Musing About Things: Romance Tropes


Hi guys, welcome to Book Munchies’ Musing about Things: A Discussion (Post). Inspired by memes such as A Daily Rhythm‘s Musing Monday & Caffeinated Book Reviewer‘s Caffeinated Confessions (etc.), this is a Book Munchies discussion post, where I’ll be rambling about (mostly) book-related things and hopefully you guys will join in on the fun too (:

Ahoy guys! In honour of Valentine’s day coming up, Jackie and I are teaming up and doing romance themed discussions for February! And today we’re going to share our favourite and not so favourite romance tropes ❤

So today’s topic is: Favourite (and not so favourite) romance tropes!

So let’s begin!



Friends to Lovers
also see: best friend/little sister romance

Jackie: One of my favorite tropes. I love seeing how the characters grow up together and know almost everything about each other. The flashbacks usually leaves me in a puddle of I want to know how they become friends.

Cyn: This one is usually a love for me!  I really like the long time coming aspect, and like Jackie, the little flashback and history between the couple leaves me giggling.

Examples: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway, Fracture by Megan Miranda, Mad Bad and Dangerous in Plaid by Suzanne Enoch, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn, Ask Again Later by Liz Czusk

Hate to Love
also see: Opposites attract, enemy to lovers

Cyn: This one is my jam! I love the banter and bickering and the tension and people falling victim to love, muaahahaa. As long as they’re not actually really mean to each other, I’m totally cool with it.

Jackie: I’m not too sure about this one but I kind of love it? The slow building for this trope can be frustrating for me because you want the characters to realize that they care about one another and while I love the snark and bickering I just want them to kiss already.

Examples: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen!, The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean, Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, Searching for Beautiful by Jennifer Probst, The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn, What the Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries

Love triangle
also see: love squares

Cyn: Booooo! I just can’t handle the back and forth and the indecisiveness. Annnnd it’s usually super predictable! We know who the heroine’s going to end up with, whhhhhyyyy must we have this angst? It’s especially worse when I don’t understand how or why everyone loves a heroine that’s kinda useless…

Jackie: Hate it because the hero often changes their mind about who they should go out with which makes me want to strangle the hero.

Examples: Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle, The Hunger Games series by Susanne Collins, Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Relationship/Marriage of Convenience

Cyn: I love this. This is probably a favourite trope in historical romance and I just love watching the couple try to figure out what’s happening and it’s just so cute when they realize that hey maybe this marriage thing can be real, it’s just adorable.

Jackie: I like this one. I love seeing how even though everything is under pretense there’s chemistry and feels and, like Cyn said, when they realize that everything is working out it’s super cute.

Examples: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West, When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare, The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes, Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Brighter Than the Sun by Julia Quinn, Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

The Rake/Charmer and the Quiet/Sweet girl
also see: Brooding/Tortured Boy, Gentle Girl

Cyn: I usually love this one, because it usually means the hero’s (who doesn’t believe in true love) been beaten by love! There’s usually some grovelling, or Grand Gesture and who doesn’t love that! Plus, the heroine usually gets to grow so much as a character, too.

Jackie: I dislike this trope because you know who the hero is going to end up with eventually.

Examples: Dark Triumph by Robin Lafever (but with brooding girl!), Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean, A Week to be Wicked by Tessa dare

Love at first sight (insta-love)

Cyn: Definitely kind of tired of this trope. Unless you can really give me a good reason why the couple is suddenly and entirely head-over-heels stupidly in love, or actually build some solid foundation, I probably don’t care. Most of the time it’s more likely insta-lust.

Jackie: I’m with Cyn on this one.

Examples: Royally Lost by Angie Stanton, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (though Cyn still loved them), Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, Matched by Ally Condie, Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Vampire/century old guy + the Teen Girl

Cyn: Not usually a fan. Why would a century old guy who’s lived and see the world fall for a teenage girl? You’re telling me in allllll this time, you’ve never found your “soulmate” not once until this girl? Sure. If the rest of the story is compelling, I could probably get over it.

Jackie: Hate this one. I’m not a big vampire/werewolf/mermaid/alien (whatever creature) who falls in love with a teen girl reader. Besides I find it weird that they don’t fall in love with their same species.

Examples: The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

The Girl/Boy Next Door

Cyn: This is definitely one of favourites! I love when the couples are suck in a physically close vicinity. And usually there’s also a mix of the other romance tropes (esp. the loathe to love!).

Jackie: Love this one and especially if the Girl/Boy goes to the same school as the other.

Examples: On the Fence by Kasie West, Magnolia by Kristi Cook, It Happened One Summer by Julie James, Wallbanger by Alice Clayton, How to be Popular by Meg Cabot, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Your Universe or Mine?

