Bookish Musings: Why Is It Always Love?


I know many people are tired of almost every single book they read, especially young adult, having romance in it.

But that’s not what this post is about.

I actually do like when books have romance in them. My issue is that the romance is always an all-powerful, consuming, life-altering, earth-shattering love. Why is it always like that?

I don’t know why it’s always like that, but it bothers me that it is, so let’s discuss!

I don’t know about you, but if I fell in love with every single person I’ve ever had a crush on, I would’ve been a certified love expert by the time I started college.

But I didn’t fall in love with all those people because sometimes a crush is just a crush. Like is just like. Interest is just interest. Lust is just lust. And you can have feelings for someone and care deeply for them without being in love (or maybe without being in love yet). Because in real life, there’s this whole spectrum and multitude of feelings that people have for each other, especially when they’re still just getting to know each other. And just because those feelings aren’t love, it doesn’t make them any less special or real or meaningful.

So why is it then that almost every character in books seems to fall head-over-heels in love with every single person they have any sort of feelings for? And why does it almost always seem to happen in a matter of days or weeks and skip over all the other feelings in the spectrum?

Even in YA books, 15-year-old characters are falling hopelessly and madly into that all-powerful, earth-shattering love I mentioned above. Sometimes more than once when their first (and maybe second or third) relationship doesn’t work out. Sometimes with two people at the same time. (It begs the question, if you were really that deeply in love with the first one, would you really have fallen for the second? But I suppose that’s not quite the point.)

It’s not even that I’m saying it’s impossible for anyone to fall in love quickly, and I don’t want to be one of those people who says teenagers don’t know what love is—just because I stuck to crushes when I was in high school, or just because I’ve never fallen in love at first sight, that doesn’t mean every other person in the world has the same experiences. But it’s still unrealistic that so many characters fall in love like this, especially when I feel it’s so unnecessary.

What would be wrong with having more books about crushes? About feelings that aren’t quite love? About the stages of a relationship that come before that?

It could be argued that YA books especially are like this because teenagers tend to feel emotions in more strong, explosive ways, and therefore they’re more likely to fall in love or at least to think they’re in love… but that’s just as much of a stereotype as any other because not all teens are like that. As I already mentioned, I never thought I was in love in high school. I also had plenty of friends who never fell in love in high school. So to have all teens in books fall in love is stereotyping and under-representing those of us who weren’t/aren’t like that.

There’s a lot of talk about sex in books and in the media in general and whether it gives people, especially kids and teens, unrealistic expectations. But I think the non-sex part of relationships in books can cause just as much pressure and unrealistic expectations. Being constantly bombarded with characters falling in love can easily distort someone’s perceptions. Honestly, when I was in high school, I think it may have even distorted mine.

So I, for one, would love to read a YA book in which the characters have a relationship with legitimate feelings but don’t profess their love to each other. Or even an adult book that ends with the characters staying together but not quite being ready to say, “I love you.” Because these things? They’re just as real and just as normal as love, and I think it’s important that people, especially young readers, understand that.

It’s ok to fall in love quickly. But it’s also ok to not fall in love quickly. And it’s ok for that love to start as just a spark and grow its way into a cozy fire rather instead of going off like a bunch of fireworks. It’s also ok to not fall in love at all because not every relationship works out or even gets that far. And I’d just like for some books to show that.


Talk to me!

Do most of the books you read also turn out to be love?
Have you read any books that were about feelings or crushes but not quite love?
Would you also like to see some other types of feelings in books, or do you like when all the relationships end up as love?


Your Thoughts


44 thoughts on “Bookish Musings: Why Is It Always Love?

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  1. Christy LoveOfBooks

    My son and goddaughter are 18, and when they were in high school I was privy to a lot of their friends relationships. I wanted to smack my head so many times. I couldn’t believe how quickly they’d be so in love with one person one week, and then another two weeks later. They were draining. lol. I get so excited when I’m reading a book and it looks like there won’t be a romance like that, because THAT is refreshing. At the same time, I see a lot of people complain about a book not having enough romance or that lack of it. Like they can’t enjoy a book unless there is that epic love in it, even when it isn’t even a romance. I don’t know, I love a good romance, but also love when there isn’t. I just want a good story, dammit. lol.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh goodness, I don’t have any teens to tell me stories about their friends’ relationships, and luckily my friends in high school weren’t like that or I probably would’ve been smacking some other people’s heads lol. But I don’t want books to NOT have romance, I just want the romances to be a little more varied, you know? To sometimes not be LOVE, at least not right away. But I have started appreciating romance-less books more lately. Maybe because of this exact problem.

