Sorry for the pompous post title. If I can think of something better, I'll change it.
Today I came across a YA book blurb. "X was having a rotten year at school until she met Y."
On the face of it, this doesn't seem terribly objectionable. But I got to thinking that it is pretty much the same premise that is behind the Twilight books, at least the first one. To me, there is something wrong when we regard our lives as awful or, even worse, meaningless, unless there's a romantic interest present. Maybe this sort of plot device is used so often and is so profitable because it truly does reflect the way some teenagers feel. I would rather see books being written that teach teenagers to be morre assertive and more self-sufficient. Yes, I know there's peer pressure. Yes, I know you feel left out if everyone you know has a romantic interest, and you don't. I get that. The loneliness is real.
But I would like to see the occasional book written in which having a romantic interest doesn't magically improve the main character's life. I'd rather see books in which the main character's own accomplishments improve his or her life. What kind of person is going to be interested in someone who has no accomplishments or who goes around just being depressed and dependent on others for his or her happiness?
Okay, I mean aside from vampire guys named Edward Cullen. :)
I would rather see YA books in which the main character first finds some niche to excel in and then finds a romantic interest. I want to see more books in which a romantic interest is simply the icing on an awesome cake, rather than the cake itself.