Top Ten Romance Tropes I LOVE

Posted February 10, 2015 by Debby in Uncategorized

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You know I’m all about the romance. I’m realizing more and more that I need a great ship to really fully enjoy a book. Shippy feels give me LIFE. Now, whereas some people are annoyed when romances are cliché and tropey, I actually LIVE for certain tropes – when they’re executed well. For each of these elements, I’ll give some examples of books I’ve read and LOVED. SO. Shall we begin?

1. Hate-to-Love Romance

If you didn’t know this would be first on this list, you just don’t know me at all. I wrote about this kiiiind of at the beginning of my blogging career in a discussion post on love-hate relationships, but since I’ve read more I’ve realized that’s not quite it. I love it when characters actually really don’t like each other at the beginning but then fall in love slowly later on. WHY? BANTER. DUH. And and that transition is just soooo feelsy and meaningful and UNF.

Pride and Prejudice Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet The DUFF Adorkable_B1.indd Meant to Be MAGNOLIA
Obsidian_cover1600 angelfall Cruel Beauty The Burning Sky allouryesterdays

2. Fake Dating

Fake datinggggggggg: characters pretend to be in a relationship for one purpose or another. Whyyyy do I love this so? Duh, they’re forced into situations where they have to fake feelings but then slowly realize it might be real. There’s so much to analyze in those kisses, held hands, lingering glances. THE SLOW BURN CHEMISTRY. I need more of these books in my life.

Faking It The Art of Lainey the fine art of pretending

3. Best Friend Romance

Again: I go for the slow burn. I love it when characters have been friends for ever but suddenly, because of some circumstance, realize there may be more going on. Now, this comes with a caveat, because I don’t like it when they’ve been pining after each other secretly for ages (*cough*TheBoyNextDoor*cough*) because that gets sappy as hell. No, there should be some kind of trigger when they realize, oh shit, I actually love him/her! (Bonus points if the friendship is based on banter and snark.)

Emma On the Fence Catching Jordan Untitled-2 the fine art of pretending

4. The Princess and Her Guard

I’m realizing more and more with fantasy and historical fiction that I loooove the princess and her guard ship. Now, I still want those princesses to be badass chicks, not completely reliant on the dude to save her or protect her. But something about that guard/knight. How he can be strong and silent, over-protective, often repressing his feelings… IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL. PLEASE EXCUSE MY FEELS.

Crown of Midnight Crown-of-Embers-US Stitching Snow

5. Unexpected Love Interest

I was torn on what to call this, first naming it a “fake out love triangle” but that’s not always the case. I just love it when the love interest is unexpected. Maybe the MC was attracted to or involved with someone else at the start, but then later on it’s like BOOM this guy is the actual charmer duhhhhhhhh. It’s really hard to explain, because it sounds like a love triangle but it’s REALLY NOT. It’s just a love interest that kind of sneaks up on you, and it’s fun to try to spot them ahead of time. HIGH LEVEL shippers can usually spot them from a mile away, but the rollercoaster of feels is a good one.

Catching Jordan Stealing Parker Smart Girls Get What They Want

6. Stuck Together

Is there anything more fantastic than two characters with chemistry and banter and sexual tension being stuck together due to a hurricane/snow storm/blackout/stuck elevator? I THINK NOT. I need more of this trope because it never gets old. NEVERRRRR.


7. Hook Up First, Ask Questions Later

*cough* Um. Yeah. I like to swoon. I’m liking New Adult more and more. I like there to be incredible chemistry. Now, this doesn’t always work. Ships that do this have their work cut out for them, because just because the physical part of the relationship is solid, that doesn’t mean they’re really meant to be together. But often this makes my shippy feels go out of control. I like my romances hot.

BreatheAnnieBreathe_CVR-1 A Midsummer's Nightmare Losing It Boomerang-pb-c

8. Forbidden Romance

This comes with a caveat, because I like this sometimes but not always. It’s also primarily a New Adult thing. A lot of these stray to the student-teacher relationships and I’m torn on that. Definitely not in high school, but in college it can be pretty freaking hot. The office romances I like more because there isn’t always such a clear power imbalance. But I just like the forbidden aspect, and how it leads to repressed feelings, sneaking around… it makes it a lot hotter. And the risk involved means they have to put a lot of effort in the relationship to make it a legit healthy ship, and I like that. They do really work for it. (Obviously this is not always done well. But yeah.)