  2. Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing

    I totally understand where you are coming from. I also noticed that almost all YA romances are about this all consuming love, about founding the love of your love, your soulmate. I like to read about it from time to time so I dont mind that much but I realize that it is quite unrealistic. In my opinion, I think that it is caused by the fact that many teenagers confuse crush with love. I tlak from own experience. When I was teenager and had crush on someone, I though I was “in love”. It took me couple of months/years to mature up and realize the difference. So if this trend is considered to be a norm among teenagers than of course authors try to put the same trend into YA books so teenage readers (who are the main target audience) can connect easily with characters. hence why there are so many all consuming romances everywhere in YA books.
    But my theory aside, I always rejoice when I come across YA novel that does not turn romance into crazy lovefest right at begining. Thats why I truly enjoyed The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love since it showed me the other more realistic side of YA romance.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Well the thing is, *some* teenagers do confuse crushes with love, so it can be believable for that reason. But I don’t know if it’s quite the norm because there are also many who don’t, so that would be just as believable and relatable to many teens. When I was in high school because I felt like I was weird for not having fallen in love yet, so I would’ve actually connected better to a character like me who didn’t fall into that all-consuming love. But your theory definitely sounds reasonable. It might not actually be the norm, but if publishers are considering it that way, they’re going to include it in books.

      I haven’t read the Geek’s Guide book, but that’s great that it was more realistic 😀

  3. Angela @ Simply Angela

    I was just talking about this with my book group. No matter the genre, it seems within a week or so love has sprung out of nowhere. I would like to actually see the characters fall in love and go through all of the stages. I’m getting really tired of the instant, we just went out for ice cream now we’re madly in love and planning a wedding type of relationship.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Agreed. I’d rather read about characters whose love takes time to grow as they spend a lot of time together and really get to know each other. Not that it’s not possible to fall in love quickly, but I think we need to represent both in books.

  4. Lola

    I totally agree! I love romance in books, but I also like to see romances or relationships or feelings that are slightly different than from what we normal see. Then again I really like seeing romances in books and don’t mind too much when they all end in love, but I would like to see different roads to get there or books that show different types of relationships as well. Like unrequited crushes or when it never goes further than a crush. I actually have seen the love triangle thing happen in real life, but never so pronounced or dramatic as in books. So yes I would like to see a broader range of feelings and different ways relationships develop or sometimes when they don’t develop. I want to see other emotions and connections too than the fall head over heels in love.
    I can’t really think of any examples right now, but I do remember reading some books where the characters don’t profess their love or they make a big deal about the I love you part or one party says it, but the other not yet. And I am pretty sure that while there are teenagers that do fall in love there are also those who don’t and it would be nice to see that reflected in books too. I am quite the fan myself of a good slow burn/ slow building relationship. You don’t always fall in love the first time you meet someone. And that’s also a reason why i like friends to lovers romances. Same with how quickly they fall in love or how quickly their relationship develops. Every relationship is different and it’s not realistic when they all follow the same pattern, which is why i enjoy books where the romance is handled just a tad differently than the standard image. Greta post!

    1. Kristen Burns

      You do mention a lot that you like variety in romance in books! And I agree, even though I don’t read much that focuses on the romance anymore, I still like romance as a subplot, and even that would be nice if it were more varied. And yeah, even if it ends in love, it’d just be nice to see more books that really take a while to build up to it.

      Exactly, I’m sure there are teens who fall in love, but there are also teens who don’t. Even to this day I relate much better to teen characters when they don’t fall head-over-heels, I’d-die-for-you in love with the first guy they date and barely know. And the fact of the matter is, most people don’t marry and stay forever with the first person they date. And I also prefer the friends to lovers romances since most guys I’ve ever had feelings for were my friends first, so that one is just more real and relatable to me. But really, all we’re asking for is variety! Thanks 🙂

  5. Molly @ Molly's Book Nook

    I totally agree with this. Especially the ones where the character falls into that DEEP love that you talked about. Sure, it happens, obviously. But sometimes it’s like….you don’t even know this person and you’re willing to die for them? I don’t know. There is nothing wrong with having a crush. Or just simply DATING. Dating doesn’t equal love & life partner.

