Adolescent Girls' Romance Fiction: Contemporary Conduct Books?

Publication year

I read the romances as literary texts which, in their brevity and sparseness, might contain good examples of literary conventions. After reading them, I was struck by several observations that contradicted my own preconceived ideas:

1) The literary conventions do not resemble those of fairy tales, as has often been assumed, but resemble those of the didactic novel that in the 18th century embodied conduct book abstractions.
2) There is a difference between the romance lines published by different publishing houses, particularly the Sweet Valley High series, and the other series.
3) Within the group of books read, dated from 1979 to 1992, there is a shift in the plot lines, in the portrayal of female characters and heterosexual relationships, that parallels a shift Carol Thurston notes in adult romances, towards equality and androgyny. (305)