Challenges, Discussion, Romance

#BroodyBFF Challenge: Romance tropes I LOVEHATE. Yes, You Heard It Right

As I’ve been a little behind, you might not know that I’ve joined #BroodyBFFs – the Brooding YA Hero street team. It’s been great fun, except that I haven’t done a challenge yet. So here goes!

Romance Tropes I… LOVEHATE.

So you might know my complicated relationship with romance. Or you might not. Well, in case you don’t know, let me just put it simply. I avoid romance books any way I can. I will beat them away with a stick. Sometimes, I do happen to pick one up! That will be a very rare occurrence that I will try to cover up ASAP.

So like I said. Complicated relationship with romance.

However, it’s not like I don’t read any romance at all. I mean, books can’t be completely romance-free, can they? It’s just that I usually don’t read romance-centered books, but I will often read something with romance in the background.

So this time, I will be talking about romance tropes I both love and hate, mostly because I’ll hate a romance trope in general if it’s the main storyline. But it it’s done right, I might even love it.


Friends To Lovers.

Gosh I love this trope so much. Perhaps it’s because that’s one that actually works in real life? It also sort of happens to be the one that started my relationship. Well, okay. I say, sort of. It was like 5 seconds of us being friends, really.

Complicated, again. (it’s like that’s my go to word now.)

Friends to lovers is just such an endearing theme though. Most of the relationships I’ve had in my teens evolved exactly the same way, mostly because I was a very nerdy chick, and nerdy chicks are usually pursued by the shy type guy. (When I say are pursued, I mean… Well, if you’ve ever had a shy guy date you, you know what I mean. Shoutouts to you, girls. You have balls and you know that.)

Friends to lovers also creates the most realistic relationships, and the most wholesome ones. It’s how life should be. So no surprises there that I like reading about it!

So where’s the hate part? I normally love this trope about 90% of the time, but sometimes… Sometimes it’s just annoying. Like when the friend is an annoying loser that needs to change to be loved. Man, I just don’t like that, that supports a lot of things that are wrong with this society, you know what I mean?

Arranged Marriage.

(Okay, so I don’t watch Bollywood. But COME OOOOON. Arranged marriage?)

Anyway, arranged marriages can be such a good trope, particularly because a lot of literary or contemporary fiction has been written around this topic, and it’s not always purely romance-directed. And considering the complicatedness of my relationship with romance, is it not what I’m looking for??

Some of the books I’ve read that feature arranged marriages are:

The Autobiography of a Turkish Girl The Secrets of Jin-shei (Jin-Shei #1) Brick Lane White Teeth

You will probably not find Calikusu in English, but it’s a Turkish classic I’ve read 8 times when I was a teen. I loved that book to bits and pieces (especially considering that my copy was from 1951 and was literally falling apart). It’s a wonderful book, and if you are lucky enough to speak a language it has been translated to (basically, anything else but English), you should definitely read it.

The Secrets Of Jin-Shei is sort of one of those books I read ages ago and also am quite embarrassed, but then again, it was fun and I liked it. It read sort of like YA that is not YA? It’s fantasy, but very close to our current reality, and if I’m not mistaken, one of the MCs was in an arranged marriage.

Brick Lane is quite a well-known book about Bangladeshi immigrants in Great Britain and generally the life of an outcast, be it at home or abroad. It’s a tough and sad book, but it’s a book about women and their plights. It wasn’t a favorite of mine, but I still think it exploits the arranged marriage trope very well.

White Teeth is another good example of arranged marriage plots. It’s just part of the story, really, more of a literary furnishing for it, but it relates to the ways one of the main characters lives in big part, and it shows the inner map of the phenomenon of arranged relationships very well. It’s also a great book that is quite easily readable, with nice, flowing prose.

So where’s the hate here? I don’t know if I should even explain. Think South American telenovellas with all the screaming.

Ugly Duckling.

We all love Princess Mia, don’t we? I have a confession to make though. I have not read The Princess Diaries yet. For shame, right?

Ugly duckling stories can be written both beautifully and really badly. I love this trope when the ‘ugly duckling’ retains their dignity. Or when the lessons they have to learn aren’t solely looks-based.

I really hate this trope when it promotes girl-on-girl hate, when it says that one type of look is acceptable and the other is not (I have curly hair, okay? Why is that always shot down and “fixed” in stories??) or when a character has to lose weight to become “loveable”. That is truly terrible.

