The Problem With Instalove

Posted March 23, 2014 by Tara Gold in articles /// 53 Comments

problem with instalove

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of posts and discussion around the topic of instalove (probably due to Paola’s Instalove 101 Event), and it’s no surprise. Instalove is a very polarizing topic. Sometimes we just casually complain about it, and other times it can inspire post-long rants about the phenomenon. So what is it about instalove that drives us mad? What does that say about us? And why are readers so divided on the topic?

Instalove: A Defintion

Defining instalove is actually quite difficult, because it is a relative phenomenon. This means that for many readers reading a single story, some will categorize the love story as instalove and others will argue that it was not instalove. So it is important for me to define what I consider instalove for the purpose of this post.

Instalove is when two characters fall in love immediately, often without knowing each other beyond physical appearances or a single conversation. An important feature of instalove is that this moment seals the deal for long-term (often foreverlove between the two characters. Sometimes the bond is created by a supernatural element (eg, fate or destiny), but that is not always the case.

It is not a requirement that instalove be first love, but that is often the case. The characters may have had serious or non-serious relationships in the past. For the purposes of this debate, I am limiting my definition to instalove as it appears in young adult novels. I read far more YA novels than adult novels, so I’m going to work with what I know (though please feel free to discuss instalove in adult novels in the comments!).

Both Sides of the Debate

So what is the debate? On one side, there are many readers who hate instalove with a fiery passion. In general, the argument is that this is a sign of poor writing on the part of the author. Instalove is convenient to write, but fails to give a reason for two characters deciding to fall in forever-love with each other. In short, instalove does not feel authentic to these readers. It feels like a contrived fantasy, and the resulting romance feels fake as well.

Defenders of instalove argue that instalove happens in the real world. It is not unusual for married or long-term partners to explain that they just KNEW that their partner was THE ONE when they met. Some of these partnerships even occur at a young age, with couples starting life-long relationships in middle or high school. It does happen, and defenders of instalove like that these relations are a mirror of their own experiences. And for those who are not in forever-love just yet, they believe (and like to believe) that such a relationship is possible, either for themselves or others, and like to read about it.

The Problem With Instalove

Instalove is easy to write, especially considering the length of the average YA novel (50,000 to 80,000 words, or 250-350 pages). Authors do not have a whole lot of real estate for developing more than one relationship, especially if they are trying to add other elements to the plot as well (world building, conflict, historical elements, a mystery, etc). Moreover, YA protagonists are young. They have years and years ahead of them, and readers are never told if the “whirlwind romance” actually extends beyond the last page of the novel. In other words, forever does extend beyond high school graduation. Think of all the couples you know that broke up over Thanksgiving/Christmas break in the first year in college. They are all determined that they will be the couple to defy the statistics (and yes, some couples do), but most do not survive the transition.

While I acknowledged that instalove might exist in the real world, I feel it is overrepresented in adolescent literature. A lot relationships start out with a spark of attraction, yes. We might even call this insta-attraction or lust. This might even turn into a relationship. Maybe even love. But the vast majority of these end. Every spark does not equal life-partner, but looking at literature would give us the false belief that it does. YA literature would lead us to believe that he phenomenon is more common than it actually is. Which is fine — books are filled with all sorts of fantasy elements that do not exist in the real world. This becomes problematic when teenagers do not realize that instalove may not be their personal reality. Readers can easily understand that they will not ever see a unicorn or attend Hogwarts (as much as we may want to!), but the reality of instantaneous forever love with the perfect partner can be more of a gray area.

In fact, I would argue that this is a dangerous belief for teenagers to hope for. In the modern culture of hookups and casual intimacy, relationships are incredibly difficult to navigate. The way our culture socializes boys and girls can be very different, and this does not always result in healthy relationships as teens date with cross-purposes. In the beginning, lust can look a lot like love. For those who do meet their forever-love in high school, the lust-to-love transition is a positive one. But for many couples, shifting feelings and life changes can mean the end of a relationship. This is a good, even healthy pattern, but not one that is always represented in adolescent literature.

