Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme for list-loving bloggers that is hosted by the team over at The Broke and the Bookish. Every week, readers compile a list of their favorite books, authors, or other literature-related things that fall under a certain category.
In honor of Valentine's Day, today's topic asks us to spotlight tropes we love or hate to see in fictional romances. I decided to split up my list, featuring five things I like and five things I dislike. Authors take note—I want to see more of (or less of) the following items.
Things I Like1. When there is no romance
This is pretty uncommon, so I'll also take minimal romance. I don't want fictional romance to disappear, but I would appreciate more books that don't fixate on it. There are other important things in life!
2. When the couple does not end up together
Not every couple that gets together in high school stays together forever, but many YA couples live happily ever after. Is this realistic? No.
3. Diverse romance
Give me more LGBT romances and more romances between people of different races, ethnicities, and cultures. I especially want more books like Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour, which portrays a relationship between two girls as totally normal, although I do love reading about societal oppression.
4. Witty banter and meaningful discussions
I'd much rather read a clever conversation than a kissing scene.
5. When larger, powerful forces threaten to keep a couple apart
This setup gives the author so many opportunities to play with readers' emotions. For example, I loved the romance in Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman because it features a girl raised in the Nazi party falling in love with a Jewish reporter.
Things I Dislike
There is nothing appealing about tattoos, cigarettes, and delinquency, even if the boy is "misunderstood." I'll take a clever geek chic love interest instead. Case in point: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. Despite all the hype, I couldn't love this book as much as everyone else because I was not a fan of the boy.
2. Love triangles
Dividing into "teams" that support two different love interests is slightly fun, but as I have discussed before, I hate it when love triangles distract from a book's actual plot and messages. And at this point, love triangles are so common that each new one feels unoriginal—and gives me the feeling that the author only included it out of obligation.
3. Insta-love or "soul mates"
Soul mates don't exist. Sorry. And I think we all have the same opinion on insta-love.
4. When a romantic relationship magically allows a character to overcome a tragedy
A character's mom dies, but luckily, when she has just hit the depth of her grief, a boy who understands her shows up out of nowhere. I disliked Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott because its entire plot follows this too-common trope.
5. Too-beautiful love interests
There is no way every available boy in the YA world has a six-pack and hair that falls perfectly in front of his eyes.
What do you think about these tropes? What are your favorite and least favorite things to see in fictional romance?