Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we make lists of our top ten books based on that week’s prompt… and then we stalk other people’s answers to add a million books to our TBR. The topics are provided ahead of time and can be found here.
This week’s topic is top ten things I like and dislike when it comes to romance in books. This is a great topic that relates to a topic I’ve covered on here in the past: my favorite and least favorite tropes that appear in YA books. Here’s my list for this week!
I’m a big fan of some of the usual tropes in romance. The classic best-friends-turned-lovers saga is one I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of. This is probably because I totally used to think I was going to marry the boy next door. Granted that definitely isn’t going to happen (and I don’t have any desire anymore – he turned into kind of a jerk), but it’s still fun to read about the stories where it does. This is especially sweet when it’s a childhood best friend who comes back into your life after being away for a long time. I also love the slow-burn romances – the ones where it takes a while for the character to even realize it’s happening. It just feels so much more real than love that happens too quickly. (You can see the opposite situation below in my dislike section, obviously.) Couples who constantly argue, banter, and make fun of each other are at the very top of my list. I love it. Making me laugh during a book in general is a huge selling point, but if it’s because of some major sexual tension and/or relationship-building, I’m happy. I need my couples to kind of dislike each other a little bit; they realize their love interest isn’t perfect and will devote some time to showing them that. If you further that idea a little bit to a hate-to-love storyline, I’m definitely sold. Experiencing the couple as they go through little fights and disagreements makes for a funny and relatable book. The two characters start out as enemies and then realize that there are some feelings there. Adding in a bit of sex-positivity makes me a very happy reader. I hate when authors tiptoe around the intimacy issues and pretend it’s not happening. I know that YA is geared towards somewhat younger readers, but most high schoolers that I knew were doing ~intimate~ things! I’m not saying the book needs to be rauncy or detailed, but it’s refreshing when it’s actually realistic when it comes to sex.
There are lots of YA books that feature characters who have been hurt in the past (or seen family members get hurt), so they guard their heart too much. It’s a struggle to get them to open themselves up to the idea of a boyfriend. Generally this trope annoys me because the MC tends to be more stubborn than necessary. OR – they end up completely changing their thoughts on the issue because of one ~special~ guy. Either way, I can’t win. Both outcomes irritate me in some way. On the opposite end of the spectrum, insta-love is very bothersome. It’s so unrealistic! I could see some initial attraction and lust coming up right away, but some characters are saying those three words by the end of the book – when they’ve only known each other a few days/weeks. When you combine that insta-love with an unnecessary love triangle, you can assume I’ll step away from that book and/or not give it a very high rating. When done well, love triangles don’t bother me that much. It completely depends on the situation and kind of relationship(s) they have to each other. In some books, though, the second love interest is thrown in for drama (usually with a healthy dose of insta-love) and ruins everything. Blogging completely changed my opinion on love triangles; I didn’t get too bothered by them before. Now I am incredibly picky about them. In some books that insta-love element can also be paired with someone who becomes a bit too possessive too quickly. This is the kind of anti-feminist book I’d like to stay away from, especially when the girl tries to convince herself she likes to be controlled by the guy… especially when they’ve only known each other for a little while. It’s stupid. Lastly, I know this is a common one as far as YA romances go – but I’m sick of miscommunication causing a breakup. The girl finds the guy doing something or saying something wrong, she runs out on him as he yells “let me explain!!!!!” and she ignores him. Cue the tiny violins for a chapter or two, until she pulls her head out of her butt and/or he forces her to listen. It’s an annoying trope that makes me want to reach into the book and push the two characters together. JUST HEAR EACH OTHER OUT and stop jumping to damn conclusions, girl! PLEASE.