I ship. There, I said it. I ship. If there is a YA novel, television show, movie, or comic book and there is romance involved, I will find a couple to love and follow with all my heart. For example: Sasuke and Sakura kind of need to be together forever. For. Ever. I love fandom. I’m pretty sure it began with my fierce belief in Dawson and Joey’s Everlasting Love.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term ‘ship’ – Urban Dictionary defines it as “endors[ing] a romantic relationship.” I’ll just go ahead and add in the phrase “that is unrelated to you” at the end of that definition.
I have noticed, however, that YA novels of late have been taking advantage of this shipping trait by creating discord among the fans. The readers have to choose who they think makes the better match! The most visible, of course, is Twilight. Are you Team Jacob? Or Team Edward? (… or Team Edward&Jacob because Bella’s a blank slate of a character who doesn’t really represent anything but women-belong-in-the-kitchen-making-babies ideology?) There’s also the epically fantastic Hunger Games series which pits Peeta against Gale (Gale! Gale!… though I almost changed my mind when Mockingjay came out. The shippers, they are fickle on occasion).
That being said, I’m finding this to be a more troublesome trend in the YA market now. Triangles for the sake of bloody triangles. Dear everyone-writing-a-young-adult-novel, you do not need to have two love interests for your heroine. You don’t need kids to be pitted against kids in an epic battle of this-guy’s-better-for-her-than-your-guy just to get your book to sell. If it happens as a result of just having awesome characters, fine – but don’t deliberately create a situation in which you’re selling your own characters out. I’ve put down several YA novels in recent times because I can see that it’s empty-faced girl and two gorgeous guys, and o, Gods, how will she choose?! You know who didn’t do that? JK Rowling, bitches.
So, writers, balance the possible relationships. Balance. Make me love all the characters so much that I could never choose, but will still spend time talking about the character’s ultimate choice on the internet (… Vampire Diaries, I’m looking at you).
Related anecdote: A few nights ago, a friend and I were watching Disney videos on Youtube (because we’re awesome), when I noticed an associated video, “Draco / Hermione Can You Feel the Love Tonight” – we both thought, what? Clicked.
THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING, FRIENDS.
Turns out, anything can be shipped. I mean seriously. Anything.