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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

As an avid reader of romance books, there’s nothing that excites me more than reading about how situations, circumstances, and people bring the main characters together! I absolutely love the slow burn, tension, and twists on clichés that have you giggling to yourself! Let’s get right into some of my favorite romance book tropes, including a book recommendation for each!

Second Chance Romance

The “Second Chance Romance” trope is one where the main leads reconnect sometime after separating or breaking up, rekindling their relationship. I absolutely love this trope for its “everyone deserves a second chance at love” ideology, and simply because the happy endings are always super satisfying! This trope could involve childhood friends-turned-lovers, high school sweethearts meeting by chance, and many more dynamics!

For anyone that wants to explore this trope, I would recommend Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren!


Although this trope is well-known, I wouldn’t say it is nearly as popular as rivals/enemies-to-lovers. The reason why this trope makes the list for me is that it is one of the most realistic romance tropes I’ve seen. Falling in love with someone you know well is not far-fetched, and when written well, can turn out to be a very natural love story!

A recent book I’ve read with this trope is The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams!

workplace romance

The “Workplace Romance” trope involves the main leads being colleagues and finding love at their workplace! As I said in the introduction, I love when situations and circumstances bring the characters together. For example, they could be assigned the same project or they have to go on a business trip together. There are just so many swoon-worthy sub-tropes (that can be realistic) that could be used for a workplace romance!

For this trope, I would definitely recommend The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas.

Shy x Sunshine

We’ve all heard of the Grumpy x Sunshine trope, where one of the leads is stoic, and usually a bit of a grump (as the trope implies), and the other is bright and bubbly. But what if the grumpy lead was instead shy and reserved? Just think of all the wholesome moments, blush-worthy interactions, and just full-blown sweetness! The idea of the shy character eventually opening up to their outgoing, infectiously optimistic partner just always gets me!

My recommendation for this trope would be The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun.

Fake relationship

Now, this is where my love for clichés turns up to 100 percent! Just the perpetual tension, the “will-they, won’t-they” of it all (even though we all know they will eventually) always has me hoping for more. However, this trope is also one where it is easier to mess up than do a good job. Never-ending misunderstandings and petty fights can be frustrating and boring to read about. But, when done well, they are done well!

My favorite fake-dating book has got to be Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall!

These are just a few of my favorite romance book tropes out there! The best thing about romance tropes is that multiple can be used for the same story! Which of these tropes do you find the most swoon-worthy?

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Pooja Panuganti

U Mass Amherst '24

Pooja is a sophomore business major and YA romance books are her guilty pleasure!