When we're teenagers, some of our earliest lessons about life come from reading books — which is good because books have a whole lot of awesome lessons to teach us. I mean, it's actually a demonstrable fact that Harry Potter has influenced an entire generation to be more tolerant and open minded. How cool is that?
Of course, when it comes to learning lessons about romance, YA has both good and bad ones to share — oftentimes within a single book. Because while I'm sure that no YA authors sit down at their laptops and think to themselves "How can I write a YA novel that will teach the children horrible things about love?" the fact is that books can be interpreted in all sorts of different ways. Who knows, there might even be some crazy kid out there who thinks that Voldemort was actually the hero of the Harry Potter series.
And while that is kind of an extreme example, there are still good and bad messages that you can pick up from any book. Some are more obvious than others, but they're all still there.
So what knowledge about love are YA novels imparting to America's youth just as they begin their foray into the world of dating? Well, here are some of the best and worst lessons that these 15 YA books had to offer.
The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Best Lesson: Friends — especially the one who respect you and support you and love you already — can make the best romantic partners.
Worst Lesson: The person you date when you're 17 is definitely going to be the same person that's right for you to marry.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Best Lesson: No matter who you are, you deserve a prince/princess charming.
Worst Lesson: Just because someone feels betrayed that you didn't, within five minutes of meeting them, share information about yourself that could get you killed, that doesn't mean they aren't still a solid potential romantic partner.
Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Best Lesson: Complicated, messy people are worth falling for, too.
Worst Lesson: Falling for complicated messy people just because they're beautiful and easy to idealize is totally fine, guys.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares
Best Lesson: Love can come into your life in all sorts of unexpected ways; always be open to the possibility.
Worst Lesson: There is a 50 percent chance that you as a teen will get romantically involved with a hot guy several years older than you, and he will obviously not be a creep of any sort.
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Best Lesson: Love is worth fighting for.
Worst Lesson: Stalking, manipulation, and trying to control someone are highly romantic and completely awesome ways to show your love.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Best Lesson: You don't love people because they're perfect; you love them because of who they are underneath.
Worst Lesson: The more special your love is, the more likely it is that the whole thing ends with all of America sobbing uncontrollably.
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Best Lesson: You don't have to change in order to deserve the person you like; you can be nerdy and awkward and still get the guy (or girl).
Worst Lesson: Having a crush on your best friend's brother isn't a bad idea at all.
Best Lesson: Be who you are, and when you find someone you love who makes you happy, be with them.
Worst Lesson: In order to get your happy ending, you have to wade through a lot of violence and pain.
The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
Best Lesson: Gender roles have exactly nothing to do with who you should love.
Worst Lesson: Participation in a cruel and inhuman reality show will definitely help you find your true love in real life.
Uglies series by Scott Westerfield
Best Lesson: You as a teenager are under absolutely no obligation to stay in love with someone forever, or to not fall in love with someone else.
Worst Lesson: All of the big, transformative, personally defining moments in your life wouldn't be complete without a romantic interest involved somehow.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Best Lesson: A perfectly ordinary love story is still remarkable and unique and perfect to the people who are part of it.
Worst Lesson: Your significant other totally has a pass when it comes to disrupting entire portions of a hospital because love, guys.
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Best Lesson: Jealousy is not a necessary part of loving someone.
Worst Lesson: Go ahead and enter into a doomed romance that can only end in tears.
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Best Lesson: Be spontaneous; be adventurous; don't close yourself off to the possibility of romance with that cute, Scottish kid.
Worst Lesson: Also, actually go to Scotland with that Scottish kid you just met, without any friends or chaperones, in his very run down car.
Ash by Malinda Lo
Best Lesson: Real love should be good for you and make you want to live life to the fullest.
Worst Lesson: Curing your self-destructive impulses will naturally involve romance.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Best Lesson: The guys who are attracted to a girl's strength are quality guys.
Worst Lesson: At a time when your entire future is in jeopardy and you have seemingly insurmountable obstacles to overcome, further complicating your life by getting romantically involved with your trainer is totally a good idea. Also guys with numbers for names are hot.