    Another theory about that type of relationship not being in YA — do you think maybe the author/editors/publishers think that promoting casual relationships is somehow wrong? Like, they don’t want young girls to think it’s ok to date? I don’t know. It’s just weird that there are so few books that don’t have them falling head-over-heels for each other within 50 pages.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Exactly, these characters’ love is way too deep for hardly knowing someone. Like, maybe you can even somewhat fall in love quickly, but so much so that you’d go out of your way to risk or sacrifice your life for them? And yes! Most people don’t marry the first person they date, so why aren’t there more books with just crushes and dating?

      That’s a reasonable theory. Of course, if they do think casual relationships are wrong, well, I think that’s a stupid way of of thinking lol. Wanting to be single and dating around is perfectly fine. But even having a committed relationship but just taking a while to actually fall in love would be a welcome change in YA.

      1. Molly @ Molly's Book Nook

        So, kind of funny, the book I’m currently reading has a crush in it! Like, they’re aren’t saying “OMG I LOVE YOU” they literally said “I like you” and “I like you too” and I instantly thought of this discussion! I don’t know if it’ll END with them being madly in love, but I got excited that it’s currently not at that point lol And it’s actually way cuter. More books should have that.

        I think that’s a stupid way of thinking too, but it could be a reason. Like you said, most people aren’t willing to die for someone within 1 week lol Relationships can progress quickly, I’m fine with that. But it’s usually not a week and they’re willing to risk themselves, and sometimes their families, in order to save this one person.. like what? xD

        1. Kristen Burns

          Perfect timing! What book is it? Actually come to think of it, I also read a book like that lately lol, in which they just said they liked each other but that was it (at least until future books).

          I agree, I wasn’t saying you were stupid for saying it, just that it’s stupid for those people to think that way. And I also agree that relationships *can* progress quickly, but yeah, that deep kind of love? That doesn’t happen overnight.

  6. AngelErin

    You know this is a very interesting topic because that is so true! Before I got married I was not always head over heels in love with everyone I had a crush on. I think more books should have that kind of scenario where you know it’s not TRUE love, but it can be good and a romance anyway. I actually enjoy when a book or movie is like that, but there are very few. There was a book or movie like that a while ago, but I can’t think of what it was that I saw/read that was that way. :/

    1. Kristen Burns

      Exactly, maybe some teens are falling head over heels with everyone, but plenty of teens, and adults even, aren’t. And I so agree, you can have a relationship that’s good or fun or good for you or casual or whatever even if you know that person is not your true love or your soulmate. Or maybe even one where the character just isn’t sure if the person will be her true love and takes time for it to develop.

      1. AngelErin

        I agree 100%!!! True love is not always instant. My husband & I met in high school and I hated him haha! Then we married after we reconnected a few years after high school. I just wish there were more books with other kinds of romances. I would love to read a book about a casual relationship (that isn’t just sex), but they both know it may not be true love then at the end of the book they part ways or something. That could be cool.

        1. Kristen Burns

          Haha that’s too funny! Your relationship story really is like a book. I swear I’ve read blurbs for books like that lol. But yeah, I agree completely, you can have a casual relationship in which you know it’s casual or short-term or whatever, but it’s still about more than just sex, and it would be nice for some books to show things like that.

  7. Amber Elise @ Du Livre

    Is it weird that I like the all-consuming love? I think it’s the Disney princess in me, but I have to believe that there is a love that strong in the world and I always seek it out. This was a great topic though. Once again, it’s the Disney in me that doesn’t question that these kids are falling so heads-over-heels in love at the the tender age of 15. If Ariel can do it, so can they! :p

    1. Kristen Burns

      Well, that’s a good point, actually. You like it because you want to read about things that give you hope and something to believe in, at least in regards to relationships. I guess for me it’s just not believable when it’s so fast and all-consuming, and so it doesn’t give me that warm, fuzzy feeling.