I would argue the prevalence of instalove can make the natural ending of adolescent relationships feel like a failure. It can also convince young adults to stay in unhealthy relationships. Literature, and much of popular culture, romanticizes the ideal of “the One.” The boys in these books are bad boys who turn good for the right girl. They are the previously-unnoticed boy-next-door. The boys are sensitive, romantic, and show up on the girl’s porch with flowers after a fight. Conflicts are often just misunderstandings that bring the lovers close together. And the boys never engage in uncomfortable sexual pressure or coercion, because they respect their girlfriends’ sexual boundaries. In reality, some boys lie and some boys coerce and some boys manipulate. Some boys never apologize. Some conflicts are not just misunderstandings. Of course, some boys do not do these things. And many girls do, and some do not. People change, people grow apart, and people meet other people who are a better romantic fit. The point is that it is healthy and normal for relationships to end for myriad reasons, but it is not sexy or romantic to consider these possibilities in novels or in the start of a new relationship.

Books show us a million beautiful, butterfly-inducing ways a relationship can start, but very few healthy examples of how they might end. This leads to the false assumption that happy endings are forever, and instalove is normal. Of course, this discussion also leaves out how instalove is largely a heterosexual phenomenon, and that many LGBTQ novels are not as fixated on instantaneous love — a topic that could deserve a whole post of its own (hmm, I’m writing that down). So yes, let it be known that I am not a fan of instalove, and I would like to see less of it in YA literature.

instalove books

Okay, now I want to hear from my readers: what are your thoughts on instalove? I’ve included these book covers to get you thinking both about the theory of instalove AND how it has played out in actual novels. These are six books where I could make an argument for instalove. Do you love instalove? Hate it? Agree or disagree with my selections below? Have others to add? Let’s open the debate in the comments!


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53 responses to “The Problem With Instalove

  1. Instalove usually turns me right off a book. I’m of a firm belief that authors (and this applies even more so for children’s and YA fiction writers) have a responsibility for their readership. And what I mean is, they should seriously consider the aftershock of what they’ve put to paper (please see ‘How I Live Now’ for my serious issues with this.. Gah!)

    ‘Instalove’ is boring, and irresponsible to create. ‘instalust’ I get, and it’s far more credible.

    Nope. Not a fan of it. It annoys me, royally.It doesn’t promote a healthy perspective for teens et al for how to take on potential relationship situations.


    Great post!! xD

    • Tara

      I’ve been waiting to read How I Live Now for ages. Seriously, I can touch it from where I’m sitting right now. Now I’m kind of excited for the potential critique-filled reading experience I might be getting myself into!!

      I agree that we should just accept instalust for what it is, and be okay with attraction at face value!

  2. I’ve been seeing it in books, ever since I started reading. It’s a staple in Fairy Tales. I call it “love at first sight.” Sometimes I believe it; sometimes I don’t. Thanks for the great post!

    • Tara

      Fairy tales seem to get a free pass because instalove is, like, a requirement of the genre or something. I guess because they were originally short stories? Or maybe because in ye ole times everyone actually did get married young and there wasn’t a lot of dating/fooling around (lack of birth control kind of shuts that down!)

  3. I just read a book that had instalove – and I hated it! I talked about it in my review post. I couldn’t believe that what either characters felt was love, because they never used anything to describe their love besides words related to attraction. “Really?” I kept asking myself.

    I agree that Twilight is definitely an instalove book. I haven’t read the others.

  4. I’m getting kind of fed-up with insta-love as well. It’s more interesting to me (and more realistic) to see how a relationship develops or fails to develop. This is a great post that really got me thinking. I need to look at the books I have and see how often this is used.

    I just finished reading Delirium, and while I did enjoy it for its creepy dystopian factor, there was more than a bit of insta-love there. Although I can kind of make a case for that book. Love is something that is forbidden and is thought of as unnatural, so having feelings for a person is a form of rebellion… even though I would have loved to see that relationship teased out a bit.

    • Tara

      Instalove is definitely an element of dystopia (for the reasons you mentioned). Maybe I’m just too much of a selfish, cautious person, but I do get annoyed when these kids meet in books at 16 and are willing to die for each other. This all makes sense, plot-wise, but often they reject their parents, their friends, their culture, and their lives in the process! The reasons are noble, but I find it all a little hard to believe.

