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?

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Hana Bilqisthi
3 years ago

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! 🙂

3 years ago

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.

Jackie B.
3 years ago

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… Read more »

Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

Yes, I love friends to lovers because I’ve found it the most realistic and cute too!

Laura Thomas
3 years ago

I think the best is friends to lovers. It happens in real life and their is no insta love involved. I am tired of love triangles. How often does that even happen in real life???? I like enemies to lovers too. Love and hate are hard to distinguish sometimes. LOL Fun post!

3 years ago

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.


[…] #BroodyBFF Challenge: Romance tropes I LOVEHATE. […]

3 years ago

Curly haired girls unite!! Why does making someone pretty mean straightening their hair!? What is that about!? This makes me ragey!
I love your post. I so agree with you on all these.

3 years ago

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

Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium
Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium
3 years ago

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… Read more »

Nicola @ Thoughts on Fantasy

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… Read more »

Nicola @ Thoughts on Fantasy

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 😀

Nicola @ Thoughts on Fantasy

Haha yes, very different to YA romance! 🙂