  8. Greg

    I just think it’s expected but it would be nice to see some of what you’re talking about. Be more realistic about the whole thing. If an author or editor would take a chance on a story like that I think it’d be great. And maybe they’re there, I don’t know but I haven’t read any. And when you put it like that it does make love triangles seem even more silly?

    And you know I hadn’t even thought of that, but if teens are reading YA books where every story involves luurrve to the nth degree yeah maybe it does skew perceptions or set an unrealistic expectation. Hadn’t thought of that before. That’s a really good point. Cause let’s face it, how often is RL like a YA book? You know what might be nice too is not the falling in love part but maybe a story where they’re already together and have to keep the love alive. How about that for different? It’s not always just FALLING in love.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I guess it is expected, but I just hate that it’s expected. I mean, I know there *are* some books out there that don’t do the crazy, near-instant love thing, but it’s so rare. And I can’t think of any YA books off the top of my head that have romance but don’t end in love (though Steel & Stone by Annette Marie actually took like four books, so that was more believable). I actually do like love triangles though, so I wasn’t bashing those. I guess I’m willing to overlook the whole love thing just ’cause I like the emotion. And I pretend they’re just feelings triangles rather than love in my mind lol.

      It really did skew my perceptions though, like, why haven’t I been in love yet? I actually just read a book last week about a couple in a long-term relationship having struggles and having to keep the relationship alive, and I remarked on how much I loved that in my review, but it was an adult book. I’ve never seen that in a YA book, but you’re right that would be great because that’s reality, relationships take work.

  9. Barb(boxermommyreads)

    Kristin – I just love your discussions. While I don’t mind romance in books, I can’t stand “insta-love.” I believe adults can feel attraction at first sight, and then if it turns into love, they often just dub it “love at first sight,” but a lot of what readers encounter in books is done so quickly and so instantaneously that there is no was for it to be believable. And you are right, YA seems to be really bad about this. I have always enjoyed relationships which have a slow build and are sometimes filled with tension. I also enjoy the ones where the pairings don’t really get along at first and then as time goes on, learn there are things about each other they quite like – isn’t that more like real life anyway? Great topic!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! I love posting them and getting to hear everyone else’s opinions 🙂 I agree that I like romance but not so much insta-love. And YA definitely seems to be worse. I love those slow-burn, tension-filled romances you’re talking about! And it is more realistic when the people actually get to know each other, maybe become friends, and *then* end up in a romance.

  10. Kate @ Mom's Radius

    I love this post! I read a lot of contemporary YA, but I dislike the ones without more to the plot than a love story. And I think you may have identified why I feel that way. Huge love all the time in YA is completely unrealistic. And I agree, lesser emotions are just as valid. Great discussion post!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t really read contemporary, but I also like when there’s more to the plot than just romance. I’m glad someone agrees with me that other emotions are just as valid 🙂 Thank you!

  11. Annika @ Hiding Books

    This is such a good discussion, Kristen! And it’s a great topic, I’ve been thinking about this too. I often feel like when characters’ feelings are apparent to the reader, but not necessarily to the characters – or at least the characters don’t just go “I love you!” “I love *you!*” – it’s more… romantic somehow? Maybe because it feels more real to me.
    I mean I love to see love in books – if there’s too things that matter in life it’s probably love and death, right? So of course they’re good motivation and they drive the story and all that. But the obligatory love interest is always kind of a bit iffy to me.

    I’m starting to realise that I’m really conflicted about this. Thanks Kristen 😉 And oh my gosh I’ve just been rambling and trying to get my point across but I don’t think I know what that point was now… Sorry, lovely!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! I agree, there is something special about the reader being able to see the characters’ feelings but the character still kind of struggling with them or not realizing or admitting to them yet. And it does feel realistic because feelings can be confusing, and most people don’t just go shouting them out immediately lol.

      I do like romance in books, and you have a point, love and death are the two best motivations, but then the love at least needs to be believable. And I think not every book needs to have crazy high stakes to be good, so lesser emotions can work too.

