Despite the hefty doses of teenage angst and love triangles, the romance in this book stays away from the usual romantic crutches (miscommunication and secrets) most of the time. It seemed more realistic than many YA romantic subplots.
Still, I found the amount of time devoted to romance tiresome, which is maybe more of an indicator that I should stay away from YA than anything the author did wrong.
The characters are interesting enough. What I think gains the reader's sympathy is how much Clary and Simon care about each other. There's a nobility in how all the characters try to protect each other.
What didn't work for me: too much romance, childish dialogue considering their ages, and the HUGE infodump of the adult characters' backstories.
I may try to write a blog post discussing the book versus movie later.