In YA fiction, love often transcends the ordinary, venturing into realms where the heart finds its match in the most unexpected places. These stories of love between humans and their non-human counterparts not only captivate our imaginations but also challenge our understanding of affection, loyalty, and connection. From mermaids in love with sailors to witches and their familiars, these relationships push the boundaries of conventional romance, inviting readers into worlds where the heart knows no limits.
One such tale is my novel, “The Last Wolf” . Set against the backdrop of a magical academy, the novel weaves a suspense-filled narrative around a young wolf shifter and her complex relationship between two sides of herself. This novel is a romance, yes but the real meat of the tale is developing acceptance between her human and non-human parts. It explores themes of identity, acceptance, and the transformative power of love including self-love.
Diving into the oceanic depths of YA fiction (a favorite of mine), we find the mermaid-human romance. In Sarah Henning’s “Sea Witch”, the classic mermaid tale is reimagined, offering a fresh perspective on the timeless theme of forbidden love. The relationship between the mermaid and the sailor is fraught with challenges, as they navigate not only the physical boundaries of their worlds but also the societal expectations that come with their forbidden union.
Another intriguing facet of non-human relationships in YA is the bond between witches and their familiars. In Deborah Harkness’s “A Discovery of Witches”, the connection between the witch and her familiar transcends the typical pet-owner relationship, evolving into a partnership built on mutual respect and understanding. This bond highlights the potential for non-human characters to be more than mere companions; they are confidants, protectors, and, in some cases, equals in the magical journey.
The vampire-human romance, a staple in YA fiction, brings its own unique dynamics to this theme. In Stephenie Meyer’s classic, “Twilight”, the relationship between Bella and Edward challenges the very notion of mortality and the sacrifices one is willing to make for love. Their story delves into the complexities of loving someone who is not only non-human but also embodies the eternal struggle between human desires and supernatural instincts.
A more celestial take on this theme is the love between a human and an angel or a celestial being. Laini Taylor’s “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” series is a stunning example, where the relationship between a human and an angel explores the idea of love as a force that can bridge worlds and heal age-old rifts. This narrative delves deep into themes of destiny, sacrifice, and the power of love to transcend even the most entrenched divides.
The beauty of these non-human relationships in YA fiction lies in their ability to explore the unknown and the unconventional. They challenge readers to expand their understanding of love, to see it as a force that is not limited by physical form or societal norms. These relationships, whether they are between a human and a werewolf, a mermaid, a witch’s familiar, a vampire, or an angel, all speak to the universal longing for connection, understanding, and acceptance.
These stories invite us into worlds where love is not defined by the limitations of the human experience but is instead seen as a limitless, transformative force. Through these narratives, we are reminded that love, in all its forms, is a powerful and enduring aspect of the human – and non-human – experience. As we turn the pages of these enchanting tales, we are encouraged to open our hearts to the endless possibilities of love and the magic it can bring into our lives.