YA Gets Scary - When Did Abuse Become Okay?

I'm a little wary of posting this because I know there's a book I'm going to carefully not mention here and this post might find it's way back to the author and they'll probably take offense.

I kind of want them to. But I also want them to realise what it is that they are doing, by writing the scenes we see in paranormal romance and other types of YA. This applies to all authors, self published and published alike. 

Scenes like this are not okay.


This isn't sexy. This is scary as hell. Not only is what I suppose is supposed to the love interest threatening to 'break' someone he's telling her that she's basically meant for him only and then continues by telling her not to push him too far.

'Don't push me and my patience too far'

That doesn't seem like a loving thing to say. That sounds like a line pulled from a story about abuse. Sadly I know scenes like this aren't too uncommon in YA. You may have heard of Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, another book that involves abusive relationships. Readers are 50/50 with that one. Half think it's beautiful romance, half think it's bloody terrifying and are left feeling kinda confused.

I'm not sure where this trend in abusive relationships started. It may be Twilight and pinning it in on Twilight does seem like the easy option but I don't think it started there. However, the creepy stalker boyfriend thing has filtered into other books, such as this one from a pretty popular book:


So in this case, although it probably didn't start there, I do think Twilight needs to take some responsibility because it was so huge, authors immediately did the same thing and Edward's stalker ways began filtering into other stories and somehow, I think, mutated. Which is even creepier actually.

However, I am grateful that we're not all a bunch of sheep and lists like this on Goodreads make me really grateful. 


It's scary to think that a lot of the books on that list are bestselling 'romances' aimed at teenagers, often aged below the age of consent.

I think, as readers, we need to make sure that authors and other readers know that this is not okay. We need to look at characters deeper in stories and recognize when they have abusive traits and call them out for it. In some cases, maybe boycott those books altogether or add them to shelves titled abusive relationships.

As I know some of you are parents, I'd suggest doing exactly what a friend of mine does - read the books first and then you'll know exactly what's in them. Or at least read the reviews?

I hope this post was somewhat informative...

Vickie x

13 comments:

  1. The scenes that you posted above are from YA books? Holy moly........ If that's labeled under NA then maybe I can (atleast understand/empathy) but YA? I haven't read much of abusive relationships in YA books (out of sheer luck?), but I've seen some bloggers posting this kind of stuff too so maybe there's a lot out there. I am just sad because the "a creepy possessive boyfriend" has slowly turned to be a trend in both YA and NA. I don't think that it's a healthy relationship and also a good influence to the readers. :c

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  2. Gosh that first snippet you posted did definitely scare me. I can't really talk about Twilight because I've only read the first book, and I definitely found Edward moody, but not abusive exactly. The watching-you-and-stalking-you I'm not a fan of but again, I HAVE only read the first Twilight book and I found it clean of all of that. *shrugs*
    I don't really believe this is a trend per se. I think most authors are conscious of what they portray and they're not meaning to do anything offensive, like abusive relationships. But I do worry about the messages these kinds of stories send. :|

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  3. I don't even know how I found this possessive stalker thingy romantic before, because now I just get disgusted. Authors really do ought to be careful with what they write.

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  4. I don't recognize these so I might not have read them but man...that first one scared me. Ugh. not hot or appealing in anyway. I wish this trend would dissipate too. Great post.

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  5. You're very right about this! Even though I sometimes find scenes like that sexy in books if I think about it a bit more I realize how dangerous they are. Especially if we consider that these are books aimed at 15 year olds, I think authors should definitely think twice before writing stuff like that!

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  6. I wanted to have a very well thought out comment to post here, about why I hate these type of guys and wish so many authors didn't write romantic leads this way (and it's even worse in adult romance novels...) - but, instead, I am just left creeped out and saying 'I agree' at the top of my voice.

    Thank you for this.

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  7. Great post. I do think there's such a fine line which authors shouldn't cross in books. Especially YA!

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  8. Love this post!! I absolutely HATE when a guy in a book says he's going to beat up other guys for looking or talking to the girl he's obsessed with!!! That is NOT okay. That is freaking psychotic. I can't read books with obsessive love in them because I end up feeling like I want to vomit on the book. I get that 2 people might have really great chemistry and an intense connection, but this I can't live without you crap is annoying (especially when they've only known each other for days or less). It's NOT romantic, it's unhealthy!

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  9. I've always hated Twilight. Aside from the horrible sparkly vampires and crappy writing, Edward was a creepy stalker bordering on being a psychopath. I've never understood the girls and grown women who go "oh Edward is the perfect man!" If they had a man in their life that did the same things he did, they'd call the cops. At least, I'd hope that they would. And of course that's not the only example. I've become more and more shocked by the "men" that these books throw at the young women reading them. Since when did psychopath mean loving? I'm glad you wrote this.

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  10. Ooh, don't get me started on this subject-I totally ripped Beautiful Disaster apart in a review last month-worst.book.ever. Abuse is NOT sexy!

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  12. Thanks so much for pointing out this issue in YA Lit!
    I've never read the other books you mentioned but I've read Twilight. While reading Twilight, I did not like that Edward was so...stalker-ish, possessive and controlling. I was rather angry at him for that and Bella for not resisting.

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  13. I agree that books have become really scary. Not only do we have unrealistic love - instalove, where two characters are in love in 5-10 days or less, but also the abuse! I can't believe how often all this shit passes and romantic and fabulous and magical, and makes its way into people's heads like something they want. That's not okay.
    I never knew about that GR shelf but am glad it exists, I'll have to look at it more deeply.

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