Hi, I'm CB, and I'm Christina's sister. I'm so pleased and proud to be a guest writer on her blog! Not least because this is part of a long history the two of us have of ranting about books to each other.
Just as an introductory note to my reading/writing preferences: I tend to really like to rant, sometimes jumping from topic to topic, and I tend to read a lot of non-YA, mostly science fiction and fantasy but not restricted to that. I'll try to stay in YA-ish territory, but no promises! And I'm a bit of a curmudgeon, so I thought I'd start off with displaying my curmudgeonly tendencies for all to see, so you know what you're getting into... So, romance and other relationships!
Romance, of course, has a long tradition of trumping all other sorts of relationships in works featuring Young Adults, dating back at least as far as Romeo and Juliet. But you know what? These days, I almost never even think about the guys I had the OMG CENTER OF MY UNIVERSE WHAT WILL I EVER DO WITHOUT THEM intense romances in high school and college. The relationships that still endure from those days? The relationships with my sister and my mom and my dad. The relationships with my best friends. Those are the ones that have stood the test of time; those are the ones that, looking back, were and have remained the most important to me. Even now, when I'm married to a guy I think is totally and completely awesome, my relationships with my family (and his family, for that matter) and the deep bonds with my friends are still so very important to me.
So I tend to really adore books that give relationships other than romance an important part to play. Of course romance is an important part of most people's lives, but so are a lot of other relationships. Sarah Rees Brennan is one author who really thinks about this. In her Demon trilogy, there are eventually various romantic pairings, but the most important relationship is between two brothers, and there are a plethora of other relationships -- familial, professional -- to round out the story. Sort of like real life, how about that! Team Human (Brennan and Larbalestier) obviously contains romance, but it's really a book about friendship and what friendship means. I loved it.
I also think Kristin Cashore's Seven Kingdoms books also do this well; in Bitterblue, in particular, the important relationships tend to be friendships and family, and not so much romance; and Fire, while it features an important romance, situates that romance in the context of other people. (Oh, yeah, that's something else. No romance ever exists in a vacuum! No matter how STAR-CROSSED and SOUL-BONDED a pair might be, they still have to hang out with friends or family or co-workers or something once in a while, unless it's a seriously dysfunctional relationship!)
There we have it! I would love if you would comment on this great guest post! If you enjoyed it, please see her website for more great posts! charlie-ego.livejournal.com