So what are your favorite / most hated romance tropes?

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

24 thoughts on “#BroodyBFF Challenge: Romance tropes I LOVEHATE. Yes, You Heard It Right

  1. I love romance novels but some tropes did not work with me. Oh yes, I love arrange marriage and friend to lover trope. I also love pretend lover trope. But they can turn into something I have if the character is underdeveloved and too much drama going on. Plus, I usually did not like bad guy with good girl trope. It kinda have message that girl’s love can turn bad guy into good one. I totally agree about your opinion with ugly ducking one. Great article Evelina. I enjoy reading this! 🙂

    1. Hi Hana! Nice to see you here again 🙂 yeah, some tropes just don’t work!
      Yes, I don’t like bad guy/good girl or even bad girl related tropes. It’s just… nope. Just nope.
      Thank you so much for your compliments, Hana 🙂

  2. I’m aligned with you a lot on these! My relationship really did start as friends (growing up together), so of course I’m partial to that. And I love the arranged marriage trope, I think because it delves into an interesting side of romance and love that you don’t see in a typical love story.

    1. Awwww! Growing up together! I envy that so much 🙂 one of the most beautiful… “life-tropes” 😀
      Yes, the arranged marriage one can result in some great stories indeed. And life lessons!

  3. This post makes me so happy. I also don’t read romance novels (intentionally). I have tried a few times, but I just can’t get past the terrible writing and unrealistic characters in unrealistic relationships. Yuck. However, most YA seems to have an aspect of romance in them now, so I’ve seen a ton of tropes.

    I complete agree with you about the Friends to Lover and Ugly Duckling tropes! I lovehate them, too. There is something about best friends realizing they should have been together all along which makes me so happy. I think when it’s done well it’s easy to see our younger selves in those situations. How many relationships did I have where my bestie was really someone I wanted to date? Too many to admit to. O_o

    Ugly Duckling: I adore Princess Mia. I spent one weekend a few summers ago and read EVERY Princess Diaries book which was on my roommate’s bookshelf. The first… 10? Gods. That’s a lot of books. Anywho. The first book is the best. The others are lovely popcorn fiction. I strongly recommend them for when you are in a slump or just stuck inside. Totally fun. I’m sure there are other examples, but I can’t think of any. She’s All That? I don’t think films count, do they? 😉

    I haven’t read a SINGLE book with an arranged marriage in it! Yikes. That shows my white-American background like woah. I will definitely try to find some books which show this. That said, When Dimple Met Rishi is on my TBR short list! That has an arranged marriage in it, sorta…

    Other tropes I hatelove:
    — The Lovable Rogue. He’s a heartless killer, a rude douchebag who treats everyone terribly, but she manages to melt his heart. When it’s done well, I just get all mushy. But I’d say that 80% of the time it’s AWFUL.
    — Starcrossed Lovers. Romeo and Juliet FTW. But it’s always super painful to see everything terrible happen to a couple. I just don’t want to watch that go down in my free time! Kids, find new partners! This obviously isn’t working.
    –Will they or won’t they? Guess what: They will. (Also can be shown as On Again Off Again) So, the tension is completely ruined in most cases by this. But it can be done really well! I loved Stephanie Perkin’s Anna and the French Kiss because of the well-written tension. In fact, I’ll keep reading the series, if you can believe that. Craziness.

    …Okay. I just wrote my own blog post to counter your blog post. We might as well join forces to make a co-blog at this rate. 😉
    Jackie B. recently posted…#AnneReadAlong2017: 5 Reasons I Want To Read Anne of Green GablesMy Profile

    1. So glad it makes you happy! 🙂 yeah, I will shy away from anything with half-naked people on the covers, oh my god 😀 I also don’t read a lot of YA for… reasons, this one included.

      I don’t think the Princess Diaries were accessible to me in my country before the movie even made it to TV (not even the cinemas!), so I never really read those. But even if they were 😀 I was a *too smart to be true* hipster kid xD haha… I would have never picked it up! I had quite an attitude growing up, haha. But I do think I’ll probably read it sometime 🙂

      You should read something with arranged marriage, it’s an interesting concept to read about, ESPECIALLY because we’re Western! (Well, I say I’m Western…) Anyway, yeah, Dimple and Rishi would be an example, but I suggest reading something heavier as well 🙂 oh! I forgot to mention White Teeth! That had arranged marriage, I think. It was great. Maybe I’ll append the post.

