This is the last of my impromptu love affair with romance novels so hang around if you’re a fan of YA lit. I’m starting the research for my dissertation so there is going to be a lot coming your way very soon.
I think my tolerance for ridiculousness within the romance genre is growing. It’s really frustrating because there are some genuinely good authors out there exploring some of the aspects of being a woman. But then you get books like this, where you can’t tell whether they are critiquing the treatment of women or romanticizing it.
Aria and Luca.
Luca and Aria.
Aria is fifteen when she’s told that she has to marry the future boss of the New York Mafia. And although she complains about it, and obviously sees the unfairness of the situation, she doesn’t do much to rectify it. But then I thought to myself, how may people, when you’re so ingrained into a culture, would think to completely throw away any security they have?
But it didn’t seem like Reilly was exploring these issues. Instead, she presented an adulterer who also is a lying, misogynistic criminal as a flawed but loving romantic lead. And in the end Aria has given up everything she was fighting for to be in the relationship with him. Yes it was to make her life easier, but at a certain point she made the choice to actively participate and uphold the system in place. She literally killed to prove her loyalty. Now that doesn’t sound like a feminist exploration of female life inside one of the oldest organised crime institutions around.
So whilst the story was mildy entertaining, the question of ‘will or won’t she let him stick it in her’ was not interesting enough to keep my focus.
Maybe if Aria had tried to escape the Mafia and it was her journey of finding independence, I may have found this novel slightly more acceptable. I don’t like the idea that women will do anything for love. Yes, Luca shows his devotion by offering to take her to the hospital for her gunshot wound, but is that really an amazing feat? Oh I love you so much I’ll take you to get medical care for a gunshot wound that my lifestyle caused in the first place. Now to me, that is not the most romantic gesture. A romantic gesture would be offering to leave the lifestyle that she despises for good. For me this novel just reinforced everything I don’t like about the romance genre. I don’t care if I sound all feminist-y. It’s true. There are some good romance novels that don’t require the leading lady to spend hours a day locked in a penthouse suite. Just saying.
Now Fledglings, I promise you this blog isn’t just going to be romance. I have been reading, and plan to read, a wide variety of genres over the summer. Make sure you’re ‘Keeping up with Kate’ for some damn good reviews coming your way soon. LOL.
PS. Even though I’ve been in America for 6 months now, writing ‘honor’ instead of ‘honour’ is still painful.