What I Love/Hate When It Comes to Romance in Books | Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week we are discussing things we love or hate when it comes to the romantic plotlines in books. I could write 10 examples from either, but I chose to give equal thought to each.

top 5 things i hate

5. Crappy love triangles

I will admit, I love a good love triangle. To me, a love triangle is good when I don’t know which love interest to side with. It’s a win/win. There is no favorite, either in my head or in the character whose being pursued (i.e. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson). This all goes to crap when the opposite happens. When there is an obvious “winner” from the beginning, but we still have 3 books of back and forth. 3 books of unnecessary angst. No thank you.

Example: Matched by Alli Condie.

4. Boring, too nice, too perfect guy

I like my characters to be complex. To be realistic. To have flaws. If the guy is perfect, stalwart, and true. Never selfish. Never making a wrong decision. I don’t buy that and I’m bored.

3. Promoting competition among women and/or slut shaming

These things seem to go hand and hand, and are very prevalent in the New Adult genre from what I have seen. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a book where the male lead is fawned over by every woman he comes in contact with. The main female character will constantly point out other women falling all over him like slobbering fools, and frequently will refer to other women as sluts. NO! Number one, I have never seen women reduced to slobbering puppies over a hot guy regardless of who he is. Two, STOP THE GIRL ON GIRL HATE.

Examples: Ignite by Lily Paradis and Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

2. Instalove

There are few things I hate more in books than instalove. It is the laziest way to set up a love interest. It’s unbelievable. Give me a slow burn romance that takes 2 or 3 books to develop any day.

I’m not even going to give examples because there are so many and it would just make me angry.

1. Romanticizing emotionally abusive behavior

This may be spurred on by my recent read of Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, but nothing is romantic about emotional abuse. If I can check off multiple red flags of emotional abuse regarding the main characters, it is a problem. Especially so in Young Adult or New Adult books, where the target audience has a higher rate of abusive relationships than the rest of the population. It’s gross and it needs to stop.

Now that we got that out of the way, on to things I want to see more of!

top 5 things i love

5. Bad boy gets redemption

I love the bad boys of fiction (probably why it burns me up so much when they are lumped together with the abusive asshole characters I mentioned earlier). I love seeing a character go through tremendous character growth and come out on top. I love when a relationship helps someone become a better person. It makes my heart melt.

4. Supportive relationships

A couple that always has each others’ back, no matter what.

Examples: Aria and Perry from Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, and Warner and Juliette from Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

3. sassy banter

I love witty characters. And when a couple keeps each other on their toes, I love it even more.

2. Evenly matched

I love it when no one has the upper hand in a relationship. When a couple is evenly matched, and balance each other perfectly, without a constant power struggle.

Examples: Arin and Kestrel from The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski, Katsa and Po from Graceling by Kristin Cashore, and Chaol and Celeana from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

1. Couples that go from hating each other, to friends, to partners

There is no narrative I love more when it comes to romantic plotlines, and it’s probably because it usually comes with a mix of my other favorites (i.e. redemption for a “bad” character, witty banter, even match, etc.). I also enjoy the slow burn romance, and this is the perfect recipe for that. It is so satisfying when a couple we have been following for an entire book or more admit that maybe they like each other more than they originally thought possible. Few things make me fangirl more!

Examples: Lia and Rafe from The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, Aria and Perry from Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Warner and Juliette from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Kestral and Arin from The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski, Cleo and Magnus from Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes, Celia and Marco from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern…. This list could go on forever.

Let me know what some of your hits and misses are when it comes to romance!

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