Happy Valentines Day, bookworms! I hope everyone is having a charming day!
My plans for the day are very elaborate. Basically, I am going to read some of my favorite rom-coms while eating Oreos. I might be really bold and watch some rom-coms too, we shall see. It is currently snowing (part iii of 8-10 inches this year eek), so I am enjoying all of my fluffy books and movies while basking in the coziness of my fortress of blankets.
I had a tag all queued up and ready to go for today, but it didn’t seem very festive. My solution: Ranking Romance Tropes!
Rivals-to-lovers comes in so many different forms. My personal favorite type of rivals-to-lovers is of the academic rivalry variety, but you honestly can’t go wrong with any of them. Rivals-to-lovers is definitely a close cousin to enemies-to-lovers, but I consider them to be two different tropes (I will fight you on that). Defined by tension between the main characters and lot’s of sassy banter, rivals-to-lovers is hands down my favorite of the romance tropes.
By the Book by Amanda Sellet
rivals-to-lovers, but with books
Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
camping *said with jazz hands*
If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
rivals-to-lovers but make it a Taming of the Shrew retelling
The (so thought) unrequited angst that comes with this trope is superior. I love how we get to see the relationship side of the relationship really shine. In so many romance books it ends with a relationship, so getting to see it on full display (even if it is fake) is super fun. I like all the cute moments and the ever looming is it real??? question.
Frankly in Love by David Yoon
*cue the screeching*
Dating Makes Perfect by Pintip Dunn
There is fake dating, but with dates based off of famous rom-coms. Pure gold.
The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
For all of those fantasy fans who also love fake dating!
I like my fictional relationships well done, none of that rare or medium rare malarkey. The tension needs to be simmer until I am willing to sacrifice my left ear for them to admit their feelings ahhhhhh. I find myself rooting for slow burn relationships the most because there is more time to become invested. I mean, if I don’t have enough time to get invested in the romance I’m not going to spend all that time rhythmically chanting get together get together get together in the hope I can manifest their relationship.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
this book is fantastic in every way possible (I mean, ghosts!) and the slow burn romance only adds to it’s glory
Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen
an ode to teendom, but add in slow burn romance
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
starring strong friendships, but with romance drizzled in
Forced proximity is really allowed to shine when combined with another romance trope (especially rivals-to-lovers). Watching the main characters get tossed into situations where they merely tolerate each other’s presence, but have to endure it nonetheless is absolutely golden.
Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
Millie is forced to be roommates with a princess… I vote yes
Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins
laugh out loud hilarity and lots of awkward encounters after be forced to spent break together
Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston
forced proximity, but in a library
Friends-to-lovers is such an under-appreciated trope. I love it when I happen to pick up a book featuring it, but I don’t actively seek it out. A strong friendship seems like a really great foundation to start to build a relationship. Add in some pining, and it becomes a real contender.
Keep My Heart in San Francisco by Amelia Diane Coombs
friends-to-rivals-to-friends-to-lovers with a dab of bowling
More than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood
Bisma is a national treasure and that’s all you need to know
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
friends-to-lovers at it’s finest
I have a love-hate relationship with this trope. There are some instances where it really worked for me, but there are other times that are just ick. Instances where parents are the reason for the forbidden love infuriate me to no end. I do, on the other hand, enjoy it when there is some external force causing the relationship to be taboo.
My favorite use of this trope is in Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan. It is a Romeo and Juliet retelling that ends *gasp* in tragedy. Featuring spawn of two rival comic book sellers, Verona Comics managed to defy all of my expectations.
I don’t really have a reason for disliking this trope, but for some reason I do. Yep, that’s all I got.
Ick. Ick. Ick. Love triangles were really popular for quite awhile, but I cannot stand them. In true April fashion, I’m going to list the reasons I despise love triangles with a passion. I know we are creating a list-within-a-list situation, but I feel like living on the wild side today.
- They are often poorly constructed. If I know who the love interest is going to chose off the bat, then I have exactly zero stakes in their constant whining about ohh dearest me, who do I pick???
- When love triangles are constructed purely to create drama for a pre-existing couple— I don’t want it.
- The love triangle consumes the main character. Like they have a revolution on their hands, but by all means, let’s take the next ten pages to contemplate your love life. Priorities, people!!!!
There are more reasons, but I can feel the rage bubbling within me as I aggressively type these bullet points, so I’m going to stop here. We are trying to channel our inner zen on this fine Sunday, not become fired up over love triangles.
Where is the relationship development? Where is the angst? The pining? Oh that’s right! Non-existent. Insta-love just passes go and skips all of the other ingredients to a good relationship.
And with that, we are going to call this list a wrap. No matter the genre, I am such a sucker for a good romance. Especially one including some of my favorite tropes!!
What are your favorite romance tropes? Least favorite??