (which some readers don’t like, but I think it’s realistic).

Then I start thinking about my other character, Matt–is he too perfect? Maybe, but I believe there are guys out there like him, right? I know there are. So by including him in the book, am I portraying too much of the fairy tale that Debbi is talking about?

I’m not sure. What do you think?

By the way, if you haven’t read Caught Between Two Curses yet, it’s on sale for $0.99 TODAY only because TODAY is Read Tuesday.  (Not Black Friday. Not Cyber Monday. But Read Tuesday).  It’s only the Kindle version on sale–but you don’t have to have a Kindle, you can get a free app to read Kindle books on your phone or tablet. Anyway, check out CBTC today:



So, what do you think?