Reading and Ranting: YA Boys in Love (with Insecurity)


So lately I’ve run into a lot of YA boys who are in love with the female main character, and more often than not they find some reason to show insecurity in themselves or their relationship. So I thought I’d take a moment to talk about it a bit and get your opinion.

YA Boys In Love

The reason this topic became so stuck in my head was due to the book Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. Alina and Mal have some insecurity issues from the get go, and while the initial reasons are understandable…it kind of compounds into a bigger issue for Mal as the book goes on. So I started thinking about how it wasn’t that uncommon of a problem for YA guys.

I’ve noticed that YA boys are prone to bouts of jealousy, suspicion, and outright anger when it comes to the affections of the leading lady. While it is realistic it’s not as common as it is in the book world it seems. I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 7 years and we have had a our moments of jealousy and insecurity…but they are very rare, even in the beginning. A lot of these characters are claiming to have found incredibly love and sometimes the chemistry really seems to be there, but then they throw in the insecurity and it just confuses me. If you’re so in love with a person and vice versa, shouldn’t there be a bit of faith given? Shouldn’t there be less pissing contests? If the relationship has already become solid, then I don’t get why there are so many moments where the guys (and admittedly some girls) in YA have to mark their territory, voice their exaggerate outrage over some meaningless flirt from a side character, or go into over protective mode where they speak for the girl.

That last one really gets on my nerves, so I’ll give you an example. Girl MC is talking with side-character boy with Boy MC by her side. Side-character decides to get flirty (vaguely or outright) and before Girl MC can even respond Boy MC has already flipped his shit and is either making snide comments, yelling, or threatening. WHY!?!? If my boyfriend did this to me I would probably loose it. Let her respond, she can speak for herself. It doesn’t matter if someone is flirting with her, you don’t need to go on the offensive for no reason. If she flirts back, then feel free to flip your proverbial shit.

There is also what I like to call ‘mental love triangles’. Basically it means there is no actual love triangle present but the guy seems to think there is. The entrance of a second guy who is in some way friendly to the main character becomes competition, even though there is no competition. The main character has probably stated as much, but the guy seems to only accept this at face value. If you can’t relax when the person you love is hanging around someone else, then what does that say about your trust levels? Sure you might not trust character X but shouldn’t you trust your own damn girlfriend? If you can’t trust her, then why are you wasting my time with this romance?

I’m not really sure why this is a ‘thing’…but I kind of wish it would calm down. I’m not saying all insecurity doesn’t make sense in YA, but there is just so much of it. Why can’t we have more secure YA relationships? Why do we have to have so much posturing and moody territorial actions?

So what about you, have you noticed this? What are your thoughts?

This entry was posted in General and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Reading and Ranting: YA Boys in Love (with Insecurity)

  1. Pamela D says:

    I don’t like to see folks in relationships get super territorial in books, but I must admit that I like a little jealousy.

    In my real life, I have seen some couple be very jealous and some be very chill. I will say that the super jealous couples rarely lasted long term.

  2. Christy says:

    Yeah, that shit turns me off quick. There’s nothing wrong with feeling a little jealous, but it’s the way a person reacts to it that makes a difference. But, you a right. If two people truly love each other and are secure in their relationship, then they would have nothing to be jealous of. Jealously often steams from other issues and can cause serious problems down the road. That’s another reason why it rubs me the wrong way when it’s romanticized.

    • Exactly, if you handle jealously in a mature way and you don’t make a point to hand it out like candy then I don’t mind. 😛 But like you said overly jealous people don’t sound sexy, mysterious or dark…they sound territorial and possessive.

  3. I had one of those territorial type boyfriends in high school,didn’t work out all that well for our relationship. My husband of 15 years and I had our moments early on, but got over them quickly. 🙂 Reading books where the guys acts like no one is even allowed to look in the girls direction don’t always set well with me. I tend to get irritated with the male character, I don’t find it all that romantic.

    • I knew of a few back in HS but they stayed away from me and I stayed away from them. I have mostly guy friends so a jealous guy wouldn’t make if very far with me. :p I don’t see it as a behavior that one should just accept without attempting to work through it.

  4. Having raised two teenage girls and their friends (lol) I have seen this issue particularly in boys 15-18. While I understand some jealously some of it is over the top and downright scary. I do not read a lot of contemporary YA but have noticed this trend in other genres. I like you find it to be a turn-off

  5. Jealousy is a sign of insecurity and like you said when the mc’s are supposed to be madly in love, it feels out of place. I assume it’s a handy plot devise for adding drama but I hate the message that it sends out. I also hate over possessive males in NA and they seem to be the norm these days. Not an attractive trait in my book!

  6. Yeah, my husband isn’t a jealous guy at all. I think a dude could hit on me in front of his face and he wouldn’t bat an eye at it. I definitely agree that it’s not as common IRL as books make it out to be.

  7. Great discussion post Michelle! Haha I love your term of ‘mental triangles’. (hint hint – Jacob) No, there really wasn’t a competition there either. Annoying how the guys seem to lose their shit over nothing too!

  8. To me one of my favorite authors says something parallel to this.
    But also, I know every relationship is different. If guy flips over someone just talking to girl, then I’d be curious about the guy and his issues. Jealousy over flirting is different. There you have to trust girl to make responsible choices.
    I think writers do this so much because YA readers are often hungry for drama. Now, to be fair, not all of them are. But, honestly didn’t everyone have that moment of hormonal overreaction?
    Realistically, if guy in story has no past history of failed trust (ex. A parent’s abandon, abuse, etc.) then it would be too much for an overreaction. I figure sometimes it is only for more drama in the story and lack of better inspiration.

    • Sure, some drama is fine and pretty realistic. I think I mainly have an issue who those that are not realistic or take up most of the relationship’s story line. Everyone has those moments but if you’ve reached the point where you know you’re in love, then you should also reach a point where that insecure behavior becomes minimal and it just doesn’t in some YA books.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed it, leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.