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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

My potentially controversial trope opinions

For well over a decade, I have been a romance novel lover. Despite reading countless stories of people falling in love, it never gets old. While I have dabbled in many tropes, some are far superior to others and I keep coming back to them over and over again. That being said, I thought I would rank ten of the most common tropes I have read and give a few recommendations along the way.  

10. Insta Love

Instantly, no. There is no anticipation or real climax with these kinds of stories. Maybe in real life or in a novella, it works, but I personally don’t want to read a 300-page book about it. I always get samples of books on Kindle and if I sense an insta love story coming in those, I immediately move on to the next book. 

9. Age Gap

I have only read one age gap romance that I liked (One Night Stand by Jennifer Sucevic), but other than that, they feel a little icky to me. A lot of times it’s a case where someone is dating their friend’s parent or a student-teacher relationship, which just feels taboo and wrong. While I haven’t sworn them off, it’s unlikely I dabble into this trope again anytime soon.

8. Love Triangle

Generally, love triangles are super predictable and unnecessary. If tied in with another trope, I can get on board. One of my favorite books, Spinning Out by Lexi Ryan, has a love triangle but it’s not overpowering, which I appreciate. 

7. Workplace romance

One of the most popular ways people start dating in real life, workplace romances are usually fun, exciting and relatable. It’s not a trope I’m drawn to too much, but the times I have encountered it, I generally enjoyed it. However, no books I have read from this trope stick out to me, hence why I have ranked it so low.

6. Friends to Lovers

Surprisingly, I don’t love this trope as much as I probably should. In real life, it’s considered one of the best ways to fall in love with someone and I like that idea personally. However, I have rarely found a book where this trope really grasps my attention. Mastering the art of the slow burn can be difficult and this trope requires it to be done well to believe the characters’ shift in feelings.

5. Second Chance Romance

This is another one that I rarely gravitate towards, but I do enjoy the majority of the ones I’ve read. The mix between past and present gives great insight into the characters’ lives and their growth, which is relatable. 

4. Best Friend’s Sister/Brother

I don’t have a brother, so I will never be able to relate to this one, but I have a soft spot for this dynamic. It feels forbidden and I enjoy the sneaking around aspect to a certain extent. This trope will often detail those little moments they share as they grow up with one another, which makes it all the more satisfying when they finally get together years later. I just wish that the sibling wouldn’t give the couple so much sh*t when they uncover the relationship. It seems so dramatic. Fearless King by Maya Hughes is one I keep going back to.

3. Fake Dating

This trope is definitely overused, considering it is a rare scenario in actuality, but it’s still fun nonetheless. The little moments the couple share, all while denying their attraction to others and themselves, are my favorite. The Risk, which is a part of Briar U, one of my favorite series of all time by Elle Kennedy, is a great one under this trope. 

2. Forced Proximity

I’m a sucker for this trope as it often combines some of my other favorite tropes to create an uncomfortable yet secretly desired connection between the couple. Unexpected roommates, forced trip away, give it all to me. I recently read Blindsided by Victoria Denault, which combined forced proximity with enemies to lovers to create a sizzler. 

1. Enemies to lovers

Coming in at the top spot for me is enemies to lovers. Something about the growing tension and fiery dynamic between the characters makes it all the more satisfying when they get together. My first semester of college, I took a social psychology class where we talked about attraction and this kind of relationship came up. My professor taught us that you tend to like someone even more if you hated them at first rather than if you always liked them because you had to overcome a big emotional hurdle. I think this is what makes enemies to lovers so powerful as the relationship shift is drastic and feels authentic. I have plenty of recommendations for this trope, so I might save them for a future article…

Well, I hope that wasn’t too controversial. Pretty obvious that I lean more towards forbidden and challenging relationships, probably because they are not so common in real life. I read for escapism, so these kinds of romances really do the trick.

Amélie Mahony

Wisconsin '24

Hi! I'm Amélie and I'm a first-year grad student at UW Madison studying Journalism & Mass Communications. I recently finished my Sociology & Communications undergrad in my home country, Ireland. I also studied abroad at UConn and was a part of their Her Campus chapter. It is where I found my passion for writing and decided I wanted to be an entertainment journalist. I love all things celebrity gossip, reality TV, music and a good romance novel.