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Insta-love

I read so many reviews where readers feel very strongly (and that is putting it mildly) about insta-love. So, what do you think? Do you hate it? Love it? Or, are you indifferent?Does age matter? If the characters are teens and instantly fall madly in love, does it seem more realistic because they’re on the cusp of adulthood? I remember when I was teen I thought I was in love more than once. Come on, you know what I’m talking about. I’m sure you remember being sixteen and dating “that guy,” and you thought you were in love even though you’d only been dating “that guy” for about a week, but this was different because he was the one, right?

I read lots of YA, and yes, in most all of these books, the characters tend to fall instantly in love. Do I mind it? No. I guess because I take their age into consideration. Heck, in my novel, The Summer I Learned To Dive, the characters, Finn and Jesse, fall in love pretty quickly, but they’re both 18 and it’s the first relationship they’ve ever had. The beauty in youth is that exhilaration, that zest for life, that yippy I can’t wait to conquer the world type of feeling. And to me, part of having these feelings is having an instant connection with someone. When you’re a teen you can be all giddy because “that guy” smiled at you or, in today’s age, texted you. But of course, that’s that incredible feeling you get when you’re totally smitten with someone, anyway, right? You know, that butterflies in your stomach feeling you get when you’re first dating?

So, my question is, does age matter? If the characters are in their thirties and fall instantly in love, do you throw your book across the room and curse the “insta-love gods” because they’re old enough and it seems highly unrealistic that they’d fall instantly in love? Or, do you take the story into context? Does it fit the personality of the characters that they instantly fall in love?

I recently saw a film called Hateship Loveship, starring Kristen Wiig, and her character falls instantly love with a man she barely knows (she begins to have feelings after he writes her one letter). But to me it fit her character. She was sheltered and somewhat broken, and here was a man, who was also broken, showing her some attention, or so it seemed. So, here is an example where the couple didn’t quite know each other but fell in love because of circumstances and personality traits.

What do you think? Is insta-love always unrealistic? Is it acceptable under certain circumstances? Do you identify with it? Or, do you think it ruins a story? What are your thoughts?