Romantic Life Lessons

Are Teens Interested in Reading Romance?

What do young people read these days?  Unless it has to do with Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Vampire Diaries or Twilight, teens seem more immersed in texting, their iPhones, Facebook, TV and reading from technology.  When I was a teen, television marathons often kept me from reading, but there were some classics back in the 70s and 80s that I devoured.  Thank goodness, my father was clueless when I handed him Judy Blume’s Forever and Wifey to buy for me when I was 13.  I read the supremely racy Princess Daisy five minutes later. Evolving into a Romance reader, I turned to those little books at age 14 and spent long hours in my dorm room reading Penny Jordan and ignoring my World Civ homework.

Years later, I now have two nieces by marriage: one is 16, one 18.  Both want to read more adult books, but I wouldn’t dare send sexy Romances. They told me not to. These girls have seen all kinds of violence/sex on TV and love Desperate Housewives, Cougartown and Gossip Girl–interestingly, female focused shows.  The 18-year-old said I could send her “anything” so I found her historical, chick lit and romantic suspense novels that seemed tame.  She wouldn’t have wanted family-oriented romances (she has enough family in her life) and I’m sure her mother would have killed me if I’d sent her anything with sex in it.  Those books, a girl has to get on her own and usually through covert means.  If she’d been Christian, I would have sent her some Inspirational romance novels, which are great for young girls.  I’d love to encourage these girls to read for pleasure (romance!) as much as they can since they’ll become busy enough once they hit college and those terrible 20s when women spend every last second setting up their support systems, professional lives, and dating not necessarily to get married.

In any case, having two nieces gets me a little nostalgic for my teens when I discovered the Romance genre.  How strange to be an adult where I secretly want them to read Romances, but have to be protective, too.

3 thoughts on “Are Teens Interested in Reading Romance?”

  1. I read my first romance novel when I was a young teen during the mid-1970s (Jane Eyre, of course), got swept up by the big historical romance novels of the late 1970s (oh my, Ruark Beauchamp from Shanna still makes my heart flutter), and devoured Harlequin Presents (Requiescat in Pace, Penny Jordan) from then on.

    The teens I happen to know today don’t read romance novels, perhaps not because they devote so much time and energy to texting, tweeting, etc., but because they don’t seem to relate to the male in the way that the girls from my generation did.

    1. I once told Penny that, because I read so many of her Harlequin Presents during my teenage years, I didn’t grow up only on the southeastern shore of Long Island, but also in a village in England.

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