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My childfree reading life: a preference for YA Romance

By Victoria Fryer 

To say that I am a voracious reader would be an understatement. My reading addiction is a common joke among friends, and people often come to me for “What should I read next?” recommendations. And I read across genres—there’s almost nothing I won’t try. Literary fiction, sci-fi, mystery, suspense, historical fiction, nonfiction… You name it, I can find something I like about it.

What do my reading habits have to do with me being childfree? Well, besides the fact that I wouldn’t have time to average about 75 books read every year if I had children, I think it has an impact on my preference for romance.

I do read novels with romantic elements. Historical fiction often has a romance as a primary plot, for instance. Literary fiction too—even if that is more often ‘romance gone wrong.’ But when it comes to straight up contemporary romance novels, I shy away, instead picking their young adult (YA) romantic counterparts.

I’m not ashamed of the fact that I enjoy books meant for teenagers, but I’ll admit that there are certain social circles in which I don’t typically mention it. The question that comes up sometimes is, “Why do you read those?” Well, first of all, because they’re entertaining—but why, then, don’t I enjoy romance novels meant for grown-ups?

I think I finally figured it out. In adult romance novels, the idea of children is often so wrapped up in the whole falling in love process. So often the happy ending doesn’t end with the first kiss or the wedding, but with the excited pronouncement of expecting a baby. And then their lives can be complete…FINALLY! Or maybe one of the characters already has children and is looking for a partner who can accept him or her and their kiddos—then you get that sweet moment at the end where he’s touching her face and says something like, “I love them like my own. I love all of you.”

As someone who is childfree, those plot lines just don’t resonate with me. And I think that’s why I prefer YA love stories. It’s a young, innocent (and often naive, of course) love, and all they really want is to be together. I know life is more complicated than that—I live one. But I guess I personally prefer the kinds of stories that don’t necessarily include the next step of having a child to reach completion, or a happy ending.

That being said, I’m sure there are plenty of adult romance novels that don’t include children… right? If you have some recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

(And for the curious, my current read is: Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas.)

Victoria Fryer is a 31-year-old writer and content strategist. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two pit bulls. You can find her on Twitter @extoria.

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