Losing It Unteachable Boomerang-pb-c Rebound A Midsummer's Nightmare

9. Celebrity Romance

As a teen I was totally obsessed with the whole stardom thing – daydreaming of meeting a hot celebrity who for some reason would fall for an ordinary girl like me. I will never stop being drawn to those plots in books or movies. Hanging out behind the scenes or backstage… having to act alongside someone you first hate but grow to love? (I will always miss you, Sonny with a Chance.) Sadly I haven’t found a looooot of books that have done this well, but I will likely keep trying anyway.

Open Road Summer Behind the Scenes

10. The Non-Confession

If you know me, you know I don’t like sappy romance. Actually, the way to get me to ship it like burning is not to have a dramatic, “I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE FOR ME, I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT YOU,” scene, but more of a non-confession. A grudging admission that, “Maybe I sort of like having you around.” I can’t really think of a book that’s done this, sadly, so this one’s for you, Selfie. Take it away. (RIP)

These are a few of my favorite things..
Got any titles I need to add to my TBR ASAP?

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18 responses to “Top Ten Romance Tropes I LOVE

  1. I thought the first one was going to be called ‘banter fluff.’ That’s also, by far, my favorite type of romance 🙂 It’s so enjoyable when they dislike each other and make snappy comments. The burning sky, Cruel beauty and Angelfall <3 It gives the best chemistry.

    The princess and her guard is also something that works for me, now that I think of it. I'm extra excited for Stitching Snow.

    And yes, non-confessional romance, that's great as well. Most stories can drop those dramatic scenes for me. It's all about small gestures for me and you don't have to say 'I love you' to show you care about someone.

    • Hahaha, banter is an inherent must for any ship for me, I guess I didn’t feel it needed to be stated? IDKKKKK, banterfluff is a thing. But usually it’s a component for many of these kinds of ships and tropes and and I love it.

      STITCHING SNOWWW. Seriously I need to buy the hardcover of that. Since I found the cover of Spinning Starlight I’ve been all GRABBY HANDS for it. But yes that story is wonderful and I love that ship muchly ♥

      RIGHT, it’s much better to showww the love than to say it. But I especially like it when they’re a bit awkward about it or just don’t know how to put their feelings into words. IT IS THE MOST ADORABLE.

  2. I love the fake dating concept!Faking It is probably my favourite book with that trope.
    The princess (or the queen) and her guard is becoming a trend,I guess.Not that I am complaining:)
    I love Chaol and Celaena.Those two are one of my OTPs.And I recently read Girl of Fire and Thorns,and I am looking forward to read the sequel and the romance between Elisa and Hector.

  3. I HAVE GROWN ACCUSTOMED TO YOUR FACE. Time to watch whatever that is.

    I’m so glad that you brought up THAT side of forbidden love because the other side – either the paranormal romance side or the dystopian government is tearing us apart side – is NOT for me. But I think I can totally get behind the idea of office romances or professor-student relationships.

    I absolutely LOVEEEEEEEE the princess-and-her-guard trope. Like. I don’t even have words for how much I love it. (Actually I have about 100k words for it. *stares longingly at my WIP*)

    • That wonderful line is from Selfieeeeeeee which was canceled way before its time 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 but yes it is fab. or it was. 🙁 🙁 🙁

      TRUE paranormal/dystopian forbidden romance is often just way too sappy and melodramatic. I dunno, I feel like that could be done well, but I’ve never seen it tbh.

      OOOH awesomeeee. Good luck with your WIP! Bring on the swoons!

  4. Thanks to your opening, I’m now trying to change the lyrics to All About That Bass to be about this TTT.

    Haaa, I thought about putting in examples, but I was lazy so I got dinner instead. Good work. OH HEY IGNIFEX AND NYX, YOU SEXY SHIP YOU.

    I like how both of these were on our list so far, but now you’re branching out.

    I thought about friend romance, but they can also go so wrong for me. I like them when there wasn’t pining involved. Pining just makes it sad. When they’re combined with a surprise kiss though MY GOD. SERIOUSLY EVERY BREATH.

