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Because I can’t think of 10 things I dislike/like about romance in books I’ve decided to split it into 5 likes and 5 dislikes.
5 Things I Dislike:
1) I really dislike it when the “heroine” of the novel is forever completely distracted by the presence of hot guys to the point that she doesn’t notice what’s right in front of her. For example, this heroine might spend days mooning over some handsome jock-type who never calls after a date or a make-out session, etc. Or they simply take up any opportunity to party and hook-up with random hotties. Meanwhile, they could be spending the time with a guy who actually cares. Sure, that guy might not be sun-kissed and blonde and he might not be the strong, mysterious type, but he’s a keeper. (I guess I’m talking here about those completely ridiculous, shallow romance stories in which the popular girl likes the popular jerk guy and not the nice guy. You know, the nice guys never win thing. I hate that! It’s so overused and stupid).
2) But, I also dislike the whole popular-girl-dates-non-popular-guy-to-prove-she-isn’t-as-shallow-as-she-seems thing (and vice versa). You know, that storyline is so overused, boring and stupid. It doesn’t prove anything.
3) Ridiculous love triangles in which the main character can’t make up their mind about who they love more and spends the whole book making out with both love interests as if that’s going to make the decision for them. Gah. Boring.
4) One partner putting up with abuse just because they love their partner and believe they’ll change. They won’t change. I just don’t want to read a story like that. It makes me sick.
5) Weird, violent sex stuff. Which is kind of like abuse, except that both partners enjoy it and keep on going back for more and more. I don’t want to read anything like (I’m looking at you E.L James).
5 Things I Like:
1) I’m a sucker for the whole best-friends-become-more storyline. I’m a big believer in friendship being the best beginning for romance and it’s also obviously a really important part of being in a relationship. I like all kinds of story-lines based on the best-friend thing, whether it’s a case of skinny love or a case of one of the pair being in love with the other but the other doesn’t know it, etc, etc. Of course, these types of plots aren’t always good. There can be a bit too much of #1 in my dislike list (which is why I didn’t like That Boy by Jillian Dodd). But usually this romance plot works for me despite my better judgement. Good example: Anna and the French Kiss.
2) Both main characters or the main character and their love interest have to be awesome. I mean, I have to really like both characters to care about them ending up together. For example, I like it when I can relate to the girl and when I’d want to date the boy myself if he wasn’t fictional. If that spark between reader and character isn’t there in a romance story, there’s no hope of it working out between us :P.
3) Sexual tension. A must. To keep me reading, it can’t be some dull story of does he like me or doesn’t he with nothing actually happening between them for the whole book. The kissing scenes etc are very important!! They have to at least kiss once. The only exception I’ll make in this case is for Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen (the cutest romance story ever).
4) Angst. As is the drama and the jealousy and the complications. I don’t always like melodrama, but this is an important ingredient in romance stories. There has to be something there to keep me reading. It makes the story and the characters have more depth rather than it just being all surface.
5) Believability. I like romance stories in which the characters actually do things that real people would do. For example, even though this should be added to my dislike list as #6, I don’t like the whole fill-the-house-or-motel-room-with-roses-thing. Basically, I don’t want a cliche. I enjoy the romance much more if there’s originality there, if the characters do things for each other that they didn’t pick up from movies or whatever. Also, the attraction between them has to be believable, obviously. Sometimes it just isn’t there. Like love at first sight kind of stuff is bad! There has to be a good reason why they’re meant for each other and I have to really feel that. I like to believe in love in the real world and in the fiction world and if the story isn’t making me believe, I won’t finish the book.
Well, that’s my attempt at explaining my likes and dislikes in romance. What are yours? 🙂