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Elana's work including POSSESSION, REGRET, and SURRENDER is available from Simon & Schuster wherever books are sold. She is the author of From the Query to the Call, an ebook that every writer needs to read before they query, which can be downloaded for free on her website. She runs a personal blog on publishing and is a founding author of the QueryTracker blog. She blogs regularly at The League of Extraordinary Writers, co-organizes WriteOnCon, and is a member of SCBWI, ANWA and LDStorymakers.
She wishes she could experience her first kiss again, tell the mean girl where to shove it, and have cool superpowers like reading minds and controlling fire. To fulfill her desires, she writes young adult science fiction and fantasy.
Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.
All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn.
Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque….
Romance in YA
A guest post by Elana Johnson
Okay, so I’m just going to put out there up front that I think books are better if there’s the possibility of romance. It doesn’t have to be overstated, and it doesn’t have to be the entire plot. I am such an emotional reader, though, that I want something in there that appeals to the heart.
I actually think the best kinds of romance in YA novels start slow and build with the plot. In SURRENDER, my two main characters have sort of been eyeing each other for months, though for different reasons.
Gunner likes Raine. He wants to get to know her better, but she’s not his match, and he doesn’t break protocol. But when he gets summoned to train with the Director, all bets are off—and that includes his look-but-don’t-touch attitude toward Raine.
Raine likes Gunn, because he won the Flight Trials, and she admires his flying ability. She hasn’t really thought much about him beyond that, and so when she notices herself crushing on him a little bit, she has to stop and figure out when that happened—and what she wants to do about it.
I like this kind of romance. I like writing it, and I like reading it in other YA novels. I want the catalyst to feel authentic, and I want it the relationship to make me feel something. I also want the relationship to begin to dictate some key points in the plot. As humans, we do things for irrational reasons sometimes—and sometimes one of those reasons is love.
Some have argued that teens can’t fall in love. I’ve spent a lot of time with teenagers, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this: They live with an it’s-now-or-never attitude. Everything that happens in their life is the biggest deal ever. Every emotion is FELT. And that includes love.
Maybe it’s not “true” love.
But maybe it is. And that’s where the magic can happen in a YA novel. And that’s why my YA novels (almost) always have romance in them. It’s magical.
Do you enjoy a good romance? What do you think makes a good romance?
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