      Lol, anytime 😉 I get it though, I usually end up feeling conflicted when I do discussion posts because the comments always point out things I hadn’t thought of. I don’t mind your rambling 😛

  12. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I’ve thought about this a lot too – how if we saw many of our book couples six months or a year down the road, we probably wouldn’t find them so in love. LOL! I agree that it would be nice to see some less romanticized versions of relationships, but I also recognize that I tend to enjoy books more when I’m swept up in the feels – including the romance.

    Oh, and I’m a totally bad example for this because I married my high school sweetheart. Though, I will say that the very first time my husband told me he loved me, he totally freaked me out and I responded, “You’re fifteen years old. You don’t know what love is!” LOL! How on earth did he stick with me after that completely unromantic response?! Needless to say, it took him awhile before he was willing to say it to me again (and by then, I was desperate to hear it!). Guess he knew more than I thought he did at fifteen, since we’re still together 24 years later! 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      The thing is, I *do* enjoy having romance in my books. But it’s just that the way it’s done in a lot of books, especially YA, isn’t believable to me, so then it just annoys me and throws me out of the story rather than making me feel anything (other than the annoyance lol). But I do love the feels of a well done romance.

      Ah, so you’re one of the rare few exceptions! I love your story though because I’m like 99% certain I’d have said the exact same thing if anyone told me they loved me at 15, hahaha. But that’s cute and so awesome that you’ve been together for 24 years 🙂

  13. Nicola

    Love this topic! I love romance in my books, and I love that deep earth-shattering love, but when I was actually in the target age group for YA I would have hated for it to be as ubiquitous as it is now. I’d never experienced romantic love and, quite frankly, I felt a little sad to be a 17-year-old with nothing more stressful in my life than university applications reading about 15-year-olds saving the world and STILL having time to fall in love. People say that YA should have romance because it’s such a big part of teens’ lives, but it *isn’t* always a part of teens’ lives. Some teens are asexual or aromantic, some are just focussed on other parts of their lives, and some, like me, are simply shy and introverted. In that last group, romance is still a part of life, but it’s more the one-sided, too-tongue-tied-to-speak crush kind of relationship than anything resembling love. And I can’t remember the last time I read a book where the protagonist’s love life amounted to nothing more than an unrequited crush.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yes, I completely agree! It’s not a big part of *every* teens life. I wasn’t even in any of the groups you described, but I still was never in love in high school. I just hadn’t found anyone special enough and didn’t really want to feel tied down in a relationship when I was so young (well, maybe that’s kind of like the group focused on other parts of their lives?). So even though I had crushes and feelings and went on dates, it was never some serious LOVE thing. So I would’ve appreciated seeing more characters like that instead of ones that made me feel kind of bad about the fact that I hadn’t been in love yet. I actually feel like I might have read a couple books though that had an unrequited crush. But really I guess the way I feel is that, we shouldn’t have to *struggle* to think of one or two books that don’t have all-consuming love in them because there should be variety. I do like reading about that kind of love too, but only when it’s believable and not showing up out of nowhere, and more so in adult books I guess.

  14. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I’d never really thought about this way. I mean, to be honest, when reading a romance I want the declaration of love and the happy ending. In normal YA and that, though, I think I agree. Not that I’d ever thought about it before, but it would be nice for characters to have a crush and a tentative romance not have fallen head over heels in love immediately. I mean, I get why love is so prominent in YA, because I remembering a teenager and being convinced that it was love always. Teens often do things to the extreme with their heightened emotions and can be convinced it’s love when their hormones have taken over. At least, that’s how I explain the influx of lovelorn teenagers in books.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, the big love thing is expected and appreciated in romance books, and I do like it sometimes, but especially in YA when it just comes out of nowhere and doesn’t *feel* like love, it bothers me. I know that some teens do feel the way you described, but my issue is that there are also some who don’t, like I didn’t. So I don’t think it should be completely stopped, I’d just like to see more variety.

  15. Got My Book

    It especially bothers me that this applies to Middle Grade books as well. I am even seeing InstaLove & Love Triangles popping up in books about 12 year olds. Grrr.

