Somehow, we’re back into the month of February already. The candy hearts and mountains of chocolate are dyeing grocery store shelves pink and red. Even if you don’t celebrate Valentine’s day, there are some great things to look forward to during this holiday. The day after Valentines day leads to a ton of candy on sale. The newer tradition of Galentine’s Day can still be celebrated via Zoom. However, I wouldn’t be a book lover if I didn’t mention the books. Romance books can be read any time of year, but it feels right to read one while shoving heart-shaped Reese’s Cups into your mouth. There are countless types of romantic stories to read, but there are four tropes in these stories that always get me invested and excited.
- Enemies to lovers
This is one of my favorite tropes in any story that has a romantic plotline. Do they dislike each other or have the opposite of a meet-cute? Sign me up! When this trope is done well, there are endless opportunities for great plot and character growth. It also allows for some great banter between the two characters. Dynamic dialogue is a great way to keep the story interesting and get a reader invested in what’s happening. There is a line for this trope. Even though the two characters get off on the wrong foot or dislike each other, there has to be a feasible reason why they would become romantically interested. For example: in Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice and Benedick’s budding relationship works because they already have an interest in each other. Their friends convince them through sneaky ways, but in the end they realize that what they believed to be disdain was attraction. Also, they get opportunities away from their friends scheming to confirm those feelings. If two characters don’t have a feasible reason, their relationship could quickly burn out or turn into a toxic situation. If you want to check out a great version of enemies to lovers, I suggest Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. There are so countless YA versions of this trope for your reading pleasure.
- Friends to lovers
This one is a bit of a hard left from the last trope. Instead of the characters starting off with disdain, they begin the story as friends. This trope is full of interesting dynamics and questions. In some versions, one character may realize suddenly that their feelings have deepend. However they don’t know how to tell their friend of these blossoming feelings. Suddenly every interaction feels different and confusing for the characters. I am not a fan of miscommunication issues as a plot point in stories, and unfortunately this trope sometimes uses it. However, there are some stories that make it work without going too far. Many times a character doesn’t communicate their feelings to the friend because of a conflict or person. This trope gives a lot of opportunities for the author to show us the changing dynamics before the character’s themselves may notice them. If they use the “show don’t tell” method, then this trope is usually excellent. If you want to check out a great example of a friends to lovers story, I’d recommend The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee.
- Angry/ Intimidating character and cinnamon roll pairing
This is another romance trope that allows for some great dynamics in a story. Two characters with completely opposite personalities somehow mesh together. It’s a Slytherin and Hufflepuff sort of situation. Many other characters in the story may not see how or why the couple got together. That’s always a fun gag to tap into in a story. It also allows them to grow and learn from each other in interesting ways. It’s a great way to start character development, or add an interesting conflict for a character’s goals. Many times these relationships are found with side characters. However, there are a few main characters who have a great example of this trope. If you want to check out this dynamic, I’d recommend Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Nina and Matthias have a very interesting twist on this trope.
- Only use their real names in dire situations trope
Hello, and welcome to a very niche trope. This trope is more of a sub-genre of the romantic tropes. This could go with many different dynamics in a story. The trope does need two characters who use things like nicknames or last names. Usually the nickname is chosen to irritate the other as much as possible, or it’s a childhood nickname. These characters will spend the entirety of the story calling each other these names, even if others call them by their actual names. It often leads to banter among the characters and bonds the two. Then comes the twist. A dire situation occurs to the characters, and the joking facade drops. Instead, real names are used. This is a really great thing that authors sometimes do to communicate how scared the character is for their friend or love interest. This trope works well with romantic love and platonic love. If done well, it often shows how much the characters truly care for each other. This trope is so weirdly specific that I don’t have a specific book to recommend. If you do, please let me know in the comments!
What are your thoughts on these tropes? What are your favorite romantic character tropes in books? Let me know in the comments below! I’m always looking for more books to read, especially with these tropes. If you have any favorite books with these tropes, please fill out the book recommendation survey here. Now get a snack and enjoy a book. Happy reading everyone!