26 June 2013

Some Like it...not as hot

I know this month's theme is Some Like it Hot. But I write YA, and I don't really read romance outside of that genre. But lately I've been thinking about YA romance, which is a , um, hot thing right now. And I'll tie it into a theme that comes up at just about every conference I've been to in the last year or two. How much is too much for YA? What is the line?

Well, I usually answer, if you've read the Hunger Games, then you know the line is WAY back there.

 But what about sex in YA? That's a tougher questions. I mean, it's obviously going to be off-screen sex, or toned down. YA is more of the sweet variety of romance, but that doesn't mean it can't have a little heat in the buildup. In the Young Adult romance, there is the added layer of turmoil that comes with adolescence, the hormones, the flirting, the jealousy, the uncertainty of first (or second) love. There's kissing, petting, even allusions to sex, off-stage sex, and some of those flirting and kissing scenes can leave you swooning. It's almost an art form.

And it's a rich soil in which to grow a story. Add in fantasy elements, and it can be a roller coaster ride.

For me, the look at it this way, whether dealing with violence in YA or with romance scenes: it's not the subject, it's the author's treatment of it. Cursing, for example. A book for older kids may use the word "Bitch", but one for younger kids might say "he cursed", leaving to the reader's imagination. For a violent scene, it's the difference between a scene written by Suzanne Collins vs. the same scene written by Stephen King. See what I mean?  Same with romance. The difference between a scene written by Cassandra Clare and the same one written by...someone who writes hotter than that. LOL.

Hot can be hot without being...hot. In YA, it has to be.
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