  16. Mara @ Mara Was Here

    This is so true! I’m currently in high school and I have never felt “love” like those depicted in books. Maybe crushes, yes, but I don’t fall head-over-heels over them or imagine myself living with them as I grow older. That’s why I always love a slow-burning romance a bit more than insta-love, since I think it’s much more realistic and/or relatable. Awesome post, Kristen!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Exactly! I had plenty of crushes in high school lol, but I was never in love and definitely didn’t picture myself growing old with anyone yet. I also much prefer slow burn romances and agree that they’re more realistic and relatable 🙂 Thanks!

  17. Bookworm Brandee

    “But I think the non-sex part of relationships in books can cause just as much pressure and unrealistic expectations.” <– THIS! Yeeesssss! Oh Kristen, I just love reading your discussion posts! They're always so insightful, well-stated, and thought provoking. So, I agree with you about there being so much love in books and it being this all-consuming kind of love that not only do I think some people experience few times in life (if ever) but it also sets unrealistic expectations. And it's probably doing a disservice to readers and/or turning them away. My older daughter doesn't really want to read any book with romance/love in it because she sees it as unrealistic. I rather think she feels high school 'love' is a joke. *haha*
    And you're right about this love being everywhere…across all genres. I don't see that changing though. I'd certainly appreciate seeing a more realistic variety. 🙂

    1. Bookworm Brandee

      One more thing…I think that at one point all this over-the-top love didn’t bother me. But lately I’ve been commenting in my reviews about how the relationships aren’t necessarily working for me. I’m not made to ‘feel’ it or it just doesn’t work. I’d rather see the progression, the development of the feelings. That’s way more interesting, in my opinion. 🙂

      1. Kristen Burns

        Exactly, I’d rather see the progression too. Sometimes a character will just suddenly proclaim her love out of nowhere, and I’ll feel like I was blindsided lol, like, what’s going on??? Just a page ago she said she wasn’t sure about this guy? But I actually think the tension that comes before a relationship is half the fun, so I’d definitely love to read more about that!

    2. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! I really feel it does set unrealistic expectations, and at least people talk about the sex being unrealistic, like parents with their kids and whatnot, whereas no one seems to talk about this. When I was a teenager, I know I had my reservations about people who said they were in love lol, especially in short periods of time. I’ve since then become less judgy, I guess you could say, but the way books portray it is still unrealistic.

      You’re probably right that it won’t change, but maybe with the influx of self-published books, we can start to get more variety since those authors and indie presses tend to venture outside the box more 🙂

  18. Eva @ All Books Considered

    I LOVE this discussion and every point you make in it. I agree with you that I like romance but it is unrealistic and perhaps even detrimental for every relationship in a book to be the most consuming, soul-wrenching, once in a lifetime love — especially in YA. You are so right — that’s just not how it works. I think people expect that a HEA must include some sort of epic, soulmate type of love but is that really fair for some in high school? Can’t it be enough to have a year or even six months of fun for your first love? So many great points, thank you for writing this!!!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! I’m so glad you understand what I was saying. I do think it can be detrimental. And there is NOTHING wrong with six months of fun for your first love, or any love for that matter. That’s why there should be more variety, so that teens can see that there isn’t anything wrong with other types of relationships! Thank you for loving it 😀

  19. Cristina @ Girl in the Pages

    I really don’t mind romance in books as long as it’s compelling. I read so many formulaic or unbelievable romances (or perhaps I’m older and more jaded now so it just seems that way?) I’m also now more of a fan of when authors will change the love interest throughout the course of a series, even though I know they catch a LOT of criticism for doing so. However, it’s much more realistic to see how characters grow up and grow apart and need different types of people in their lives as they age. So I suppose I don’t mind all the romance in YA and NA, I just like seeing it more varied!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh, I don’t mind romance either! I like it, it’s just the same type of all-encompassing, world-ending love in every book that I don’t like. So I agree that I don’t want to lose the romance in general, I also just want more variety 🙂

      I’m not sure how I feel about changing love interests though. I think it depends, because I recently read the second book in YA series, and she had different love interests in each book, and I didn’t mind that (however, she was completely head-over-heels for both, and that I did mind lol). But if I got really attached to the love interest, I’d be upset if he was replaced not because I think it’s wrong of the female character but because it’s hard for me to connect with characters, and I like to stick with them once I do connect. But then it IS realistic and would be a great thing to portray as a normal part of life in books, and that’s exactly the kind of thing I’m saying I want… Now you have me all confused 😛