  5. I’m not a fan of intstalove in books either, although my husband and I had that ‘I just knew’ experience when we were in high school. I know it happens, but it sets sadly unrealistic expectations. We tell our children that what we did was abnormal and that we’ve fought hard (still fighting) to mature and maintain a healthy relationship. We’ve broken up (and nearly divorced) many times. Our instalove brought us together, but it has had little positive effect on our 21 years of coupledom or seventeen years of marraige. In fact, that mooning we did early on is the root of many of our arguments to this day. “You don’t love me like you used to.” No. I don’t. I love him differently; I love him better than my 16 year old self ever dreamed. Our love has matured.

    Of course we consume these stories to briefly lose ourselves in another world, but once we return to reality, how likely is it that we’ll have that same experience that were detailed in print? From your list, I’ve only read ‘Twilight’, and although I write an occasional Twifics, I am not a fan of the three main characters. It’s an unhealthy, obsessive, dangerous triangle. This girl gives up what little identity she had for these guys. I’ve seen enough abusive relationships to read the signs in both love interests, yet it’s an addictive story. I get angry at myself for liking it because ‘I know better’. And who wants to be 17 forever?

    Growing up, I wasn’t read fairy tales. I wasn’t taught about fantasy romance and damsels in distress (but I swore I was in love with every boyfriend I had since middle school). My mother loved that stuff–an escape from her tragic youth, I get that–but I spent my early years living with a very levelheaded paternal grandmother who had only sons. She tucked me in with Dr. Seuss and Dahl, not knights and princesses. Sure, I read Hans Christian Anderson and Grimm–the real stuff. My dad read me Tolkien and X-Men comics as bedtime stories. With my own kids I give them a mix of both, trying to keep their feet on the ground and their heads in the clouds.

    My go-to marraige advice applies here: “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” Friedrich Nietzsche

    When these instalove couples come up for air what do the have to talk about? What keeps them there? Passion is not inexhaustible.

    • Tara

      YES YES YES! Where’s the friendship? Where’s the share interests? Where’s the quibbles over who will take out the trash? I can believe the lusty adrenaline -filled adventures, but I can’t call it love until the characters have played the “where do you want each? where do YOU want to eat?” game without killing each other.

  6. Great post, really got me thinking about my adolesence. I was a big reader (still am) when I was young and there are a few things I “learned” from books that I took as real life possibilities that are actually much less common in reality. Instalove is definitely one of them. I had unrealistic expectations of boys, love, and relationships. I always thought I could be the one who turns the bad boy into a good boyfriend, and it NEVER worked. I struggled through a lot of confusion and hurt feelings, convinced there was something wrong with ME. However, now that I have found my forever love I read such books with pleasure. Weird?
    A great book that talks of both young love (transitioning to college) AND friendship between two girls, also showing somewhat realistic endings of relationships, is Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters. It is still one of my all time favorite books to this day!

    • Tara

      There’s an interesting gender dimension to all of this that it is usually girls swooning over these books. Boys are socialized to consume very different media and ideals for relationships (“bros over hos!” and “p#$$y whipped” are two common phrases that illustrate this attitude). I do wish we could, as a society, redefine masculinity to where boys could be swooning over instalove, too.

  7. I am generally not a fan of Instalove in books. While it is possible to have a lot of sparks upon meeting someone, love is something that has to grow between people. I have seen Instalove in YA books/movies (most notably in Twilight), but adult romance (especially short stories) feature it too. Most of the time I read it, I roll my eyes.

    I did notice an interesting trend in Disney’s “Frozen,” which you should check out. Disney is big on Instalove (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Little Mermaid). But “Frozen” does a good job of calling out the ridiculousness of Instalove – which was a surprising, but good development.

  8. I’m okay with instalove if it’s related to bound soul-mates or other supernatural type prophecies. Emphasis on Supernatural. I choose to suspend my disbelief. Outside of those circumstances, I can’t stand instalove. Instalust is okay, but instalove always feels fake regardless of the circumstances. I choose to ignore that fakeness for the supernatural because there’s an understanding that this is pure fantasy.

    • Tara

      I like that you said instalust is okay. I agree! It’s okay to have intense desire and attraction to someone while acknowledging that it may not be long-term. Our society privileges and values the long-term, monogamous relationship, so we tend to discount the difference between lust and love!

  9. Instalove in novels and fairy-tale movies or stories is all well and good. I have learned that real life is no bed of roses so I don’t get the two mixed up.
    For young adults however, it may feel like life and love is so easy to find and keep forever. The author rarely includes the difficulties faced by couples who fight to keep marriages or relationships together!
    It is hard work!
    That wonderful feeling that consumes us in the beginning eventually fades when responsibilities and different personalities clash.
    I agree with leesha0304. It was refreshing to see an unexpected turn in the movie Frozen. Young adults and even the younger children need to learn that not every smile or kiss turns into love.

