Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romance In Fiction

Posted February 9, 2015 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Top Ten Tuesday, Weekly Features/Memes / 39 Comments

TTTcustombannerAs usual, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fantastic blog The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is inspired by Valentine’s Day, and focuses on tropes you either like or dislike when it comes to reading a romance. I’ve decided to split my list to include five of both topics!

Things I Like When It Comes to Romance In Books

1) Witty Banter. Nothing pulls me in more than a couple who can verbally spar with one another, as well as have an intelligent conversation. Sometimes it needs to be about more than just the swoons.

2) The Slow Burn Relationship. While it can be infuriating, it’s also immensely rewarding when your ship finally sails. Bonus points if this doesn’t happen in the first installment of a series.

3) Realistic (and responsible) Intimacy. Now, I know there’s a large split between NA and YA and how the boundaries of PDA and physicality and what not are usually written, but I find it unrealistic when teenagers/young adults are treated like they either don’t have hormones or that they cannot be trusted with their intimacy. Exploring intimacy realistically and responsibly is important.

4) Human/Supernatural Pairing. I’m a sucker for paranormal romance, especially when the human isn’t the stereotypical damsel-in-distress stereotype. I just think it’s so much more interesting to read about then normal people falling in love.

5) Equality. I love it when both people in a couple-regardless of gender- can kick butt and take names. I’ve never complained of a story having too many heroes!

Things I Dislike When It Comes to Romance In Books

6) The Best-Friend-Turned-Boyfriend-Trope. It just never seems realistic or exciting or mysterious when the kid the protagonist used to throw cheerios at turns out to be the source of her passion.

7) Insta-Love. No explanation needed.

8) Overly Possessive Partners. Especially now that I’m an “older” YA reader (if old is being in your 20s…) I find that I have little tolerance for possessive and oppressive dynamics in relationships, especially when it’s not to serve the purpose of portraying how power imbalances in relationships are bad. No one should be telling anyone else what to do in a romance.

9) Slut Shaming. I hate when characters are shamed by other characters in the books for their personal behavior. I don’t like the novels I read to be morality tales that define their characters’ worth by their intimate interactions (or worse, judge them by the mere rumors of such interactions).

10) Love Triangles. There’s nothing more annoying than constantly having your ship interrupted by some troll third wheel who comes in and is so obviously written to create “drama” between the main couple (ESPECIALLY when you KNOW that there’s no chance of the protagonist actually ever choosing this person…it all just feels like such a waste of time).

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39 responses to “Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romance In Fiction

    • They’re such overdone tropes that it turns me off from reading the stories, because I feel like I won’t even be able to become invested in them/remember them because they’ll be so similar to the thousands of other books that utilize them!

  1. There is nothing I despise more than Insta love. I see that coming I close the book and pretend I never picked it up in the first place! UGH! Same with the love-triangles. Why does there always have to be a love triangle nowadays? It’s so overused and annoying…

  2. I definitely agree with the responsible intimacy. I read so many unexpected pregnancy in NA without the mothers wanting to pursue more. It makes me feel my side of being young and in love part doesn’t exist or isn’t realistic.

    • You know I haven’t read much NA but I think it’s REALLY interesting that there’s so much unexpected pregnancy in them. I guess I assumed since that genre was more open with sexuality it would talk more about responsibility too!

  3. Tara

    You know what, I’ve not thought about it before, but the best-friend-turned-boyfriend trope annoys me, too. While I know it has happened in the real world, it is ofter represented in fiction. It’s not a relationship I can relate to at all. I had one relationship where I dated someone I would have referred to as my best friend, and it lasted all of 4 months and kind of ruined our friendship. Not passionate. Not glamourous. As for slut shaming in novels? That will definitely earn a book a long rant in a review AND at least a star downgrade.

    • YA novels (at least the ones that I’ve read) almost never deal with the fallout of best-friend-turned-couples when it doesn’t work out! I think most people in real life can attest to the fact that those types of relationships (unless they end in permanent partnerships) are the most awkward when they end! I’d like to see some more YA that doesn’t slut shame girls who aren’t virgins, have had more than one partner, or are not looking for commitment.

  4. Oh, witty banter, how I adore you! I’m more likely to swoon over this than a description of how broad a lover interest’s shoulders are. Slut shaming is the worst, and I especially hate it when it is female characters hating on other females.

    • Female on female hate is SUCH a huge problem (especially in contemporaries) and just fosters this overall negativity among the age group that YA represents as not being able to foster healthy relationships between characters. So frustrating!

  5. I totally agree with all the things you like and dislike! I LOVE when characters have that ability to banter with each other without the cheesiness! But I have a love-hate relationship with love triangles! Some frustrate me to the point of madness while others have me torn between the characters, falling in love with them all! Love your post!

  6. I love witty banter! Totally forgot about that in my list (oops) but I really agree with the insta-love and love triangle (unless the author does it right, but rarely do they). I feel like for a lot of reviewers, insta-love and the triangle are on everybodys list. It’s crazy how we all think alike 🙂

    My TTT: My Life as a Bookworm

  7. Everyone seems to be loving the witty banter this week! I’d love to see more of that in romance, the swoons and feels are all well and good, but where is the chemistry damn it?! The friends to couple trope doesn’t annoy me too much, it can be well done, but if I read too many of them in a row it can be tiresome, that’s why I take genre-breaks! R x

    My TTT:

    • Literally if there is no chemistry I can’t get on board with the romance no matter how “swoon-worthy” the characters are. That’s why the slow-burn romances are so great, as they require at lot of invested dialogue! 🙂

    • Thank you! Paranormal is just fantastic…I mean contemporary romances are fine but I’m never going to get to experience a paranormal romance in real life, so reading about them is so much more fun!

  8. I love, love, love supernatural pairings as well! Realistic fiction is all well and good but people falling in love with superpowers or in a different world is amazing! Equality in a relationship is so important to me as well. It always seems like the guy is the one who is the more powerful one and if it’s a fantasy book, has more experience with the world and ‘helps’ the inexperienced little girl. Awesome post!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

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