Pondering the best romance

Aussie_Vday PinkSo the results of our Best YA or NA romance are in, and the winners, by a fairly convincing margin, were Rachel and Isaiah from Katie McGarry’s Crash Into You.

Crash Into YouThe girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that’s who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers…and she’s just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can’t get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they’ll go to save each other.

V-Day poll results

I confess I haven’t read Crash Into You, but the results got me to thinking about what I would have picked as the best romance. I’m not a shipper (someone who worships a particular literary relationship), so I don’t have an instant go-to couple. Sure, I smiled when Ron and Hermione finally bumbled their way together. I loved Vanyel’s relationship with Tylendel/Stefan. And I was happy for Clary and Jace when they finally hooked up properly (although the wait was torturous!).

I also haven’t read an actual romance novel in 20 years, although I have read some paranormal romance, that subset of spec fic where romance is still the main plotline but the boyfriend may have fangs, wings or body hair issues during a full moon.

I have a pretty clear idea of the sorts of relationships I root for1, though. Stacey mentioned in her interview with Lauren that some people like the loveable boy next door and others like the sarcastic bad boy with attitude. I lean more toward the boy next door, but if he must also have a sense of humour. An example from popular fiction would be Clary’s best friend, Simon, from The Mortal Instruments. I just finished those, and I pretty much adored him.

But, given the relationship choices made in a lot of YA fiction, I seem to be in the minority.

Who do you want the girl to get? (I was going to write “to get the girl”, but where’s the fun in that?) The bad boy, or the boy next door?

1. Har har2
2. Americans, in Australian slang “rooting” is another word for, well, you know. Happy fun time. This is why we giggle like schoolgirls when you talk about rooting for your team, because that takes COMMITMENT!

Given Cassandra Page‘s lack of serious shipper credentials, she thinks it’s kind of weird that she’s posted the AOR Valentine’s Day poll two years in a row.

Cassandra Page


  1. I’ve never been a shipper, either; I just don’t have that ability to fan over characters (though, when I was younger, I championed a few TV pairs, eg. I cried when Rose Tyler fell into the alternate world; and I [tried to] refused to wear coloured clothes for a week when the BBC killed off Marion in their version of Robin Hood). I think my admiration for character-love is more like appreciation for, hopefully, their arc. That’s what makes Ron and Hermione such a nice pair; they’ve always been Harry’s Friends, rather than people who met of their own accord (it would be interesting to see whether they would have become friends sans Harry; after all, one could argue that Ron bullies Hermione with his “it’s Leviosa, not Leviosa” mimicry. I know I’d stay away from someone who said something like that about me), but, in the end, they realise how much their lives are centred around each other. I think romances should be more like that – perhaps based on circumstance, rather than fate or supernatural links.

    That said, I’ve not read any of the books in the chart, so I can’t say how I found them. But boy next door ftw! Bad boys a) have been overdone in trope, and b) aren’t, in the end, worth it, regardless of how the heroine thinks she feels. Also, a lot have tattoos, and tattoos are a huge turn off for me. xD



    1. Thanks for leaving such a well thought out post. I agree with you about Ron’s initial treatment of Hermione. The only thing you can say in his defence is that he was empathetic enough to feel bad about it later. Whether he would’ve been brave enough to do anything about it without Harry is a whole other issue though, and I guess that’s your point.



  2. While I love a bad boy story (love Isaiah), I tend to lean towards the boy next door. I generally write that way, too. Maybe its because I fell for a good guy *shrugs*.



  3. Great, great post Cassandra! And congrats to Katie McGarry for obviously creating fabulous characters that the readers really got into. I admit I haven’t read that either, but it’s just gone to the top of my must read list.

    And okay, so I voted boy next door but I’m going to be so interested in the results. At the time of my vote I was ah-mazed to see it’s leading the poll! I was so sure the bad boy allure would be the first choice – but it’s early days.

    Why vote for TBND? Dull isn’t always dull. And exciting isn’t always great. Imho, reality is that TBB might have issues to take into the relationship that may be exciting in the first hot lustful days of the relationship, but might not bode well for a HEA (Happy Ever After) or even a HFN (Happy for Now). Sure I guess if you’re into uncertainty, then TBB might be for you.

    Then again, TBND might be a closet serial killer – a cute, smiling, well mannered assassin – which just proves my whole argument is moot!!!

    Thank you Cassandra – a lovely start to the day!



    1. I was surprised to see TBND is ahead in the polls too. Given how many books with love triangles tend to resolve in TBB’s favour, I would have thought he’d win in a landslide!



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