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Book partners are always the safer choice than real-life relationships. They’re reliable and will never fail to raise the bar. Their only downside, of course, is the fact that they’re on paper. 

My not-so-secret guilty pleasure is reading romance books. I’m talking about the most cliche and corny romance books you could find. Is it enemies to lovers? A slow burn? Angst but with a happy ending? Rom-coms? I don’t care – I’ll read them all and enjoy doing so! 

Since I’m not spending Valentine’s day with a real boy, I went in search of a new book boyfriend. 

If you’re on social media and an avid reader, then there’s no doubt that you’ve been on BookTok a few times. So, I caved in and took a look at what the kids on the internet were talking about. 

As much as I loved the overused tropes and witty banter in books (I have to thank Jane Austen for setting the bar so high!), the buildup to romance is essential. I picked the top five books that kept popping up on every social media app for this Valentine’s. 

Were they worth the read? Continue reading this article to find out, and yes, there will be spoilers. 

  1. “The Love Hypothesis” by Ali Hazelwood

I saw thirst traps on the internet for this book, so I read it. 

The book revolves around a fake dating trope which, to be honest, is not my favorite, but I gave it a fair shot. I’m glad that I did. The two characters are scientists, and as someone who is majoring in political science, I had no idea what they were talking about for a good portion of the book. 

While this book makes for a good rom-com, I enjoyed reading about the heavy topics mentioned in the book like the inclusivity the STEM field has for women. 

My only problem with this book was that it read like fan fiction. There were a few scenes that made me cringe a bit. Some, however, were adorable. I later found out this book roots in a fan-written Reylo (the ship name for Star Wars’ Kylo Ren and Rey) romance. Adam Driver, who plays Kylo Ren, is one of my favorite actors, but I can’t see him being the main character Adam Carlsen. Other than that, I rate this book a 4/5! It’s a fun read, and the cover makes for a great coffee table book. 

  1. “From Lukov with Love” by Mariana Zapata

I loved this book despite my initial hesitations.  

Both main characters are professional skaters. The female lead struggles from imposter syndrome, which I believe many of the readers could connect to. I felt an instant connection with the female lead. This book is a sports romance, which was new for me. It’s also a very slow-burn romance book. Most times, I don’t mind. However, it felt like the romance only kicked up in the last 20% of the book. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading the buildup to it. Therefore, I give this book a 4.5/5. 

  1. “The Cruel Prince” series by Holly Blake

Before I read the first book, I had a pretty false assumption of the synopsis. The book revolves around a mortal girl and a faerie prince. I assumed this book would be for a younger audience given that synopsis.  

However, romance is more of a subplot in this book, but its main focus is politics. The book begins with the main character’s parents getting killed off. Watching the character grow up in a society where she was an outcast had me hooked. Jude is thirsty for power, and she’s smart with how she plays her card. I wasn’t a fan of the prince but I look forward to seeing how his character progresses in the next book. I rate this a 3/5! 

  1. “The Hating Game” by Sally Thorne

The cover of this book pulled in at first and it was a wonderful romantic read. It also recently was adapted to a movie featuring Lucy Hale. 

The banter between the two characters is fun to read, but it did remind me of the childhood playground crush where the boy pulls his crush’s pigtails. Joshua Templeman, the male love interest, keeps a little planner with a bunch of random dashes and X’s. When it was finally revealed what the little marks meant, it made Templeman want to be at the top of my favorite book partner list. There are moments in this book where I felt the romance picked up a little too quickly. Nonetheless, it makes for a great Valentine’s read, so I give it a 4/5!

  1. “The Spanish Love Deception” by Elena Armas

When I first read the summary of this book, it seemed like a rip-off of “The Hating Game”. The plotlines were similar, but I still gave it a shot. Aaron Blackford, the male lead, does not play around. The best part of this book is the romance doesn’t feel forced and has a perfect pace. 

The majority of the book takes place in Spain, which was a nice change of scenery. It was obvious from the first chapter that the male lead was in love with the main character since the first time he met her even though it does take her a while to come to the realization. I rate this book a 4/5!

What are you reading this Valentine? Tell us by tagging us on Instagram @Hercampussjsu!

Sophomore & political science major at San Jose State University
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