Nicole and I are huge fans of romance tropes. Most of the time we’re both endlessly talking to each other or other people about our favorite ones (or even tweet-screaming about them). So, we both decided to write about our most cherished tropes we love in YA here!
6 Romance Tropes We Can’t Get Enough Of
1. Enemies to Lovers
It is the best thing ever when the two leads of a novel start to realize that their feelings of loathing are actually feelings of love. On top of fighting in some other sort of way, they’re fighting their true feelings, which is the best kind of fighting. Triple points for when these two enemies are in a shouting match and one of them blurts out the truth of their love. That gets me every.single.time.
If you’re a fan of this trope, you have to read Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi. Dimple isn’t Rishi’s biggest fan, as evidenced by the fact that she threw a whole cup of ice coffee on him (she’s an icon, honestly). Rishi is a hopeless romantic and wants to like Dimple, but they clash more often than not. They soon figure out by spending time with one another that they have a lot in common and fall for each other. While it is not exactly a textbook example of this trope, I think personally it is a great spin on it.
Want more books with the enemies to lovers trope? Check out this list!
2. Childhood Friends
Sweet love is great. It’s fluffy and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But you know what else is sweet? When two friends who’ve known each other since they were kids realize when they’re older that they are hopelessly, madly in love with one another. Maybe not at the same time, but they both eventually get to the same page.
If you’re like me and love this classic trope, head straight for Under the Lights by Abbi Glines. Brady, star High School quarterback and Willa used to be best friends, and Willa even had a crush on Brady as a kid! But Willa made some choices in her life that causes them to drift apart and change as people. Enter Gunner, who also used be friends with both of them, but has changed enough that he doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Well, Willa is the exception to this rule, because he understands the new person she is. If you love this trope, with a dash of a love triangle, then pick this book up.
Do you love this trope as much as we do? Check out these books!
3. Slow Burn
Being patient is hard, but seeing the couple you’ve been rooting for FINALLY get together after so much waiting and angst makes it all worth it. Those quick glances at each other, those meaningful conversations that leave you yelling at your book “JUST KISS ALREADY PLEASE” (maybe that’s just me), and finally after the whole winding journey confirm their relationship leaves me emotionally fulfilled and dead at the same time. Whether it spans multiple books, or just in stand-alone, slow burns will emotionally wreck you in the best way.
If you’re craving a good slow burn, check out Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi. Penny and Sam meet in a café (all the best slow burns start in a café or coffee shop; I will fight anyone and everyone over this) and start off on an awkward interaction that is majorly unbearable. But, soon after, they start to text each other, revealing their deepest anxieties and being vulnerable without the added stress of face to face interaction. They become inseparable, and soon start to realize that maybe there’s something more.
4. Trapped in the Same Space
In my humble opinion, it doesn’t get much better than this: two people – who may or may not hate each other, or at least harbor unresolved feelings toward each other – suddenly find themselves stuck in the same space together. Whether this is in a broken elevator, or a small tent on a snowy mountain (bonus points if they have to huddle for warmth), the only thing we know for sure is that these two unwitting lovebirds are going to have to talk to one another. And talking leads to inevitably realizing that they LIKE one another. It’s all so angsty and cathartic and basically guarantees that my ‘shipper heart will double in size.
If you feel the same way, look no further than Jenn Bennett’s Starry Eyes, where Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to unpack all of their baggage (so to speak) when they find themselves stranded in the woods together.
5. Forbidden Love
The idea that we all want what we can’t have is nothing new, but man does it pan out beautifully when it comes to romance. Here, our couple is attracted to each other, but can’t admit it because of forces that forbid them from being together. Cue the longing looks across crowded rooms and the tense conversations about “why this can never work.” But it doesn’t change the fact that…they’re in love. For the reader, this trope also comes with a lot of anxious nail-biting and frustrated yelling at the book. But it’s all worth it in the end (usually).
For all of your forbidden romance needs, pick up a copy of An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, where falling in love between mortals and fair folk are forbidden, but that’s exactly what Isobel and Rook do.
6. Fake Relationship
There comes a time in the life of many a protagonist when they need to pretend to have a significant other. There are all sorts of reasons to grab a buddy and ask them to pretend to date you. Just know that along the way, there might be awkwardness or even jealousy, and then real feelings might start to creep in. This platonic fake bae might actually be your One True Love. It’s a beautiful journey, from start to finish, and I’m here to read it again and again.
See this play out in Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, when Lara Jean’s crushes are inadvertently revealed to the world, and she must pretend to date a former friend in order to save face. Bonus! To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is soon to be a movie! Here’s everything we know about it so far.