Discussion – Single Protagonists in YA

Hello! I know it’s been months since my last discussion post, and that’s due to both school and lack of inspiration. However, recently I’ve gotten a bunch of discussion ideas, and as today is the first day of my Christmas break, I thought it would be the perfect time to revive my discussion series. πŸ™‚


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I love reading YA books. They’re really the only books I read, and they’re definitely my favorite way to spend free time. With as much as I’ve read (and I’m not even close to reading them all), I’ve noticed that in 99% of YA stories, the protagonist is involved in a romantic relationship of some sort. Whether it’s a stand-alone novel or halfway through a series or at the end of one, just about every main character has an active love interest.

For example:

  • The Hunger Games
  • Twilight
  • Vampire Academy
  • The Mortal Instruments
  • The Infernal Devices
  • Anna and the French Kiss
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  • The Raven Boys
  • Grisha
  • Lux
  • Across the Universe
  • The Lunar Chronicles
  • Mara Dyer
  • Revenants
  • Eleanor and Park
  • Fangirl
  • Carry On
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  • Six of Crows

All of those books/series end with the main character in a relationship. And these are only the most popular, or ones I’ve personally read, or heard a lot about. Of course, I missed a ton, and then there are the to-be-released books.

Then when I try to think of books that end without an active romance, I can barely come up with any.

  • The Outsiders
  • None of the Above
  • The Lost Knight

I’m sure there are more, but either I just couldn’t think of them or I haven’t found them yet. I asked my friends on Twitter and the only answer I was given was Divergent. I looked for lists on Goodreads and found this, with only 26 books, and I’d never heard of 25 of them. The one I did know was The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, and I think a friend of mine that loves this series has mentioned romance of some sort. I could be wrong, and I’m sure more than 26 YA books have single protagonists. But either way, isn’t it kind of sad that that’s all I could find?

I’ll be the first to admit it: I love romance in books. I consider myself a hopeless romantic and honestly, I’m proud of it. If it’s well-written and the characters are great, I’ll probably be all over it. But personally, I’m not in a real relationship* and while reading about romantically involved characters is fun, I can’t relate to them in that specific aspect.

* Unless my dog counts. Otherwise, fictional characters have set my standards too high for real guys to meet. πŸ˜›

As a girl that’s single and intends to stay that way, I’d love to read books β€” whether they’re high fantasy or fluffy contemporary β€” that follow a protagonist that doesn’t end up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. In the past few months the book community has been advocating for diversity (which I won’t be getting into here), and prior to that it was all about empowering female characters. Even though the latter has died down some, it’s still around, and I think a good way to go about that would be writing and recommending books with single female leads. Male leads are also included in that, because single guys are as common in our modern world as single girls.

My thoughts on this subject are kind of all over the place, but hopefully I’ve adequately expressed myself. I love romance in books, but I think the number of books with single protagonists is underwhelming and unrealistic. I’m going to make it a reading goal for 2017 to look for books where the main character remains single.

disc-enderDo you think there should be more single protagonists in YA? Can you think of any books or series with one that I missed? If you disagree, what are your thoughts? I’d love to know! Tell me in the comments! πŸ™‚


I hope you enjoyed this post! I have more discussions planned for the rest of this month and the new year. If there are any discussion posts you’d like to see, or posts in general, I’d love to know that too! πŸ˜‰

I’m off to finish reading Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman. You can expect my review to be up tomorrow! πŸ˜€ I hope you all have a fabulous day/night! ❀

Until next time…

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11 thoughts on “Discussion – Single Protagonists in YA

  1. The only one I can think of is This Savage Song, but I don’t know whether that’s classed as YA or Adult. But I don’t think there’s one book on my shelves right now that doesn’t have a romance. I don’t mind it, though I do think it’s be interesting to see more books without it. Sometimes it feels like it’s there just to give more drama to the plot, to give the character something more to worry about. Plus it’s kind of strange to have so many stories with teenagers finding their true loves so young. Pretty sure that doesn’t happen?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Completely agree with you!
    I’m currently reading a fantasy book that has romance. And while I wouldn’t really mind, I don’t think it was well-developed and for that reason, I don’t think it should be there at all.
    Just like you, I love reading about relationships, but I’m also single and would love to read more about single characters.
    Maybe that’s something I have to look for more often πŸ˜‰
    Great post πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: 2016 Wrap Up

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