Romance and Teenage Readers

As February winds down which means that we are starting to come down to the end of romance month. but before it comes to end, I thought that it would be fun to talk about when should young girls start reading romance novels. I have talked on here before about keeping in mind about the age of our readers while we work on our stories. Most girls from what I have found usually start reading romance novels when they are about 12 or 13.

While some may think that this is young, I feel that it’s about that right age when you really look at what is on the market for teens in the young adult section of the bookstore. Most young adult romances might be geared towards those that are usually about 15 or 16 or maybe older but that does not mean that younger teens might not find these titles intriguing.

I can remember being in college and taking children’s literature with a delightful teacher who was also a librarian in Boulder for a middle school. One day she brought up how students were checking out this one book in particular from the library. Having her curiosity peeked she decided to take the book home and read it. She said that she was surprised to find out that this book was being checked out because of the sex that was in the book. Granted, she also did not know how the book in question got into the library but when she decided to remove the book from her library she got in trouble not only for censorship but for removing a popular book from the shelves.

When she explained why she removed the book from the library, the students brought up the point that the book while containing a certain topic got them to read. She wanted to argue with them about it, but she couldn’t deny that the students were reading. She said that her solution to the dilemma was simple she would have more romance novels in the library, and would only let the students check out the books if the parents approved the reading material. One parent, she said, came to the library and saw the romance section and told her that she was smart for listening to what the students wanted. But as my teacher told her, true I might have given them what they wanted but I got what I wanted in return and that was for the students to be reading.

Now some may say that this is not what is needed but on the other hand, it was getting books into students hands and they were reading them. It’s not different then when there was the Harry Potter craze or the Twilight years, or even in some cases the Hunger Games. The point is that if young, teenage girls want to read romances let them read romances since 55% of what is being marketed to them has some sort of romance between the covers and this may or may not include sex (just saying).

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