Booked til Tuesday

Life, Law & Libros

Discussion: Romance in Books

Romance seems to be in every YA book out there- if not a relationship, the possibility of one. Romance is also the most common stumbling block in my reading. Despite watching way too many Hallmark movies and enjoying an evening curled up with a chick flick movie or book every once in a while, I have a lot of issues with the book romances I read.

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This isn't always the case. I love the relationships in old fairy tale favorites like Spindle's End, Beauty, Ella Enchanted and others. More recently, I enjoyed the pairings (or possible future pairings) in All Our Yesterdays, Written in Red, Blackwood, and, to some extent, The Lunar Chronicles.

I'm afraid saying this will invalidate my liking all the books named above, but I've wondered why I'm so picky about book romances. The most obvious reason is probably my severely limited relationship experience, but I wonder if it has more to do with my view on relationships in general.

That is, hormones and physical attraction plus shared taste in music doesn't fit my definition of "love." I think the relationships that I connect with more are those in which, not only are the characters friends of some sort, but they are together by virtue of a mutual commitment to one another, a choice, as opposed to "until I 'fall in love' with someone else." There's often a sense of finality to it, like a choice has been made and that's that. *frantically skims through books listed above to make sure their characters fit this description...*

I'm curious. Do you guys find any common factors across the literary romances you love? While you think, I'll close out with a quick list of my general rules for book romances. Yes, they all have exceptions, but in general...

General Guidelines:
  • Romance should be a subplot, not THE plot.
  • Instalove is a no-no. Slow burn or no burn.
  • Love triangles get you burned at the stake. :)


  1. Instalove is the worst peeve of mine I think. My brain just shuts that all out because I believe in realism when it comes to romance. And instalove doesn't feel real to me. I can't think of anything worse than that honestly. My particular favorite is love/hate.

    1. Agreed! I get that teenagers are often in and out of like/lust, but this trend of instant "I will die without you" feelings is too...over the top? It's unrealistically dramatic, too Romeo and Juliet.

      Love/hate romances require character development by definition and there's so much room for humor, too. :D

  2. I agree with 1 and 2. I like a good love triangle if it's done well, which is rarely. I have a habit of choosing the guy that doesn't win in a love triangle.

    I find that I like the relationships that grow into a relationship, kind of like you said. It's a slow growing attraction as they get to know each other more. I like it to be a challenge, I want angst.

    1. I can see how that would make love triangles extra frustrating! Like rooting for Roger Federer through a whole major, only to watch him lose in the semi's. T.T

      I think you hit the nail on the head. The most arresting relationships are those with growth, where it's a challenge to get from point A to point B- not a given. :)