Posted in Parenting, Teen

Is the Instalove in YA books setting our teens up for Disappointment?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a three day Writer’s Conference that I thoroughly enjoyed. It gave me the extra incentive I needed to tackle a couple of projects that I’ve been thinking about and I’m going to start on those soon.

I’ve finally finished my personal editing process for my fourth novel and I’m excited about it. It’s a coming of age novel and it’s grittier than my past work. I’ve branched out into new territory and that’s exhilarating for me.

I’ve also been reading more too. I’ve just finished Rainbow Rowell’s “Fangirl.”


It was a great story; however, I didn’t like it as much as “Eleanor and Park.”

The main thing that I enjoyed about “Fangirl” is the fact that the love story between Cath and Levi wasn’t instalove like you find in other young adult books. This is important, in my opinion, because it gives a more realistic view of what love is supposed to be like for our young people.

Instalove or love at first sight is unrealistic and if the stories that portray it are the first glimpse of what love is like for our young girls, I think it sets them up for disappointment. They’re looking for something that doesn’t exist.

In my opinion, love at first sight should actually be called attraction at first sight. I agree we can become attracted to someone just by his or her physical presence, but this should never be mistaken for love.

As parents and educators, we need to teach this to our girls. Boys need to learn it too, but many of them don’t read the instalove books that young girls do, so they don’t receive the same misconstrued message.

In my opinion, we need to teach our teens communication skills that will help them negotiate the turbulent emotions they’ll feel when they embark on that treacherous trail of love. Especially that first love. Nothing will burn as deep as this first one.

Both of Rainbow Rowell’s books do this. Another book that shows us that love starts out as friendship is “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green. Real love always starts out that way.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are your thoughts on instalove in our books for teens? I’d love to read them, so leave a comment!




I'm a Young Adult Author with two new series, "The Starlight Chronicles" and "The Super Spies." The first one's a coming of age series and the second one's a mystery/thriller series. I'm also the mother of two boys who keep me hopping and they're my inspiration for everything. When I'm not shuttling my boys to school or a play date, I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hiking, or sometimes running. I love anything chocolate and scary movies too.

11 thoughts on “Is the Instalove in YA books setting our teens up for Disappointment?

  1. The book that I’m almost done editing has love at first sight… lol But it also has faery magic and time travel. And the instalove that is present is set up by the faeries, and for most of the book the characters try to avoid their attraction because they were born 300 years apart. 😉 But I do agree with you, that we set our girls up for disappointment or worse. I don’t read a lot of romance, but I was thinking of that song, Call Me Maybe. It’s frustrating because it has a fun, catchy sound, but a rather disturbing message…

    1. Thanks for stopping by Shea! Your book sounds like a great read and don’t worry it doesn’t sound like instalove because the faeries set it up. It sounds more like an arranged marriage. 🙂 I can’t wait to read the book! 🙂

  2. First, congrats on editing your YA book, Lisa! Second, I agree totally, teens need to know the difference between attraction and deep feelings. Kudos on another great post!

  3. Absolutely true! It’s one of the things that irks me the most about YA romance stories. Yes, I’m sure it’s fun to dream about having a Prince Charming sweep you off your feet, but too much of a good thing can make you sick like a bucket of candy on Halloween. I do believe it sets up unrealistic expectations of not only how relationships work, but also how our partners should look and act. Stories where the beautiful model falls in love with the nerdy boy are in the same mold, but aimed at boys in the same way. Terrific post, Lisa!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Alan! I agree with you about setting up unrealistic expectations. I can tell by your response that you’ve noticed the instalove trend as well. I’m encouraged by the last few books I’ve read though because each relationship in each story started out as a friendship and evolved. 🙂

  4. I love that you wrote about this because it’s quite polarizing! For me it depends on context in YA. I can accept when it’s written in a way that is fun or exiting, or when it’s tied to a para okra occurrence. It happened to me in real life, and I’m still married to him, so I am definitely a believer.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Amy! I’m glad to hear about your success story! I just worry that these types of books give girls a false sense of what love is really like. Sometimes there are bumps in the road and I feel like we need to prepare our teens for that. 🙂 I appreciate you stopping by and sharing your thoughts! 🙂

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