There is simply no disputing the enduring popularity of the romance genre, and young adult romance is no exception. Since at least the 1950s, when bobby socks-wearing teens discovered young love at the soda fountain, young adult romance books have steadily climbed to a place of prominence.

Writers seeking to enter the young adult romance space may be surprised to discover the genre a bit trickier than anticipated. This is because as adults we may clearly remember the angst of first love, but when trying to capture a young person’s perspective in our writing we find ourselves challenged. Allow this handy guide to show you the ropes! 

How to Write Young Adult Romance Books

Love is particularly potent when it blossoms during the teen and early adult years. This period of personal development and growth can provide a plethora of romantic experiences that readers never tire of. If you have a compelling coming-of-age love story that’s just waiting to be written, follow these helpful tips for publishing success:

Use Simple Language

As we mature into adulthood, our manner of speech and vocabulary naturally evolves, too. When you write a young adult romance book, it is very important to avoid having your young characters speak and think like older adults. Keep your language intentionally simplified — especially the dialogue between characters.

Explore Popular Romance Tropes

While it can be fun to create an outside-the-box love story, don’t overlook some of these timeworn romance tropes for inspiration:

  • Enemies become lovers
  • Love triangles
  • Friends to lovers
  • Opposites attract
  • Love blooms despite illness or injury
  • Doomed lovers
  • Forced proximity
  • Destined star-crossed lovers

Create Relatable Main Characters

Be careful to avoid creating cringe-inducing characters that readers either reject outright or simply can’t relate to. Instead, imbue your protagonists with traits, backstories, mannerisms, qualities, and flaws that make them undeniably human. Relatable characters connect with the reader, becoming emotionally invested in them and their love story.

Stage the Perfect “Meet Cute”

The site or circumstances of your characters’ first encounter with each other is often referred to as a “meet cute.” The term implies that they meet under an amusing, unusual, or even awkward scenario that lays the foundation for their future romance to bloom. Let your imagination run wild with possibilities for the perfect meet cute.

Build Chemistry Slowly

Remember you are building a story arc, so even if your two protagonists experience love at first sight, you’ll want to cultivate romantic tension over the course of the narrative. Allow your characters to gradually discover the little nuances about each other that ultimately fan their passions.

End with a Happily Ever After

When you are writing about teenagers, a happily ever after (HEA) is probably not all that realistic. Although possible, young love doesn’t always hold up to the test of time. However, for the sake of the story, creating a satisfying HEA that leaves readers swooning and smiling is the norm in this genre. 

Design an Eye-catching Cover

Once your epic young adult romance story is in the hopper, it is time to consider cover design. Be aware that there is a distinct difference between a YA romance book cover and an adult romance cover. The YA versions are often illustrated, wholesome in effect, and use a lighter, brighter color palette with more playful fonts. Create a book cover that hints at the story without giving too much away.

Popular Titles in Young Adult Romance

One of the best exercises an aspiring young adult romance book writer can do to ensure success is to grab copies of bestsellers in this niche and learn from those authors. Here are some examples of commercially successful titles in the YA romance genre:

  • If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin
  • Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter
  • What Happens After Midnight by K.L. Walther
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
  • The Getaway List by Emma Lord

Writing a Young Adult Romance Book? Partner with Gatekeeper Press for Publishing

Entering the young adult romance space can be more daunting than most aspiring authors might think. Why not benefit from the professional guidance offered by the publishing experts at Gatekeeper Press? Our experts can help you in the early stages of world-building and character development as your YA romance novel takes shape. Contact them online today!