Is there anything sweeter than plotting a romance between your characters in a teen novel? Sure, you have the usual trials and tribulations that will sell the book, but an underlying romance can add moments that leave memories for everyone.
One thing the teen writer must be aware of is that teen romance isn’t about meeting someone at a bar and ending up happily ever after. Meetings between teens are rife with anxiety, doubt, and questions if this is the “one,” the person they can be with forever.
In reality, very few teen romances last for more than a few months. There’s always another person waiting in the wings who will make the heart beat a little faster, give your protagonist that sensation of perhaps this person is better for them. More power to this story line. It’s real, a situation teens deal with day in and day out.
In truth, teens are going through so many changes that promises to be together forever are short lived. They move on without a second thought, creating drama in a life that is already filled with this. Yet, this is part of their maturation process from child to adult. This is a side effect of the hormonal changes teens are going through, as much as greasy hair and acne. Still, there is a reason to explore the teen romance, and that is because teens want to see how their favorite characters deal with the first meeting, first date, even the first awkward kiss.
One thing that shouldn’t be in the teen romance is the sexual hookup. Leave that for a new adult or adult book. Keep the young adult romance sweet so that you aren’t pressuring your teen readers into thinking all relationships end up in a bedroom, the back seat of a car, or on a blanket in the woods or a beach. Instead, lead your reader on a discovery of likes and dislikes, of happiness and sadness. In other words, show them real life but without some of the issues they’re already struggling with so that they feel as if they have to equate sex with love.