      Haha, I usually just hate the loveable rogue 😀 probably because I was bullied at school. Boys actually physically beat me up. There’s NOTHING romantic about being rogue. I just see them as assheads, meh.
      Starcrossed is okay though! Although I do do some eye rolling there. It’s quite hard to pull it off right 🙂

      To counter 😀 yes! Actually, we did think of doing like half-dialogue posts, didn’t we. Sounds like fun 🙂

  4. Aww great post. I have a soft spot for romance novels because they were the first adult genre I read as a young teen. I like the friends to lovers trope, I also like the lovers separated then reunited years/decades later theme, and the enemies to lovers trope because there is a thin line between love and hate.

  5. The one I don’t like is falling for you BFF’s younger sister/brother. I guess I don’t get it. So? lol

    They make a lot of drama about people getting mad and I just feel like if they are your best friend and you don’t trust them that’s weird.

    Stopping by for #getsocial17

    For What It’s Worth

    1. Oh yeah! Yeah, that one is so… corny, isn’t it? And I find it funny that it’s always portrayed as ‘upsetting’. Why think that nobody would ever date your sister, right? xD

  6. haha! Love this post! I’m a “closet romance reader” ;-P I constantly go out and back to the closet on my blog. And I get the complicated part too. Arranged marriages are one of my weaknesses. One of the most important plot points of my first WIP is arranged marriage. Well, maybe I should say. child marriage which is really another level. One of the heroines was married at five!
    HAHA! you cracked me up with the South American telenovellas. Seriously, I grew up thinking I had to slap the first clueless soul that dared to kiss me LOL! They have improved a LOT though.
    Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium recently posted…#familylife Our Familiairum Beach is open!My Profile

    1. 😀 you’re right, that’s the only way us ‘serious readers’ will ever read romance! I do read like… ONE romance book a year. Maybe. But if I do, it will be in hiding :DD not that it’s bad to read romance, it’s not! It’s just that I don’t tend to do it much, and when I do, I feel weird about it 😀

      Oh wow, yes, child marriage is quite another thing! But sadly, it is the reality in many parts of the world still.

      Yes, the telenovellas that our TV stations now go for are, strangely, not South American, but Turkish 😀 so I figure that they must have picked up and gotten more expensive and less dramatic, or something 😀

  7. I absolutely love the arranged marriage trope! One of my favourite romance films is a Bollywood film called Jodha Akbar based on a real historical arranged marriage – the characters have religious differences to overcome too which adds an interesting dimension to it all. I confess, I’m not as big of a fan of the ‘friends to lovers’ trope… I prefer ‘enemies to lovers’, not sure why though, maybe because there are more dramatic hurdles to overcome! Actually enemies to lovers is probably my favourite trope 🙂

    I tend to like most romances I encounter as long as they aren’t too cheesy and the characters have chemistry… but if I had to pick hated tropes, I’d probably go for instant head-over-heels love at first sight, love triangles, and everyone-is-obsessed-with-the-handsome-mysterious-new-guy scenarios.

    1. That does sound like an interesting scenario for a movie 🙂 yeah, those tropes are DEFINITELY the worst 😀 I somehow dislike the enemies to lovers, cause it’s so… unlikely to me. Like… o remember my teenage enemies xD ugh. But you know. Maybe it can happen..? Now lovers to enemies… that’s more likely 😀 but wait… that’s not romance anymore 😀

      1. Yes true I think ‘enemies to lovers’ is incredibly unlikely in real life and probably rare… but I still love it in my fiction 🙂 (I suppose the most plausible time I’ve seen the scenario is in Pride and Prejudice… but I still doubt things like that happen often because I think people are usually too stubborn to overcome their prides and prejudices!). Lovers to enemies is indeed sadly far more likely… maybe not romance anymore, but good revenge drama territory 😀

        1. Oh yeah, when you say it.. that WAS enemies to lovers! Also, in North and South too, now that I think about it. But there’s just something about Victorian romance that’s different from YA romance, you know? 😀
          Yes, good revenge drama 😀

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