The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Reading can be fun! In 2021, I began reading for pleasure like I used to do in middle school, and it was the absolute highlight of my year. Let’s just say I slid back into my bookworm phase. There are all kinds of incredible books out there, but I have recently been rather obsessed with romance books. The genre ranges from having silly romantic comedy vibes to “romance” being an essential aspect of an incredible story. Over the last year, I have cultivated a list of my favorite tropes that I fell in love with throughout my reading journey.
Tropes are a storytelling shorthand for a concept that the audience will recognize and understand instantly. Check out my favorites in romances I loved reading down below!
- Enemies to lovers
Starting with my personal favorite, the enemies to lovers trope shows two characters that start off hating each other, but over time, they end up building a romantic relationship. The ‘enemies’ are often battling their differences, misconceptions, and pride while forming a strong connection with the one person they were supposed to hate. The angst, banter, and conflicting emotions make these books a must-read in my opinion. They constantly keep you guessing and enthralled; the endings never disappoint.
Recommendations: Brutal Prince by Sophie Lark & Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
- Dual POV
Dual POV stories include two or more first-person narrators who alternate telling the story between chapters or scenes. It is incredibly entertaining to watch characters tell different versions of the same story based on their own perspectives. When it comes to romance, it is hilarious to hear both sides talk about how they feel about the other. Honestly, it’s a breath of fresh air to hear both sides to one story and get to decide for yourself what the truth is.
Recommendations: The Guest List by Lucy Foley & Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher
- Single Parent
The single-parent trope is an unexpected favorite of mine, mainly stemming from my love of the adorable children that come with the single parent. These books feature a single parent that meets a new potential significant other and highlight the journey of the new relationship and the parent’s bond with their child/children. Although, in my opinion, this trope occasionally is not executed well, there are many books that create a heartwarming single-parent story.
Recommendations: The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren & To Hate Adam Connor by Ella Maise
- Found Family
When the family you are born into fails to be your safe space, the found family trope highlights the benefits of finding a group of friends that build a family bond born from mutual understanding and strong connections. In books with this trope, it is easy to fall in love with numerous characters as they all share such an unbreakable bond that grows into a lovely family unit.
Recommendations: Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score & The Addicted/Calloway Sisters by Krista and Becca Ritchie
- Fake Dating
The fake dating trope puts two characters together and both of them want the world to believe they are in a relationship. Whether it is to make an ex jealous or for optics that could further their career. The trope has the characters scheming to fool everyone until one or both of them often falls in love with each otherfor real.
Recommendations: Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston & The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
- Marriage of Convenience
Under the marriage of convenience trope, two characters skip the courting and dating scene by getting married while matters of the heart are not being considered. This trope often presents itself as an arrangement similar to a business deal that benefits both parties “platonically.” However, over time, sparks begin to fly and the line between business and pleasure seems to blur. The arranged marriages often sprout up in books surrounding royalty, mafia business, matters of citizenship, and more. A popular movie example of this is The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. Since this trope is in movies, you can trust it will be a great trope in books.
Recommendations: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata & The Sweetest Oblivion by Danielle Lori
- Celebrity Romance
I don’t know about you, but imagining that I’m dating a famous person has always been a fun fantasy for me. The celebrity romance trope is when one of the story’s love interests is a celebrity or public figure. Whether it is problems with the spotlight or elements of secrecy, this trope creates drama-filled reads about love in a complicated world which always leaves you wanting more.
Recommendations: Far From Normal by Becky Wallace & To Love Jason Thorne by Ella Maise
- Slow burn
Slow burn romances have you sitting on the edge of your seat for everything interaction: a moment of eye contact, and any effort at playful banter. The trope focuses on a slow development of romance between a potential couple often filled with angst and pining moments. The style of slow-burn typically gets you very invested in the progression of both the couple’s relationship and the story. Sometimes it’s turned into a series such as the After series.
Author Mariana Zapata is my personal queen of the slow burn, as she will have you holding on and asking for more page after page.
Recommendations: From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata & Wait For It by Mariana Zapata
Who doesn’t love a good apology? The groveling trope appears when a character makes a mistake and does whatever possible to earn the other’s forgiveness. When done well, the book depicts a fun, but loving path towards growth and forgiveness for multiple characters.
Recommendations: The Mistake by Elle Kennedy & The Best Thing by Mariana Zapata
- Friends to Lovers
To round out the list, the friends-to-lovers trope is filled with unresolved tension and unexpected feelings. Whether they are childhood friends, friends with benefits, or any other friendship type, the shared history and memories between the pair often create a heartwarming love story that feels so real.
Recommendations: People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry & The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams