Contemporary Love vs. Paranormal and Dystopian Love: Which Do You Love More?

This entry is cross-posted at The YA-5.

I love apocalyptic and dystopian stories. LOVE them.

I am not sure why it’s so fun to watch Los Angeles get destroyed by tornados in The Day After Tomorrow, considering people are dying and all, but any time this movie is on, I stop to watch it. Same goes for 2012 and Independence Day and Dante’s Peak and Volcano and…

I guess I’m an Armageddon whore. (pun intended)

But when it comes to the actual romances in these movies, I could care less. Jeff Goldblum is having problems with his lady friend in Independence Day? Who cares? Did you just see the White House get blown to smithereens? Who cares that Jake Gyllenhaal can’t tell Emmy Rossum he likes her in The Day After Tomorrow? A giant wave just took out Manhattan! And helicopters are freezing in midair!

When it comes to books, I feel the exact same way.

A lot of people loved MATCHED and TWILIGHT and DELIRIUM because of the longing.  The characters in these books couldn’t be together because of some outside force. Sure, I care if the guy and girl get together or not, but it’s not the main reason I’m reading and loving these books.

For instance, in I AM NUMBER FOUR, there’s a big romance, but I honestly didn’t care that much. I was more interested in how John had to change his life all the time, and the logistics involved with that. How did he get his money? How did he blend into society so seamlessly? How did he buy all new things every time he had to adopt a new persona?

In MATCHED, I was interested in the 100 poems, 100 books, 100 songs, etc. The government in this book decided that there could only be 100 of any given thing, and the rest would be destroyed. I thought, how did the government choose which books to save? Which books would I save? Which songs? I was way more interested in imagining those scenarios than whether the main character chose Ky or Xander.

And with TWILIGHT, which I still love of course, it’s not like any guy I’ve ever dated has thirsted for my blood. (I hope)

I guess what I’m saying is that “I’m Not Feeling It.”

I didn’t cry when I read DELIRIUM or XVI or ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, even though I loved the books. However, I bawled like a baby when reading WHERE SHE WENT and AMY AND ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR. Hell, I even cry when reading Elizabeth Scott’s books and Simon and Schuster Romanic Comedies.

I got really upset when reading PROM AND PREJUDICE for crying out loud.

I think I’ve realized that I relate more to contemporary love stories, and feel more for the characters, because I can relate. Because “that could happen to me.”

I could want to be with the hot Will Darcy of the nearby prep school, but because he told me he doesn’t like scholarship students, and I am a scholarship student, I’ll never speak to him again. Even though I want him.

Or maybe this guy wants to be with me, but I want to be with his brother, and then eventually come to realize that the first guy was the better choice. But he’s moved on to another girl. That could actually happen!


Or maybe I want to be with this guy who’s in a gang, but I live in the ritzy part of Chicago, and he’s involved in all sorts of life-threatening drama. That could actually happen!

Now compare that with MATCHED and DELIRIUM. The government won’t let two people be together? How can I relate to that? I highly doubt I’ll wake up tomorrow to find that the U.S. Government won’t let me date the guy I want.

I didn’t cry while reading MATCHED or DELIRIUM, but SWEETHEARTS by Sara Zarr? You best your ass I did. 🙂

Don’t get me wrong – I did find the guys in these dystopian books very swoon-worthy.


On the flip side, I recently read and loved WITHER. I was most surprised when I actually started getting interested in the love story. I had thought I’d be more interested in the virus destroying Earth’s population.

What kind of love story do you prefer?

Did you feel more while reading these dystopian and paranormal stories than I did?

Do you all think I’m a nut now? 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Contemporary Love vs. Paranormal and Dystopian Love: Which Do You Love More?”

  • I think I’ll have to bring up the HUNGER GAMES series as my answer… it’s dystopian, there’s a love triangle, and I cried hysterically at the end of the 3rd book.

    I have been known to squee over contemporary love stories as well, so I guess in general, paranormal love stories don’t quite grab me as much as the other two do.

  • I completely forgot about HUNGER GAMES when I was writing this post. Someone mentioned it at the YA-5, too.

    I definitely felt a lot of emotion for Peeta, because of everything he did for Katniss. I don’t know that I quite related to her, though. I mean, I would’ve been all over Peeta! He got beat up by his mom for burning the bread! And he sacrificed everything for Katniss.

    But yeah – I did cry at the end of the third book. 🙂 So bittersweet.

    HUNGER GAMES seems to set itself apart from most books I’ve read — the world building, the love, the relationships, the stakes, the scariness. Everything.

  • Okay, you mentioned Sweethearts! I loved Cameron! For me, I read for the relationship plot first. My favorite genre in the YA world is contemporary and then dystopia. I don’t do paranormal or fantasy. There’s so many topics hidden in the contemporary world and I love that. The fact that it could happen to you, that you can find a guy that resembles the personality of that character you liked. Oh, Adam from Where She Went. He doesn’t know how many girls cried because of him. So, yeah, sorry. I love contemporary love, hands down. Second place is for dystopian love.

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