    Hmmm, I wonder if I’m into the princess/guard thing or if it just happens to have a bunch of good ships. *ponders*

    UNEXPECTED LOVE INTEREST. OH MAN. I did not think of this, but it’s kind of like surprise kiss. HOLLA.

    Almost put stuck together on my list, but the dislike to combine it with (Stockholm Syndrome) was too long for my banner. This is how I make choices.


    trolololol Forbidden Romance – this is our one difference.

    NON-CONFESSION. HELL TO THE YES. I…do not hate your face.

    • hahaha, I don’t even really know that song, but I keep saying I’m “all about” certain things. SOCIAL MEDIA THIS IS WHAT YOU DO TO ME.

      LOL examples = me overachieving again. But that’s also because it was easy for me – I had tagged my reviews of books with these trope names. So that I could always find them again myself xD I’M LAZY TOO I just think ahead >.> NYX AND IGNIFEX. I really kinda want to reread Cruel Beauty. THOSE FEELS THO.

      Pining needs to never happen in any romance of mine. It’s just sappy and a whole lot of NO.

      asdfjkl;asdfjkl; EVERY BREATH COME TO ME NOW.

      That’s true! I haven’t read *many* princess/guard romances, but I think it’s something I’m into? IDK. AUTHORS, BRING ME MORE.

      Your decision making style = A+

      I KNEW you wouldn’t like the forbidden romance thing lolololol. But yeah, it only works for me under *certain* conditions, but it really does help to increase the sexual tension.

      NON-CONFESSIONS FOREVER AND ALWAYS. (P.S. Watch Selfie. kthnxbai)

  5. I love almost all thees tropes. I love hate-to-love! Friends to more, stuck together, celebrity romance, the princess and her guard, and fake dating. I’m not a big fan of hook up first (although I don’t hate them), or forbidden romance (although I don’t hate them either).

  6. I haven’t even read the post yet (I always open a second tab so I can comment as I read) and I’m already prepared to agree with everything you wrote. SO. Be warned 😉

    Gosh yes, certain tropes exist for a reason when they’re done well. I really need romances in books too, ships are just too much fun to get invested in. All those Looks and Feelings and KISSES.

    Hate-to-love, absolutely for every reason you gave! The banter, the slow realization, it’s just sooooo good! Looks like I have some books to add to my list 😀

    I haven’t read many fake dating books besides The Art of Lainey (squeeee) but I want to read The Fine Art of Pretending! Catch a Falling Star is also a cute fake dating book, not the best but definitely worth an afternoon!

    Best Friends! I think this was my ultimate fantasy as a teen so yeah, I still love it. It’s just so great and all the tension makes it unbearable in the BEST way.

    Never thought about princess and her guard but yes! Apparently I like it! I have Stitching Snow from the library so now I’m looking forward to it more 🙂

    Ohhh yes being stuck somewhere, that is the best! Forced to interact and fall in luuurve. I need to read Magnolia.

    I like the idea of celebrity romance too! Catch a Falling Star also works for this 🙂 And yeah, I still daydream about that hahah. I feel like this is something I’ve watched in movies more than read about. But I still like it.

    • ♥♥♥♥♥♥ LOVE that you are such an awesome shipping buddy TEEHEE

      Ooooh Catch a Falling Star! I keep forgetting about that. BUT FAKE DATING. I neeeeed to get that soon.


      Celebrity romance is definitely something I’ve seen more movies about than books. I BLAME DISNEY CHANNEL. LOVINGLY. Seriously, I would still watch those movies. Starstruck was sooooo good, though also because it was Sterling Knight, but okay. (I’m so adult, it’s amazing.)

  7. Fantastic list! It’s basically got all my favourite tropes too haha. I love love hate-to-love couples (the more banter the better!)! And yes to the non-confession! That was a beautiful moment in Selfie.

    • Awww, no worries Lyn! (I should have re-read it too but *psst* I didn’t because I am a fail. It wasn’t really my read-along – it was part of a street team thing, which is just meh.) BUT, The DUFF is only like 280 pages and it’s feelsy goodness so you should squeeze it in soon anyways 😉