Why We Need Less Romance and More Friendships in YA: A Discussion

Today I’m here with a discussion post and it feels like F O R E V E R since I’ve last written one, but I’m here with a topic I felt like I had to write because I’m so passionate about it so… yeah, enjoy!


Whether you like it or not, romance is something that is ever-present in all forms of entertainment. Though, I feel like it’s taken over the YA world more than is necessary.

The way that romance in YA can become an issue is if 1) it’s not represented well and shows unhealthy relationships in a way that is said to be ‘okay’ and if 2) the romance makes it seem like you need to have a boyfriend/girlfriend in order to be happy.

Let me tell you something new and undiscovered, my friends.

A book can still be enjoyable without romance.

Mind-blowing, right?

You might be wondering how a book could possibly be interesting without any romance. Well, there’s a little something you might’ve heard of called friendship. Let me show you a dictionary definition.


And let me tell you something else: you don’t need romance in order for two people to love one another. There can be platonic love between two individuals with nothing else added.

You’re mind’s blown right about now, isn’t it?
Who would’ve thought that such a thing existed!
Yes I’m extremely sassy and sarcastic today, deal with it.

Now, if we could just see this represented in our books, that’d be fantastic, don’t you think?

Sarcasm aside, I do really think that the YA genre could use more friendships instead of romance. Just imagine two people meeting and developing a strong bond without having any romantic feelings for each other. I don’t know about you, but I’d read the book in a heartbeat!

But the problem is that these books don’t exist, or at least they’re not the books talked about by everyone in the community. If they do exist, they’re pushed to the back so that nobody even knows about them!

The books that get all of the attention and hype are the ones that have romance as the main focus. Why is this a problem you may ask? Don’t get me wrong because I have nothing against cupid, but don’t you get tired of the constant back and forth of “But I love you” and “Love will always save the day”… blah blah blah. I know that it bothers me.

Can’t there be something else?

Can’t two characters just care about one another in a way that doesn’t mean anything besides a platonic feeling towards one another?

I know that romance creates drama and drama creates tension and tension is what makes a story interesting and keeps the reader’s attention, but still.

Tension can also be present whenever two people are friends.
Just sayin’ it doesn’t have to be romantic.

When the main character falls in love with their love interest it seems like they throw everything – family, their future – to the back like they’re less important. I know not every story does this but it happens quite a bit.

I don’t know about you but if I had to choose between a hot guy and my dream job, I’d choose the dream job.

And I don’t know why I would have to choose, but he can wait.
If he truly loves me he can wait until I become successful on my own. #Feminist

Some of the most beloved book series out there don’t actually have love as a main plot. Lord of the Rings focuses on Frodo on a journey with a band of friends so that he can destroy the ring before it destroys him. Harry Potter focuses on a boy fighting against evil with his friends.

There’s a key word there, people. Do you know what it is?

It’s friends.

If you guessed that right you get a gold star.
If you hadn’t gotten the hint by now and guessed wrong, you get thrown into Mount Doom with the ring. #sorrynotsorry

This is why – some shameless self promotion here, sorry y’all – the book I’m currently writing does have romance, but friendship is what drives the story and when romance fails and plunders, friendship prevails.



I hope y’all enjoyed this discussion post! When I gave y’all that forum thing to fill out giving me your feedback on my blog a lot of you wanted more discussion posts and I’ve been trying to improve on that so here ya go!

I’ve got lots more discussion posts I’ve started but haven’t finished cause discussion posts are really daunting for some reason. But anyway let me know what you thought of this!