    • Tara

      Goodness, now I really need to go see this movie Frozen. Does this first kiss boy become a villain? Because sometimes that’s an easy way to convince an audience to transfer feelings from one love interest to another — “see! He wasn’t the right guy for her, because she didn’t realize that he’s a bad guy.”

  10. I’m fine with instalove, which is a great element in Linda Howard’s novels. I guess this is because I can relate to this, having found my husband of 18 years this way. Of course, friendship, as well as understanding your partner’s love language are important elements for instalove to become ‘constalove’.

    • Tara

      I like that term — constalove. Honestly, my bias against instalove definitely comes from the fact that dated (and fell in love with!) two different guys before realizing after college that I have far stronger attraction to women. While my feelings for the boys felt real at the time, they were nothing compared to my first serious girlfriend. And THAT didn’t even work out, so I’m still searching or my constalove!

  11. I started reading chick lit (in which instalove is basically the rule) when I was about 13 or 14, I think, and I got a way too romanticised view of relationships and love that only altered when I got into my first relationship when I was 18. The thing with instalove is, when you realise it’s not a completely realistic view of, well, reality, it’s great fun to read about. I love reading about instalove (when I’m in a good mood, that is) but I can definitely see how it could do harm, or semi-harm. It’s a difficult topic, I think.

    • Tara

      You are absolutely right that it’s important to separate reality from fiction, and it’s okay to indulge in some fantasy! I definitely find my nose buried in some romance novels every so often, I just have to turn off my inner book critic and enjoy the ride.

  12. I definitely think “instalove” occurs in YA way more than in adult literature, and I think it really does give young and developing minds a false representation of relationships during formative years (maybe even false hope?). It’s like the meme about Disney being the reason women have unrealistic expectations about men, I think it gets young people off to a bad start. I can see why it is troublesome to fit the complexities of a relationship developing into a short novel, but I think a series has no excuse and should really try to develop that. Life isn’t as simple as “boy meets girl” (or girl meets girl etc.) and it would be great for a new trend in literature where those types of complexities are explored more. Great post – hours of discussion could be had on this topic! R x

    • Tara

      I like that you bring up “girl meets girl.” Lesbian culture would have a lot to say on instalove when two girls are involved. I need someone to write that book…examining the complexities in girl-meets-girl instalove!

  13. This is a really provoking article, and I love how thoughtful and in-depth you considered the topic. It was definitely presented much more thoroughly than I’ve ever seen before. I particularly liked the discussion of how the overuse can possibly affect expectations teens have in their own relationship. I admit I am seldom bothered by the Insta love issue. I am one of those who’s marriage and lifelong partner developed from that instance overwhelming attraction (Physically, mentally, and emotionally). I will say, though, it happen to me when I was 26 rather then 16. In any case, I think that’s the reason I usually just go with it in books… with one exception: I need it to be able to see a COMPELLING reason why the two characters are drawn together. I find the fate and destined to be reasons fickle and someone annoying. I want to be able to see how their personalities and chemistry plays off of one another. I see it occasionally, and those teen books usually end up among my favorites.

    • Tara

      I think you are right that a compelling reason is necessary. I think about real life here. You know when a friend wants to introduce you to a new boyfriend/girlfriend, and sometimes you can see right away that they are meant to be together? I”m convinced because I can see an undeniable chemistry, respect, and ease between the couple. The best books are ones that can take that magic and put it into a limited number of pages in a novel. It’s quite hard to do!

  14. I love reading about that “spark” that occurs when two characters meet; however, you have to note that spark is not synonymous with love at first sight. That spark is that little bit of chemistry, that slight flirting, etc. that starts a crush. We’ve all experienced a teenage crush: that really cute girl/boy that made you blush, the one that you really really really wanted to ask you out.
    Insta-love is a different category. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    • Tara

      I have no problem with crushes, dates, dating, kissing, romance, blushing, etc in books. I’m guilty of all of the above! I think a good example would be a book I read recently where the two gay characters finally kissed and got together in the climax of the novel, but then the boyfriend was beaten up and almost died. The protagonist, after six months of knowing this boy and 1 month of being his boyfriend, decides not to go to college so he can take care of the boyfriend while he recovers. Sweet, yes, but a very complex, life-changing decision for an 18-year-old (especially considering that the boyfriend had parents to do most of the “taking care” of him)

  15. I completely agree with you! I appreciate your well thought out arguments on this. The “instalove” phenomenon is one that I find particularly frustrating when paired with an insipid or passive protagonist, content to let events carry her along without thought or examination! I think that the effect for YA readers, particularly young readers, is probably detrimental!