Jackie: Love this trope. I find this trope to be the most romantic one because one of the character has to sacrifice a lot (usually everything) in order to be with the one they love.

Cyn: Kind of take it or leave it, but leaning more so to the love side. Okay, on second thought, I actually do love this one, because it usually means a legit issue that the couple has to overcome. And yes, definitely a lot of sacrifice usually.

Examples: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West, These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, Fushigi Yuugi by Yuu Watase, The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Star-crossed Lovers
also see: Forbidden romance

Cyn: This can be a hit or miss for me, but I usually enjoy it. It’s kind of similar to the Your Universe or Mine? theme. Definitely a lot more barriers to the HEA.

Jackie:  Like Cyn this one can be a hit or miss for me as well because it can also be paired with the Love at First Sight trope, which I hate (see above). I might not be a big fan of the characters but I really want to see how everything ends up for them.

Examples: The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, Legend by Marie Lu, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins


So which tropes do you like and which ones do you hate!

Author: Cyn

noun. a bum OT, procrastinator. reader. eater. sleeper. music listen-er. movie go-er. Loves food too much.

14 Replies to “Musing About Things: Romance Tropes”

  1. Literary Feline says: Reply

    This is a great post. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    I am a fan of friends to lovers stories too. I tend not to buy into the insta-love (or rather insta-lust) ones as much. A romance has to work harder to win me over when it goes that route. Like you both, I’m not a fan of love triangles either. I always end up feeling bad for the one who doesn’t win.

  2. I don’t read romance often but I would have to say my favorite from your list would be friend to lover. Great post!

  3. Great post! I love the hate to love one, and the fun friction that it causes along the way (usually with a heavy dose of humor). I also enjoy books where a relationship of convenience turns into true love!

  4. Love to hate is one of my favorites – so much banter and chemistry!! The star-crossed romance and boy/girl next door are also such great tropes for me. This reminds me – I need to read THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN 🙂

  5. didn’t realize so many different types of romance – not a great romancer but I enjoy Austen and Heyer- I didn’t recognize many of books mentioned But I guess if I have to have romance in a book it would be friend to lover or hate to love 🙂

  6. I love friend to lover, hate to love (but it has to feel like it really changed), and a marriage of convenience. Of the ones you’ve mentioned to insta-love and the different universes. Both will work if done right but when done wrong I really really dislike them. This is a great topic!

  7. I love all of these tropes. Favorites are haters to lovers and arrangement. Fantastic post!

  8. I think friend to love has got to be my favorite. Has definitely been the most realistic in my life. I don’t really like enemies to friends romances because there’s often abusive behavior. For instance in Uprooted–there was a lot I liked about the book but the romance aspect grossed me out at times. The idea is appealing but so far I haven’t seen it done in a way that didn’t really bother me somehow. Marriage of convenience is cool too, I’m going to have to check out those books you mention 🙂

  9. Wow, this is a very in depth, well written post. I didn’t realize there were so many different types of romance novels. My absolute favorite is the relationship/marriage of convenience one primarily because I love reading historical fiction involving mail-order brides. Also like friends to lovers, hate to love, love triangle and star-crossed lovers. Hate love at first sight and never read anythings about vampires or your universe or mine. Boy/girl next door depends on what else is going on, but usually not too into these kind.

  10. Ahh, love triangles and insta love are SO TIRED. I really hate seeing them. I know forbidden love can be a hit or miss kind of thing, but that is one of my favorites. That, and the friends to lovers thing. I LOVE that one! Great list.

  11. The funny thing is, I read every one of these and can think of books that I enjoyed using them and books that I wasn’t so fond of. The only one that I almost NEVER enjoy is instalove. Friends to lovers is one that I tend to love more often than not. And star-crossed lovers too (as long as it’s not instalove). 🙂

  12. evaallbooksconsidered says: Reply

    Awesome round-up! My two favorites are probably friends to lovers (and especially best friend’s brother or brother’s best friend) and hate to love! SO good!

  13. oh I love romance tropes as well and you listed some fabulous ones here!! I love arranged marriages or even marriage of convenience ones. I always love seeing complete strangers find their way into loving each other and developing a strong intimate bond. I will admit that love triangles are my least favorite trope and don’t read it often. I have never liked it at all. I do love second chance romance the best though. I always love seeing a couple have a chance to be together again, since it rarely happens in real life.

  14. Great post! On the other hand, I love forbidden romance! There’s just so many feels when I read a book with forbidden romance. I also love best-friend romance and hate-to-love romance. Like you, I enjoy their bicker and banter 😀

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