Bookish Reflections: Romance in Books & Why It Sometimes Bugs Me

Romance is its own genre of books, but as we all know, genres float into one another. Romance especially has a tendency to creep its way into all genres, because it is a very important feature of the human condition.

I am not a huge romance reader, and I don't often read pure romance novels. It's just not my cup of tea. And it annoys the living bees out of me when I pick up a book that promises a certain thing, and I spend half the book reading about some mysterious boy who is secretly the prince, who acts like a douche, but is secretly really wounded and nice and blah blah blah. And I think that's fine for books that say they are in the romance genre, but when it's not...

I need a t-shirt that says "I came here for dragons, and all I got was this stupid love triangle."

Now, I feel like this needs some discussion, so I have written down a few points as to what I like and dislike.

romantic relationships in books that are either 1. actually important to the story, 2. doesn't take up a lot of the story, but rather adds another dimension to it, 3. a relationship that is a natural part of the story, and when it would be odd if something didn't happen.

good pacing when it comes to relationship. I like it when things develop over time. I like when things don't always work out, and that's not a big deal. I like it when it's a natural part of the story, and not some huge thing everything evolves around.

good relationships, between people who would naturally be attracted to each other. I also understand why sometimes relationships are bad because of a well-crafted reason, and I think that can add something to a story too.


instalove. This is something a lot of us book lovers really despise. The "Hi, I just met you, but I love you" type of situation (this is only cute with dogs). It's one thing to be immediately attracted to someone, but another thing when a relationship goes from strangers to old lovers in 2.0 flat.

love triangles. Unless they're really necessary. I think most of the reason why I don't like it is because I've read it so many times, and it's always the same thing, and I'm just over it.

the cliché character of the mysterious boy in school that never talks to anyone, but when this particular girl starts the same class as him, he's all into her and she's going to save him from his devious ways. This is also because I've read it, or something very similar, a thousand times.

the romanticising of bad boys and abusive relationships. Enough said.

Now, I feel like those are pretty good points, but this last one is the one that really gets me going:

when female characters are only driven by their desire to be accepted by a male character who couldn't care less. It's one thing that we all wish to be loved, but when the whole book is just about this, I just can't deal with it. It's one thing if you've actually picked up a romance novel, because then that's what you signed up for. But in an epic fantasy? Girl, you go to war with the trolls or whatever for yourself. You do you. (Again, different if it's actually a romance novel).

It's no better if it's a guy doing the same pining for a girl, by the way.

Am I making any sense? What do you think? I actually think I'd like romance novels more if I hadn't read so many bad ones, so let me know if you know some great ones!



  1. THAT would be the best t-shirt slogan ever. Did you come up with it?

    Haha, and yes to instalove with dogs <3

    I'm so annoyed by the "mysterious boy" and "shy girl" tropes. When I only read these adjectives in a synopsis I will put this book back down again in the store.

    1. It would! I haven't seen it anywhere, but I'm sure someone has thought of that before me :) But if there aren't any t-shirts, there definitely should be.

      Completely agree, if I spy the words "mysterious boy", I'm like NOPE.

  2. Totally agree with you on everything! I've definitely seen too many books romanticising bad boys: if I get the idea that something like that might be in the book, even just from the blurb, that is one book I'll most definitely not read. And yes to the being yourself! Whatever kind of book you're reading, I think it's NEVER ok to have a character change radically who they are because of their love interest. I hate it when a book character just goes "Oh, I've never cared about you before, but now you've COMPLETELY changed your appearance and personality for me, I think you may just be the love of my life". Enough with this nonsense already! Be yourself, you're great the way you are. *rant over* Great post!

    Beatrice @ Book For Thought

    1. Exactly! And thanks :D It's good to know I made a sense :D


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