thinking out loud

Top Ten Things I Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is “top ten books we like/dislike when it comes to romances in books”, which is something I didn’t think I have a lot of opinion about, since I usually couldn’t care less about the romance, but after talking about it with Kit I find that I have enough to make a list!

1. It focuses on the romance so much that I think of the book more as a “romance” than a “fantasy”, or “SF”, or whatever genre it’s supposed to be. I don’t consider romance as something that’s absolutely essential in genre, and while it can make for a good read, I don’t like it when the romance takes over the entire story.

2. Soulmates. One true love. Instalove. And all the other variations of this. I really dislike this. Of course, sometimes I like the book despite this, like in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bones, and Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle, which I’m currently reading and loving.

3. “She’s not like other girls.” So other girls are factory-produced cardboard cut-outs and this one girl is oh so special? Just – no.

4. Heteronormativity. If I have to read a romance can it at least be queer?

5. Love triangles. I’ve read books where this is done in an acceptable way (Dan Wells’ Partials sequence), so what I’m really protesting is the treatment of many books with love triangles. Sometimes there’s just no chemistry with one of the characters and I wonder why the love triangle had to be there in the first place. Sometimes it just serves to make the girl really annoying (like America in The Selection.)

6. When one or both characters have no friends of their own. Or when the girl has no friends who are girls, because she’s so misunderstood and so much better than the other girls (see point #3). Or when characters abandon/neglect their friends because the romance is so much more important.

7. The guy is described as really hot – and that’s it. He’s otherwise without personality or redeeming qualities.

8. One of the characters being overprotective and stalkery. Edward Cullen, I’m looking at you.

9. When the characters just DON’T TALK TO EACH OTHER, creating SO MANY MISUNDERSTANDINGS. There’s a reason I don’t like K-dramas, and this is it. (Ironically, when it comes to fanfic, I like the unnecessary angst that this produces. Hahahah.)

10. When it focuses so much on the physical attraction. When characters make out more than they talk/connect, and when every other paragraph they’re obsessing about each other’s looks. (See point #7!)

Of course, as much as I dislike these things, every now and then I’d encounter books that does one or more of the stuff in this list, and I find that I like it anyway. Usually this is because it also includes tropes I like – like, combining #9 with a slow burn romance in which two characters that hate each other fall in love. (Austen? Ha.)

What are things you like/dislike in romances, whether it’s in books or film/tv?



2 thoughts on “Top Ten Things I Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books

  1. Romance merely as a plot device doesn’t work for me, it has to be character-led or just don’t bother. And I also get easily embarrassed, so no gratuitous graphic details unless it adds to our understanding… That’s it, I think.


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