Let's Chat


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45 thoughts on “Why We Need Less Romance and More Friendships in YA: A Discussion

  1. I think this is the main reason why I read so little YA – because of the frequent focus on romance. I’m not interested! I totally agree; I would prefer to read about more friendships. Especially in high school, my friendships were more significant, in the short and long term, than any romance. This is why I liked Radio Silence so much; it’s a YA novel focused on friendship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t know Radio Silence focuses on friendship! I’ll have to check it out! The constant appearance of romance is a downfall of YA


      1. Ooh, I highly recommend it!! I think you would like it. The book also has bisexual and asexual representation, but there’s almost no romance and none between the girl and guy, who are the main characters. It will probably be in my top ten reads this year.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I couldn’t agree more! If a book is about friendship I am 10 times more likely to pick it up then when the main story is a love story. I like love stories, but friendship stories are so much better! I need more!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree that books need more friendships and less “instalove” relationships. I did recently read a series where, even though there was romance, there was an extremely strong friendship with the three main female characters. Check out The Dragonian Series by Adrienne Woods. Those girls have a friendship that I wished for in high school.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. YAS. There definitely needs to be more focus on friendships rather than relationships. Ships are cool, but what’s a better ship than a friendSHIP?!
    Writing a book with little romance is quite fun too, I like friends rather than HEY LET’S KISS.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so happy you have written this post! I am forever moaning about the lack of friendships, as well as family, in YA. I won’t lie, I am a sucker for a romance but I am growing tired of the instalove trope in YA and it frustrates me so much when characters seem to have no friends or family! Great post😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also hate it when there’s a lack of family but lately I’ve been seeing more families in YA books (not fantasy of course cause the family is either dead or evil haha). Hopefully there will be more books with friendship in the future 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes Savannah! I completely agree, we def need more friendships at the forefront in our books. i don’t mind a bit of romance but it does seem to be the majority of what contemps/Fantasy revolve around. I love the idea of friendship prevailing, seems to me like you’re already on a great path for your book 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, romance is okay with me when it’s not always the forefront of a book. Haha friendship is a large part of my book, but romance takes place as well. I tried to even them out.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I totally agree that there should be more friendship in YA books. I didn’t date at all throughout high school and even though I had crushes a lot, it would be a blatant lie to say that romance and the drama that seems to come with it in books dominated my life. There were so many more shaping events that included my friends, like we had the best and the worst of times. I am sure there would be enough material for novels just including friendship. Having said that … I am writing a book basically built on romantic love, so I really shouldn’t talk ahahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, not everyone has a romantic relationship when they’re young. A lot of people wait until they’re older to find the person they’re meant to be with.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Haha yeah I honestly can’t see myself in an intimate relationship with anyone. Maybe it’s cause I’m still young and I haven’t thought about it much

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I wouldn’t say I am old, but I am starting to be in that questionable age where society starts to judge you a little … or a lot hahaha Still, I am always on the move or busy with work. I just don’t take the time to even make an effort.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. That’s the thing though, society has this thing where they expect you to find a husband or a wife by a certain age and if you don’t have one it’s deemed as weird or strange.


  8. You make such a great point here. BrOTPs are some of my favorite things in books (DID SOMEONE SAY JEM/WILL FROM THE INFERNAL DEVICES?!)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I couldn’t agree more with you here – I’m so tired of the typical romance plots in YA and especially tired of romance that occurs in a way that would probably never happen in real life (ie. meeting and going on a road trip and falling in love a week later..) I LOVE seeing strong, healthy friendships in books, but what I love even more than that is strong female friendships rather than women being placed against eachother all the time. Loved this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha going on a road trip and falling in love a week later is on the more realistic side of the spectrum when it comes to YA romance. Strong female friendships in books are amazing when they’re written!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so happy you agree!! And I can definitely become more attached to a book if it centers around something I connect well with like friendship for example.


  10. Omg YES! I love having romance in books (only if it’s good lol) but I want friendships WAY more! I mean, I’ll probably ship them romantically, but I’ll also ship them platonically. I definitely agree that you can love someone without it turning to romance. One book with a platonic relationship is This Savage Song — I LOVE that it’s not a romance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Another reason for me to read This Savage Song! I really need to get my hands on some VE Schwab books! I do like romance as well, but when literally every book I read out there has it, it gets quite redundant.


  11. Definitely agree with everything you said. YA Romance drives me nuts! It is as if it’s trying to say you’re not having a worthy teenage/YA life if you don’t or never have a romantic partner. Realistically, not everyone is actively looking for love, especially if and when there are more important life-affirming things going. Friendship is truly the greater goal and I wish that would be taken into consideration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’re out there somewhere, I know it! I can feel it in my gut and if not I’ll write it myself haha


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