Taking the Sap Out of Y.A. Romance Novels

It’s that time of year again — time to break out the rom-coms, sappy romance novels, and embrace the inevitable swoons and heart flutters. For some of us, epic love stories are something we enjoy year-round, but there’s no better time than the present to wrap yourself up in a good old-fashioned romance. Or, if you’re more cynical, it’s the perfect time to wrap yourself up in a good old-fashioned romance and tear it apart. Lovingly, and jokingly, of course. But if Valentine’s Day reminds us of one thing, it’s that a lot of our most famous love stories and confessions are fantastically ridiculous. Here are some quotes from the most popular love stories around — and here’s what we, as rational people, have to say.


  1. “But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?

It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,

Who is already sick and pale with grief,

That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she.

Be not her maid, since she is envious;

Her vestal livery is but sick and green

And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.

It is my lady, O, it is my love!

Oh, that she knew she were!” Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare

If we’re going to be ripping apart romantic quotes from some of the most famous — or infamous — love stories ever published, then you bet we’re dragging it all the way back to 1597. There’s no mercy as time goes on. We could talk about a lot of things here — there’s Romeo’s odd obsession with the supposed jealous feelings of an inanimate hunk of rock in space and consequent murder plot. We get that back then, the heliocentric theory was a new and relatively misunderstood one, but really, Romeo. Look at Juliet. Look back at the sun. Now look at Juliet. See the difference?

Again, we could focus on these things, but the most important thing to note about this romantic spiel? He’s known Juliet for less than a day. Sweetheart, that’s not romantic, that’s a viable cause for a restraining order.

  1. “Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars, points of light and reason. …And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason, for anything.” New Moon by Stephenie Meyer, The Twilight Saga
  • Edward Cullen says this, impromptu, out loud. These are words that just come out of his mouth, no hesitation. Can he write our essays for us?
  1. “I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.” The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The sentiment behind this is nice, but it’s hard to tell if Augustus just made a love confession to Hazel Grace or if he just gave a speech providing a solid example of  nihilist and existentialist principles. Romantic? Maybe. Something you’d hear an overenthusiastic philosophy teacher spout off? Definitely.

  1. “When people fall in love, they burst into flames.” I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
  • Well, what better way to encourage the single-pringle life, given that no one wants to get burnt alive upon meeting the love of their life. This takes “love at first sight” to a whole new level. Honestly, imagine making eye contact with your soulmate during passing period and bursting into flames before you can make it to history and take your exam. On one hand, nice, you don’t have to take your history test; on the other hand– your significant other kind-of sorta might’ve ended your life. Hey, love hurts.
  1. “She is oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen… The same elements that are inside the rest of us, but I can’t help thinking she’s more than that and she’s got other elements going on that no one’s ever heard of…” All the Bright Places by  Jennifer Niven
  • Dear Finch, we think you should do a background check on this girl. Um, the fact that you have even the slightest suspicion that she’s not made of the basic elements of life has us more than a little concerned — people don’t usually come to those conclusions when musing about the love of their life. Unless you’re in love with an alien…perhaps YA novels have overlapped with sci-fi? We wouldn’t know. Cathy and Maddy haven’t read a sappy romance in 84 years.
  1. “Her smile could end wars and cure cancer.”  An Abundance of Katherines  by John Green
  • You can’t talk about YA romance novels without John Green, so here’s another sappy one-liner from him, albeit extreme. Especially that ‘end wars and cure cancer’ part. Spoiler alert: Armed conflict persists, and Augustus Waters didn’t live. Sorry to end on a downer.

[notes for the end: we are actual sappy romantic novel trash and we’ve literally cried over these books and we love these characters with our whole heart. except edward cullen. even robert pattinson (his actor) hates vampires. ]