Love can be a hard thing to write about. To truly capture a young adult's heart, it has to include everything they would want in a long-term relationship and more.
But should writers always include that element, or will the rest of your story be hiding behind it as a result?
Sometimes, the things writers think a young adult wants in a book are not always the right things. Whereas a couple of years ago teens would be chomping at the bit to buy a good romance novel, you have to remember that times have changed and the modern-day woman doesn't always want to get swept off her feet by a male character commonly portrayed as the superior species.
Take The Hunger Games for example. Katniss is stronger and much more suited to a life in Panem than Peeta will ever be. However, Suzanne Collins still included the age-old 'love triangle' that in my opinion left Katniss looking weaker than she did when her own sister died. I have always thought of this topic as a very controversial one - without the love between the two the movies would not have been as appealing, but because of it the books were made to look a lot less serious than they actually are.
Just like in real life, love makes everything more complicated and sometimes it is better left alone if you want to get the most out of your book.
Of course, I'm not telling you to disregard it completely. If you know that your manuscript centres around the couple and their love is the thing bringing both the disequilibrium and fixing it, then go ahead. I'm in no way implying that love is getting boring, because I have read a fair bit of it and thoroughly enjoyed it at the same time.
But more and more young adults are becoming aware of feminism and they know that a girl can lead a successful life without a man on her arm. If your writing is going smoothly without needing a kiss here or a loving gaze there, I strongly advise you to carry on with what you are doing and never look back. Don't go thinking that without it your book will appeal less to us - in fact a lot of young adults will appreciate it more if you stand up for the modern woman and give her a bit of backbone.
I hope this advice has helped you, because we would rather see a friendship last a lifetime than a relationship lasting a series.
The Book Critic x