Do you feel like not putting the main characters in a romantic relationship in GIVE UP THE GHOST affected your book’s reception?
No matter what a writer does with his or her story, some readers will love it and others will wish it were some other way. As I’ve talked about before, you can’t please everyone! And the same is true for my decision to keep Cass and Tim’s relationship platonic. I’ve read some reviews where the reader praised the book for not going the traditional route of having the two main characters fall in love, or who liked the idea of a romance but could see that it wouldn’t have felt believable if I’d tried to include that. I’ve read others where the reader was disappointed by the lack of romance and enjoyed the book less because of it. I think some readers even felt there was a romance, and I just never let the characters act on it. 🙂 A lot of that has to do with perceptions: almost all the paranormal YA out there has a strong romantic element in it right now, and so many readers came to GHOST with certain expectations.
But would more people have been happy if I’d had Cass and Tim get lovey-dovey? It’s impossible to say. I think it’s likely that for every reader right now who wishes there was a romance, there’s another who’d have complained about it being predictable or unbelievable if I’d written one in.
And even if more people would have liked a romance than not… Ultimately I have to do what feels best for my characters, in my story. I don’t believe that Cass or Tim were ready to get romantic with anyone, even at the end of the novel. They came a long way, but they still have a lot further to go. I also didn’t want to give the impression that people have to be in love to help each other. Cass and Tim are just two people connecting as people, like so many other friendships out there.
So that’s the way I wrote it. I’m much happier writing what feels right than trying to predict what the greatest number of readers will want, and I think it makes for a better, truer story, too.
My question for you, blog readers: When you were in your teens (or right now, if you currently are), did you get more emotional support from your friends or from your romantic partners?