|YA Epidemics is an original feature in which I |
numerous trends and cliches plaguing the YA genre. The Epidemics are posted most Saturdays.
Comments and discussions are encouraged!
Ah, the smell of antiseptic disinfectant. The squeaky floors and shiny lab tables, posters of vital organs and cages of dead frogs waiting to be cut open with a scalpel. Is there anything more romantic than a high school biology class? It's fate, really, that puts these strangers together. Pair them up and watch their love bloom.
Bio-partner romance is one of the oldest tricks in the book of YA romance. Especially when the two love birds would rather peck at each other in the beginning than swap spit. Two opposite sides of the same coin, Good Girl meets Bad (often supernatural) Boy across a black fake-marble tabletop. They bicker, she waits impatiently for the bell to release them, he secretly adores her but you don't find out until the last chapter or so, and they repeat the process the next day. Slowly, the bickering isn't enough to cover their growing lust and she realizes maybe she misunderstood him all along. They are destined for an epic love, those two.
Gah. Gag me with a spoon.
Is there anything more contrived than this set-up? Is it possible for an author to be any less original than by pairing her reluctant lovers togerther as lab partners? There are exceptions to every rule, but the rest of the book had better be written in gold ink on sheets of vellum to justify such an obvious, overdone, corny cliche. But in my experience, that rarely happens because only the most unoriginal, trend-reliant stories have utilized the Bio-Partner Romance in the last few years.
In fact, I have a little challenge for you. In the comments, try to name one high-quality, original YA novel to come out since, say, 2009 in which our lovely protagonist meets her future "baby daddy" by being partnered with him in biology class (or chemistry class or whatever). Can you? The closest I can come is Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, and even though it was at least well done, that's one of the most cliche-ridden novels I've ever read. (Actually, no. That came out in December of 2008, just checked. So, yeah, challenge still stands.)
In true YA Epidemics fashion, let's analyze just what convenient things this plot-device accomplishes. Well, there's the obvious they're forced to spend time together thing, so they can hate each other all they want at first. They've got an entire semester to discover all their hidden feelings and learn each other's noble secrets. Because really, who among you would willingly spend time with the hot asshole guy who turns his nose up at you/teases you/breaks every girl in the school's heart just because he can?
It's a very convenient way for two people from completely different cliques to meet. She may spend her evenings at the mall in denim short shorts and a pink tank top while he's, well, pretty much anywhere but the mall, but they still come together in the glorious melting pot that is high school. Omg, you don't like to hang with the popular kids but you're not a total scoundrel? Who'd have thought?
Then there's the whole people actually like it thing, which I acknowlede but for the life of me don't understand. As with every one of these Epidemics, Bio-Partner Romance is a trend because it sells. There are still readers out there buying into the simmering glances over textbooks and dead animals, readers who enjoy the slow but achingly obvious romantic build up. While I guess it's better than insta-love (which will be a future Epidemic, my lovelies, don't you worry), it still has the power to set my eyes rolling and my head aching. And let's not give it too much credit, either, because there are plenty of bio-partner insta-love scenarios, but that makes my head spin with the dreadfulness of it so I'm going to choose denial and pretend they don't exist.
After awhile, doing these YA Epidemics posts and still barely touching the surface of possible material, I often wonder; do certain writers compile a list of cliches and trends and convert it into generic money-making crap on purpose? Seems like a fair assessment of a choice few bestselling YA novels to come out in recent years, doesn't it?
Now I want to know your thoughts. Have you read many of these Bio-Partner Romances, and do they annoy you as much as they obviously annoy me? Is it still a fun way to give us some of that romantic tension we so desire, or has this Epidemic run its course? And do you remember that little challenge I gave you earlier? Leave your answers in the comments!
And don't forget to Follow PaperFantasies through bloglovin to have your YA Epidemic posts available right at the click of a button. Because who needs Google Reader, anyway?