    • Tara

      Ahhhh, yes, another dimension to the issue…flat, boring, awful, passive, insipid protagonists. I just look at them and I have to question what any other character would see in them…much less fall in love with.

  16. If Twilight and similar books came out when I was a teenager, I would have eaten them up. I was determined to have a fairy tale romance if it killed me. After a fairly awful break up with my college boyfriend, I started to have different feelings about the fairy tale romance in books. I hated anything with instalove. In fact, I didn’t really enjoy a lot of books with romance as a theme. Speed forward a few years to when I met my husband. Our first date (after meeting at a friend’s movie night) lasted six hours long, and we rarely spent a day outside of each other’s company after that date. Was our relationship insta-love-y? Yes; however, if you read a dialogue of our conversations, it would be very different from the insta-love-y conversations that you read in books. We talked (and still talk) about all sorts of things. We don’t just talk about our undying love for each other and gaze into each other’s eyes. There is a lot more to being in a relationship than being “in love.” Does that make sense? I am okay with insta-love when it feels like more than just “sappy, stereotypical love.” I used to want that, but now I know that this isn’t enough.

    • Tara

      As someone who has’t found love like that yet, I can say that I do still hope for it. And I’ve had the girlfriend who spent most of her time professing her undying love to me and trying to gaze into my eyes. She was caught up in sappy, stereotypical love and I was just a puppet for that — she actually couldn’t stand most of my actual personality (because, you know, I don’t see the sense in celebrating six-month anniversaries and I nixed the idea of Christmas stockings because I “didn’t want a bunch of useless dollar store crap”…clearly I’m a JOY to date). Anyways, my current girlfriend shows a more steady, strong, supportive affection grounded in reality and the incredible ability to spend oodles of time with me without driving us each other crazy. We make up ridiculous scenarios and debate about nit-picky things and sneak candy into movies. We’d actually make a really boring book!

  17. Reblogged this on books for brunch and commented:
    Eloquently put and my thoughts exactly. Instalove needs to go and it creates unhealthy ideas about relationships. While I think love is different for everyone and we shouldn’t judge how long or short people have been together, I think that by promoting fanciful relationships to young adults, it creates romantic notions about something that’s usually messy, difficult, and much more work than anyone bargains for.
    I am a romantic at heart and love an ooey gooey romance but I much prefer reading about couples who get to know each other, talk about things, go through bumps in the road, and don’t talk about “forever.” In one of my favorites, Anna and the French Kiss, the main relationship is built up over a year, they are good friends first, they talk and get to know each other, and I think it shows that, yes, teens can be in love, but its not perfect, even when said boy has an English accent and is incredibly cute. : )

  18. I think I am slightly hypocritical about the concept of instalove. I met my husband when I was seventeen, and I did just “know.” It wasn’t love, and it wasn’t even lust. I actually told my brother I was worried this guy was interested in me, because I wasn’t sure I wanted to date him. No matter how much I resisted, I did know somehow he was going to be important in my life, and he was.

    In spite of my personal experiences with instalove, I hate it in a book. It is very rarely explained properly, and sometimes the person is making incredibly stupid decisions based on this strong emotion they are certain is real. I might be able to accept it more if the book then continued to show they were compatible, and it was more than just the instant attraction/lust they were feeling.
    Instalove is a dangerous promise to make to teenagers. People joke that Disney gives unrealistic expectations of love and romance. They may have started a little of this, but they are not the only criminals. Unfortunately, these popular instalove novels are often the only examples YA readers see of relationship beginnings. Even if they book closes and its all over, this is what they have to reference. It’s not just writers needing to back up their relationships, it’s readers and reviewers who need to show what we want to see. Let the publishing world know what we want, and see new ideas come onto the shelves.

