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The Ten Types of YA Love Interests

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It is almost summer, and we bookworms know what that means: ten tons of summery YA romance novels. And, because they’re romance, they all have one thing that it feels like every. freaking. YA. novel. Has.

A love interest! (insert eye roll here)

And so, to prepare you for summer, here is my (epic) list of types of YA love interests.

THE BROODING BAD BOY

Maybe he’s the villain. Maybe he just likes to wear leather and black. Maybe he hates everything except, of course, our lovely MC. And then he becomes the squishiest dumpling that every set foot on earth, and rescues baby birds while still driving some insane car and yelling at weirdos who stare at him funny.

Examples:

Ash from The Iron King by Julie Kagawa | Warner from Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi | The Darkling from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo |

THE BEST FRIEND TURNED LOVE INTEREST

You know the drill. They’ve been living next to each other all their lives, been best friends for as long as they can remember, and then, one day, they look at each other and realize, oh my gosh, I really love you. Often in a love triangle with the brooding bad boy

Examples:

Emmy + Oliver from Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway | Lola + Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins | Emma + Julian from Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

THE MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL

As much as I dislike this saying (I feel like it gets slapped on every somewhat quirky, whimsical female character), sometimes, you have to use it. Like for this type of love interest: quirky, and views the world through a different shade of lense than everyone else, and only there to make the male character realize how great his life can be or already is. Has no life themselves. Is often accompanied by insta-love.

Examples:

Zelda from Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach | Margo from Paper Towns by John Green | Sam from The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

THE INSTA-LOVE

Love at first sight, either for this love interest or about them. Maybe it’s a duel insta-love! Maybe it’s not! But either way, no actual building of the relationship happens with this character; they just jump straight into passion and “I’d die without him/her!”

Examples:

Madrigal + Akiva from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor | Cassie + Even from The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey | Grace + Sam from Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (somewhat)

THE FORBIDDEN LOVE:

Maybe they’re from a rival kingdom or army, maybe they’re an escaped prisoner doomed to die as soon as they’re caught, or maybe the MC’s parents simply disapprove. Either way, the forbidden aspect of this type of love makes it all the more exciting (at least to the characters).

Examples:

Penryn + Raffe from Angelfall by Susan Ee | June + Day from Legend by Marie Lu | Kestrel + Arin from The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

THE “I LOVE YOU BUT I DON’T WANT TO”

They are head over heels in love, but are firmly in denial about it. Maybe they’re best friends and want to stay friends, or maybe they don’t believe that it’s actual love, or maybe they just don’t want to be in love with this particular person. Often comes hand in hand with a forbidden romance.

Examples: Lilac + Tarver from These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner,

THE LOVE/HATE

The MC absolately HATES this love interest. But, at the same time, they’re kind of attracted to them. And maybe want to be around them more, but at the same time hate every minute they have to spend with them. But, then again, they ARE kinda cute.

Examples:

Feyre + Tamlin from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas | Aria + Peregrine from Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi | Puck + Sean from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater (somewhat)

THE PRETENDER

The MC is only PRETENDING to date the love interest, but at the same time, they’re kind of getting interested, and if they’re pretend dating, they should kiss in public, right? And maybe even in private. And go on actual dates. Just for the show, of course.

Lara Jean + Peter from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han |

THE BUCKET OF TOXIC WASTE

EVERYONE but the MC can see that this relationship is toxic. Emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive, all the readers know that the MC should just get out of there.

Examples:

Kelsey + Ren from Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck | Nora + Patch from Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick | Bella + Edward from Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

THE SNARK MASTER

They hide their true feelings behind snark and sarcastic-ness and flirting with other people. But in reality, they’re trying to protect the MC; maybe the Love Interest had a bad past, or maybe they don’t think they’re good enough for the MC, but, either way, love will bloom and the readers will ship madly.

Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer |

So! Did I miss anything?

Happy Friday,

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12 thoughts on “The Ten Types of YA Love Interests

  1. I get the feeling you really don’t like romance?!?? Hehe. So I like a lot of these tropes! I DO liek the “bad boy”, especially if he quietly has a heart of gold. ❤ But not the bad boys that, like, control everything and are rude and manipulative? EW. And I love BFF romances BECAUSE SO MUCH CUTE!! And the snarky ones = yessss.
    Although you think Sam and Grace were instalove?! BUT THEY KNEW EACH OTHER FOR YEARS!! When Sam was….a….wolf? Omg. Now I don't know if that counts or not.😂

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    1. It just kind of bugs me that every.single. book. has to have a love interest. It’s one of those weird things where I love writing the cute, fluffy romances, but I’m absolutely tired of reading it.
      And kind of instalove and yet also kind of not. Sure, they knew each other when Sam was a wolf, but at the same time the first time they save each other as humans they pretty much fell in love? So it was instalove but at the same time it kind of wasn’t. That’s why I added the (somewhat) thing

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  2. THIS IS SO TRUE OMG. I love this post and you categorized them all so well. 🙂 Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post! ❤

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  3. Very fun and painfully accurate list! I’ve been thinking about YA romance lately, and how even thought it’s rare for people to actually find their life’s partner in their teens, YA books seem to imply that it happens all the time.

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