In the bookish world of romance fueled dystopian, I’ve came across some real duzies when it comes to love interests. Be it our protagonist or their significant other, I always end up feeling like one half of the dynamic is weaker than the other. So in honor of that I’ll be counting down my top five dishonorable mentions when it comes to the absolute worst of the worst. The love doesn’t end just at young adult science fiction though, not a single genre is exempt from my wrath and I intend to cover it ALL. Stick around for a rant to end all rants, as I discuss my feelings on some of fiction’s biggest mistakes.
Sam- The Accident Season
Though I’d likely struggle to say what my favorite aspect of The Accident Season was (the story as a whole was a hot mess express) I’m quick to point out that the semi-incestuous romance between protagonist Cara and step-brother Sam ranks high on the list of cringe worthy, and otherwise stupid facets of the book. I understand that they aren’t blood relations, but tell me how I was supposed to just accept that step siblings who’d shared a life all through childhood one day inexplicably wake up with mutual feelings for each other? I know that under dysfunctional circumstances such things do occur, however the way author writes it like insta-love gave me none of the necessary derision I needed to simply buy in. I’ve read that other reviewers have greatly enjoyed Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma that deals with a similar topic at its forefront, and maybe one day I’ll see for myself, but in this book such a dynamic only hinders the plot, cheapens the writing, and packed no punch with two undeveloped characters. For my full thoughts: The Accident Season Review
Henna- The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Henna isn’t a love interest per se in The Rest pf Us Just Live Here, but seeing as a central storyline involves main character Mikey pining after her to no avail I thought she was fitting to include. Though she is billed as a hip, forward thinking, dream girl i couldn’t get over the shallow disregard she has for other’s feelings. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a cahrter member of the Mikey fan club (needy, tepid, and doormat are all words that come to mind when thinking of him), but no one deserves to be strung along with “maybe’s” and “someday’s” by a person they clearly care about. This could’ve been a great opportunity for Patrick Ness to delve into platonic vs. romantic relationships, and possibly see a growth in maturity for the two characters , but no such luck. Henna continues her self absorbed antics by having an end of the year tryst with Mikey (despite knowing she’s leaving the continet for the foreseeable future). None of this absolves Mikey from the blame that goes squarely on his shoulders, but Henna wins the award of being one of my least favorite fictuous people. For my full thoughts: The Rest of Us Just Live Here Review
Rhiannon- Every Day
Our main character, entity A, has changed lives every day of his existense; walking in the shoes of thousands, meeting millions in the process. And yet he chooses Rhiannon. He endangers the futures of his current hosts by sneaking away to routinerly meet her, and for what? So he can watch her bow down to an abusive boyfriend? Lack a backbone in all facets of life? There isn’t a single thing inherently worng or dislikable about her, but for me to believe in the epic romance that guides the whole plot I needed to have more than just lukewarm feelings towards her character. I will say in her favor though that unlike the four other characters on this list she underwent a positive, true to form, change towads the end that I respected David Leviathan in including. However for it to really change my feelings it was just too little too late. I haven’t ruled out reading Another Day yet (the same story from her perspective), ao that could perhaps change my viewpoint on a lot of the events that went down for the better.
Ms. Willowdean Dickson has bore the brunt of a lot of my character gripe list in recent months, and for good reason. Not only is she a horrible friend, a so-so daughter, but a God awful girlfriend/friend with benefits/whatever you call her relationship with boys, to boot. I kind of thought everyone was anti-Bo (he’s wishy-washy, dry as cardboard, and is about as exciting as a brick), which basically meant I spent most of the book believing Julie Murphy would send the final nail into her house of so-called girl power/ self-acceptance home by having Willowdean reject Bo in the climax for routinely treating her feelings like a hacky-sack. As a result you might be wondering why Wil appears on my list of Worst Love Interests (as opposed to Bo), and to that I will now explain. For one I have no respect for a person-fictional or otherwise- who crawls back to someone after routinely complaining about their existence. This is even worse when I believe it’s purely motivated by physical attraction instead of genuine chemistry, which in this case, is totally counteractive to the much laureled “body-positive” book of the summer. Murphy also introduces Mitch as a potential love interest, only to have Wil give him an unnecessary taste of the medicine Bo dished out to her earlier. Though it’s obvious the two never would have worked as a couple, Mitch was a very kind guy who at least deserved some appreciation for the respect he showed (and definitely not be strung along for months by someone who could not make up their mind). End. Rant.
Cal- Red Queen
Much like Willowdean, I could write an essay on all the reasons I can not stand Mare. However in all fairness I can’t say she’s a bad love interest. Incapable of defying any young adult trope though, Victoria Aveyard had to reject my olive branch of peace by making paper thin Cal the other half of the dynamic. Lacking any defining traits other than being lily white pure, and Peeta-esque in his kindness (not to mention being a total stud), I had a hard time caring at all about the relationship Aveyard was clearly trying to build for Glass Sword. However I’m not quite ready yet to send Cal off to character Siberia, as I greatly enjoyed Maven’s characterization as “suitor” in Red Queen, and I feel that a lot by way of development could happen with him in the second book. As it stands right now though, Cal is hardly a saving grace in a book that needs nothing short of a miracle to save a place in my heart. For my full thoughts: Red Queen Review
So who are some of the worst love interests you’ve come across? Did you agree/disagree with any of my picks? Let me know in the comments!
–Keep Calm and Read On