  19. Reblogged this on Confessions of a Book Geek and commented:
    I’m a big fan of The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhh!, and when I saw her most recent post about “instalove” I just had to share it. “Instalove” seems to be everywhere, particularly in YA literature, I would diagnose a severe case of “instalove” in; The Fault in Our Stars, Twilight, The Iron King, Beautiful Creatures, The Mortal Instruments, Shiver… The list goes on.

    In some cases, “instalove” can be more understandable (or excused, depending on your viewpoint), generally “instalove” will be more accepted in the supernatural/paranormal genre, or in novels where the characters are not experiencing “normal” life-situations (The Fault in Our Stars), but what effect, if any, does this have on the reader?

    Is “instalove” potentially damaging to the Young Adults (or even Adults) who read it? Does it create a false representation of love and relationships? Or is it merely another form of fiction escapism that is enjoyable to read?

    This is a topic that is strongly defended by the old school romancers and wholly debated by the realist relationship-workers, what do you think? Are you backing “instalove” or do you prefer a “we-have-to-work-for-this relationship”? Does anyone have any books that aren;t “instalove” that you would recommend? I’d love to read something a little different!

  20. kdmmertz

    I have a love/hate relationship with instalove. I think it really depends on the genre and the talent of the author whether I can stomach it. Some authors have an ability to write it in a way that seems very natural…that’s when I find myself enjoying it. But overall, I’m a slow-progression kind of girl. Not too slow, mind you. But I like a little tension, flirting, and even a blow off or two. It makes the romance that much sweeter when it does finally occur. I also like the idea of previously unrequited love when one is in love with another that doesn’t know they are the object of the other’s affections yet.

  21. I’m generally not a fan of instalove although a great author can convince me. I do think it creates unreal expectations and being bombarded with the same messages incessantly can be problematic for teens. Plus I think it’s often a cop out for authors and can be lazy characterization. Great article 🙂

  22. I think it can work if there are a lot of other things going on in the story, and there’s not a whole lot of room to develop the romance. It can especially work if it’s between two non-POV characters. However, if the whole book is built around the romance, I really want to FEEL it, not just be told it’s there.

    I’d love to read that comparison to instalove or the lack thereof in LGBT-oriented books!

  23. Fairy Tales usually contain magical elements as well, which help to form the bonds of friendship, love, hate, etc. so I’m leaving them out of the equation. However, I sincerely despise the vast majority of insta-loves, especially in YA lit. One of my absolute least favorite examples is Twilight. Insta-attraction, a mediocre fight, and she’s ready to become a vampire when there is someone else she loves just waiting in the wings and getting hurt time after time. UGH! Thanks for the read, I enjoy your viewpoints on things such as this.

  24. Instalove would probably be the #1 reason I don’t read YA. (that and the love triangle). I don’t believe Instalove happens in Real Life – instaLUST yes, instaLOVE no. InstaLUST that grows into Love is wonderful – IF it happens. But as we all know (or perhaps, those of a certain age know…) realtionships are hard work. Love is NOT enough to keep a good healthy relationship going – there must be more than just “love” (or lust). I think the biggest problem I have with Instaluv in books is that, just like “movie sex” can lead some people into thinking something is wrong with their otherwise healthy sex life if it doesn’t come with soft music and candles and perfect bodies and simultaneous orgasms, that Instalove can lead ‘impressionable” teenagers with the belief that this is how LOVE works. You clap eyes on each other and you both KNOW right there and then, you are in Twu Love forever. (Although perhaps I shouldn’t really focus on “impressionable teens” in this, as I often think that the standard “romance” novel can also affect adult women into thinking their love lives aren’t romantic enough…because the books don’t focus on the day-to-day stuff that happens in a relationship…it’s all flowers and big romantic gestures and candlelight dinners…) You’ve written a VERY interesting post, one that I’m still thinking about. And could probably talk a LOT more about it, but not in a little comment box. 😀

  25. Oh! Loved this post. I’ve always been uncomfortable with instalove–not with it’s function as a plot device, but by what it’s telling and SHOWING girls. I agree that it IS dangerous [when I tried telling that to a bunch of Mom friends who were giving Twilight to their pre-teen girls, they thought I was crazy]. Horrifying!

    We think a lot about the need for counter-stories in YA literature regarding diverse characters, but this post has also made me think of the necessity of counter-stories that show relationships not defined by insta-love. I want to build a list as a librarian. And, as a parent.

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