SPOILERS FOR BOOKS MENTIONED!!! INCLUDING SPOILERS FOR:
CRACKED UP TO BE
LOOKING FOR ALASKA
THE SECRET YEAR
First, I want you to ask yourself, what is your stance on cheating when in a committed relationship (by cheating, I mean anything from a kiss to sleeping around.)
Do you have "zero-tolerance" aka, if your significant other cheats on you, the relationship is over? Or is it, he/she cheats on you, and you guys will work on getting over it and moving on?
I wrote a huge paragraph on my own stance on cheating, and why I think that way, but I decided, this isn't all about me. I'm interested in what you have to say! So here we go...
I've noticed a few YA novels that deal with cheating, but usually authors refrain from making their protagonist/main character unlikable by making him/her unfaithful. However, they don't seem to have a problem with love interests being cheaters.
I've recently reread a beloved novel of mine, Saving Francesca by the amazing Melina Marchetta, and (SPOILERS!!) remember when Will Trombal kissed Frankie at the party whilst drunk while he still had a girlfriend? I love this quote, it's just so Francesca if you know what I mean:
'She pashed Will Trombal. And the whole world's talking about it, right?' Siobhan mocks.
'Not even remotely devastating,' I (Frankie) say.
'It's much worse than that.'
'Can you stop being so dramatic? Id on't do devastation,' I tell her.
'Will Trombal has a girlfriend.'
Oh my God, I am so devastated.
...I feel as if my throat is made out of cardboard and all of a sudden kissing Will Trombal is the most embarrassing thing in the world. I feel like Adam and Even when God points out to them that they're naked.
That is a passage that kind shows Frankie's reaction, to being "the other woman" so to speak. However, so many people still adore Will, and think, "Hey Will! Break up with your gf and ask out Frankie."
There is no doubt about it, Will Trombal was a cheater. Now that I've blatantly pointed this out to you, does this have an affect on your opinion of Will? Or do you just brush it off and think "he is better off with Frankie anyways." I just want to say that being drunk doesn't excuse your actions, yes, I'm looking at you Will.
A second book, Liar by Justine Larbalestier (which I will admit, I did NOT finish after the big family secret reveal-see earlier post) but I read enough, which was just like the first chapter, to know that Micah (the main character and protag) had a boyfriend (Zach, the dead one) who had a girlfriend (whats-her-face, Sue? Sorry, I will call her Sue because for the life of me, I can't recall and I returned the book to the lib. Help anyone?)
Now Micah is Zach's "after-hour girlfriend", aka, the girlfriend outside school. Personally, I can't understand how Micah is okay with this, or how Zach can be so selfish. It feels as if neither of them cares much about Sue, because let's face it, Sue was there first. If Zach wanted to be with Micah, he should have broken it off with Sue first. I want to know what YOUR opinion on Zach is, do you find him just torn between two girls in an "it's complicated" situation? Or is he just continually doing the wrong thing and cheating on his "normal hour? girlfriend". Well, he does get killed, but just ignore that fact.
And Micah is just so nonchalant about all this. It's the really good writing style of the author, I think, that she can convey this mood and tone, but I just feel Micah is "so what, we kissed, yeah we were kinda dating, so?"
I'm pretty sure that there are lots of other books that just have inklings of "good characters" being cheaters, like Sumner in That Summer by Sarah Dessen, Chris in Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers (yes, I do count that one kiss with Parker as cheating), and Pudge in Looking for Alaska by John Green (Alaska mentioned that boyfriend a few times, yet Pudge was still into her for almost the entire book. I'm NOT sure, however, if Alaska broke it off with her bf before she and Pudge pashed, correct me if I'm wrong!)
Another where the cheating is so glaringly obvious in the summary is The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard. I mean, the girl is dating two guys for over a year! Your opinion? Is this forgivable? Is the "I love him but I can't leave the other guy" an adequate excuse? And put yourself in all three of their shoes, what do you think? (and I have NOT read the book, jsyk, just the summary)
I want to know if knowing that a character is a cheater and unfaithful, does this change your opinions on this character? Or do you believe in "you can't deny true love", so "just do it". Is it as simple as you cheat, it's over?
And lastly, do you think that YA lit takes cheating kind of lightly? Like it glosses over it and makes it seem almost okay because of a theme like "love should triumph".
Please leave a comment with your thoughts :) and tell me if you actually read the majority of the post =p