The following is a one item of criteria in the YA book submission guidelines of a publishing company, which I shall not name for the sake of politeness:
An age-appropriate romantic element, even if it’s not the main focus of the story
Seriously? I’m not trying to impose my prudishness on anybody; it’s just that I find it strange that there’s a presumption that teens really want their books to have a romantic angle to them, even if it’s not the main focus of the story — hence such a requirement is imposed on authors writing for a young adult audience. So, having read this article over at The Enchanted Inkpot, indeed, in some places, romance has become a requirement. You’re not imagining things.
At least for me, I don’t go out of my way to read books where romance is the main focus of a story. Even if I wasn’t such a prude, it’s not an aspect of stories I particularly enjoy. There are plenty of books out there that were decent, but would’ve been just fine without those “token” plot elements or scenes. It’s clear to me that at least some of the authors aren’t writing them in by choice.
Thank goodness I’m self-publishing!
An age-appropriate romantic element, even if it’s not the main focus of the story – See more at: http://www.sourcebooks.com/resources/young-adult-ya-submissions-guidelines.html#sthash.tyQMR67C.dpuf