Is Insta-love All that Bad? | Becca’s Bookish Discussion

As I’m sure you already know, insta-love is when two characters in literature (or anything, really) have a sort of love at first sight. If you’re the typical book reader, insta-love automatically equals BAD. VERY BAD. I’m not necessarily going to be defending it, but it certainly isn’t the worst thing I’ve found in books.

There’s nothing like a bookworm screaming about insta-love. And when it’s sloppy and poorly done, I absolutely understand. No one wants to read about a sixteen-year-old swooning and ready to die for a thirteen-year-old he just met. (Sorry, Shakespeare) Honestly, I think the reason we so often hate insta-love is because it usually is sloppy and poorly done. But it’s pretty close-minded of us bookworms to bash all insta-loves just because of a few horrid failures.

NUMBER ONE ARGUMENT: Insta-love is unrealistic. Okay. For the moment, let’s assume it is. So what? I understand the appeal of realism in literature, but that’s just not a strong enough argument for me. If you want reality, why don’t you, well, live. Of course, some books really need all that realism to have that full impact, but that isn’t necessarily needed for romance at all times. I don’t know about you, but when I read I’m not looking for reality. I’m looking for magic, I’m looking for something new, something I haven’t experienced. 

Okay, is insta-love really unrealistic? Well, maybe. It really depends on who you ask. There can certainly be that initial attraction, can’t there? Insta-lust, or something else perhaps. I must say that love is more than attraction. But long discussions over coffee in a day, maybe that won’t be love yet, but there could be something there. And that something there is usually what you find in literature. No one’s claiming it’s love.

Romeo & Juliet love? Yes. That’s unrealistic my friend. 

Yes! In my opinion, anyway. Looking for one? Just One Day by Gayle Forman. It’s got some mixed reviews, but to me it was pure, beautiful magic.

So what’s your verdict? Got any recommendations for me? Let me know!

Goodreads: Becca S

Bookstagram: beccaandbooks


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44 thoughts on “Is Insta-love All that Bad? | Becca’s Bookish Discussion

  1. Haha! You’re very welcome. I love discussion posts and have lots to say on them. *has too many opinions* >.>

    It’s definitely insta-attraction, but the biggest problem is that the author/writer just lunges on that. They’re all like ‘oh. They like each other. They’ll for each other.’ And that is SO not how it works. Frankly, it’s almost lazy. It’s like the writer doesn’t want to take the time to develop the relationship between the two and actually have them grow as characters, so they just make it automatic and call it insta-love, which is a cop-out. It’s like saying the whole book was a dream. -.-

    Oh! Haha! I definitely missed the metaphor! *totally failed that part of lit class* :p But I’ve already added insta-love magic to my novel ideas document list. Hee hee!

  2. YAY THANK YOU FOR YOUR AWESOME LONG COMMENT! Yes, I agree. I think people claim insta-love when it’s just insta-attraction, the world is thrown around too much. Haha, sorry, I use the word magic a lot and I mean it more metaphorically. Yes, you should write a book, I bet it would be awesome!

  3. Oo! Gayle Forman writes some amazing books and I’d love to pick up your suggestion to see how she did it. Her writing style and the amazingly-executed way she did flashbacks in ‘If I Stay’ has got me stuck on her as an author. ^.^

    Now to the discussion topic: Passion. I think this is the word you’re looking for when you (or other people) discuss insta-love. After all, in a single glance someone sees another person. Sure, they can make assumptions about the person’s personality, but the truth is that they are physically attracted to the other person and, as we all known, physical attraction doesn’t sustain love.

    That being said, I think one needs to define what exactly ‘love’ is and, in particular ‘insta-love’. Love is constantly thrown around. We use it so frequently nowadays that I sometimes wonder if it’s truly lost it’s meaning.
    For example, ‘I love popcorn.’
    Do I really enjoy the taste and smell of it? Yes.
    Would I die for it? No.
    Yet, I still say ‘I love popcorn.’

    What I mean to say is, I think authors need to really take a look at their character interactions and how they’re defining them. Their characters can immediately be infatuated with each other. They can be attracted to how a character’s clothing portrays their personality, but there still needs to be that stage where the characters get to know each other and come to realize their infatuation was merely a precursor to love, not love itself.

