Guest Post – Why Are Secrets Important in YA Romance?
Secrets play an integral role in young adult romances. Secrets are often found lurking within the pages, hiding behind main characters and pulling the reader one way and then another. One purpose of secrets is to build intrigue. People are naturally curious beings who seek for truth. Discovering how and why the world works has been the motivation behind inventions and voyages for as long as mankind has existed. Thus, it should not be a surprise that readers are enticed to follow the trail of secrets and mystery in a novel. Tying romance together with these elements only enhances the enjoyment of the plot. Secrets build suspense in a novel by giving the reader bits and pieces of information. As with lying, secrets build on top of one another, weaving a web of deceit that makes the chase for discovery all the more thrilling.
In writing Lingering Echoes, I found that the secrets kept by my main characters, Allie and Damien, add an emotional pull to the storyline. People keep secrets for all kinds of reasons. In Lingering Echoes, part of the reasoning behind Allie and Damien’s secrecy is based on guilt and fear. Most people don’t find joy in sharing dark secrets from their pasts. A bridge of trust must first be built, constructed a little at a time, before people are willing to cross over and share such emotional information. Sometimes, as with Allie and Damien, a relationship is built through confiding these personal details. When secrets are selectively revealed, the emotional account of the experience can be a powerful union.
For example, this occurs when Allie divulges details about the guilt she carries—details that she has not, at this point, shared with anyone else: “Damien circled me in his arms, pulling my head against his warm chest. He let me cry. He didn’t hush me when I wailed with a grief so heavy I felt I was sinking in the river all over again. My body shook against him. My sobs tore at the wall I had built to barricade myself from my emotions—pain, misery, guilt, shame, sorrow, love—until the floodgates were lifted, and I released them all on Damien.” In this poignant scene, Allie’s choice to share these details with Damien escalates the growth and pace of their relationship.
I believe secrets will always have a place in young adult romance. Secrets are an important element to motivate the reader to continue reading, eager for the pull of curiosity to lead them through the story. Young adult readers will always answer the alluring call of romance mingled with secrets.