In Defense of Insta-love

Goodreads is one of my favorite digital places. My Type-A nature means that I love categorizing things and I live for “top 10” lists, and Goodreads provides me with both of these in spades. But, sometimes, like any online space, there can be some hate. For me, the hate can be a little tough to handle.

When a reader marks a book as “read” on Goodreads, they’re given the option to assign a star rating and a provide written review. All good things. My time is precious and I rely on the Goodreads collective to let me know if a book is worth my time before I purchase it or go onto the library’s wait list.

Recently, I began a book (which shall remain nameless!) that I’d been waiting for on my library’s wait list. I did a quick Goodreads search to refresh my memory on the premise when I stumbled across a scathing DNF review (NOTE: DNF stands for did not finish). I have feelings on DNF reviews, which I won’t go too in depth about, but I don’t always feel that they’re fair since the reader didn’t finish.

One of the things this reader was particularly indignant about was the insta-love between the protagonist and handsome boy #2. As a reader, when the genre calls for it, I am willing and able to accept certain truths and circumstances as they pertain to a character’s backstory and origin. No, no one currently lives on the moon, but they could in a novel. No, District 12 isn’t a real place, but Katniss and Peeta live there. You get the point.

Insta-love is the descriptive term applied to relationships founded on nothing but an intense, mutual, and instantaneous attraction. What’s so hard to believe about that? How many love stories, both real and imagined, start with two people’s eyes meeting and something passing between them? That’s what attraction is. And how quickly relationships escalate from that moment to “I would die for you” obsession depends on the person.

I say this from experience. I’ve felt that spark you get in your chest when you meet someone for the first time and there is a je ne sais quoi there that, by definition, you can’t explain. It’s not just physical. It’s not just emotional. It’s an axis-tilting experience. There was before, and there is after.

Some insta-love scenarios are silly, especially when one of the characters is horrible. But it’s one thing that I consistently forgive in the books I read. After all, we could all use a little more love in the world, even the insta-love kind.



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