    Lastly, I will say, you mentioned ‘magic’. If actual magic is involved, such as that in fantasy novels, insta-love could very well be real. In that world, insta-love could be possible, based on the influence and developed mechanics of the magic present. *kind of wants to write this novel now* :p

    Thank you for the lovely discussion post! Hope I didn’t tangent too much. >.>

  4. I totally agree with you, if it’s done well insta-love is captivating and heartwarming. There’s something about it that just grabs me, I can’t get enough.

  5. Haha, well that’s certainly a refreshing view! I still don’t whether I think the LOVE part of it is entirely realistic or not, though the attraction certainly is!
    Well, there’s certainly nothing wrong with, we all have our reading preferences and that’s entirely okay. Though I don’t HATE insta-love, I definitely prefer to see that gradual romantic plot-line, probably more than the actual romance stuff haha!
    Thanks so much. And no problem, your blog is seriously so amazing I squealed a little inside just seeing the design and layout of your BEAUTIFUL blog πŸ™‚

  6. Oh I do NOT think instalove is unrealistic. XD My entire early teenagehood was FILLED with my friends falling in love with guys after just seeing them. XD I mean, I guess in books its reciprocated which is different, but I still think instalove is realistic! I just find it uber irritating to read about and I haaate it in books. *collapses* But it’s true that it’s not always bad. And in a way, you kind of do need SOME measure of “insta love” for most romances, right? Some reason two people keep coming back and seeking each other out?!?!
    Excellent discussion I so enjoyed this!!
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

  7. I personally don’t believe in insta-love but I believe in insta-attraction which is what I think happens in most books. And that I’m cool with.

    For me, romantic love is a combination of an emotional connection and physical attraction. So to establish that emotional connection, you have to actually talk to the person and get to know them on a personal level. So I don’t mind if characters develop a fast relationship so long as I can see WHY they like each other beside their appearance. I also think certain situations can accelerate romantic connections, making them appear as instant (and I suppose they are if you look at the definition of the word) but sometimes circumstances can contribute to a stronger connection much faster than when they are absent.

  8. That also really bothers me, it’s completely normal for two teenagers (or anyone for that matter) to be attracted to each other, and keep up with that attraction to find something more. Often people label this insta-love, which is something completely different.
    I haven’t read books in that genre, but insta-love does seem more realistic in that kind of setting, and certainly more interesting. And when you think about it, insta-love was probably just as realistic way back in Shakespeare times. Of course it probably wasn’t actually love, but when you’re likely going to be married off to some stranger any day, why not have a desperate romance with someone you’re attracted to.

  9. I feel like people lump instalove and instalust into the same thing. Maybe that’s just me being picky but they’re two completely different concepts. It’s probably linked to how it’s carried out throughout the novel that people might not enjoy.

    The only time I’ve come to appreciate instalove for what the romantic trope it is is in the post-apocalyptic genre where in a barren wasteland with limited chance at hope and love and all that good stuff — yeah why not go from 0-to-100 in minutes? You’re as good as dead on the next page anyways (probably not, but that’s the intent).

  10. Of course. And art and media influence life as much as reflect it. Don’t just be the change you want to see in the world; write it, photograph it, express it.

  11. What a great discussion! I don’t hate insta-love, not necessarily, specially when it’s done really well but most of the books I’ve read with an insta-love was poorly done and I hated it. Insta-attraction is absolutely okay, though it’s mostly based on looks but it’s still believable but when you just know the guy/girl for 2 days or so and then say you’re in love, that just doesn’t work for me. Great post Becca! πŸ™‚

  12. Very true, that’s probably why I don’t mind insta-love either. And like you, I like that gradual romantic plot line. Everyone has their preference, and that’s great! But I don’t think it’s fair to completely bash a book just because of insta-love either. Thanks πŸ™‚

  13. I definitely agree that we need to be better about differentiating the two, as well! I can see why someone might find them difficult to disentangle, though, which makes the whole situation really interesting to me. Where love includes lust, but lust does not necessarily include love, the two feelings can nonetheless be confused, I imagine.

  14. Yes! The Wrath and the Dawn is definitely a quality insta-love for me, the author did it really well. I agree, though something may be unrealistic it could also be believable.
    Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  15. Yes that can be the case, but I’ve also read books with an insta-attraction sort of thing and some reviewers claim it’s insta-love, which does bother me a bit.
    Funny you bring up reliability, that’s going to be my next discussion post!

  16. Yes, I didn’t love If I Stay either, it was really disappointing to me. But Just One Day was incredible! I agree, Everything, Everything also had an okay insta-love effect though it wasn’t as good as Just One Day for me.

