May 28, 2010

Puppy Love aka Tween Romance

Lots of young adult books are known by the chemistry and romance between two main characters. (Although my friend told me recently that she can only take so many young adult romances before having to read an adult book where the two characters in the romance can actually "do the deed." She sometimes needs the fulfillment that is not always available in young adult). I think it is amazing that an author can create two characters and then also create the chemistry between them.

What is really amazing to me, though, is how an author can take two younger characters, tweens, and create a bond and a love between them. Most of the time it starts out that they are companions on an adventure, and sometime reluctant companions. It grows into friendship, then partnership and finally love. AND, it is always done in such a way (and normally over the course of two or three books) that is is very believable, and even acceptable despite their ages! Here are some of my favorite examples:

Matt Cruse and Kate de Vries: I LOVE the Airborn books, they are fantastic! When Matt & Kate start out they are pretty young, 12 or 13 I think. By the end of the last books I believe they are 16 or 17. It's pretty clear early on that they are meant to be together and while they fight, they never have a great disdain for each other--although they do have their share of misunderstandings until they finally find their way to happiness. I really hope Kenneth Oppel writes another one of these because I want to see where Matt & Kate's relationship ends up.
On a very exciting note, they are making a movie of Airborn!! I am thrilled.

Todd Hewitt & Viola: Todd & Viola are the main characters in the Chaos Walking series (The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men). They are about 12 when they meet and by the end of the first book it's pretty clear that their friendship has grown. Mostly it's because they are truly the only ones that each other can count on, but also because they have been through so much together. I am worried that the ending for Todd & Viola will not be good, but I am still excited to finish their story! Watch the trailer for Monster of Men in this post.

Lyra Belacqua & Will Parry: Lyra is the main character from The Golden Compass and Will joins her in the second book The Subtle Knife. (books 1 & 2 from the His Dark Materials trilogy). They go through a lot together and by the end of the third book their story had me sobbing. It was so good. I am disappointed with how the movie of The Golden Compass turned out because I would have liked to see how they played out this story on the screen.

Hester Shaw & Tom: (from The Hungry City Chronicles by Philip Reeve) The Mortal Engines is the book that actually made me think of this little trend. Hester and Tom meet when she tries to kill his hero, whom Tom saves. Only to be rewarded by being betrayed by said hero. He finds himself stuck with Hester away from his home--and starting to questions every thing he has ever believed. The most interesting part of this "love" story is that Hester has been disfigured, so when Tom falls in love with her (and although I am not done with the book I am sure it will happen eventually) it is because he loves her.

Percy Jackson & Annabeth Chase: (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) Of course most of know how this series ends, on the bottom of a lake, but they are pretty young when they first meet. And they don't get along very well. This is an adorable little love story that is added into a big adventure.

Rosalind Penderwick & Tommy Geiger: (from The Penderwicks on Gardam Street) This one doesn't really fit because Rosalind and Tommy are neighbors from the start and don't have a grand adventure. But there are few times when they are mad at each other. When they finally realize that they do like each other, the very sensible Rosalind decides they are too young to date and can just like each other until they are older. It is super sweet.

Young James Bond: These don't really fit either because a romance does not build over several books, but, James does have a female companion in each book, very similar to the grown up James we all know and love.

Interestingly enough, besides the Penderwicks, each of these series was written by a man.

What tween romances have captured your heart?


  1. I am completely this way. I love to read YA novels. But I do find that I can ususally only read maybe 2 in a row before having to switch back to an adult book. The love in the YA books is often so pure, innocent and romanticized. I think it brings a part of me out that longs to remember those days when love was new and unexpected. But then the adult part of me kicks in and says..."enough with the foreplay... get on with it." And I switch books. :)

    In keeping with your 'adventure-first then love theme' I think we could add: The Hunger Games, Graceling (although this one borders on adult) and even the great Harry Potter Books...

    But I also think that a TON of YA novels are of the 'love at first sight variety.' Examples: Shiver, The Pace and the ever famed Twilight.

  2. I didn't put Hunger Games or Graceling because those main characters were firmly in the teenage years when their romances started. Also, I didn't put Harry Potter because his partner in adventure would be Hermione but she is not his love interest and the relationship with Ginny did not develop until later (and she is not a main character in the adventures). I was really looking at those that start pretty young.

  3. Um... how did I not know there were more Airborn books??? I totally agree with you on Todd and Viola. And if we really want to go back in time... how about Kristy Thomas and Alan Gray?? (Except they might have started out at 13?!)

  4. How about Gregor and the princess from Gregor and the Underworld books by Suzanne Collins? Definitely fits your category!

  5. I haven't read the Gregor books, but I guess I need to!

  6. They're really good--very dark although not quite as dark as Hunger Games...the audiobooks are terrific if you're an audiobook fan.