Reading, Social Media

Why is young adult dystopia classified as “Romance?”

The Hunger Games (film)
Do you consider The Hunger Games a romance novel? | The Hunger Games (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been a member of GoodReads for two years but have only recently started using the app on my phone. A few weeks ago, I began adding books I have read to my profile. A lot of them have been dystopian novels, as I have been reading a lot of that genre as part of my research for my own novel projects. When I went to check out my recommendations to determine what to read next, I was surprised to find that GoodReads was mostly recommending that I read romance novels.

I don’t get it. It’s been a while since I have read any romance novels, and I hadn’t added any to my “read” shelf. Why would this app suggest I mostly read romance novels if I hadn’t indicated that I had any interest in them?

It’s not that I never read romance. Don’t tell anyone, but I have a secret stash of Harlequins in my bedroom closet. I pull one out whenever I am in need of a quick escape that requires little to no thinking. I suppose the fact that I haven’t read one recently says good things about my current life. At my worst, I would lay in bed and read an entire romance novel in one night. But I won’t get into my dysfunctional ex-marriage here today.

So why the romance recommendations? Well, I went back to my “read” shelf to see what I had read that GoodReads was classifying as romance. It turns out that all of these dystopian YA’s I have been reading lately are classified as such. Huh.

Then I did a little more research and found that there is apparently a huge controversy on GoodReads and other sites as to whether or not these novels are properly classified. I have to say, GoodReads is wrong on this one. While many of these novels may have a romantic component, I have yet to read one that has romance as its focus.

In fact, the Rocky movies have more romance in them than some of these books do. If Rocky isn’t romance, then why classify The Hunger Games as romance? Is it because so many of these novels are written by women or because their target audience (from what I gather) is typically teenage girls? In what century do we live that we assume teenage girls will only read books that are classified as romance?

What do you think? Should YA dystopia be classified as romance? Please share in the comments below.

~Amanda L. Webster

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