  17. Of course, that makes sense. Yeah, I totally agree with you on loving the process, that’s my favorite part of reading about romance as well πŸ™‚
    Haha, I hardly do either!

  18. I think my problem with insta-love in books is that it’s mainly based on looks. It’s always a look across the room between two beautiful people. Never does a story say “He looked past her chapped lips that barely covered her absurd snaggle-tooth smile. He saw beyond her straw like hair and her multitude of pimples. He wasn’t sure if it was the copy of War and Peace in her hands or the Cannibal Corpse sticker on her binder, but he was enraptured.”

  19. Insta-love is something that I wish was real but I’m not sure it realistically is. I think that’s why I find it easier to forgive in fiction. I don’t mind well-done insta-love-like many people here in the comments-but I have to be convinced beyond the characters saying that they can’t live without one another. I much prefer a romance that develops over time and grows into something deep. Just personal preference. But guess that can stem from ista-attraction. Anyway, nice discussion!

  20. I honestly don’t mind insta-love, as long as it’s finely done. πŸ™‚ But if it’s the sort where the characters just met and they’re suddenly convinced that they can’t live without each other? Nah. I’ll probably look for more depth there. Anyway, this was such a nice discussion to have Becca! πŸ™‚

  21. A lot of people criticized The Wrath and the Dawn for having insta love but I personally loved it because the author convinced me that they were meant for each other. I totally agree with you about the realism part. I don’t watch the love story in the movie Titanic because it’s realistic. I like it maybe cause it’s unrealistic? but totally believable at the same time.

  22. I feel like it’s claimed to be love when the characters spout things like “I love you so much I would die for you” but I’ve only heard of those things secondhand. I haven’t read enough romance lately to point a finger at insta-love.

    The concept itself, however, makes me a little uncomfortable. I feel like realism is an issue because of relatibility; I personally can’t relate to insta-love or insta-lust, and that has me losing the characters, which drive my reading. That one thing can really hurt a book’s chances with me.

  23. Great discussion topic! Personally, I do not have an issue with insta-love (unless it is so poorly done that it just makes you roll your eyes). When I read, I look to escape reality. As a result, I do not expect the romance in books to strictly follow the rules of reality (if that makes any sense). At the end of the day, a story can only fit in so many pages and it would be boring (I believe) if books were written to a T in accordance with what is expected from reality. I admire the creativity and from personal experience, have found many books that reveal the instant connection between two characters well enough so it is not unappealing like Romeo & Juliet. πŸ™‚

    But at the end of the day, there is something for everybody. That is the best part about literature.

  24. I agree with you. Personally, the one thing I never liked was when two characters can’t stand the sight of each other, & then boom …aw now they’re in love? But it’s like you said, any normally cliche or poorly done convention can probably actually be very good if it’s done correctly.

  25. I didn’t like If I Stay but a lot of readers have recommended Just One Day to me. So I might give it a go after reading that it’s a quality instalove romance. I also thought Everything, Everything had an okay instalove attraction as well. Nice post, Becca!

  26. This is great and got me thinking if I’m not a bit rushed to say things about insta-love. I don’t believe in insta-love, not in reality not in fiction. But I definitely believe in insta-attraction. And I definitely believe in insta-lust. This can be the origin of something more? Of course! I think that love takes time, time to know each other. In the mean time, you are attracted by the other person.
    Maybe you’re right, that sometimes we find that insta-attraction developing into love and we call it rushed and judge it. But I also love reading that process.
    Really,great discussion and I’m still thinking about what I believe or not haha!

  27. This is the first discussion I’ve seen like this, and I love it! I don’t like that they say they’re in love with each other, and seem ready to die for each other after that one day together. But liking each other? Definitely realistic! It’s just the word love that bothers me, but like you I can definitely see the good side to it πŸ™‚

  28. Thank you! Yeah, I totally understand hating that sort of thing. That’s what I mean about a sloppy insta-love romance. But, like you said, Just One Day was great so there can be some good ones!

  29. This was a very interesting discussion Becca! I am, let me admit, one of the people who hates insta-love. However, I get what you’re saying about the attraction thing. It’s only normal as a teenager to be attracted to someone else…I don’t mind that. I only mind it when the character decides that the love interest is worth her life in the span of a few days. Now THAT annoys me. (an example of that is Switched by Amanda Hockingsβ€”which is the worst book I’ve read by far)

    Anyways, I also really enjoyed Just One Day so I see what you’re saying. β˜ΊοΈπŸ’—

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